The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
21st January to 1st February, 1946

Forty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 30th January, 1946
(Part 7 of 7)

[Page 295]

THE PRESIDENT: There was one bill of lading and then there were a number of other bills of lading which were referred to.

M. DUBOST: Yes. And the whole constituted Document 1553-PS. This document is included in the series covered by the affidavit of which Sir David has spoken to you.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dubost, if you attach importance to it, would it not be possible for you to give us the figures from these other bills of lading? I mean the amount of the gas.

M. DUBOST: Certainly, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Just in order that it may be upon the shorthand note.


14 February 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos...Net weight: 555 kilos
16 February 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos...Net weight: 555 kilos
The first is addressed to Auschwitz and the second to Oranienburg.
13 March 1944...Gross weight: 896 kilos...Net weight: 598 kilos
(addressed to Auschwitz)
13 March 1944...Gross weight: 896 kilos...Net weight: 598 kilos
(addressed to Oranienburg)
30 April 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos...Net weight: 555 kilos
(addressed to Auschwitz)
30 April 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos...Net weight: 555 kilos
(addressed to Oranienburg)
18 May 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos... Net weight: 555 kilos
(addressed to Oranienburg)
31 May 1944...Gross weight: 832 kilos... Net weight: 555 kilos
(addressed to Auschwitz)
This appears to me to be all.

To Document 1553-PS is added the statement by Gessner and also the statement by the Chief of the American Service who collected this document.

With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall proceed with the presentation of the crimes of which we accuse the defendants against allied prisoners of war who were interned in Germany. Document 735-PS, Page 68 of the document book, which we submitted a short time ago as Exhibit RF 371, is a report on important meetings which brought together Kaltenbrunner, Ribbentrop and Goering, and in the course of which was drawn up the list of air operations which constituted acts of terrorism.

It was decided at these meetings that lynching would be the ideal punishment for all actions directed against civilian populations which the German Government claimed to be terroristic.

On Page 68 Ribbentrop is involved. We read in one of the three copies notes of the meetings that were held that day - in the first paragraph, 11th line

[Page 296]

"Contrary to the proposals of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who wanted to include all terroristic attacks against the civilian population and consequently air attacks against cities" -
The proposals made by Ribbentrop were far in excess of what was accepted at the time of this meeting. The three lines which follow deserve the attention of the Tribunal:
"Lynch law would be the means of settlement. There was, on the other hand, no question of a judgement to be passed by a tribunal or handing over to the police."
Then, at the bottom of the page
"One had to distinguish between enemy airmen who were suspected of criminal acts of this kind, and prepare for their admission to the airmen's camp at Oberursel, and if the suspicions were confirmed, they were to be turned over for special treatment by the SD."
The Tribunal will certainly remember the description which was given of this "special treatment" by the American prosecution. What is involved is purely and simply the extermination of allied airmen who had fallen into the hands of the German Army.

On Page 69, the Tribunal may read, under No. 3, the description and the enumeration of the acts which are to be considered as terroristic acts and as justifying lynching.

"(a) Attacks with weapons against the civilian population, either against individuals or against gatherings of civilians.

(b) Attacks against German airmen, who have baled out of their aircraft.

(c) Attacks against civilian passenger trains.

(d) Attacks against hospitals or hospital trains that are clearly marked with a red cross."

Three lines below:
"Should such acts be committed and should it be established in the course of interrogation, the prisoners must be handed over to the SD."
This document originates from the Fuehrer's Headquarters. It was drawn up there on 6 June 1944, and it bears the stamp of the Assistant Chief of Staff of the Wehrmacht.

THE PRESIDENT: I think that has all been read, M. Dubost. I think that document was all read before.

M. DUBOST: Mr. President, I had been told that it had not been read.

THE PRESIDENT: I have not verified it.

M. DUBOST: We submit Document 729-PS, as Exhibit RF 372. This document confirms the preceding one. It originates from the Fuehrer's Headquarters, is dated 15 June 1944, and it reiterates the orders I have read.

But this document is signed by Marshal Keitel, whereas the preceding one was signed "J." We have not been able to identify the author of this initial. Document 730-PS, which we next submit as Exhibit RF 373, is likewise from the Fuehrer's Headquarters, still dated 15 June 1944. It is addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the attention of Ambassador Ritter. The Tribunal will find it on Page 71 in the document book. This document reproduces the instructions signed "Keitel" in the preceding document, and it is likewise signed by Keitel.

We shall submit as Exhibit RF 374, Document 733-PS, which concerns the treatment which is to be meted out to airmen falling into the hands of the German Army. It is a telephone message. The call is from the Adjutant of the Marshal of the Reich (Captain Breuer).

DR. NELTE (Counsel for Keitel): I assume, Mr. Prosecutor, that you have

[Page 297]

finished with the question of lynching. In the presentation of this case the words "Orders of Keitel" have been used repeatedly. The prosecutor has not read these documents. I would be obliged if the prosecutor would produce a document which contains an order which raises lynch-law to the level of an order, as it had been claimed by the prosecution. The defendants Keitel and Jodl maintain that such an order was never given, that these conferences concerning which documents have been produced-that these documents never became orders because the authorities concerned prevented this.

THE PRESIDENT: The documents speak for themselves.

M. DUBOST: Does the Tribunal wish to listen to the complete reading of these documents which are signed by Keitel? They are not orders, they are projects. Moreover, I emphasised that when I announced them to the Tribunal. On Page 80 of our document book, you will find dated 30 June 1944, with Keitel's initials, a Note of a Meeting.

"Subject: the treatment of enemy terror flyers

(1) Enclosed the draft of a reply by the Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Chief of the OKW forwarded by Ambassador Ritter to the Operational Staff of the Wehrmacht."

I am omitting a paragraph:
(2) The Marshal of the Reich approves the definition of terror flyers communicated by the OKW, as well as the procedure which is proposed.
This document is submitted as Exhibit RF 375. I did not submit to the Tribunal a regular formal order, but I brought three documents which, in my opinion, are equivalent to a formal order because, with the initials of Keitel, we have this note signed by Warlimont which states: "The Marshal of the Reich approves the definition of terror flyers communicated by the OKW, as well as the procedure which is proposed." This document bears the initials of Keitel.

We shall now submit Document L-154, which has already been submitted by our American colleagues as Exhibit USA 335. My colleague has read this text in extenso. I will refer to only three lines, in order not to delay the proceedings: "As a matter of principle, no fighter-bomber pilots brought down are to be saved from the anger of the people," This comes from the office of the Gauleiter and Commissar for the Defence of the Reich, Gau South Westphalia.

As Exhibit RF 376 we shall submit Document F-686, on Page 82 of our document book. This is the minutes of an interrogation of Hugo Gruener on 29 December 1945; he was subordinate to Robert Wagner, Gauleiter of Baden and Alsace. In the last lines of this document, Page 82, Gruener states:

"Wagner gave the formal order to beat up and kill all airmen we could capture. In this connection Gauleiter Wagner explained to us that Allied airmen caused great havoc on German territory; that they considered it was an inhuman war, and that therefore, under the circumstances, any airmen captured should not be considered as prisoners of war, and deserved no mercy."

Page 83, at the top of the page: "He stated that Kreisleiter, if the occasion offered, should not fail to capture and shoot the Allied airmen themselves. As I have told you, Roehn was assistant to Wagner, but Wagner himself did not speak. I can affirm that SS-General Hoffmann, who was the SS leader of the police for the Southwest Region, was present when the order was given to us by Wagner to assassinate allied airmen."

This witness, Hugo Gruener, confesses that he participated in the execution of Allied airmen. "Going through Rheinweiler, - this took place in October or November 1944 - he (Gruener) noticed that some English or American airmen had been

[Page 298]

pulled out of the Rhine by soldiers. The four airmen were wearing khaki uniforms, were bareheaded and were of average height. He could not speak to them because he did not know the English language. The Wehrmacht refused to take charge of them.

That is the third paragraph at the bottom of the page and the witness declares: "I told the gendarmes that I had received from Wagner the order to execute any Allied airmen taken prisoner. The gendarmes replied that it was the only thing to be done. I then decided to execute the four Allied prisoners and one of the gendarmes present advised me to do this on the banks of the Rhine."

On Page 84, paragraph 1, Gruener describes how he proceeded to assassinate these airmen. In the second paragraph he confesses that he killed them with machine gun shots in the back. In the third paragraph he gives the name of one of his accomplices, Erich Meissner, who was a Gestapo agent from Lorrach, and in the fifth paragraph he denounces Meissner for having himself assassinated an airman as he was getting out of a car and was on his way toward the Rhine. I read:

"I murdered them by firing a machine gun salvo at each of them in the back, after which each airman was dragged by the feet and thrown into the Rhine."
This affidavit was received by the Police Magistrate of Strasbourg. The document which we shall submit was signed by his clerk as a certified copy.

This is how the orders given by the leaders of the German Government were carried out by the German people.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, I see that it is five o'clock now, and perhaps you would be able to tell us what your programme would be for tomorrow.

M. DUBOST: Tomorrow we shall complete the presentation of the question of prisoners-of-war. We shall present to you in an abridged form, documents which seem to us to be indispensable, in spite of the hearing of witnesses, in regard to the camps. There are only a few documents, but they all directly inculpate one or another of the defendants. Then we shall show how the orders given by the leaders of the German Army led the subordinates to commit acts of terrorism and banditry in France against the innocent population, and against patriots who were not treated as franc-tireurs but as common law bandits.

We expect to finish tomorrow morning. In the afternoon, my colleague, M. Faure, could begin the presentation of this last part of the French charges concerning Crimes against Humanity.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you not able to give us any estimate of the length of the whole of the French prosecution?

M. DUBOST: I believe that three days will be sufficient for M. Faure. The individual charges will be summarised in one half day by our colleague M. Mounier, and that will be the end.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 31st January at 1000 hours)

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