The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/12

                                                  [Page 252]

Q. Witness, please speak a little more slowly and clearly. I
cannot understand you even in German.

A. I was approached by Mr. van der Vlugt, who was the
director of an interdenominational group, which aimed at
supplying the population with special foodstuffs. I knew him
for that reason. He told me that he was acting on behalf of
the Dutch Government in London. He asked me whether the
Reich Commissioner would be ready to negotiate with him,
briefly on three questions:

  1. A more extensive food supply for the Netherlands
  people through the Allies.
  2. The stopping of floodings.
  3. The cessation of the fight against the resistance

I immediately got in touch with the Reich Commissioner and
he immediately declared himself ready to enter into
discussions. Then, two days after that, we dealt with Mr.
van der Vlugt and another representative -

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, the yellow light means that you are
going too fast, you see. So, when you see the yellow light,
go a little more slowly.

THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: You were telling us what Seyss-Inquart did.

A. Yes. Seyss-Inquart declared himself ready to negotiate
about these questions immediately. A discussion then took
place between us and Mr. van der Vlugt and another
representative of the Dutch Government in London.

That was Jonkheer Six. This discussion took place among the
four of us.

On this occasion we agreed, first of all, about one point:
to the effect that any combating of the resistance movement
was definitely to be stopped immediately, and the resistance
group on its part undertook to dispense with sabotage.

Secondly, the Reich Commissioner declared himself ready to
give his permission to a generous food supply for the
population on the part of the Allies and to stop the
floodings. However, there were to be more detailed
negotiations in this respect.

The result of this discussion was communicated to London and
I brought two Dutchmen through one part of the front line as
truce officers. Then, after various negotiations had been
going on for some time, we received an inquiry from London
as to whether the Reich Commissioner was ready to negotiate
with the Commander-in-Chief, General Eisenhower, and deal
with him about these questions. The immediate answer was
"yes." Thereupon, first of all, I crossed the front line on
the 28th of April at Amersfoort, and there I briefly
negotiated with General Sir Francis Gengard, who was the
Chief of the General Staff of Field Marshal Montgomery, and

THE PRESIDENT: You do not need any more detail about it, do

A. ... and in this discussion with Sir Francis Gengard we
agreed that another discussion was to take place two days
later between -


Q. Witness, we are not really concerned with the details. It
a are concerned with the results of this conversation, and
how it worked out in the interests of the Dutch population.

A. Yes. This discussion took place on the 30th of April,
between the Reich Commissioner and the Chief of the General
Staff of General Eisenhower, who was General Bedell-Smith.
In this discussion the Reich Commissioner agreed completely
to the wishes of General Bedell-Smith, that there should be
a very generous food supply for the Dutch population.

THE PRESIDENT: If he said he agreed with the demands of
General Bedell-Smith, surely that is all you want, is it


Q. Yes, that is quite sufficient. Through these negotiations
- I would like to ask you - the war was ended two months
earlier, was it not?

                                                  [Page 253]

A. One cannot say that exactly. The situation was as
follows. For the Dutch population, of course, the war ended,
practically speaking, on that day, because the supply that
could be carried by air and by sea to Rotterdam was so
generous. In order to make these transports possible, an
armistice had to be arranged from place to place, so that in
actual fact though not formally we had a general armistice,
and the population at that time immediately benefited by it.

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have no further questions
to ask this witness.

THE WITNESS: May I just make a few remarks, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: I think not. If counsel has finished
examining you, we do not want any more remarks.

Do any other counsel wish to ask questions?

(No response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any cross-examination?



Q. Witness, you spoke a short while ago of the negotiations
which you undertook with delegates of the London government.
Are you aware of the fact that these delegates, before
undertaking the negotiations with the Reich Commissioner in
April, 1945, laid down as a condition that no more people
would be shot because of attacks against any German civil or
military authority unless a court sentence had first been

A. Yes.

Q. As a further question, did those delegates not request
the Reich Commissioner whether the SS would conform to the
conditions of an agreement which would put an end to

A. That also took place. After that time nothing was
undertaken against the resistance movement. Nothing further
was undertaken against the resistance movement from that

Q. Very good. Is it correct to say that the Reich
Commissioner replied that, in his capacity as
Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS, he was in a position to impose
upon the SS that they would observe the conditions of this
agreement, and that he could answer for it?

A. An agreement in its true sense? All these conversations
were gentlemen's agreements -

Q. Wait a minute. No, I am asking you whether the Reich
Commissioner made that reply to the negotiators, that is the
delegates of the London government?

A. He said he was Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS as well, and
in that capacity he was able to see to it that the SS would
comply with this agreement.

Q. Thank you. The last question is this: Did you know Kiehl?
He was an official in the Reich Commissariat.

A. Kiehl? Yes, I knew him.

Q. Did he not give instructions to flood the Polder
Vieringermeer in April, 1945?

A. Kiehl, to my knowledge, did not give any instructions -
he could not do so. Herr Kiehl was an expert on water works.
But orders for the flooding could be given only by the
highest military authority, and that was General Blaskowitz.

DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):
Mr. President, I object to this manner of questioning the
witness. The prosecution is again questioning this witness
in order to charge the General Staff and the OKW. In the
objection I mentioned previously I said that if I may not
question the witnesses with a view to exoneration, the same
must apply to the prosecution with regard to incriminating
questions. I ask that the last statement be stricken from
the record.

                                                  [Page 254]

M. DEBENEST: I beg your pardon?


M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I merely wanted to say that if I
ask this question it is based on the information that was
given to me. There is no question of the army, but of
instructions that were given by a civil servant of the Reich
Commissioner, and therefore originating from the Reich
Commissariat. Therefore, I do not understand the objection
by the defence counsel. There is no question of the army,
and I am completely ignorant as to whether the witness is
going to tell me whether the army was responsible or an
officer of the Reich Commissioner when I was talking of an
official of the Reich Commissioner.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You may ask the question.


Q. Will you proceed?

A. Kiehl was the hydrostatic expert for the Reich
Commissioner; but at the same time he was a hydrostatic
expert under the Wehrmacht Commander-in-Chief. He was
consulted by both authorities as an expert only. He had no
right to give any instructions from either side -

Q. Please do not make any speeches; answer directly. Yes or
no, did Kiehl transmit the order to flood the Vieringermeer?

A. But I must say how it was! Kiehl? No. He could not have
done that.

Q. I am not asking you whether he gave the order; I am
asking whether he merely transmitted this order.

A. I know absolutely nothing about that. I do not know how
far Kiehl was involved in this order.

Q. That is sufficient.

What was the interest at that time in flooding the
Vieringermeer? Did not people think that the war was over?

A. No. When the Vieringermeer, the Polder Vieringermeer, was
flooded the war had not yet ended, and these agreements had
not been concluded either. When the Polder Vieringermeer was
flooded - and I found this out later from military men -
there was the danger that a landing of airborne troops on
the terrain of the Polder Vieringermeer would take place,
which might bring the dyke giving access to Friesland and
North Holland into the hands of the enemy. That was the
reason why the military authorities considered this flooding
necessary. That is what I was told.

Q. But at that moment in Holland was not the war considered
as being lost for Germany?

A. No. At that time it was not considered lost. At any rate
our army had, at that time, the order to defend us, which it
had to carry out. There was the danger that this landing
would take place.

M. DEBENEST: I have finished, Mr. President.


BY DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. I would not have had to put another question to you if
the French Prosecutor had not broached a certain subject.
What did General Smith tell you about the flooding of the

A. General Smith said towards the end of the negotiations
that any flooding that had been undertaken up to that time
could be justified on the basis of military necessity. But
no more was to be undertaken from that moment.

Q. Was any undertaken after that?

A. No, none was undertaken after that.

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have no further questions
to ask this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

                                                  [Page 255]

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, with this I have concluded my
examination of witnesses. Now I should like to refer to
those documents contained in my Document Books and which I
have submitted to the Tribunal. I was notified that Document
Book No. 3 has been submitted to the Tribunal, and to
conclude my case, I should like to submit another document,
as No. 91, concerning the apostolic letter of the Catholic
bishops, on the plebiscite in Austria. In this statement,
reference is made to the attitude of Gauleiter Burckel. We
can gather from it that the persecution of the churches
cannot be charged to Seyss-Inquart, but rather the
responsibility is to be placed on Burckel. In order to save
time, I should like to ask that the Tribunal take judicial
notice of this document without my reading it, and I
conclude herewith my presentation of evidence on the case of

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, have you offered all the
documents that you want to offer in your books? Have you
offered them as evidence?

DR. STEINBAUER: I did not understand the question.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you offered all the documents that you
want to offer as evidence and given them exhibit numbers?

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. Only a few affidavits
are missing, affidavits which were admitted by the High
Tribunal: Voelkers's, Bolle's and Rauter's. I hope that we
shall have them within a short time.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you see you must offer each of these
documents as evidence; you must say so. Merely putting diem
in the book does not offer them as evidence and, therefore,
you must offer these things to us as evidence, if you wish
to do so, giving them the numbers. You can offer them all
together, saying you offer -

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to offer your documents Nos. 1 to
- I do not know what the last number is. 105 seems to be the
last one.

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. I ask that the numbers
in my Document Book be included up to 107.

THE PRESIDENT: Are the - Dr. Steinbauer, are the numbers
given in the books the exhibit numbers which you wish to
give to the documents?

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. They are in numerical
order and they are found in that order in my Document Book.

THE PRESIDENT: You wish, then, to offer Nos. 1 to - whatever
the last number is - as evidence. Is that right?

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: You offered some in the course of your
presentation of the witnesses.

DR. STEINBAUER: Some of them I submitted and quoted
according to the numbers given in my Document Book.

THE PRESIDENT: You now wish, then, to offer the remainder?

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, the remainder as well.

THE PRESIDENT: Under the numbers which they bear in your
Document Book?


THE PRESIDENT: And you are offering all the originals under
these numbers?

DR. STEINBAUER: In so far as they are in my possession and I
can say upon oath that the extracts coincide with the books.

                                                  [Page 256]

THE PRESIDENT: You have certified that they are true copies
of the originals in accordance with the Tribunal's rules?



DR. FRITZ (Counsel for the defendant Fritzsche):

Mr. President, I ask the permission of the High Tribunal
that the defendant Fritzsche be absent Monday and Tuesday of
next week. He requires this time for the preparation of his


DR. FLAESCHSNER (Counsel for the defendant Speer):

Mr. President, I wanted to put the same request on behalf of
my client as he will be in the witness box immediately after
von Papen, who is the next, and I ask that he have
permission to be absent Monday or Tuesday.


DR. LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and the OKW):

Mr. President, I shall only take a little of the Tribunal's
time, but I must make a motion which is particularly
important to me, a motion which concerns procedure, and I
should like to give the reasons for my motion.

I move that the Tribunal, first of all, rescind the
resolution given on the 8th of June, 1946, and secondly -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, if your motion is an important
motion it should be in writing. If it is not in writing it
must be put in writing. You know perfectly well that is the
rule of the Tribunal.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, it is very important to me
that this motion should appear in the record. May I

THE PRESIDENT: But, Dr. Laternser, it will appear in the
record if you make the motion in writing. You have been here
for many months and you know perfectly well what the rule of
the Tribunal is, that motions be made in writing.

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