The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/10
Q. Very well. The British Prosecutor has submitted a new
document, 754-PS, dealing with the destructions during the
retreat in Norway. Why in this purely military Fuehrer
Decree did you write: " ... The Fuehrer has agreed to the
proposals of the Reich Ministry for the occupied Norwegian
areas, and has given his orders accordingly ..." and so on?
Why did you deliberately put in "to the proposals," and so

A. In issuing orders I had a kind of secret code for the
commanders-in-chief. If an order was the result of an
agreement between the OKW and the Fuehrer then I started
with the words "The Fuehrer has decreed ...."

If a decree originated from the Fuehrer himself, I started
the decree with a preamble which gave the Fuehrer's reasons
and the arguments in favour. Then, after the preamble, I
wrote "The Fuehrer therefore, has decreed."

If the Fuehrer brought out a decree on the proposal of a
non-military agency, then, as a matter of basic principle, I
added, "The Fuehrer on the proposal of this or that civil
authority, has decided ..." In this way the
commanders-in-chief knew what it was all about.

                                                   [Page 29]

Q. Did you draft this decree - number 754 - without
objection or resistance?

A. This decree originated in much the same manner as the
commando decree. One of the Fuehrer's civilian adjutants
advised me that Terboven wished to speak to the Fuehrer. He
had had trouble with the Wehrmacht in Norway because of the
evacuation of the civilian population from Northern Norway.
The civilian adjutant said he wanted to advise me first,
before he established connections with Terboven by
telephone. Thereupon I at once had inquiries made, through
my staff, from the Commander-in-Chief in Finland. I was told
that the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht in Norway had
rejected Terboven's proposals and did not consider them
possible on such a large scale. In the meantime Terboven had
spoken with the Fuehrer. I then remonstrated with the
Fuehrer and told him that, in the first place, the decree
and Terboven's intention were not practicable on such a
scale; and secondly, that there was no necessity for it on
such a scale. I said that it would be better to leave it to
the discretion of General Rendolic to decide what he wanted
or had to destroy for military reasons. The Fuehrer however,
incited by Terboven, insisted on the decree being issued on
the grounds of these arguments, which I had to set down. But
it was certainly not carried out to this extent. This is
shown by the report of the Norwegian Government, and it can
also be seen from personal discussions between myself and my

Q. Now let us turn to something else. When there were drafts
and proposals to be submitted to the Fuehrer, you often
voiced objections and presented arguments. It seems
remarkable that when matters contrary to international law
were contemplated you raised no objections on the grounds of
international law or on moral grounds, but you mostly voiced
objections of a practical nature or based on considerations
of opportunity. Can you tell us briefly why you acted in
this manner?

A. I already told you that when I gave my reasons for the
formulation of the proposal not to renounce the Geneva

Q. Namely?

A. This form had to be chosen in order to meet with any
success with the Fuehrer.

Q. Yes, that is sufficient. Now, you said yesterday

MR. ROBERTS: Your Lordship, I object to this merely in the
interest of time, because it is exactly the same evidence
which was given yesterday, and, in my submission, it is pure


Q. This discussion at Reichenhall was mentioned today.
Please tell us briefly how it came about that you made such
statements in Reichenhall or how such directives as you
described today were decided upon in Reichenhall?

A. I have already testified about the conversation with the

Q. Yes, it was only a question of provisions -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, the defendant has just told us
that he has given evidence about this already.

DR. EXNER: Yes, about the conversation which preceded it but
you did not testify about the actual conversation at

A. No, I have not yet spoken of the actual conversation at

Q. Please be brief.

A. In regard to this conversation at Reichenhall - that is,
the orientation of the three officers of my staff -
Warlimont described something in quite a different way to
me. He is confusing here the earlier events with the later
ones, which is not surprising, because, from the 20th of
July until the time he was arrested, he was ill at home with
severe concussion of the brain and complete loss of memory.
From that date, up to the time he was captured, he was no
longer fit for service. That my description is the right one
may be readily seen from the notes in the

                                                   [Page 30]

war diary of the Naval War Staff. It is stated there that
these divisions would be transferred to the East only, to
prevent Russia from taking the Roumanian oil fields.

DR. EXNER: I should like to correct one point, which, it
seems to me, was presented erroneously by the Soviet
Prosecutor. He said that Goering and Keitel did not consider
the war against Russia to be a preventive war. On Page 135,
Part 9, it is shown that Goering too considered the war to
be a preventive one, and that he only differed in opinion
from the Fuehrer in so far as he would have chosen a
different time for this preventive war. Keitel was
essentially of the same opinion.

Furthermore, the Soviet Prosecutor submitted Document
683-PS. I do not know what exhibit number he gave. I cannot
quite see how this document is to ,be connected with Jodl,
and I have the idea that may be a matter of signature, for
the document is signed "Jodl". But, that is someone quite
different from the defendant Jodl. I just wanted to draw
attention to this point. Perhaps there is simply a mistake
in the names.

Further, the prosecution said that the defendant made a
remark about partisans being hanged upside-down, and so on.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, you have simply made a statement,
which you are not entitled to do, about this document. If
you want to prove it by evidence you should ask the witness
about it. You have told us that this document has nothing to
do with Jodl, and that the signature on it is that of
somebody else. Why did you not ask the witness?

I have been told just now that it has already been proved
that it is not Jodl's document.

DR. EXNER: The translations this morning were bad; I do not
remember having heard that. I do not know if it is
permissible for me now in this connection to read something
from a questionnaire? It is only one question in connection
with this remark about the hanging of prisoners, and so on.
Is that permissible?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, if it arises out of the

DR. EXNER: Yes. The Soviet Prosecutor brought up the
question of whether the defendant made this remark during
the discussions about the prisoners, in connection with the
guerrilla order - that members of guerrilla bands could be
quartered during the fight.

He says:

  "Question: Is it true or not . . .?"

Oh, yes, I must say that is my document, AJ 7, Page 189 of
Volume 2 of my Document Book. It is a questionnaire of
General Buhle, which was taken in America.

Then it says:

  "Question: According to a stenographic transcript, you
  also took part in a report on the military situation on
  the evening of 1st December, 1942, which led to a long
  discussion between the Fuehrer and Jodl as to the
  suppressing of the partisans in the East. Is that
  "Answer: I took part in this discussion but I no longer
  remember the exact date."

THE PRESIDENT: What page did you say, Dr. Exner?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, it is the third page of the third
book, or the third document in the third book.

DR. EXNER: It is Page 189. I have just read Question 4. Now
I come to Question 5:

  "Question: Is it or is it not correct that on this
  occasion Jodl asked the Fuehrer to approve the directive
  which had been drawn up in his office relative to
  partisan warfare?
  "Answer: That is correct.

                                                   [Page 31]

  "Question 6: Is it or is it not correct that in this
  draft the burning of villages was expressly prohibited?
  "Question 7: Is it or is it not correct that the Fuehrer
  wants to have this prohibition rescinded?
  " Answer: Since I never had the draft of the directive in
  my hands, I do not know for certain if the burning of
  villages was expressly prohibited. However, this may be
  assumed, because I remember that the Fuehrer protested
  against individual orders of the directive and demanded
  the burning down of villages.
  "Question 8: Is it or is it not correct that the Fuehrer
  also objected to the draft because he did not want any
  restrictions to be placed on soldiers who were directly
  engaged in combating the partisans? According to the
  minutes Jodl stated in reply:
  "There is no question of that. During the fighting they
  can do whatever they like, they can hang them, hang them
  upside-down or quarter them, it says nothing about that.
  The only limitation applies to reprisals after the
  fighting in those areas in which the partisans were
  active ....'
  "Answer: It is correct that the Fuehrer had fundamental
  objections to these restrictions. Jodl's remark is
  correct as far as its contents are concerned. I can no
  longer recall his exact words.
  "Question 9: Is it or is it not correct that following
  this remark all those present (Fuehrer Keitel, Kranke)
  and you yourself laughed and the Fuehrer abandoned his
  "Answer: It is probable that all of us laughed on account
  of Jodl's remark. Whether after this the Fuehrer really
  abandoned his standpoint I do not know for certain.
  However, it seems probable to me.
  "Question 10: Then how were the expressions 'hang, hang
  upside-down, quarter' interpreted?
  "Answer: The expressions 'hang, hang upside-down,
  quarter' could in this connection only be interpreted as
  being ironical and be understood to mean that in
  accordance with the directive no further restrictions
  were to be placed on the soldiers in combat.
  "Question 11: Could you, perhaps say something about
  Jodl's fundamental attitude towards the obligation of the
  Wehrmacht to observe the provisions of international law
  in wartime?
  "Answer: I do not know Jodl's fundamental attitude. I
  only know that Keitel, who was Jodl's and my own
  immediate superior, always endeavoured to observe the
  provisions of international law.
  "Question 13: Did you ever have the experience yourself
  that Jodl urged the Fuehrer to issue an order which
  violated international law?"

THE PRESIDENT: None of that last part arises out of the


Q. Did you have anything to do with prisoners of war?

A. I had nothing at all to do with prisoners of war. It was
the general Wehrmacht office which dealt with them.

Q. Now, one last question.

It is alleged by the prosecution and during yesterday's
examination it was reaffirmed that there was or had been a
conspiracy between political and military leaders for the
waging of aggressive wars, and that you were a member of
that conspiracy. Can you say anything else about that before
we finish?

A. There was no conspiracy -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Exner, the Tribunal does
not think that that really arises out of the
cross-examination. Anyhow, he has said it already; he said
that he was not a member of a conspiracy. There is no use
repeating his evidence.

                                                   [Page 32]

DR. EXNER: It was again said yesterday that there was a very
close connection with the Party and the members of the
Party, and, of course, that is connected with the
conspiracy. That is why I should have thought the question

THE PRESIDENT: He has said already that he was not a member
of the conspiracy.

DR. EXNER: In that case, I have no further questions.

DR. LATERNSER: (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I merely wish to join in the objection which
Dr. Nelte has raised against the written statement of
Lieutenant-General Oesterreich. I refer to the reasons which
he has given. That is all.

BY THE TRIBUNAL (Justice Biddle):

Q. Defendant Jodl, you spoke, I think it was the day before
yesterday, about the number of SS divisions at the end of
the war. Do you remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. I think you said there were thirty-five at the end of the
war: Is that right about thirty-five?

A. If I remember rightly, I said between thirty-five and

Q. Right. Now, what I want to be clear about is this. You
were referring only to Waffen SS divisions, were you not?
Only the Waffen SS?

A. Yes, only the Waffen SS .... It is true they were -

Q. Were they completely co-ordinated into the Army and under
the command of the army?

A. For tactical operations they came under the army
commanders, but not for discipline. As regards the latter
their superior was, and remained, Himmler, even when they
were fighting.

Q. Was discipline the only thing that brought them under
Himmler's jurisdiction?

A. He was also looked upon as their commander-in-chief for
all practical purposes. This can be seen from the fact that
the condition of the divisions, their equipment, and their
losses, were frequently or almost exclusively reported to
the Fuehrer by Himmler himself.

Q. When were they co-ordinated into the Army? When? What

A. They were co-ordinated into the Army at the beginning of
the war, at the moment when the Polish campaign began.

Q. Now, only one other question, about Russia, I want to see
if I understood your point of view clearly. You feared an
invasion of Germany by Russia; is that right?

A. I expected at a certain moment, either political
blackmail on the strength of the large concentration of
troops, or an attack.

Q. Now, please, defendant, I asked you if you did not fear
an attack by Russia. You did at one time, did you not?

A. Yes, I was afraid of that.

Q. All right. When was that? When?

A. It began through -

Q. (interposing). When did you fear it? When did you first
fear that attack?

A. I had that fear for the first time during the summer of
1940, it arose from the first talks with the Fuehrer at the
Berghof on the 29th of July.

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