The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Sixth Day: Monday,11th February, 1946
(Part 7 of 14)


[Page 236]

The documents of the Soviet prosecution are presented under the following sections:
1. Preparations for war in Germany itself.

2. Assuring the security of the preparations for war by the intelligence activities.

3. The securing by the Fascist conspirators of the participation of the satellite countries in the aggression against the Soviet Union.

I shall begin with Section 1, which I shall call, "Preparations for War in Germany Itself."

The statements of Hitler and his accomplices demonstrate that the idea of a criminal attack on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had for a long time been ripe in the minds of the Fascist conspirators.

But apart from this fact, we are also interested in the question as to when this intention began to take on the concrete form of direct military preparations for the predatory war against the Soviet Union.

On 18th December, 1940, the directive known to the Tribunal as directive No. 21, Case "Barbarossa" (the document of the American prosecution Numbered 446-PS), was put into its official form.

The moment when the signature of the Command appears on such a document is the moment which crowns long and intensive work by all who formed the links in the chain of military administration.

This work may not have been governed by written orders. The secrecy camouflaging this work often made it necessary to have recourse to verbal orders. And, on the other hand, many orders of a routine nature, on the strength of an already existing strategic project, acquired a corresponding trend, although outwardly they seemed to have no connection with it.

It therefore appears that, with regard to establishing the actual moment at which military plans for the attack on the Soviet Union began ---

THE PRESIDENT: General Zorya, the Tribunal observes that you are about to read a deposition of General Warlimont, who, the Tribunal understands, is in Nuremberg, and the Tribunal considers that, in accordance with the order that it made the other day in another case, in the case of another deposition, that if the defendants' counsel desired, and you wish to use this deposition, you ought to be prepared to allow General Warlimont to be submitted to the defendants' counsel for cross-examination.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I am about to read into the record an extract from the interrogation of General Warlimont. This interrogation was carried out by General Alexandrov of the Soviet prosecution, and if the defence desires to call General Warlimont for cross-examination here before the Tribunal, the Soviet prosecution will do its utmost to satisfy this request.

THE PRESIDENT: That is, of course, on the supposition that I am right to saying that General Warlimont is in Nuremberg -- available in Nuremberg. Go on.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I am definitely of the opinion that it would be useful, when establishing the actual moment of the beginning of military operations for

[Page 237]

the attack on the Soviet Union, to resort not to documents only -- for not everything is always put down in writing -- but to revert to the testimony of people who participated directly in the realisation of these preparations. I should now like to pass on to those depositions of Walter Warlimont which you, Mr. President, have just mentioned. These depositions were given by Warlimont on 13th November, 1945.

I am presenting them as evidence as Exhibit USSR 263.

Walter Warlimont, as is known, was the Chief of the Department of National defence in the O.K.W., and later deputy chief of the Operational Staff.

I shall read into the record that part of his deposition which touches on the question before us. I ask you to turn to Page 2 of the Russian text of this document, which is on Page 20 in the bundle of documents presented by the Russian prosecution on the question, and the answers to questions put to Warlimont:

"Personally, I first heard of this plan" -- that is Plan "Barbarossa" -- "on 29th July, 1940. On that day General Jodl arrived in a special train at Reichenhall station, where Department 'L' of the Operational Staff was stationed. Hitler was in Berchtesgaden. This surprised me immediately, because General Jodl had, till then, never, I believe, come to see us. Besides myself, the three other senior officers were ordered to present themselves."
I now omit several lines and pass on to Page 3 of the minutes of Warlimont's interrogation; this will be Page 21 in the bundle of documents:
"I cannot repeat his statements verbatim. The gist was as follows: Jodl said that the Fuehrer had decided to prepare for war against Russia. The Fuehrer justified this by saying that war had to come one way or another, so that it would be better to prosecute this war in connection with the one already being fought, and, in any case, to start the necessary preparations for it."
I pass over several lines which are not relevant to the question we are dealing with and continue:
"At a later I talked with Hitler . He had intended to commence the war against the Soviet Union as early as the autumn of 1940, but later he gave up this idea. The reason was that the strategic position of the troops at that time was not favourable for the purpose. The supplies to Poland were not good enough; railways and bridges were not prepared; the communication lines and airdromes were not organised. Therefore, an order was given to secure the whole transport and to prepare for such an attack as would eventually be made."
To the question put by the prosecution as to whether this order as issued on 9th August, 1941, and called "Aufbau Ost," Warlimont replied:
"Yes, this order was prepared by the staff in accordance with the instructions of General Jodl. In General Jodl's opinion, the concentration could take place only after all the preparations indicated in this order had been made."
Further on in his statement, Warlimont said that "Case Barbarossa," originally called "Fritz," was presented to Hitler on 5th December, 1940, after which it was re-edited and issued on 18th December.

I think that the testimony of a man like Friedrich Paulus, a former Field Marshal of the German Army, who, as is known, was directly concerned both in the preparations and in the execution of Case "Barbarossa," can give considerable help in investigating the preparation of this plan.

I present the testimony of Friedrich Paulus, dated 9th January, 1946, given in a camp for prisoners of war, and marked Exhibit USSR 156, and request that it be accepted as evidence.

[Page 238]

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Mr. President, I just wanted to remark that I do not possess a copy of the document concerning Paulus. But it seems to be the same statement which it has not yet been possible to give to the defendants' counsel. If the Soviet prosecution could give me the statement now, I would then decide if I could present my protest for decision now in the form in which I raised it at the beginning of this session.

(Whereupon copies of the document above referred to were handed to Dr. Nelte.)

DR. NELTE: According to the original before me now, this is a similar statement by Field Marshal Paulus. Paulus has expressed his opinion in a letter to the Government of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Delegation has, I assume, now presented the original to you. This photostat bears no official certification by the Soviet authorities, nor is the statement an affidavit which could be admitted as evidence.

Therefore, I ask the Tribunal in this particular case to give a general decision on the question which I raised at the beginning of this session, so that in the future the Soviet prosecution will be familiar with the treatment of such statements by the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to make any answer to what Dr. Nelte has said?


In accordance with the wish of the Tribunal, as expressed in a previous session, the Soviet prosecution has taken the necessary measures for originals of all the documents of the Soviet prosecution, or else documents certifying the authenticity of these documents, to be placed at the disposal of the Tribunal through the good offices of the General Secretary, with indications of the places where they are to be found.

Moreover, bearing in mind that certain witnesses, whose evidence will be presented in a forthcoming session by the Soviet prosecution, are of considerable interest, and that it is possible that the defence may wish to cross-examine them, the Soviet prosecution will take all necessary measures to bring some of these witnesses to Nuremberg in order that their verbal evidence may be heard. Special interest attaches to the deposition of Paulus, extracts from which I propose to quote in my report, and which must be checked no later than this evening, after which Friedrich Paulus will be brought to the Courtroom.

THE PRESIDENT: Then I understood from what you said, General, that as far as the photostatic copy of Field Marshal Paulus' statement is concerned, a certificate will be furnished -- as we indicated the Tribunal wished -- that the photostatic copy is a true copy of the original, and so far as the question of producing witnesses of importance is concerned, Field Marshal Paulus will be produced as a witness for the defendants' counsel to cross-examine.

That meets your objection, I think, Dr. Nelte.

DR. NELTE: The basic principle of this question, as it appears to me, lies in the fact that official proof should be given that the statements contained in the documents submitted really represent what the persons who made them meant to say. Written statements are never more than a dubious substitute for a personal examination of a witness.

The defence is fully aware of the difficulties encountered, particularly by the Soviet prosecution, in producing witnesses where, for instance, reports are to be found. The defence realises the fact, but in those cases in which the individuality of the witness and the importance of certain questions really do matter, the personal examination of witnesses should be preferred to any affidavit. Wherever this is impossible, for reasons which we are unable to judge, it would, at any rate, be desirable that those people who have made these statements should make them in the form of an affidavit or an interrogatory.

If the Soviet delegation should produce a certificate to the effect that these statements are true copies of the original statements, it would not mean that

[Page 239]

the documents would acquire an increased value in our eyes. We do not doubt for one moment that statements of this kind are in the possession of the Soviet delegation. The defence is interested not so much in the formal confirmation of the statements as in the possibility of increasing the material evidence.

If the Soviet prosecution could assist us in this respect, we should be grateful.

THE PRESIDENT: You can go on, General.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I repeat, I believe that the testimony of Friedrich Paulus can be of great assistance to us in our investigation. I present the testimony of Friedrich Paulus to which I have just referred and shall now read into the record that part of his testimony which refers to the history of the preparation of "Case Barbarossa."

I request you to open the bundle of documents submitted to the Tribunal at Page 27, and there, in the text of Paulus' testimony, on Page 2, you will find the passages underlined in red pencil, which I now intend reading into the record. From the 3rd September...

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps, General, since it is now 12:45 you had better not begin this document before the adjournment.

MAJOR-GENERAL ZORYA: I obey, Mr. President.

(A recess was taken.)

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.