The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/16

Q. Can you still remember the suggestions that were made
regarding that transport and who made them?

A. No. I believe at that time the Fuehrer only said in
general terms that these imprisoned officers could not
receive better treatment than our own people. It was just at
the time of the evacuation of Silesia; our traffic situation
did not permit the transport of even our own people by means
of railway trains or in large columns, and the population
had to tramp along the roads even in winter. I think I
remember that at the time the Fuehrer said: "If these
officers wish to be taken along on a transport, they will
have to march just like the German civilian population."

DR. STAHMER: May I, Mr. President, in connection with this
statement, refer to an error in the record. During the
cross-examination of the defendant Goering on 20th March,
1946, Document PS-3786, Exhibit USA 787, was presented. In
the German record, after a discussion of how they should be
transported, there is a statement that the Fuehrer said:
"They will have to go even if they march in 'dreck'
(filth)." The actual text is: "They will have to go even if
they trek (Treck) on foot." That is quite a different thing.
I do not know how the word is translated in the English
text; but that, of course, would give it a very different
and entirely wrong meaning. As the witness has just said,
the Fuehrer said, "They have got to go even if they have to
trek on foot."

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Now, the Tribunal thinks that the best
way to deal with these questions of translation is to take
it up with the General Secretary and get it submitted to the
Translation Division.

DR. STAHMER: I merely wanted to establish the fact.


Q. A remark is supposed to have been made in the course of
that conference, during the discussion on transport: "Take
off their boots and trousers so that they cannot walk in the

Do you remember who made that remark?

A. No, I cannot remember.

Q. You do not remember any such remark, or by whom it was

A. It is perfectly possible that Fegelein made such a
suggestion in some connection or other; I do not know.

Q. According to the record, Reichsmarschall Goering is
supposed to have made such a remark.

A. I think that is quite out of the question. In this
connection may I just mention that it was extremely
difficult to take notes of the proceedings. Four to six
people frequently spoke at once during these conferences -
and much more rapidly than usual. The stenographers could
only take down what they heard. They could neither look up
nor make certain who actually made such and such a remark at
such and such a moment. There was a table round which there

                                                   [Page 54]

often some thirty people standing; and that even interfered
with the work of the stenographers.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, at this point of the trial I feel obliged to
make a statement. I wanted to ask this witness some
important questions; but I am not in a position to do so
because of the decision announced by the Tribunal today. I
state that through that decision I -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Laternser, you will have
full opportunity to put the questions to the witness before
the Commission.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, may I please complete my

I have explained that as a result of the decision announced
today, I am not in a position to put my questions, and that
I must submit to that decision. I wish to state, however,
that I consider this decision -

THE PRESIDENT: But it is inaccurate to say you are not in a
position to put your questions. You are not able to put your
questions now to the witness, but it is not true to say that
you are not in a position to put your questions without
further qualification. You are in a position to put your
questions to the witness before the Commission.

DR. LATERNSER: Nevertheless, Mr. President, I feel there is
an impediment for the defence, constituted by the fact that
the defence of the organizations is thus not in a position
to present its evidence directly.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has announced its decision.

DR. LATERNSER: I only regret, Mr. President, that that
decision was announced without the defence having first been

DR. LOFFLER (counsel for the SA): I should like to add in
connection with the statements of my colleague Laternser
that I must emphasize them because -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): On what point, Dr. Loffler?

DR. LOFFLER: On the point that the witnesses called today
cannot be questioned by defence counsel for the
organizations, as has been the custom until now, and that is
in so far a disadvantage to the defence because for all
practical purposes we lose these witnesses altogether.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Loffler you and Dr. Laternser seem not to
have read Article 9 of the Charter, which provides that the
Tribunal may direct in what manner the applicants shall be
represented and heard. That is with reference to the
organizations. The Tribunal, after very great trouble, has
brought to Nuremberg a very large number of witnesses and
has set up commissions for the purpose of examining those
witnesses, and they are going to hear some witnesses from
among those witnesses at a future date in this court.

The Tribunal has given the matter full consideration and it
does not desire to hear any further arguments from you or
from any other of the counsel for the organizations.

DR. LOFFLER: Mr. President, we appreciate the Tribunal's
grounds but we feel obliged to point out from the point of
view of the defence that these reasons are justified in
theory, but entail in practice the loss of witnesses.

I ask permission, therefore, to give you a very brief
explanation so that the Tribunal will understand why we lose
those witnesses. You, Mr. President, have said that they can
be heard before the Commission. These witnesses cannot be
heard before the Commission because the number -

                                                   [Page 55]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Loffler, the Tribunal, as I have told
you, have already considered this matter, and it may be that
they will consider it further, but they do not desire to
hear any further argument about it. It is a matter entirely
within their discretion, and they have been at very great
pains to provide that the applicants who wish to be heard in
respect to these organizations shall be fully and thoroughly

The Tribunal will not hear you further at this stage.

DR. LOFFLER: May I give one explanation -

THE PRESIDENT: Did you hear what I said? I said the Tribunal
will not hear you further at this stage.

DR. LOFFLER: Very well.


MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I have only a few questions.


Q. Your memory of that conference does not seem to be
entirely clear.

A. May I ask which conference?

Q. Will you repeat this, I did not have my earphones on.

A. May I ask which conference?

Q. The conference that you last mentioned, with regard to
the evacuation of the prisoners of Sagan.

A. I am not aware that it was incorrect in any point.

Q. Well, but you say that you do not remember any mention
being made of the prisoners having to walk through the snow
without their boots on.

A. Yes, that is what I said.

Q. And you know that it is - I cannot find the actual place;
I had no idea this exhibit was going to be referred to - but
you know that that is in the actual stenographer's notes, do
you not?

A. So it was said.

Q. Yes. And you would agree with me that the stenographer
could hardly put that remark down unless it was said?

A. Yes.

Q. But you did not hear the remark; therefore you do not
know who said it?

A. Yes.

Q. That is all I ask on that.

I just ask on one other matter: In April of 1945 did
Fegelein attain the status of becoming Hitler's
brother-in-law, when Hitler got married?

A. Yes.

Q. And two days afterwards, was Fegelein shot on the orders
of his new found brother-in-law?

A. Yes.

MR. ROBERTS: That is all.

DR. JAHRREISS: I have no further question to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

DR. JAHRREISS: With the permission of the Tribunal, I now
call the witness, Professor Dr. Schramm.

PERCY ERNST SCHRAMM, a witness, took the stand and testified
as follows


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Percy Ernst Schramm.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

                                                   [Page 56]



Q. Witness, were you in the Wehrmacht Operations Staff
during the war?

A. Yes. From March 1943 onwards, I was a member of the
Wehrmacht Operational Staff.

Q. Until the end?

A. Until the end; that is to say, the beginning of May 1945.

Q. What was your position?

A. During my entire time in the Wehrmacht Operational Staff
I kept the war diary of that Staff.

Q. Was there a special reason why you received that task?

A. My appointment to the Wehrmacht Operational Staff was due
to the fact that I am in civilian life Professor of History
at the University of Gottingen. At that time an expert was
sought whose name would constitute a guarantee for expert
work. General Jodl appointed me to the position at the
suggestion of the Deputy Chief.

Q. If you were to write a war diary in the way a historian
would wish to do, you would require an insight into all the
events connected with that staff, would you not?

A. Yes. I did not attend the Fuehrer's situation conferences
or the internal conferences; but I did participate every day
in the situation conferences of the Wehrmacht Operational
Staff, and every important document passed through my office
during those two years.

Q. Witness, considering that you had perhaps more insight
into the activities of the Wehrmacht Operational Staff than
anyone else, I should like you to tell us here what you know
of the range of General Jodl's activities.

A. It is impossible to over-estimate the range of the
General's activities. As proof of this, I may say that in
1944 alone, according to information which I received from
the competent officer, 60,000 teleprint messages went
through the teleprint department of the Wehrmacht
Operational Staff. There was also a large courier
correspondence, which, of course, was even larger. Then
there was internal correspondence between individual
departments. The bulk of that correspondence appeared on the
General's desk at some time or other. To look at it from
another angle, the General was responsible for four theatres
of war: North Finland and Norway, West Holland, Belgium,
France; then the Southwest, in the first place Africa and
Italy, and then the South-east.

Q. Please speak more slowly.

A. It was the General's task not only to have up-to-date
information based on incoming reports, but also to act as
operational adviser to the Fuehrer.

Q. Did I understand you correctly as saying that the four
theatres you have just mentioned were the so-called OKW main
theatres of war?

A. Precisely. The East was under the General Staff of the
Army and the General was concerned only in so far as the
main difficulty always lay in co-ordinating the interests of
the other theatres of war with those of the Eastern Front.

Q. Did I understand you correctly as mentioning 60,000
teleprint messages in a year?

A. Yes, 60,000; I remember the exact figure. I also remember
it exactly because my clerk calculated that 120 volumes of
files passed through the War Diary office, and that they
were so (indicating) thick.

Q. Perhaps you may be able to help us with a question which
has been repeatedly touched upon here but to which no
precise answer has ever been given. Do you know anything
about an order from Hitler saying that generals must not

A. Yes; I remember that very exactly from an order which
appeared in the middle of 1944, repeating and stressing an
order issued before my time -

                                                   [Page 57]

that must have been during 1940 or 1941. That order was
about one and a half typewritten pages in length and most
forcefully worded. Its contents are still clear in my mind
because I discussed it afterwards with several of my
comrades. The order stated that every commanding officer -
and the departments under him correspondingly - was entitled
to raise any objections he might have to the measures of the
Supreme Command, but that he would then have to obey
unconditionally the order given him by higher quarters; that
is to say, he would have to do something which meant acting
contrary to his intentions. It added that it was impossible
for an Army Commander to resign in consequence of this. The
reason stated was that NCO's in the trenches could not tell
their company commanders that they wanted to resign when
they were not in agreement with his orders.

I repeat, it was so emphatically worded, that we talked
about it a great deal. From that time on, the Army
Commanders had even less chance of evading an order from the
Supreme Command.

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