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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
23rd March to 3rd April, 1946

Ninetieth Day: Monday, 25rd March, 1946
(Part 5 of 11)

[LIEUT.-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES continues his cross examination of ERNST WILHELM BOHLE]

[Page 28]

Q. On page 66. It is a new paragraph.

A. Yes, I have it now.

Q. "Meanwhile I organized the employment of all Party members in auxiliary service for the armed forces."

It really looks now as though the Landesgruppenleiter is organising them, does it not?

A. In this instance, yes.

Q. "Soon our boys and girls could be seen riding proud and radiant in their Hitler Youth uniforms, beside the German soldiers on motor-cycles and in jeeps."

Did you yourself know of the organization and work that your Landesgruppenleiter had put in, in Greece, to assist your armies in semi-military capacities, or was that another case like Norway which you did not know anything about?

A. The Landesgruppenleiter in Greece did not create a semi- military organization, but set up of course in this instance an organization to aid the troops entering the country in a sector which was entirely civilian.

Q. Very well; I want just to ask you about another matter. Have you got a document there which is a telegram from somebody called Stohrer, in Madrid?

A. Stohrer, yes.

Q. Did Stohrer have something to do with the German Embassy in Madrid?

A. Stohrer was the German ambassador himself: Doctor von Stohrer.

Q. This is dated 23rd October, 1939. Just let us see what it says.

The Landesgruppenleiter can obtain a very suitable house for accommodating the Landesgruppe, including the German Labour Front, the Ortsgruppe, the Hitler Youth, and the German House Madrid, also room available in case of Embassy having to spread out, and especially very suitable shut-off room for possible erection of second secret radio transmitter, which can no longer be housed at the school because of reopening.

Landesgruppenleiter requests me to rent the house through the Embassy, in which way very considerable tax expense will be avoided. Have no hesitation, in view of anticipated partial use by Embassy as mentioned above. If you are not agreeable I request wire by return.

Please submit also to Gauleiter Bohle."

Were you telling the truth to this Tribunal when you told them some twenty minutes ago that you had no knowledge of wireless sets being used by your organization?

[Page 29]

A. Yes, because I have no knowledge of these transmitters, or their use; I must assume that it concerns apparatus of the Embassy.

DR. SEIDL (Counsel for the defendant Hess): The copy of the telegram, as I have it before me, does not indicate to whom this wire was addressed. The last sentence of the telegram leads one to assume that it was not in any case addressed to the witness. According to my opinion, I think the witness should next be asked whether he knew about this wire and to whom it was addressed.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps you will tell Dr. Seidl to whom the Ambassador in Madrid was likely to send a telegram on such matters as this?

THE WITNESS: To the Foreign Office at Berlin.

Q. And you, at that time, were State Secretary at the Foreign Office of Berlin, were you not?

A. Quite right, in October, 1939

Q. Beneath his signature is set out the distribution to - it mentions various persons in departments in the Foreign Office in Berlin. Is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. And are you saying now, that all of those departments who were asked to submit this matter to you, that they all failed to do so?

A. No, I do not claim that. They surely would have done that.

Q. Do you remember yourself seeing this telegram before?

A. I cannot recall it. I would have noticed it for I never heard anything about two secret transmitters in Spain. It would also be quite in order for me to admit it. However, I cannot since I do not know about the affair. The distributor under No. 3 mentions "State Secretary," but that does not mean me, but the State Secretary of the Foreign Office, the political one. My designation in the Foreign Office was: Chief A.O.

Q. I can save you all that. I am not suggesting that that State Secretary means you, otherwise it would not be asked to be submitted to you. What I want to know is what you or your embassy workers, or both of you working together, wanted with two secret wireless transmitting sets in Spain in October, 1939?

Are you still saying that your organization was quite unconcerned with reporting back information of military importance?

A. Just how do you mean, "reporting back"?

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal - I want you to be quite clear - are you telling the Tribunal that your organisation was not being used for espionage purposes in Spain?

A. Yes indeed, I am asserting that. A distinction must be made between certain members of the organization who naturally, without my knowledge - I protested against this often enough - were used abroad for such purposes. I had no objection to Germans abroad being utilised in time of war for such tasks, as is the case very frequently in all other countries. However, I did not want members or officials of the Ausland Organization to become involved. A distinction must ...

Q. I do not want to stop you at all. I do not want to stop you. Go on if you have anything to say. But, in the interest of time, try and make it as short as possible.

A. It seems to me there is some confusion between the Ausland Organisation as an organization and what certain Germans abroad did during the war as their patriotic duty.

Q. I will not argue about that. You see that your organisation took sufficient official interest to record accounts of what they were doing in their official books. I just want to show you one thing further - a document. I have one further document to put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: You may as well go on.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a document which has just been

[Page 30]

found. I have not had it copied. The Tribunal will forgive me if I read extracts from it?

... It is an original document you hold in your hand and it appears to be, does it not, a carbon copy of a letter from

THE PRESIDENT: Has Dr. Seidl got one?


Q. Is that a letter from your Landesgruppenleiter Konradi?

A. It seems to be a directive from Konradi but not signed by him.

Q. If you will look at the end of the letter you will see that it is actually signed "Konradi," after the usual "Heil Hitler " ...

A. It is not signed by Konradi, but typed in.

Q. I am very much obliged to you. It is my fault for not making myself clear. I told you that we have here a carbon copy. A copy of a letter which was signed and sent by Konradi. That appears to be so, does it not?

A. That, I do not know, for of course I do not know about all the letters written by Konradi.

Q. You can take it so far as you are concerned that that is a German document which has been captured, that it is this bit of paper that you are holding in your hand which was found by Allied troops, and that bears a typewritten signature of Konradi, who was your Landesgruppenleiter in Rumania, is that correct? You remember that you had a Landesgruppenleiter in Rumania?

A. His name was Konradi.

Q. And is this a letter of instructions to the Zellenleiter in Constanza?

A. Yes.

Q. It is dated the 25th of October, 1939. Will you read the first paragraph?

"On the 9th and 12th of October, conferences took place with the Supreme Party functionaries, or their deputies, of the Southeastern and Southern European groups at the Offices of the Direction of the Ausland Organisation."
Does that mean Berlin?

A. Yes. Berlin.

Q. That means your office, does it not?

A. Yes, in my office, but not in my personal office.

Q. But is it in the office over which you had complete control?

A. Yes.

Q. Agreed. I imagine, before we go on, that no orders would be issued from your head office at a conference of that kind which were contrary to your direction, would there?

A. Not in important things, naturally not.

Q. Much obliged to you.

"I subsequently received direct instructions from the competent Office of the Direction of the Ausland Organization."
So it appears that the direction given at the conference was confirmed in writing.
"During the war, every National Socialist abroad must directly serve the Fatherland, either through propaganda for the German cause or by counter-acting enemy measures."
Perhaps you will turn over, or rather you will miss out the English summary ... I am now reading from the next paragraph, and the next plus one paragraph, then go on to the next paragraph.
"As everywhere else it is extremely important to know where the enemy is and what he is doing."
I want you to be quite clear about this, and keep it in mind. These are directions coming directly from your head office in Berlin.
"It has been ascertained that the intelligence service has attempted, sometimes most successfully, to obtain admittance into the activities of the

[Page 31]

Party Group and its associate organizations for seemingly trustworthy persons. It is therefore necessary that you thoroughly investigate not only all those persons coming into contact with you who are not very well known to you, and above all you must scrutinize any new persons and visitors appearing in your immediate vicinity. If possible, let him be taken in hand by a comrade whose absolute Nazi convictions are not generally known to the man in the street."
I think we can leave out the rest of that.
"You are to report everything that comes to your notice, even- though it may at first sight appear very insignificant. Rumours suddenly arising also come in this category, however false they may be."
Do you remember your members in Rumania being told to report everything? Everything they saw?

A. Yes, of course.

"An important section of both of your and your comrades' work must be industrial concerns and business enterprises, not only because you can very well transmit your propaganda in this way; particularly in such concerns can you easily pick up information concerning strange visitors. It is known that the enemy espionage organizations are especially active in industrial circles both as regards collecting information, and carrying out acts of sabotage. Members with close connections in shipping and forwarding companies are particularly suitable for this work. It goes without saying that you must be meticulous and cautious when selecting your assistants."
THE PRESIDENT: Do you have some more to read from this document? If so, we will adjourn now until 2.00 o'clock.

(A recess was taken.)

THE MARSHAL: If, it please the Tribunal, the defendant Streicher is absent from this session.




Q. Witness, will you look again at the document we, were reading before the Tribunal adjourned. Would you look at the paragraph which commences

"An important phase of both your work and that of your comrades must be industrial concerns, business enterprises, etc. Not only can you transmit your propaganda very well in this way, but it is precisely in such concerns that you can easily pick up information concerning strange visitors. It is known that the enemy espionage organizations are especially active in industrial circles, both in gathering information and carrying out acts of sabotage. Comrades with close connection with dispatch companies are particularly suitable for this work. Naturally you must be meticulous and cautious when selecting your assistants.

In this connection a reference to inter-State organizations and exchange organizations is relevant."

I particularly want you to note these next lines:
"It has been proved that these often use harmless activities as camouflage, and are in reality to be regarded as branches of the foreign intelligence service."
Witness, does that not exactly describe the way in which the Ausland Organization was carrying, on its business? Read it again:
"It has been proved that these often use harmless activities as camouflage,

[Page 32]

and are in reality to be regarded as branches of the foreign intelligence service."
Does not that fit in with the directions that this Landesgruppenleiter of yours has been writing to his members in this document?

A. On the contrary, I find that this is clear proof of that fact, that the organisations mentioned were in a foreign espionage service and not in the German espionage service. My interpretation is the exact opposite of that of the British prosecutor.

Q. Are you not giving instructions here, or is not your Landesgruppenleiter giving instructions, to carry out counter-espionage - the work that is carried on by the intelligence service? Is not that what the writer is writing about so far?

A. The letter, with which I am not personally familiar, apparently instructs Germans abroad to turn in a report whenever they encounter the intelligence service at work: I do not think that any objection can be raised to that in time of war.

Q. Very well. We will not go on arguing about it. I understand that you know nothing about the instructions which are contained in that letter. This is the first you have ever seen or heard of it, is that right?

A. No, this letter is new to me, and I do not know if it is true. The one that I have is not the original.

Q. May I take it then that, of the countries around Germany in which your organization worked, you have no knowledge of the activities that they were carrying out in Belgium? You have no knowledge of the activities that they were carrying out in Norway, none about what they were doing in Spain, and not very much about what they were doing in Rumania either, is that correct?

A. No, that is not correct. Of course I knew of the activity of these groups abroad; but that particular activity that the British prosecutor wishes to point out as the aim of the Ausland Organisation is not quite clear to me.

[ 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.