The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 12th February, 1946
(Part 4 of 18)

[Page 263]

BY PROF. EXNER (counsel for Jodl):

Q. Witness, in September, 1940, at the O.K.W. you were charged to develop further a plan of an operation against Russia, that is, to continue work on a plan which existed already. Do you know about how strong the German forces in the East were at that time?

A. I do not remember how strong the forces in the East were at that time. It was then shortly after the end of the campaign against France.

Q. Do you know about how many divisions were in the East at that time, for the protection of the German border?

A. No, I cannot remember that.

Q. In February, 1941, our transports to the East began. Can you say how strong at that time the Russian forces were, along the German-Russian demarcation line and the Roumanian- Russian border?

A. No, I cannot say that. The information which reached us about the Soviet Union and its forces was so extraordinarily scarce and incomplete that for a long time we had no clear picture at all.

Q. But did not Halder at that time talk to the Fuehrer frequently about the strength and deployment of the Russian forces?

A. That is possible, but I cannot remember it, because I had nothing to do with these questions after that time -- that is, with the theoretical development of our ideas. In September the Operations Department of the Army took over the work.

Q. At this time you had manoeuvres?

A. That was in the beginning of December.

Q. Then you probably used, as a basis of these manoeuvres, information you had about the plans of the enemy?

A. We could only assume what was the strength of the enemy.

Q. You took an active part in the working out of that plan. You have tried it out by manoeuvres. Tell me, what was the difference between your work and that of Jodl at that time?

A. I do not think I am able to judge that. I do not understand.

Q. That was General Staff work was it not?

A. Yes, it was General Staff work, with which I was charged by the Chief of Staff.

Q. Yes, and the activity of Jodl as Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff?

A. The difference is that he saw the entire situation, whereas I could see only a small section, only that which I needed for my work, and that is all the information I received.

Q. But the activity in both cases was one of General Staff preparation for the war?

A. Yes.

[Page 264]

Q. I would also be interested to know something about Stalingrad. In your written statement, or written declaration, you said that Keitel and Jodl were guilty of the prohibition of capitulation, which had such tragic consequences. How do you know that?

A. I only intended to say it was the High Command of the Wehrmacht who was responsible for that order. It had the responsibility, and it makes no difference whether it was one person or another. At any rate their group is responsible as such.

Q. Then you do not know anything about the personal participation of either of these two gentlemen? You only known that the O.K.W.---

A. The O.K.W., which is represented by these persons.

Q. Why, when the situation at Stalingrad was so hopeless and terrible, did you not, in spite of the order by the Fuehrer to the contrary, try to give up?

A. Because at that time it was represented to me that by holding out with the army which I led, the fate of the German people would be decided.

Q. Do you know that you enjoyed the confidence of Hitler to a special degree?

A. I am not aware of that.

Q. Do you know that he had already decided that you were to be the successor if the Stalingrad operation would be successful, because he no longer liked working with Jodl?

A. I do not know about that exactly, but there was a rumour that late in the summer or early in the autumn of 1942 a change was planned in the leadership. That was a rumour which the Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe told me, but I did not get any official information about that. There was another rumour, that I would be relieved of the command of that army and would be given the command of a new Army Group along the Don.

Q. Do you remember the telegram which you sent to the Fuehrer when you were promoted to the rank of Field Marshal at Stalingrad?

A. I did not send a telegram then. After my promotion I did not send a telegram.

Q. Did you not thanked the Fuehrer in any way?

A. No.

Q. That is quite contrary to statements which other people have made. You are said to be or to have been a teacher at the Military Academy at Moscow. Is that correct?

A. That is not correct, either.

Q. Did you have another position in Moscow?

A. I was never in Russia before the war, but since then, of course, I have been in a prisoner-of-war camp, like my other comrades in Russia.

Q. Were you a member of the German Freedom Committee?

A. I was a member of a movement of German men, soldiers of all ranks, and men of all classes, who had made it their aim to warn the German people at the last moment from the abyss, and to arouse them to attack the Hitler regime which had brought all this misery to many nations and especially to our German people. I did that with the proclamation of 8th August, 1944.

Q. August, 1944?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you do anything about it before?

A. No, I did not.

DR. EXNER: Thank you.

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