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 6 of 11)

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

[Page 32]

Q. If you had knowledge of any of their activities - I understand from your evidence that you had none of the activities about which your own Ausland Organisation Yearbook publishes a story. Both in Norway and Greece, the activities were recounted in those two stories. You knew nothing about them at all, is that right?

A. I did not know about the activity in Norway. I have already testified to that effect. I was very familiar with the activity in Greece which was along perfectly normal lines.

Q. Very well. I want to leave that, and I just want to ask you two questions about another matter. Am I right in saying that the information - and I am not going to argue with you now as to what type of information it was - but the information that your organisation sent back, was that passed on to the defendant Hess?

A. Sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no. It depended upon the nature of the information. If it was information on foreign policy it was, of course, sent to another office.

Q. You were in fact acting as a pool of information, were you not? Let me explain myself: You were forwarding information that you received to the S.S.

A. Sometimes, yes; if not to the S.S. then probably ...

Q. To the foreign office?

A. Sometimes also to the foreign office.

Q. And to the Abwehr, were you not?

A. Very seldom, but it happened occasionally.

Q. You say very slightly. Did you not have a liaison officer attached to your organization from the Abwehr?

A. No. I had only one assistant who maintained an honorary connection with the Abwehr, if the occasion arose.

Q. Perhaps we are talking about the same gentleman. Did you not have a Captain Schnauss attached to your head office in Berlin?

A. Herr Schnauss has never been a captain but he was a political leader and

[Page 33]

honorary S.S. leader. In the Army, I believe he was a sergeant. He also did not come from the Abwehr, he was chief of personnel of the Ausland Organisation and his function in this organisation was purely honorary.

Q. You say he was not a liaison officer between your organisation and the Abwehr?

A. No, he was not an officer at all. He was not a member of the Wehrmacht.

Q. I do not want to quibble with you about his rank. Was he, in effect, whatever he was, acting in a capacity of liaison between you and the Abwehr?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Very well. Now, in addition to the information that Hess obtained through your system of reporting, that is, the Ausland Organisation, did he also obtain information from those organisations which were dealing with the Volksdeutsche, that is to say, non-German citizens, racial Germans abroad who were not members of your organisation, because you only allowed German citizens to become members of your organisation. But others - Volksdeutsche, I think you call them - did Hess receive information from other sources about their activities?

A. I could not say, because I did not discuss it with Hess, and the affairs of the Volksdeutsche (Germans who are citizens of the other countries) were entirely out of my field.

Q. Dr. Karl Haushofer was for some time in 1938 and 1939 president of the V.D.A., was he not?

A. I believe so.

Q. Which was an organisation dealing with the activities of the Volksdeutsche in foreign countries. Is that correct?

A. Yes, I believe so. I am not familiar with this field.

Q. And, as you know, Hess and Karl Haushofer were great friends, were they not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Haushofer had been Hess's pupil at Munich University; did you know that?

A. Vice versa.

Q. Do you not know that Hess received information from Haushofer as to the activities of these other organisations?

A. No, I know nothing about it.

Q. Well, now, I do not want to catch you out. Is that your answer? Are you being honest to this Tribunal?

A. No. I wanted to add that the Deputy of the Fuehrer very painstakingly separated the "Auslandsdeutsche," i.e. citizens of the Reich who worked abroad and the "Volksdeutsche," and with equal care he made certain that I should have nothing to do with the questions of Volksdeutsche. Therefore I knew nothing of these matters.

Q. Hess as Deputy to the Fuehrer was in fact in charge of all matters concerning Germanism abroad, was he not?

A. Yes that is so, because he was born abroad. However - to my knowledge, he did not take charge of these matters in his capacity as Deputy to the Fuehrer: I do not believe that there was any connection.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that just because he was born in a foreign country he had charge of all matters concerning Germanism abroad?

A. I believe so, because any other Reichsleiter of the Party might very well have taken care of these matters. However, I assume that Hess took over these functions simply because he was familiar with foreign countries.

Q. I want to be quite clear. Whatever the reason was, he in fact did have charge of them. That is your evidence?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I just want to remind you of a passage in your interrogation in this building on the 9th of November. Do you remember that you were interrogated on the 9th of November last.

[Page 34]

A. November, yes.

Q. You were interrogated by a Lieutenant Martin, the afternoon of that day.

A. By Lieutenant Martin, yes.

Q. Let me read a short extract from the transcript of that interrogation and ask you whether, in fact, it is correct. You were being asked about the information which came back through the Ausland Organisation.

"Q. He would have to rely on you for his information, on matters of that kind?

A. Not entirely; I think Hess had a great many connections in Hamburg through which he obtained information which he did not relay to me.

Q. What were his connections in Hamburg?

A. The shipping companies.

Q. Rather like your Landesgruppenleiter instructions in Rumania.

A. I think he knew a number of people there. I have always been convinced that he knew them.

Q. Is that Helferich?

A. Helferich was one, but then there were many people from whom he received information. I believe from Professor Haushofer, his old teacher, with whom he was very friendly. But he always made it a point not to inform us of anything that concerned the Volksdeutsche; he said : 'It is not your affair at all'."

Is that correct?

A. That is quite correct, yes.

Q. And as you have said it there, is that a correct description of the position that Hess was in with regard to information from abroad, from agents abroad? Does that correctly state the facts as they were?

A. So far as I can see, it is probably correct. I myself can judge only to the extent to which the reports concerned the Ausland Organisation. I can only guess about the other reports. I cannot give any definite information because I was not in his confidence.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH JONES: I have no further questions. Perhaps I might get the Exhibits in order, the ones that I have referred to.

The Year Book of the Deutsche Ausland, from which the stories about Norway and Greece came, becomes Exhibit GB 284. The two translations that you have are numbered 153 and 156, both of which also become Exhibit GIB 284.

The secret wireless telegram, which was M-158, becomes Exhibit GB 285; and the letter from Landesgruppenleiter Konradi, which was document PS-3796, becomes Exhibit GB 286.

THE WITNESS: May I add something to a point which was brought up by the British cross-examination?


THE WITNESS: May I begin?

THE PRESIDENT: You may give a short explanation. You are not here to make a speech.

THE WITNESS: No, I do not want to make a speech. I merely wish to say the following on the question of secret transmitters which was brought up this morning: Although I am not familiar with the technique of these secret transmitters, I assume that a secret transmitter would be of use in a foreign country only if there were a receiving set in Berlin. I am certain that to my knowledge there was never such a receiving set, either in my office in Berlin or in any other office of the Ausland Organisation, and therefore I may assume that such a receiving set did not exist.


Q. Do you recall being interrogated on September 11th, 1945, by Colonel Brundage?

A. Yes.

[Page 35]

Q. I want to read you a few questions and answers from your interrogation and ask you whether you recall being asked those questions and having made those answers.
"Q. Now, when you started, your immediate superior was who?

A. Rudolf Hess, until 1941 when he left for England.

Q. Who succeeded him?

A. Martin Bormann. Martin Bormann automatically succeeded Hess, but he did not really fill Hess's position, because Hess had been born abroad in Egypt, while Martin Bormann understood nothing about foreign affairs. He paid no attention to them at all, but of course, he was my superior.

Q. But he was nominally your chief?

A. He was technically my chief, but he gave me no orders, directives or similar instructions, because he did not understand anything about these things.

Q. So that everything that was done in your office, you would say you were responsible for?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And you are willing to accept the responsibility for that?

A. Naturally."

Do you remember being asked those questions and having made those answers?

A. That is absolutely correct.

Q. And were those answers true when you made them?

A. Absolutely true.

Q. And are they still true to-day?

A. They are still true.

Q. So that you accept responsibility for everything which your office was conducting, is that true?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Who was von Straempel?

A. Von Straempel was, I believe, Councillor to the Embassy in the Foreign Office, but I do not know him very well.

Q. Was he not the first secretary in the German Embassy in the United States from 1938 until Pearl Harbour?

A. I cannot say definitely. I knew him only superficially and had absolutely no connection with him.

Q. Well, he was interrogated with respect to the support of the German-American Bund by the Ausland Organisation prior to 1938, and I want to read you just one or two questions and answers which he made and ask you whether they conform to your understanding of the facts. Do you understand?

A. Yes.

"Q. Was the German-American Bund supported by the Ausland Organization?

A. I am positive that it was connected with the foreign section of the Party. For example, the Bund received instructions from the Party on how to build up their political organization, how, where and when to hold mass meetings and how to handle their propaganda. Personally, I do not know whether they received financial support."

Does that conform with your understanding of the facts?

A. No, that is a completely false representation. The Ausland Organization gave absolutely no financial support and had no connection with the Volksbund of German- Americans. I have stated that clearly in many interrogations here in Nuremberg, and have signed an affidavit to that effect.

Q. I know you have. So that if von Straempel has sworn that that is a fact, your testimony is that he was not telling the truth. Is that correct?

A. I am of the opinion that if von Straempel was legation secretary, or secretary of another office, he could not have known of the matter and he therefore testified

[Page 36]

about something of which he obviously knew nothing. In any event, what he said is not true.

Q. Are you familiar with the fact that in 1938 an order was issued prohibiting members of the German Embassies and Consulates to continue relations or connections with the Bund?

A. It was a general order for German citizens abroad to resign from the Bund if they were members. But as far as I know, that order was issued by the Deputy of the Fuehrer upon my request some years previously about 1935 or 1936.

DR. SEIDL (counsel for the defendant Hess): I object to this question, it has no connection with the evidence for which the witness Bohle was called, during his direct examination he was not questioned on any subject which has the slightest relation to the question of the activity of the German- American Bund. I do not believe that this form of interrogation is designed to test the witness, as it has no bearing on the subject.

COLONEL AMEN: It seems to me to have a very direct bearing on whether or not this organisation was engaged in espionage work abroad and within the United States.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly; in the opinion of the Tribunal, the questions are perfectly proper.


Q. Is it not a fact that in spite of that order, the foreign section of the Nazi Party nevertheless continued to support the Bund?

A. No, I was not aware of that and I consider it to be impossible.

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