The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/05/16

Q. Do you know the details about Karkov?

A. I know about Karkov for certain, because something
happened there which caused us to adopt certain security
measures. In the battles along the west border of Karkov,
which were rather long and serious, a divisional staff - I
cannot remember the number of its members - was killed by a
delayed-action explosion of this kind. This caused orders to
be issued for the carrying out of special security searches
in all buildings which had to be used for accommodation of
staffs and other authorities from that time on.

Q. Did you, witness, actually handle a Russian map or see
one which indicated plans for such blowing-up operations?

A. No, I cannot remember seeing such a map.

Q. Now another point. You said a few moments ago that Field
Marshal von Rundstedt was your commanding officer. Who was
your chief?

A. Infantry General von Sodenstern.

Q. Now, another subject. If I remember correctly, Field
Marshal von Rundstedt retired at that time or was dismissed,
is that right?

A. When the attack on Rostov failed in November 1941, and
permission to withdraw his leading units had been refused by
the OKH, Field Marshal von Rundstedt sent a report to the
OKH in which he said that if the necessary confidence was
not felt in his leadership, he must ask the Fuehrer to
nominate a new commander for that Army group. I have a
painfully accurate recollection of this incident because I
myself drafted the telegram and the Field Marshal made that
addition with his own hand.

The telegram was dispatched in the evening and Hitler's
answer, relieving him of his post, arrived in the course of
the same night.

Q. So that his application was granted?

A. The application was granted; but perhaps I may tell you
that there were repercussions later. A few days afterwards
Hitler himself flew to Mariupol in order to obtain
information about the actual situation on the spot. On his
homeward flight, he visited Field Marshal von Rundstedt's
Poltava H.Q. and had a verbal discussion with him. In the
course of this discussion, Hitler - I cannot tell you for
certain whether I witnessed this scene myself or whether the
Chief Adjutant Oberst Schmundt told me about it immediately
afterwards - I repeat, there was a personal discussion in
the course of which Hitler severely reprimanded the Field
Marshal for putting forward that alternative, and said to

  "In future I do not intend to tolerate any such
  applications to resign. When I have once made a decision,
  the responsibility is transferred to me. I myself am not
  in a position to go to my superior officer - for
  instance, God Almighty - and to say to him: 'I am not
  going on with it because I do not want to take the

We considered at the time that that scene was of basic
importance, and I may add that, to judge from the orders
given later on that point, our impression was correct.

O. Do you know, witness; whether Hitler at some later date
altered his decision as to any future applications to

                                                   [Page 62]

A. No, he certainly did not alter his decision, because, as
I know definitely, there were two occasions on which orders
to that effect were issued, forbidding applications to
resign on the part of Commanders-in-Chief or officers in
leading positions on grounds of unwillingness to assume

Q. I now come to another point. If I am properly informed,
you were in the Operations Staff during the later stages of
the war, were you not?

A. On 15th November, 1944, I was called to succeed General
Warlimont, who had fallen ill; and I took over his functions
on 15th November, 1944. My appointment was dated from 1st
December, 1944.

Q. Witness, did you regularly attend the situation
conferences with the Fuehrer?

A. Yes, I was there on an average of five days out of seven
during the week.

Q. There has been a great deal of discussion in this
courtroom about these situation conferences, and a great
many events took place at them which are of importance for
this trial; but up to now, no graphic picture has yet been
presented to us of what the "situation conferences" really
were. Can you explain the procedure of one of these
conferences with reference to its length and the number of
people present?

A. They were a permanent part of the afternoon's programme
and were attended by a fairly large number of people. There
was also a second conference at 2.00 o'clock in the morning,
in which reports were made only by the junior General Staff,
officers of the OKH and the Eastern front and the
Operational Staff for the Western front.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. President, I have a submission again in the
interest of time; the defendant Jodl gave evidence as to
these conferences and no one put one word of
cross-examination to suggest that his evidence was not
accepted. Therefore, I would like to submit that this is
pure repetition on a point which is not disputed.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not wish to hear anything
of a general or detailed nature about these conferences
unless there is something in particular that you want to
prove about them.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, so as to clarify matters, may
I ask at this time whether the objection raised by Mr.
Roberts means that in this case the rule applies that
something which has not been challenged in cross-examination
can be considered proved? I am not sure whether I have made
myself understood. The objection from the prosecutor
apparently is based on the supposition that something has
been heard -

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you need lay down any hard and
fast rules, but General Jodl gave general evidence about the
nature of these "situation conferences" and he was not
cross-examined on it. It does not seem at all necessary to
go into the general nature of these conferences with any
other witness.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you.


Q. Witness, it is possible in military life for an officer
to receive an order with which he does not agree, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. In that case, is it possible for him to put his
dissenting opinion on record?

A. In the German Army, if I remember rightly, such a
possibility existed from the time of Moltke. An order from
Hitler which came out in '38 - I think, in the winter of
'38-'39 - removed such a possibility once and for all. An
order was issued at the time prohibiting chiefs of general
staffs and command authorities from putting their dissenting
opinions on record.

Q. In order to avoid creating difficulties for the
interpretation, will you please explain the word

                                                   [Page 63]

A. According to that it was not possible to include in the
official files, or the War Diary of events kept by command
staffs, a note to the effect that the Chief was not in
agreement with the decision or order of his superior.

Q. It was cancelled?

A. These possibilities used to exist, but after 1938 were
done away with.

Q. Thank you, General. I am now going to have a document
shown to you. D-606, a document which the prosecution
submitted during cross-examination also three days ago. I am
afraid I do not know the exhibit number. Perhaps it is -

MR. ROBERTS: Well, that's the number 3606. It is Exhibit GB
292, my Lord. I put it in separately in cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Dr. Jahrreiss.


Q. Witness, do you know this document?

A. I am acquainted with the document. It has my file
reference number on it.

Q. Did you write it yourself?

A. No, General Jodl wrote it personally, but 1 can see a
Blank space under Figure 11. I do not know whether it is
complete. The document consists of a preliminary draft,
which is not contained here; but now I have looked at it, I
can see that it is dealt with in the file copy from my
Quartermaster's Department. The third copy must have been
attached to the same records.

Immediately after the attacks on Dresden, when Hitler had
raised the question of renouncing the Geneva Convention,
this preliminary draft was drawn up at my headquarters upon
the responsibility of General Jodl, and the order stated
that all aspects should be worked out which would prevent
the Fuehrer from deciding to renounce the Geneva Convention.
This document was carefully worked out from the point of
view of International Law and from the point of view of the
psychological effect on the enemy troops as well as on our
own. I myself attended to that. The following day, my chief,
General Jodl, saw me. He had this document, the details of
which I have not checked now, and he told me that he was
completely in agreement with this negative attitude but that
he had felt obliged to work the draft out more in detail and
bring it into line with the information he had from the
Navy, and also put it in a shape that would guarantee its
success with Hitler in all circumstances, for his idea must
not be allowed to be put into practice.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you, Mr. President. I have no further

THE PRESIDENT: Any other defendant's counsel want to ask

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, may I ask whether the prohibition regarding
interrogation applies to this witness who, I wish to point
out, is a member of the indicted group of the General Staff
and of the High Command?

THE PRESIDENT: I do not know whether he is or not, but it
does not matter whether he is or not. You can question him
before the Commission. I mean, you can call him yourself
before the Commission.

DR. LATERNSER: I merely wanted to clarify the matter by
means of this question.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. Dr. Laternser, if there is any
witness who is not residing in Nuremberg, you can have him
kept for the purpose of having him examined before the
Commission if you want to do so.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I only want to ask one question.



Q. You have told us that Germany attacked the Soviet Union
in breach of their non-aggression pact because Germany
feared an attack from the Soviet Union.

                                                   [Page 64]

A. May I be more precise by saying that we, as General Staff
officers in the High Command of an Army Group that was
deployed in the Ukraine, were given that reason by our
commanding officer.

Q. Very good. We know now from the evidence in this Court
that Hitler decided in July, 1940, to attack the Soviet
Union; that on 18th December of that year Hitler stated that
the Wehrmacht must be prepared to overthrow Soviet Russia in
a single rapid campaign. We know that the attack was not
until 22nd June, 1941. It does not look as though the
leaders of Germany were very much frightened, does it, of
Russia, or, rather, of the Soviet Union breaking the non-
aggression pact?

(No response.)


Q. Witness, you had to take retaliation measures in the
Ukraine, did you not?

A. We did not undertake any reprisals, as far as the troops
were concerned in the operational zone of the Ukraine; at
least, I have no recollection now of any such instances.

Q. What measures did you take against the resistance of the

A. During the entire campaign in which Army Group South was
involved, there was no resistance by the population in the
operational zone in the Ukraine. Only in rear areas were
there fights at that time with straggling Russian troop
units. A resistance on the part of the population did not
occur, as far as I know, until later, when the operational
zone had already been limited in the rear and then there was
resistance against political Reich commissioners.

Q. Very well. You were not there at that time?

A. The command to which I belonged was withdrawn from the
front at the end of January or in the early days of
February, 1943. The rear area lines were at the Dnieper at
that time.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. EXNER: Mr. President, in conclusion I have only two
interrogatories to submit to the Tribunal and I want to read
a few lines from one of them, something which was forgotten.

To begin with, the Interrogatory AJ-8, an interrogatory of
Weiszacker, which I herewith submit and beg the Tribunal to
take judicial notice of its contents. And then there is
AJ-6, an interrogatory of Brudemueller, with reference to
which I wish to make a similar request. Then, from the last
to be submitted, AJ-12, General Greiffenberg's statement, I
should like to quote the important parts. It is a question
of the attack against Yugoslavia and the question of
whether, after the Simovitsch Putsch, Yugoslavia had already
taken up a position against us. This is in the third volume
of my Document Book, Page 211. The Simovitsch Putsch was
over, and the question was whether there was an immediate
threat from Yugoslavia at the time.

  "Question: Is it a fact that Yugoslavia, immediately
  after the coup d'etat of the army, started to deploy her
  armies on all her borders?
  Answer: I know only the front which was opposite the
  German 12th Army, located at the Bulgarian border. Here
  the Yugoslavs had deployed their armies at the border.
  Question: Is it a fact that the army List of which you
  were the commander at the time, had the order, before the
  coup d'etat in Yugoslavia, to respect strictly the
  neutrality of Yugoslavia during the pending attacks on
  Greece and that not even supply trains should be
  despatched through Yugoslavian territory?
  Answer: I can testify that the strictest orders had been
  given to respect Yugoslavia's neutrality.
  Question: Did you hear of any violations of these orders?
  Answer: No."

                                                   [Page 65]

Gentlemen of the Tribunal, a number of interrogatories have
not yet come in. Whether we are going to get them or not, I
do not know. At any rate, I shall have to reserve to myself
the right to submit them later. Apart from that, I have
completed my case.

THE PRESIDENT: On Monday the Tribunal will hear the case of
the defendant Seyss-Inquart, will it not?

Very well, the Tribunal may adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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