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

Tenth Day: Saturday, 1st December, 1945
(Part 4 of 5)

[Page 319]

THE PRESIDENT: It would assist the Tribunal if one question at a time were asked and if the witnesses would answer "yes" or "no" to the question asked, and explain, if they must, afterwards. But questions and answers should be put as shortly as possible, and only one question should be asked at a time.

[Page 320]

Q. (continuing) Now, witness, something else has come to my attention.

THE PRESIDENT: You heard what I said, did you? Do you understand it?

Q. (continuing) This has come to my attention. Yesterday you said that these remarks of Ribbentrop are not in the diary, if I understood you correctly.

A. No - this is not from the diary but a contribution to Canaris' diary. This is a remark which was -

Q. You also said yesterday that this remark especially aroused your attention.

A. Yes.

Q. And to-day, you said that the then General Blaskowitz also made a striking remark. You also mentioned, however, that these remarks of Blaskowitz were not entered into the diary.

A. No.

Q. Now, I would like to know, and I would like you to answer this question: why, if this remark of the defendant Ribbentrop aroused your special attention, was it not entered in the diary?

A. As to Blaskowitz I have to say or, better, repeat the following:

I have said: I did not hear the subject Blaskowitz mentioned in this way during the meeting, and I cannot assume that this subject had fallen into this category, otherwise it would have been entered in the diary. It can also be, of course, that the matter Blaskowitz discussed was at a time when I was not actually there. I have only put down what I heard or what Canaris told me to enter into the record.

Q. But did you personally hear that from Ribbentrop?

A. Yes, but the essence was not altered. In the final analysis whether it was extermination, elimination or the burning of farms, all of them were terroristic measures.

Q. Did von Ribbentrop really talk of killing Jews? Do you definitely remember that?

A. Yes, I definitely remember this particular remark he made to Canaris, because Canaris talked not only to me but also to others in Vienna about this matter, and called time and again upon me as a witness.

Q. You heard that too.

A. The matter was not settled thereby, but these words of Ribbentrop's were frequently discussed.

Q. Witness, something else. You have told us about murderous designs with which you or your department, or other offices, were charged. Did you make the prescribed report at any police station? I would like to point out that failure to make a report of intended crimes according to German Law is punishable with imprisonment or in some serious cases with death.

A. Well, when you talk about German Law, I cannot follow you. I am not a lawyer, but just a simple man.

Q. As far as I know, this is also punishable according to Austrian Law.

A. At that time the Austrian Law as far as I know was not valid any more.

THE PRESIDENT: It is too fast.

Q. (continuing). In other words, you never made a report of the intended crime either as a private person or as an official?

A. I should have had to make a great many reports of about 100,000 intended murders of which I knew and could not help but know. You can read about them in the records - and about shootings and the like - of which I necessarily had knowledge, whether I wanted to or not, because, unfortunately, I was in the midst of it.

Q. This is not a matter of shootings which had taken place and could no longer be prevented, but rather a matter of intended murders at a time when it could have, perhaps, been prevented.

A. I can only answer: why did the person who received this order first hand not do the same thing? Why didn't he report to Hitler for instance?

Q. You, as a General of the German Wehrmacht, should have asked Hitler...

A. I am sorry, you overestimate my rank; I had only been a General in the

[Page 321]

German Wehrmacht since the first of January, 1945, i.e., only for four months. At that time I was Lt.-Colonel, of the High Command and later Colonel of the General Staff, not in the General Staff.

Q. But, in 1938, right after Hitler's attack on Austria, you had immediately made a request to be taken into the German Wehrmacht by Hitler.

A. I did not make a request, I didn't have to do this. Wherever I was in the service, 1 was known for my efficiency. I was not a stranger. With the knowledge of the Austrian Government and also, in a restricted sense, with the knowledge of the German authorities (i.e., of certain persons) I was working for the Austrian Government in a matter which exclusively concerned things outside the scope of Austrian internal policy. I co-operated with the Wehrmacht and the Italian and I Hungarian Governments at the wish of the Austrian Government and the competent authorities. There were matters of politics which were not my domain.

Q. But, I believe, witness, your memory deceives you, because immediately after Hitler's attack on Austria, you called on the General Staff in Berlin and there - what you deny - tried to get a commission in the German Wehrmacht. You had also made out a questionnaire in which you declared your complete allegiance to the Greater German Reich, to Adolf Hitler; and shortly afterwards you took the oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

A. Yes, of course I did it, just as everybody else who was in the position of being transferred from one office and capacity to another.

Q. Previously you said you did not try to get this appointment but I have been informed to the contrary; that you, in the company of two or three other officers, were the first to go to Berlin with the sole purpose of asking the Chief of the German General Staff - Beck - to take you into the German Army.

A. I am very glad that you are talking about this, especially so that I may fully clarify my position. It was necessary for me to make an application for my new position in the German Wehrmacht. I was known because of my military activities, just as any military attachí is known in the country where he is serving.

Moreover, I can easily explain why I rose in office so fast. I have said that in my activities and in this co-operation, which was not determined by me, but by my superior Austrian Officer in the Austrian Intelligence Service with other States, was at that time directed against the neighbouring country of Czechoslovakia - Czechoslovakia was the country that was next after Austria. Therefore, it was natural that my later Chief, Canaris, who knew me from my former position, should be very much interested in my coming up into his department. He put in a request for me and, beyond that, so did Beck, whom I was visiting. Other people also know this: and I have now told everything that General Beck told me at that time.

Q. Then it is true, you did go to Berlin and try to be transferred into the German Wehrmacht, which you at first denied?

A. No, that is not true, I did not try to do this. Others made the request. I can even say that I did not go there - I flew there. Canaris, who knew me, not only in my military capacity, but also in regard to my personal attitude (just as Maroga had known me and just as General Col. Beck, who was informed about me by Canaris), requested me. I did not request a position, but others requested me for reasons which only later became clear to me, because they knew my personal attitude, just as my Austrian comrades - they were necessarily few-knew about this and about me. That's the way it was.

DR. SAUTER: I have no other questions to ask this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Before the cross-examination I wish to announce that there will be no public session of the Tribunal this afternoon.

DR. STAHMER: I am counsel for the defendant Goering, and I would like to address a few questions to the witness.

[Page 322]

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY DR. STAHMER (counsel for the defendant Goering)

Q. Witness, if I understood you correctly, you said yesterday that, according to the inner basic conviction of General Canaris, the war on Poland, which was not successful, was the end of Germany and our misfortune. This misfortune, however, would become greater by a triumph of the system which it was the purpose of General Canaris to prevent. Did I understand you correctly?

A. With one exception, you did not understand me. He did not fail to succeed in preventing it; the attack was not preventable, but Canaris had no way of knowing this.

Q. Is it known to you that Admiral Canaris, within the first years of the war, had very active sabotage organisations behind the front, and that he personally was very busy with these organisations?

A. This is naturally known to me, and I have fully informed the American departments who have been interested in this, on this subject.

Q. But how is that possible? This would not be in conformity with his inner political beliefs.

A. This is explained by the fact that in the circle in which he was active he could never say what he really thought, and thousands of others could not do so either. The essential thing is not what he said, or what he had to say; but what he did and how he did it. This I know and others know too.

Q. This is not a question of what he said, but of what he has actually done. He has not only proposed such measures, but has also applied himself to their execution; is this true?

A. Ostensibly he had, of course, to remain within the limits of his office, in order to keep his position. That was the important thing, that he had to remain in this position, to avoid in 1939 the thing that actually happened in 1944. He then tried to get things in hand, and I wish to compare Canaris with Himmler; there is no need to mention what the goal was, if he took part .

Q. You mentioned the name of Himmler; in this connection I would like to ask the following questions.

Is it known to you that Admiral Canaris, during the first years of the war, kept up close connections with the S.S. and that the necessity of close co-operation with the SS. was emphasised by him repeatedly, so that the defendant Goering had to advise him to be more independent in his military functions?

THE PRESIDENT: You are going too quickly and I do not think you are observing what I said just now, that it will help the Tribunal if you will ask one question at a time.

DR. STAHMER: I would like to summarise my question this way; did the witness know that Admiral Canaris, during the first years of the war, had good connections with the SS. and recognised the necessity of close co-operation with the formation, a fact which he always emphasised?

THE WITNESS: Yes, this is known to me. I also know why.

Q. (continuing): And why?

A. Because in this position he was able to see and to get information of everything that happened to these people, and so could intervene if and whenever feasible.

Q. Was it the duty of your organisation and of the department of Canaris respectively, to pass on enemy intelligence in good time to Higher Headquarters?

A. I do not understand what the office of Canaris has to do with this.

Q. Your section, of the office of Canaris?

A. Why, of course, the Department I -

Q. Now, according to my information your office did not pass on the information of the Anglo-American landing in North Africa. Is that true?

A. I do not know, I do not wish to be held responsible for the Department. This is a question which could easily be answered by Oberst Pieckenbrock, but not by myself.

[Page 323]

Q. As to the case Rowehls, you said yesterday that a colonel of the Air Force, Rowehls, was leading a special troop which had the job of making reconnaissance flights over Poland, England and the South East, prior to the Polish campaign, and you also said that Colonel Rowehls went to see Admiral Canaris and to report on the result of these flights, and presented his photographic maps. Is that true?

A. Yes. How should I have known about it otherwise? I did not invent it.

Q. I didn't say that.

How did Colonel Rowehls come to tell Admiral Canaris about this?

A. I believe I mentioned yesterday, that this was a function of the department Ausland-Abwehr, Obere Abteilung.

Q. Have you yourself seen the pictures that were made over England?

A. Yes, I have seen them.

Q. When and where have these pictures been shown to you?

A. In the office of Canaris, but they were none of my business. I happened to be present at the time. I was interested to see what was going on.

Q. What did these pictures show?

A. I do not remember the details now. They were pictures taken from airplanes.

Q. The pictures were not shown to you?

A. No, the pictures were not shown to me, I was merely an interested bystander on this occasion, just as I previously told you.

Q. Did Rowehls give any written reports about these test flights to the Amt?

A. I do not know.

Q. You do not know?

You also said that Rowehls' squadron made flights from Budapest later?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know that of your own experience or information?

A. I know it through personal investigation; the time is fixed through the diary of the section, and because at that time I was in Budapest, and because at that time I was asked to attend a Citation Ceremony at the Palace.

Q. And why were these flights executed from Budapest?

A. I do not know; I said that yesterday. A gentleman of the Air Force would have to answer that.

DR. DIX (counsel for defendant Schacht): You probably do not know me. I am Dr. Dix, the attorney for the defendant Schacht.


Q. Witness, do you know Captain Struenck from the Abwehr?

A. I would like you to tell me something about the name. The name alone does not mean anything to me. Give me a few points that will refresh my memory.

Q. He is a lawyer who was a reserve officer with the Abwehr, I do not know in which department, but I should say it was in the department of Pieckenbrock. However, if you do not know him I will not question you any further.

A. If he was with Pieckenbrock I do not know him. I knew a few. Is Struenck still alive?

DR. DIX: No, he is no longer living.

THE WITNESS LAHOUSEN: Was he executed?

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