The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
November 20 to December 1, 1945

Ninth Day: Friday, 30th November, 1945
(Part 1 of 9)

[Page 267]

THE PRESIDENT: I call on the prosecutor for the United States.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Colonel Amen will represent the United States this morning.

COLONEL JOHN H. AMEN: May it please the Tribunal, I propose to call as the first witness for the prosecution, Major- General Erwin Lahousen.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal wish me to state that the evidence of the witness, whom you propose to call, must be strictly confined to the Count with which the United States are dealing, Count One.

COLONEL AMEN: May I have a moment to discuss that with the Chief Counsel of the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. OTTO NELTE: Mr. President, so far as I know the prosecution -

THE PRESIDENT: Could you state for whom you appear? Do you appear for the defendant, Keitel?


As far as I know, an agreement was reached between the prosecution and the defence, to the effect that whenever possible, questions to be discussed on the following day should be communicated beforehand. The obvious purpose of this understanding, which seems reasonable to me, was to give the defence counsel the possibility to discuss forthcoming questions with their clients, and thus expedite the rapid and smooth progress of the trial.

I did not hear that the witness, Lahousen, was to be summoned by the prosecution today, nor did I hear on what questions he was to be heard.

This was particularly important, because today, I believe, we were not to deal with questions, nor was the witness, Lahousen, to be heard on questions connected with the address delivered by the prosecution during the preceding days.

THE PRESIDENT: That is the contrary of what I said. What I said was that the witness was to be confined to evidence relating to Count One, which is the count that has been solely discussed up to the present date.

DR. NELTE: Does the President wish to say that in order to make it possible for the defence to subject the witness to cross-examination, they will be given the possibility, after interrogation by the prosecution, to speak with the defendant during a recess, so that they will know what questions to ask? The witness, Lahousen, as far as I recall, has not been mentioned in the address of the prosecution.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that all you have to say?


THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal would like to hear counsel for the United States upon the agreement which counsel for the defendant, Keitel, alleges, namely, an agreement to the effect that what was to be discussed on the following day should be communicated to the defendants' counsel beforehand.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I know of no agreement to inform defendants' counsel of any witness, nor of his testimony; nor would I want to make such. There are security reasons involved in disclosing to defence counsel the names of witnesses, which I don't need to enlarge.

I am quite sure we did advise them that they would be given information as to the documentary matters, and I think that has been adhered to.

[Page 268]

As to witnesses, however, a matter of policy arises. These witnesses are not always prisoners. They have to be treated in somewhat different fashion to prisoners; and the protection of their security is a very important consideration, when we are trying this case in the very hotbed of the Nazi Organisation with which some of defence counsel were identified.

THE PRESIDENT: I think, Mr. Justice Jackson, that that is sufficient. If you tell the Tribunal that there was no such agreement, the Tribunal will, of course, accept that.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I know of nothing of that character, relating to witnesses, that does apply.

We find it very difficult to know just the meaning of the ruling which the Court has just announced. Count One of the Indictment is a conspiracy count, covering the entire substantive part of the Indictment. There are problems, of course, of overlapping, which I had supposed to have been worked out between the prosecutors until this morning. It is impossible, in trying a conspiracy case, to keep from mentioning the fact that the act, which was the object of the conspiracy, was performed. In fact, that is a part of the evidence of the conspiracy.

I know I do not need to enlarge upon the wide scope of evidence in a conspiracy case. I think, perhaps, the best thing to do is to swear the witness, and that the other prosecutors, if they feel their field is being trespassed upon, or the judges, if they feel that we are overlapping, raise the objection specifically; because I don't know how we can separate, particularly on a moment's notice, Count One from the other counts.

We have tried our best to work out an arrangement that would be fair, as between ourselves and the other prosecutors, but we find it impossible always to please everybody.

With the greatest deference to the ruling of the Court, I would like to suggest that we proceed. I don't know just what the bounds of the ruling might be, but I think the only way we can find out is to proceed, and have specific objections to the specific things, which anyone feels have been transgressed; and in doing that, I want to say that we do it with the greatest respect to the ruling, but that we may find ourselves in conflict with it, because of the difficulty of any boundary on the subject.

THE PRESIDENT: Doctor Stahmer?

DR. STAHMER (counsel for defendant Goering): Mr. President, I must return to the matter, raised by Doctor Nelte, namely, his assertion that before the beginning of the trial the defence and the prosecution reached an agreement to the effect that the next day's programme should always be made known to the defence on the day before. Such an agreement has actually been reached, and I cannot understand that the prosecution should not have been informed of it. In a conference we considered this possibility, and were given assurances by Doctor Kempner, our liaison man, that it would be reached. I should further like to point out the following:

The prosecution has stated that, for security reasons, the defence could not be furnished with the names of witnesses to be summoned during next day's proceedings. The Press, however, received, as early as yesterday, information concerning the witnesses to be heard today. We were informed of this, this morning, by representatives of the Press and, as far as I know, a statement to this effect appeared in to- day's papers. I cannot understand why such information should be withheld from us because, for security reasons, such statements are not to be made. It seems to me that this amounts to an unjustified distrust of the discretion of the defence. It is, furthermore, incorrect that we are now being furnished with documents in good time. Documents still reach us belatedly. This morning, for instance, a document to be dealt with to-day was put on our desks and, moreover, the language it was written in could not be understood by most of the defence counsel since they do not know English.

[Page 269]

As I have already submitted this objection in writing, I should be glad if the Tribunal will decide this matter as soon as it may.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you finished?


MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It is quite correct that the name of the witness who is to be used to-day was given to the Press. The question of our policy as to giving witnesses' names was submitted to me last night after the Court recessed, because we had not been using witnesses heretofore; and I then stated to Colonel Storey that witnesses' names must not be given to the defence counsel for security reasons.

He communicated that, I believe, to Doctor Dix. I found that later it had been given to the Press. They, of course, have had adequate information therefore as to this witness. However, I am speaking about the policy. We cannot be under an obligation to inform those counsel of the names of witnesses who will be called. who are here in Nuremberg, but not in prison; the situation does not permit of that. Neither can we furnish transcripts of testimony or that sort of thing of witnesses in advance.

Now we want to give the defence counsel everything that in the fair conduct of the trial they ought to have. They are now receiving much more than any citizen of the United States gets on trial in the courts of the United States, in some respects, as to advance information and copies and help and service, and I do think that to ask us to disclose to them in advance either the names or substance of testimony- oftentimes the substance would disclose the witness-would not be proper. It was stated yesterday that we would take up a witness to-day.

THE PRESIDENT: We have already heard two counsel on behalf of the defence. Have you anything to add which is different to what they have said?

DR. DIX (Counsel for defendant Schacht): Yes. I believe that I can elucidate a misunderstanding and contribute to the simplification of the whole problem. May I address the Court?

I believe that there is a misunderstanding here. I do not know what was discussed before I attended the Court, but the situation so far has been the following:-

No agreement was reached between the prosecution and the defence counsel. There is, as your Lordship knows, only an agreement regarding documents, which is known to the Court and which I therefore need not repeat. As far as witnesses are concerned, I believe that I may presuppose that we are all of one mind in finding justified the wish of the defence to know beforehand what witnesses will appear.

The high Tribunal must decide to what extent this wish, which is in itself justified, cannot be granted for security reasons. That is a matter which lies outside the determination of the defence. But I believe that I understood Mr. Justice Jackson correctly in thinking that if the Press is being informed what witnesses will appear the next day, it is a matter of course that the same communication should be made to defence counsel, but that it was only an unhappy concatenation of circumstances, an incident that can always happen, and which can and will be obviated in future by mutual understanding and good will.

As I said, I do not know what was agreed upon before I was present here. I cannot therefore contradict my colleague, Dr. Stahmer, in this matter. I think it possible, however, that the misunderstanding arose because the readiness of the Court to have documents submitted and notice given to us forty-eight hours ahead of time, and even the film shown to us beforehand, led my colleagues to the conclusion, which I consider justified, that all evidence was to be submitted to them. We do not, of course, expect to be informed of the contents of the witness' account, because the contents evolve during the session and cannot be determined prior to it.

After this elucidation I should like to express the wish that we be informed in future what witness is to be called, and to add a further wish, that security

[Page 270]

considerations be guided by the certainty that the counsellors of the defence are reliable, determined and capable of assisting the Court in passing judgement by maintaining the discipline of proceedings. In consequence, the cases in which the security officer believes that he should not communicate the name of the witness beforehand, should be reduced to an absolute minimum.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider the submissions which have been made to them on behalf of defence counsel with reference to what shall or what shall not be communicated to them. With reference to the witness whom the United States desire to call, they will now be permitted to call him. With reference to what I said about confining his evidence to Count One, the Tribunal thinks that the best course would be for the other prosecutors to have the opportunity now to ask any questions which they think right, and that they may have the opportunity, if they wish, of calling the witness later upon their own counts.

As to cross-examination by the defendants' counsel, that will be allowed to them in the most convenient way possible, so that if they wish to have an opportunity of communicating with their clients before they cross-examine, they may have the opportunity of doing so. Now we will continue.

COLONEL AMEN: May we have General Lahousen brought before the Tribunal?

THE PRESIDENT Will you stand in front of the microphone there so that you can be heard?

Q. What is your name

A. Erwin Lahousen.

Q. Will you please spell it?

A. L-a-h-o-u-s-e-n.

Q. Will you say 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 witness repeated the oath after the President.)

THE PRESIDENT: Don't you think the witness had better sit down?

COLONEL AMEN: I think he should be allowed to sit down, particularly since he has a heart condition which may be aggravated.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; you can sit down.

Q. Where were you born?

A. I was born in Vienna.

Q. On what date?

A. On 25th of October, 1897.

Q. What has been your occupation?

A. I was a professional soldier.

Q. Where were you trained?

A. I was trained in Austria, in the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt.

Q. Were you immediately commissioned as an officer?

A. In 1915 I was commissioned a lieutenant in the infantry.

Q. Did you serve in the first World War?

A. Yes, as first and second lieutenant in the infantry.

Q. Were you promoted from time to time thereafter?

A. Yes, I was promoted according to the normal regulations valid in Austria at the time.

Q. By 1930 what rank had you attained?

A. In 1930 I was captain.

Q. And commencing in 1930 did you take any additional training?

A. In 1930 I entered the Austrian War School, which corresponds to the Military Academy in the German Army. I received the education of an officer of the General Staff.

Q. How long did this training last?

A. This training lasted three years.

[Page 271]

Q. In 1933 to what regular army unit were you assigned?

A. In 1933 I was serving in the Second Austrian Division, the so-called Vienna Division.

Q. What type of work did you do there?

A. I was an Intelligence officer; that branch of the service for which I was destined already during my training with the General Staff.

Q. Did you then receive a further promotion?

A. I was promoted in accordance with the regulations valid in Austria, and roughly at the end of 1933 I became a Major. About 1935 or the beginning of 1936 I was transferred into the General. Staff - and, in June or at any rate, in the summer of 1936, I became lieutenant Colonel of the Austrian General Staff.

Q. And were you assigned to the intelligence division at or about that time?

A. I entered the Austrian Intelligence Service; that corresponds technically to what is called in the German Army "Abwehr." I must add that a "Nachrichten Abteilung" was only added to the Austrian Army about this time, i.e., 1936; before that there was no such department. Because the plan was to re-establish, within the framework of the Austrian Federal Army, the military intelligence service, which had ceased to exist after the collapse of the Austrian- Hungarian Empire, I was trained for it in order to organise the "Nachrichtenabteilung" which had by then come into existence.

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