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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV
                                                  [Page 830]

In this connection, a telegram from the Commander of the U-
boat "Schacht" to Doenitz's headquarters, and the reply, are
significant. "Schacht" had been taking part in the rescue of
survivors from the "Laconia." The telegram from "Schacht,"
dated 18 September 1942, reads:

     "163 Italians handed over to 'Annamite.' Navigating
     Officer of 'Laconia' and another English Officer on
     board." (D-630)

The telegram goes on to set out the position of English and
Polish survivors in boats.

The reply from Doenitz's headquarters was sent on the 20th:

     "Action as in wireless telegram message of 17th of
     September was wrong. Boat was detailed to rescue
     Italian allies and not for the rescue of English and
     Poles." (D-630)

Such were Doenitz's plans before the bombing incident ever

"Operation Order Atlantic No. 56," dated 7 October 1943, con-

                                                  [Page 831]
tains the sailing orders of a U-boat (D-663). Although the
date of this order is 7 October 1943, in fact it is only a
reproduction of an order issued earlier, in the autumn of
1942. The following is an extract from this order:

     "Rescue ships: A so-called rescue ship is generally
     attached to every convoy, a special ship of up to 3000
     gross registered tons, which is intended for the
     picking up of survivors after U-boat attacks. These
     ships are, for the most part, equipped with a shipborne
     aircraft and large motor-boats, are strongly armed with
     depth-charge throwers, and very maneuverable, so that
     they are often called U-Boat Traps by the commander. In
     view of the desired destruction of ships' crews, their
     sinking is of great value." (D-663)

The Prosecution does not complain against attacks on rescue
ships. They are not entitled to protection. But the point of
the foregoing order to U-boats was that priority in attack
should be given to rescue ships. This order, therefore, is
closely allied with order of 17 September 1942 (D-630): in
view of the Allied shipbuilding program the German Navy had
resolved to take all means to prevent Allied ships from
being manned.

To summarize, it would appear from the War Diary entry of 17
September that orders on the lines discussed between Hitler
and Oshima were, in fact, issued. They have not, however,
been captured. It may be that they were issued orally, and
that Doenitz awaited a suitable opportunity before
confirming them. The incident of the bombing of the U-boats
detailed to rescue the Italian survivors from the "Laconia"
afforded the opportunity, and the order to all commanders
was issued. Its intent is clear when it is considered in the
light of the War Diary entry. The wording is, of course,
extremely careful, but to any officer of experience its
intention was obvious: he would know that deliberate action
to annihilate survivors would be approved under that order.

It may be contended that this order, although perhaps
unfortunately phrased, was merely intended to stop a
commander from jeopardizing his ship by attempting a rescue,
which had become increasingly dangerous as a result of the
extended coverage of the ocean by Allied aircraft; and that
the notorious action of U-Boat Commander Eck in sinking the
Greek steamer "Peleus" and then machine-gunning the crew on
their rafts in the water, was an exception; and that,
although it may be true that a copy of the order was on
board, this action was taken solely, as Eck himself swore,
on his own initiative.

In reply it may be said that if the intention of this order
was to stop rescue attempts, in the interests of the
preservation of

                                                  [Page 832]
the U-boat, it would have been done by calling attention to
Standing Order 154. Secondly, this very fact would have been
prominently stated in the order. Drastic orders of this
nature are not drafted by experienced staff officers without
the greatest care and an eye to their possible capture by
the enemy. Thirdly, if it was necessary to avoid the risks
attendant on surfacing, not only would this have been stated
but there would have been no question of taking any
prisoners at all except possibly in circumstances where
virtually no risk in surfacing was to be apprehended.
Fourthly, the final sentence of the first paragraph would
have read very differently. And fifthly, if in fact -- and
the Prosecution does not accept it -- Doenitz did not mean
to enjoin murder, his order was so worded that he cannot
escape the responsibility which attaches to such a document.

The instructions given by Admiral Doenitz with regard to the
murder of shipwrecked Allied seamen are described in an
affidavit by Oberleutnant Zur See Peter Josef Heisig (D-
566). (Heisig was called as a prosecution witness in the
case against Doenitz and testified on direct examination to
the same effect, in substance, as the statements in his
affidavit.) In September 1942 Heisig was a Midshipman in a
training course for U-boat officers of the watch. On the
last day of the course Grand Admiral Doenitz, who was then
Commander-in-Chief, U-boats, held an inspection tour and
made a speech to the officers in training. Heisig describes
the content of Doenitz's speech as follows:

     "*** According to news received from America we were
     bound to reckon with the possibility that in the Allied
     countries more than 1,000,000 net registered tons of
     new merchant shipping space would be brought into
     service monthly. This was more shipping space than
     would be sunk even with good U-boat successes. The
     bottleneck of the Allies lay only in the problem of
     personnel for these newly built ships. The Atlantic
     route was too dangerous for seamen so that they even
     had to be brought aboard ship under compulsion. This
     was the point where we, the U-boat crews, had to take a
     hand. He therefore demanded that we should from now on
     carry on total warfare against ship and crew. That
     meant: so far as possible, no seaman from a sunk ship
     was to get home any more. Only thus could the supply
     line of the British Isles be seriously endangered and
     only thus in the long run could we strike a noticeable
     blow at Allied merchant shipping traffic. In this way
     it would be impossible for the opponent even to make
     use of his newly built ships, since no more crews would
     be available to him. After the sinking of
                                                  [Page 833]
     a ship, every possibility of rescue must be denied to
     the crew, through the destruction of every means of
     saving life. "I later discussed these remarks of
     Admiral Doenitz's with the others, and all present
     unanimously and unambiguously took them to mean that
     after the sinking of a ship, all possibility of escape,
     whether in boats, on rafts, or by any other means, must
     be denied to the crew and the destruction of the crew
     was to be attempted by every means. This mode of
     warfare was for me as for most of my comrades
     completely new. Owing to Admiral Doenitz's
     authoritative position, it was nevertheless fully and
     completely accepted by many of them. He sought to
     invalidate in advance any doubts which might arise, by
     pointing to the air war and the bombing." (D-566)

Further light on the real meaning of the Top Secret radio
message sent by the Commander in Chief, U-boats, to all U-
boat and operational flotillas in September 1942 (D-630) is
contained in the statement of Korvettenkapitaen Karl Heinz
Moehle (382-PS). (Moehle was called as a Prosecution witness
in the case against Doenitz and testified on direct
examination to the same effect, in substance, as the
statements in his affidavit.) Concerning this order which
was couched in terms of a prohibition against the rescue of
survivors, Moehle states as

     "This W/T message was without any doubt sent out at the
     instigation of the Commander in Chief U-boats himself,
     i.e. Grand Admiral Doenitz. In view of my knowledge of
     the way in which the Staff of the Chief Command U-boats
     worked, I consider it quite impossible that an order of
     such importance could have been given without his
     "So far as concerns the order itself, it undoubtedly
     states, and in particular for those who know the manner
     in which Commander in Chief U-Boats is wont to give his
     orders, that the High Command regard it as desirable
     that not only ships but also their crews should be
     regarded as objects of attack, i.e. that they should be
     destroyed; at that time German propaganda was
     continually stressing the shortage of crews for enemy
     merchant ships and the consequent difficulties. I too
     understood this order in that way.
     "Had the point of view of the High Command been
     otherwise the order would undoubtedly have been
     expressed in different words. It would then only have
     stated that for reasons of security rescue measures
     were to cease and this order would have passed as a
     normal secret W/T message. It was
                                                  [Page 834]
     perhaps even the intention that this order could be
     interpreted in two ways and the reason may be that in
     the first place, it contravenes international laws of
     warfare and secondly, that it was an order which must
     give rise to serious conflicts of conscience in
     commanding officers."

     "To conclude, I can only stress that the order of
     September 1942 appeared to me personally to go too far
     and I am in total disagreement with it at heart. As a
     serving officer I had however to carry out the command
     to pass on this order to commanding officers for their
     "During the long time that I was senior officer of the
     Flotilla no single commanding officer mentioned to me
     that he could not reconcile obedience to this order
     with his conscience and that he was therefore unable to
     carry it out." (382-PS)

Moehle graphically describes Doenitz's incitement of his men
to the murder of survivors:

     "A type VII boat (600-tonner) reported in her war log
     that when outward bound from a base in France she met
     far out in the Bay of Biscay a raft with five enemy
     airmen, but was not able to take them on board owing to
     shortage of room (she had a complement of 54 and
     carried full provisions for 14 weeks). The boat
     therefore proceeded without taking any notice of the
     "This action of the U-boat was vehemently denounced by
     the Commander in Chief U-boats' staff. It was stated
     that she would have acted more correctly in destroying
     this raft since it was highly probably that the enemy
     air crew would be rescued by the enemy and in the
     meantime might once more have destroyed a German U-

     "This occurrence made the views of the Commander in
     Chief U-boats clear to me." (382-PS)

As senior officer of the Fifth U-boat Flotilla, it was
Moehle's duty to transmit orders from the Commander in
Chief, U-boats, to commanding officers of U-boats. In this
connection, Doenitz' ambiguous order against the rescue of
survivors caused difficulties.

     "I was wont to pass on this controversial and serious
     order with more or less the following words: -- `I have
     now to inform you of a High Command order concerning
     conduct towards survivors. It is a very ticklish
     matter. Commander in Chief U-boats in September 1942
     gave the following order in an 'officers only' signal
     (*** the exact words of the order were then read out).'
                                                  [Page 835]
     "Since I am myself in my innermost conscience in
     disagreement with this order, I was very glad that in
     most cases commanding officers raised no queries and I
     was therefore relieved of any further discussion on
     this point.
     "Sometimes however queries were raised and I was wont
     to answer somewhat as follows:
     " 'I will explain the viewpoint of the High Command,
     which gave this order, by reference to the following
     event:' I then mentioned the example of the Type VII
     boat in the Bay of Biscay together with the explanation
     and viewpoint expressed to me by commander in Chief U-
     boats' staff. I then went on to say, 'Gentlemen, you
     must yourselves decide what is compatible with your own
     consciences. The safety of your own boat must always
     remain your prime consideration.' "

     "I also remember that many commanding officers after
     the order of September 1942 had been read said, 'That
     is quite clear and unequivocal however hard it may be.'
     Had this order been given to me as a commanding officer
     I would have taken note of it in silence but in
     practice would always have been able with a clear
     conscience not to carry it out since I consider I would
     endanger my own boat by acting in this way, (i.e., by
     shooting at lift-boats)." (382-PS)

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