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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
12th March to 22nd March, 1946

Eighty-Sixth Day: Wednesday, 20th March, 1946
(Part 7 of 10)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of HERMANN WILHELM GORING]

[Page 270]

Q. By the cigarette factory?

A. Not by the cigarette factory; a number of business men subscribed to the Adolf Hitler Fund, and Herr Reemtsma gave me this sum from the fund in the course of the years, after agreement with the Fuehrer. A part of it was allotted to the State Theatres, another part for building up the art collections and other cultural expenses.

[Page 271]

Q. Now, you were interrogated on 22nd December, 1945, by the External Assets Branch of the United States Investigation of Cartels and External Assets, were you not?

A. May I first say explicitly that I had been asked whether I would be ready to make any statements about it and was told that these statements would in no way be connected with this trial. Therefore the presence of my defence counsel would not be necessary. This was expressly told me and was repeated to me by the prison warden, and before the interrogation it was again confirmed to me that these statements would in no way be brought up, in connection with this trial.

However, that is all the same to me. You may produce them as far as I am concerned. But for tactical reasons I desire to have this known and established.

DR. STAHMER (counsel for defendant Goering): I protest against the use of these statements for the reason that has just been given by the witness. I myself some time ago - I believe it was around Christmas - was asked by, I believe, members of the U.S. Treasury whether they could interrogate the defendant Goering on questions of property, adding expressly that I did not have to be present at the interrogation because this had nothing to do with the trial and would not be used for it.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I am not able either to affirm or deny that, and therefore I will not pursue this subject further at this time. I do not believe that any stipulation was made that these facts should not be gone into. I was not informed of it, and if there has been, of course, it would be absurd.

Q. Now, you were asked about receiving some works of art from Monte Cassino.

A. Yes.

Q. I ask you if it is not a fact that an altar statue taken from the Cassino Abbey was brought and delivered to you, and that you expressed great appreciation of it.

A. I am glad to be able to clarify this affair also. After the monastery of Monte Cassino had been completely destroyed by shelling and had been defended by a Paratroop division, a delegation arrived one day bringing along a statue, entirely worthless from an artistic viewpoint, of some saint - as a souvenir of this destroyed monastery, I thanked the men and showed the statue to the curator of my art collection, and he also considered the statue completely worthless. It then remained in its box and was deposited somewhere. The rest of the art treasures from Monte Cassino, according to my knowledge, were shipped in the following manner. A large part, especially those things which belonged to the old monastery itself, was sent to the Vatican. I must assume this from the fact that the abbot of the monastery sent me and my division a letter, written in Latin, in which he expressed his extreme gratitude for this action.

Secondly, as far as I remember, the art treasures from the museum in Naples which were at Monte Cassino were for the greater part sent by us to Venice, and there turned over to the Italian Government. Some pictures and statues were brought to Berlin, and there they were turned over to me. On the very same day I gave the list to the Fuehrer, and some time later also those pieces that were in my air-raid shelter, so that he could negotiate about that with Mussolini. I did not keep a single one of these objects for my own collection. If my troops had not intervened, these priceless art treasures which were stored in Monte Cassino and belonged to the monastery there would have been entirely destroyed by enemy bombardment, that is to say, the British- American bombardment. Thus they have been saved.

Q. Now, you say of no value - no substantial value? A. That is even now my conviction, and I depended, above all, on the judgement of my experts. I have never taken this statue out of its packing. It did

[Page 272]

not interest me. On the other hand, I want to say a few words of thanks to the men who brought it.

Q. The labour shortage in the Reich was becoming acute by November of 1941, was it not?

A. That is correct.

Q. And you yourself gave the directives for the employment of Russian prisoners of war, did you not?

A. Employment for what?

Q. For war industry - tanks, artillery pieces, aeroplane parts.

A. That is correct.

Q. That was at the conference of 7th November, 1941, that you gave that order, was it not?

A. At what conference that was I could not tell you, I only issued these directives in a general way.

Q. And the directive was that Russian prisoners of war should be selected in collecting camps beyond the Reich border, and should be transported as rapidly as possible and employed in the following order of priority: mining, railway maintenance, war industry-tanks, artillery parts, aeroplane parts, agriculture, building industry, etc. You gave that order, did you not?

A. If I have undersigned it, the order is from me. I do not remember details.

THE PRESIDENT: What was the number of that, Mr. Jackson?


Q. I ask to have you shown Document 1193-PS.

A. I have not seen it yet.

(A document was handed to the witness.)

This document, which you have just mentioned -

Q. I did not get the answer.

A. Excuse me. I have just received a document about the use of Russian troops. Is that the document of which you speak?

Q. That is right. I call your attention to the fact that it is referred to as an appendix in the letter signed by Goering.

A. I want to point out that this document is not signed by me, but by Koerner. That, however, does not diminish my responsibility.

Q. Well, you do not question that on the 7th day of November, 1941, you gave the order, as Koerner reports it, do you, in the document referred to as Document 1193-PS?

A. I have only said that it was not signed by me but by Koerner, and here even a still younger official, a Regierungsrat, and that I only wanted to explain that this was in my field and that therefore I assume responsibility. But I have not yet read it through. This deals with directives and outlines which I gave in general and which were then filled in and revised by the department concerned, whereby naturally not every word of every sentence written here was said or dictated by myself. But that does not alter the fact that I bear the responsibility for it, even if I did not know it in detail or would have perhaps formulated it differently. But the general directives were given by me, implemented accordingly by the lesser authorities.

Q. You also gave the order, did you not, that 100,000 men were to be taken from among the French prisoners of war not yet employed in armament industry; that gaps in manpower resulting therefrom were to be filled by Soviet prisoners of war; and that the transfer of the above-named French prisoners of war was to be accomplished by 1st October. You gave that order, did you not?

A. That is correct. Here we deal primarily with the fact that a large number of French skilled workers who were prisoners of war were turned into free workers upon the condition that they worked in the German armament industry. The shortages which then occurred at their previous places of work, where they

[Page 273]

had worked as prisoners of war, were to be remedied by Russian prisoners of war, because I considered it pointless that qualified skilled industrial workers should be employed in agriculture, for instance, or in any other field not corresponding to their abilities. Thus there was an incentive in the fact that these people could become free workers instead of remaining prisoners of war if they would agree to these conditions. The directives were given by me.

Q. And did you know that there was any forced labour employed in Germany?

A. Duty labour, "Pflichtarbeit."

Q. Did you not testify under interrogation on 3rd October, 1945, that "I would like to add something to the last question of the interrogation. The Colonel asked me if the forced labour programme was effective, and I said 'Yes. There are two remarks I would like to make to that.'

Q. 'All right.'

A. 'I must say that in the results as such it was effective. However, a great number of acts of sabotage did occur, and also treason and espionage.'

Q. 'But on the whole you would say it was a successful programme from the German point of view?'

A. 'Yes. Without this manpower many things could never have been achieved.'"

Did you say that?

A. That is evident, because without workers one cannot do any work.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think you answered the question. The question was if you said the forced labour had been a success. What do you have to say to that? Did you say that?

A. I have said what I did in answering the question whether manpower was successful. Manpower used was successful; yes, that is correct, these workers who were used got results.


Q. Now, you were shown Document 3700-PS, written by Schacht to you, and you have said that you received it.

A. Yes, I remember.

Q. Now, you and Schacht were to some extent rivals in the economic field at one period, were you not?

A. I explained that only recently, and to what extent.

Q. You wanted his position abolished in the event of war and he wanted your position abolished in event of war, did he not - your economic position?

A. Not quite. They were like two functions of authority having similar powers at the same time, two personalities, and they in the long run were incompatible. It simply had to be decided which one of the two should have the authority. That would have been especially necessary in case of a mobilisation.

Q. You, in testifying on the 17th day of October last, as to your relations with Schacht, made this statement, did you not, in reference to your disagreements with Schacht: "This I must underline. Schacht always tried to manoeuvre for a new post, whilst all the other Ministers co-operated absolutely"? Did you say that?

A. Not exactly as it is there, but I wanted to emphasise that, contrary to the other Ministers who obediently followed my directives for the Four-Year Plan, I had certain difficulties with Schacht, which I have already explained, due to his originality and strong personality.

Q. The question was whether you made that statement in substance or in those words?

A. Not exactly in these words, but as I have just explained, in substance.

[Page 274]

Q. Now, do you recollect Schacht's letter to you, Document 3700-PS?

A. Yes, I read it a short time ago.

Q. And in that letter Schacht said this to you, did he not, referring to Document 3700-PS? "It may be militarily necessary - " Do you want to follow it?

(A document was handed to the witness.)

"It may be militarily necessary to conscript the 15-year- olds, but it will heavily tax the fighting morale of the German people. The facts as the German people see them are as follows:

First, the original prospect of a short war did not materialise.

Second, the prospective quick victory over England by the Air Force did not materialise.

Third, the public statement that Germany would remain free of enemy air raids has not been fulfilled.

Fourth, the repeated announcements that the Russian resistance was definitely broken have been proved to be untrue.

Fifth, Allied supplies of arms to Russia and the manpower reserves of Russia have, on the contrary, been sufficient to bring continuous heavy counter-attacks against our Eastern front.

Sixth, the original victorious advance into Egypt has been halted after repeated attempts.

Seventh, the landing of the Allies in North and West Africa, declared impossible, has, nevertheless, been accomplished.

Eighth, the extremely large amount of shipping space which was required for this landing has shown that our U- boats, in spite of their successes, did not suffice to prevent this movement. In addition, the reductions in the civilian supply of traffic, in armaments, and in the availability of manpower are obvious to all the German people.

The conscription of the 15-year-olds will increase the doubts concerning the termination of this war."

Can you fix any more definitely than you have done the date when you received that letter?

A. I can only say again and again that it is dated 3rd November, but the year is missing. If you could be given a copy where the year is stated I could give an exact answer. I have said recently that, according to my knowledge of events, it is a question of either November, 1944, or November, 1943. But unfortunately, that is not indicated here. I can only read 3rd November. The year is missing.

Q. Do you know when Schacht was sent to the concentration camp? Do you know the date of that?

A. Not exactly, but now that you remind me of it, I can say that this letter certainly was not written in 1944 because in November, 1944, I believe Schacht was already in the concentration camp; consequently, it must date back to November, 1943.

Q. He was sent to the concentration camp shortly after dispatching that letter to you, was he not?

A. No, that is not correct.

Q. How much longer was he at large?

A. The letter is of 3rd November, 1943, as we have just found. I heard about the arrest of Schacht only after the attempt on the life of the Fuehrer and after my return a few days later, after an illness of some time, that is to say, in September, 1944. A connection between this letter and his arrest does not exist in the least, because, when I asked about his arrest, I was told definitely it resulted from the events of 20th July.

[Page 275]

Q. Did you make an agreement, as Supreme Commander of the Air Force, with the Reichsfuehrer S.S., the Youth Fuehrer of the German Reich, and the Reich Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories, about the recruiting of young Russians, Ukrainians, White Russians, Lithuanians and Tartars between the ages of 15 and 20? Did you come to some agreement with Himmler and Rosenberg about that?

A. That I personally concluded such an agreement I do not believe. It is possible and even probable that my office did so, however.

Q. And you have testified yesterday or the day before - I think Friday - as follows; let me refresh your memory about the questions of confiscations:

"Now, about the question of confiscation of State property - and it was only such property that was confiscated. As far as I know, private property is mentioned in the official report; so far as the winter of 1941 and 1942 is concerned, such might have been the case in the matter of furs or perhaps fur boots, and some soldiers may have taken little odds and ends from the people, but, on the whole, there was no private property and so it could not be confiscated."
I think you also said that you never took anything, not even so much as a screw or a bolt, when you were in occupation of foreign territory. Do you recall that testimony?

A. Quite definitely.

Q. Do you still stand by it?

A. Of course.

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