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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
4th April to 15th April, 1946

One Hundred and Second Day: Monday, 8th April, 1946
(Part 3 of 11)

[SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE continues his cross examination of Wilhelm Bodewin Johann Gustav Keitel]

[Page 101]

Q. It is quite clear. I am not going through the correspondence again. I pointed it out as we went along. Your letters are saying both lynching and the measures to be taken for the publication of lynching and the other procedure of segregating these people in the hands of the S.D. pending confirmation of the suspicion of their being terror flyers. It is quite clear. I have taken you through nearly ten letters in which it is stated implicitly that it is put to the Reich Marshal on both these points, publication of lynching and segregation from other prisoners of war. He is saying, I agree with the proposed procedure.

A. May I add something?

Q. Yes, do.

A. I recall my discussion with Reich Marshal Goering at the Berghof. We waited for Hitler, who was to give a speech to the generals. This must have been at about the same time. In this discussion two points were mentioned. Point one was the conception of the desired - or how should I say - of the planned or the conceived lynch-law. The second question was that my influence with Hitler had not been strong enough to settle this matter definitely. These two points I talked over with Goering that day. We established that the entire method discussed here was the preliminary to the announcement of requisite measures for the free use of lynch- law. We agreed that as soldiers we rejected it and secondly, I asked him most urgently to use his influence with Hitler again so that he might desist from such measures. This discussion took place at the Berghof in the ante-room of the hall where Hitler addressed the generals. I remember this very distinctly.

I just looked over the correspondence which was exchanged all along. I only recognise certain fragments. They deal with the deliberations on a measure

[Page 102]

desired by Hitler, which, thank goodness, never was adopted as corresponding orders were not issued.

Q. Would you look at the next document, D-784, Exhibit GB 317. That is a note from General Warlimont to you. Paragraph (1) says that the Foreign Office has agreed, Ambassador Ritter telephoned on the 29th that the Reich Foreign Minister has agreed to this draft. Paragraph (2) says:

"The Reich Marshal is in agreement with the formulation of the concept 'terror flyer' as proposed by the O.K.W. and with the method suggested."
That is sent to you, and on it there is a pencilled note, initialled by Warlimont:
"We must act at last. What else is necessary for this?"
Didn't you act on it?

A. No.

Q. Then, why -

A. As a matter of fact -

Q. Then why, if you did not act on it, were you asking the Luftwaffe four days later if they had given instructions to the camp at Oberursel? Look at D-785, GB 318.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, it appears to be initialled by the defendant - D-784.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My copy is initialled "W," Warlimont.

THE PRESIDENT: D-784 on the copy I have is initialled "K" at the top, alongside Warlimont's note.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Oh, yes. I am sorry, my Lord. The fault is entirely mine. My Lord is quite right.

Q. So, before I pass from D-784, that was submitted to you and initialled by you?

A. No, I only put my "K" on Document D-784 to show that I saw it. I wrote nothing on it.

Q. But the document was submitted to you, and so you did see that document? You knew that both the Foreign Office and Goering were agreeing to this procedure being adopted?

A. I read it. I wrote "K" on it.

Q. And four days later, in D-785, your department is asking Goering through von Brauchitsch as to whether it had been carried out:

"Please report whether instructions have been given to the Commandant of the Air Force reception camp of Oberursel in the sense of the statements of the High Command of the Armed Forces/Operations Staff of the Armed Forces of 15th June, or when it is intended to do so."
A. I have not seen this document before, but it seems to me to confirm the accuracy of my view-point that in these inquiries to the Reich Marshal the transfer to Oberursel was the only point in question and not whether he wanted lynch- law, approved it or whether he considered it as right. That seems to be quite obvious. I do not know anything about the question itself.

Q. Please look at D-786, GB 3 19. You were going beyond that the next day. This is 5th July. It is actually a report of the meeting on 4th July. It says that Hitler decreed the following:

"According to Press reports, the Anglo-Americans intend in future to attack from the air small places, too, which are of no importance militarily or to the war economy, as a retaliatory measure against the 'V-1s.' Should this news prove true, the Fuehrer wishes it to be made known through the radio and the Press that any enemy airman who takes part in such an attack and is shot down will not be entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war, but, as soon as he falls into German hands will be treated as a murderer and killed. This measure is to apply to all attacks on small places which are not military targets,

[Page 103]

communications' centres, armament targets, etc., and which are not of importance to the war.

At the moment nothing is to be ordered; the only thing to be done is to discuss such a measure with the W.R. and the Foreign Office."

So that, far from modifying the matter, you, or rather, Hitler was increasing the severity of the measures to be taken.

A. I do not remember this, but if that note was made at the time, something like that must have been mentioned by him in this conference, but I do not remember the incident.

Q. I only want to put this point to you. You have said twice - on Friday and again today - that no order of the Wehrmacht had been issued. It would not need an order of the Wehrmacht to encourage the population to lynch flyers who had crashed. All that would be required to produce that result would be to hold off the police from arresting people who murdered them, would it not? You would not need an order of the Wehrmacht to encourage your population to murder flyers who had crashed, would you?

A. No, only the Wehrmacht had the right to take a shot-down or landed airman into custody, and protect him against being lynched by the population, and prevent anything like that from happening.

Q. You will agree with me that once an American or British airman was handed over to the S.D., his chance of survival would not be, what, one in a million? He would be killed, would he not?

A. I did not know it then, I only heard it here. I did not know it at the time.

Q. You will agree that that was in fact what happened. When an airman was handed over to the S.D. he would be killed, would he not? That is what would happen?

A. I did not know that it was so, but in this ...

Q. I am not saying what you believe. Now we know what would happen?

A. No.

Q. You have told us several times that you did not know anything about the S.D. In fact, at one time you were a sort of a court of appeal from the S.D. in France, were you not? You confirmed the killings by the S.D. in France, did you not?

A. I do not recall that I did any ...

Q. French Exhibit 1244. I am afraid that I do not have a German copy, but this is what it says: it is dated, Paris, 6th August, 1942:

"In the criminal proceedings against the French citizens:
(1) Jean Marechal, born on 15th October, 1912.
(2) Emmanuel Thepault, born on 14th June, 1916.
Field Marshal Keitel, acting within the powers given to him on 26th and 27th June, 1942, by the Fuehrer in his office as Commander-in-Chief of the land armies has refused to pardon these two men condemned to death and has ordered that the sentences should be executed within the scope of the general punishments."
They were condemned by the Tribunal de la Folkcommandantur at Evreux, and this was sent to the Commandant de la Police de Surete et du S.D., sent to the Commandant of the Police of the Surete and of the S.D. Does that not show that you were dealing with a confirmation of sentences of death and passing on your confirmation to the S.D.?

A. This entire incident is an enigma to me. It happened in many cases that I signed as deputy for the Fuehrer, to whom I submitted all decisions which, as the Commander-in-Chief, he had to ratify, and I may have put the signature "By order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army: Keitel." By order - that might have been possible, otherwise I know nothing about it.

[Page 104]

Q. Well, it doesn't look like that. Let me remind you of the words: "Marshal Keitel, dans le cadre des pouvoirs qui lui ont ete donnees les 26 et 27 Juin 1942." That date. It is acting within the powers given to you by the Fuehrer. Had you not been given the powers?

A. No, I did not have any such power's in that case. That is a mistake. However, I may have put a signature: "By order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army: Keitel, Field Marshal."

THE PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, I was going to pass on.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, isn't D-775 relevant to that? The last line of the first paragraph.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am very grateful to you.

THE PRESIDENT: D-775. As I understand it, the defendant was saying that he didn't know what would necessarily happen to these prisoners if they were handed over to the S.D. Those are the last words of the first paragraph.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Very good, my Lord.


Q. The words are:

"... the handing over of enemy prisoners-of-war airmen from the Air Force Reception Camp at Oberursel to the S.D. for special treatment."
We know, defendant, that "special treatment" means death. Didn't you know, in 1944, what "special treatment" meant?

A. Yes, I knew what "special treatment" meant.

Q. Now, there is just one other point in the document which my friend General Rudenko put to you on Saturday, I think it was, or Friday evening, EC-338. You remember General Rudenko put this. This document is the report of Admiral Canaris about the treatment of prisoners of war, dealing with the position of the Soviet Union as not being signatory to the Convention. You remember the point that Admiral Canaris put to you, that although they weren't signatories, since the eighteenth century there had been established a principle that war captivity was neither revenge nor punishment, but solely protective custody. Do you remember the document? It was a report from Canaris to you as of 15th September, 1941, setting out the position of prisoners of war of a country that had not signed the Convention. You remember, you said you agreed with it, but that you had to put on this statement that it was nonsense from the point of view of the present situation because it arose from a military concept of chivalrous warfare, that this was the destruction of an ideology. You said that you had to put that on Hitler's instructions. Do you remember?

A. I had submitted to him the procedure and I asked him to read this, and upon that, I wrote out this note.

Q. Yes. Now, there is a paragraph 3-a, which I want you to have in mind at the moment, on the point I am dealing with now:

"The screening of the civilians and politically undesirable prisoners of war, as well as the decision over their fate, is effected by the action detachments of the Security Police, Sicherheitspolizei." That is underlined in purple - that is, it is your underlining - and opposite it is your pencilled note, "very efficient." That is, "action detachments of the Security Police, very efficient." Then it goes on,".. and the S.D." Then Admiral Canaris says, "... along principles which are unknown to the Wehrmacht authorities," and you have put opposite "unknown to the Wehrmacht authorities ... .. not at all." Do you remember doing that?
A. I cannot recall it at the present moment. I must have made this remark in reference to the fact that this was unknown to the Wehrmacht. I think that is right.

Q. You see, it is perfectly clear. Admiral Canaris says it is unknown to the

[Page 105]

Wehrmacht authorities, and you put opposite to that, in your pencilled notation, "not at all." You couldn't have got that from Hitler; that must have been your own point, was it not, if you put in, in pencil, "not at all"? You must have thought that they were known to the Wehrmacht.

A. Not at all.

(The defendant reads the document.)

I cannot clarify this statement. I put these remarks down in a hurry. I cannot identify or define them neither can I give any clear explanation, because I do not know. However, I have the recollection that I wanted to make, or did make, a note to the effect that it remained unknown to the Wehrmacht and that is correct.

Q. Now, I just want to take you quite shortly on the last of my points, and then ask you one question about it. You have said to the Tribunal, I should think probably at least twenty-five times, that you were not interested in politics, that you simply took your orders as to military preparations. I just want to ask you a little about that.

First of all, let's take the Austrian problem. There I only want to put one document to you. You remember defendant General Jodl's account in his diary about the pretended military movements which, according to defendant Jodl - I gather that you said that General Lahousen took a different view - had an immediate effect in Austria? Do you remember that? You must remember that.

A. Yes.

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