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 Fourth Day: Wednesday, 10th April, 1946
(Part 1 of 11)

[Page 189]



DR. THOMA (counsel for defendant Rosenberg): Mr. President, I stated yesterday that the Larouche passage was not marked red in my document book and should not be read. My assertion was not correct. I made this assertion for the following reasons:

My client, Herr Rosenberg, sent me the following note yesterday while I was presenting my case: "The passages in the document book to be cited are certainly marked in red; the other parts do not have to be translated at all." The passages referred to in the French text had not been anticipated. I consequently assumed that the passages should not be translated. This communication from Rosenberg, however, had a different meaning. Rosenberg had made a sign in certain documents that were marked in red to indicate that these passages did not have to be read. That includes the quotation from Larouche and therefore the error occurred.

I also said yesterday that the passage cited by Mr. Justice Jackson was incorrectly translated. That, too, was an error. I apparently committed this error because the emphasis of the word "Bastardisierung" shocked me. I presume that "miscegenation" was meant. I request the translation department to pardon me. The document book itself ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, the Tribunal quite understands that there must have been some mistake, and no one, I hope - and certainly not the Tribunal - is accusing you of any bad faith in the matter at all. The Tribunal quite understands that there must have been some misunderstanding or some mistake which led to whatever happened.

DR. THOMA: I thank you very much.

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Mr. President, permit me to ask the Tribunal a short question related to procedure matters in the case of Westhoff. I yesterday stated the reasons why I believed I could forgo calling the witness Westhoff. According to the explanation of the English prosecution, the error has been cleared up and therefore my assumption is no longer true. I should like now to ask the Tribunal: Is the original situation thereby automatically restored, and may I also claim to examine this witness before the Tribunal as a defence witness or must I make a formal application to be authorised to call this witness again?

THE PRESIDENT: No, Dr. Nelte, the Tribunal does not desire you to make any formal application. You can ask the witness any questions when he has answered the questions which the Tribunal will put to him, and the prosecution, of course, can also ask him questions.

DR. NELTE: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, Dr. Seidl, I think you wanted to put some questions to this witness, did you not, on behalf of the defendant Frank? We hope that they won't be very long.

BY DR. SEIDL (counsel for defendant Frank):

Q. Witness, the prosecution asked you a question yesterday in connection with the "AB Action." For your information "AB Action" means: Extraordinary

[Page 190]

Pacifying Operation. It was necessary in connection with uprisings during 1940 in the Government General. In this connection the prosecution read you a quotation from Frank's diary of 16th May, 1940. I want to read to you, first of all, one further sentence from this same citation, from the same entry. It reads as follows:
"Every arbitrary action is to be prevented with the most severe measures. In every case the point of view which takes into consideration the necessary protection of the Fuehrer's authority and of the Reich must be in the foreground. Moreover, action will be postponed until 15th June."
The prosecution then read you a further citation from 30th May, from which one could draw the conclusion ...

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not think that you really can read passages of Frank's diary to the witness. I mean, you are re-examining to clear up. He has not seen the diary.

DR. SEIDL: I shall ask him a question. However, before that I must read another short passage, otherwise he cannot understand the question.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the question? You can put the diary to Frank when you call Frank.

DR. SEIDL: The witness was heard yesterday in connection with this "AB Action," and he was presented with a passage from this diary that must have given him the impression that a large number of Poles had been shot without any court proceedings.

THE PRESIDENT: What question do you want to put?

DR. SEIDL: I want to ask him whether he knows Ministerialrat Wille, what position he occupied in the Government General and what kind of assistance this Dr. Wille could possibly give if he had anything at all to do with this action.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, ask him that, Dr. Seidl, if you like, but the diary has no relevance to that question at all.

DR. SEIDL: But the question can only be answered sensibly if I, Mr. President, read him the corresponding passage from the diary. Otherwise he certainly won't see the connection.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal doesn't see the connection, either - and the Tribunal thinks there is no point in reading the diary to him.

DR. SEIDL: That will become apparent, Mr. President. I ask to be allowed to read one more passage from the diary, namely of 12th June, 1940.

THE PRESIDENT: No, Dr. Seidl. You can ask him your question but you can't read the diary to him. You stated what the question was, whether he knew somebody held a certain position in the Government General. You can ask him that question.

Q. Witness, do you know Ministerialrat Wille?

A. No, I can't remember him.

Q. You also do not know that he was the head of the Main Justice Division in the Government General?

A. No; that, too, I do not remember.

DR. SEIDL: Then one question is already settled.

The second question which I had to present to the witness is related again to an entry in Frank's diary in connection with concentration camps. I can, however, also ask this question only if beforehand I can read the witness a corresponding passage from the diary.

THE PRESIDENT: Tell us what the question is.

DR. SEIDL: The question would have read: Is the point of view expressed in the entry in Frank's diary which I intended to read, the correct point of view? Does it agree with his first explanation on Monday or is the view expressed in the passage from the diary, which the prosecution presented yesterday, the correct one.

(A short pause.)

[Page 191]

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal thinks you can put the question, if you put it in the form: Do you know what was the attitude of Frank towards concentration camps? - if you put it in that way - and what was it?

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, the witness has already answered this question in his direct examination. He declared that Frank held a negative attitude towards concentration camps. Yesterday, however, an excerpt was read to him from Frank's diary which could prove the opposite. However, there are dozens of entries in Frank's diary that corroborate the point of view of the witness and which contradict that which was presented by the prosecution. I can therefore only ask the witness a sensible question if I read him something from the diary.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, all those matters can be gone into with Frank. You can prove every passage in the diary which is relevant, and you can put the most necessary passages to Frank.

DR. SEIDL: The third question would have been in reference to the telegram ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, it is only a very exceptional privilege that you, as counsel for Frank, are allowed to re-examine at all, and the Tribunal has expressed the opinion to you that it does not think this is a matter on which you ought to be allowed to re-examine. The person to re-examine is the one who calls a witness in the first place. We can't allow, in ordinary cases, re-examination by everyone.

DR. SEIDL: I therefore renounce any further question to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.

(The witness left the court-room.)

And now the Tribunal wishes to have General Westhoff brought in.

(A new witness entered the box.)

Sir David, could you find me the German version of General Westhoff's statement in these papers here?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I looked for it, but couldn't find it, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: You can't find it?

ADOLF WESTHOFF, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:



Will you give me your full name?

A. Adolf.

Q. Your full name?

A. Adolf Westhoff.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing?

(The witness repeated the oath.)

Q. You may sit down. General Westhoff, you made a statement before Brigadier Shapcott or before Captain J. B. Parnell, did you not?

A. I don't know the captain's name. I made a statement in England.

Q. Yes. On 15th June, 1945?

A. That is possible, yes.

Q. You don't know English, I suppose?

A. No.

Q. Well, I will read you - has the prosecution got another copy of this document?


THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, Sir David, if you would follow me whilst I read it and draw my attention to any passages which are really relevant ...


THE PRESIDENT: Since it's a considerably long document, I don't wish to read it all to the witness.

Q. What the Tribunal wants to know, General Westhoff, is whether you adhere to this statement or whether you wish to make any alterations in it. And I will read to you, so that you may remember it, the material passages from the statement.

[Page 192]

A. Very well.
Q. "I was in charge of the general department when the shooting of the escaped R.A.F. prisoners of war from Stalag Luft 3 took place. It was the first occasion on which Field Marshal Keitel sent for me. I went with General von Gravenitz. He had been sent for and I had to accompany him. A certain number of officers had escaped from the Sagan camp."
Am I going too fast?
"I don't remember how many, but I believe about eighty ..."
DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Mr. President, can I be of service to the Tribunal by handing him a German translation, which has been placed at my disposal by the prosecuting authority?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thank you.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am very grateful to Dr. Nelte.

THE PRESIDENT: General Westhoff, would you read that statement of yours through as quickly as you can? You will be able to see what are the really material passages, and then tell the Tribunal whether that statement is correct.

A. Yes.

(A brief pause.)

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, there is still another part of the statement which I have also received from the prosecuting authority. It was a very extensive compilation. May I also in addition submit this to the witness?

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that he has not the whole document?

DR. NELTE: No, he has not all of it yet.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh yes, certainly.

DR. NELTE: I received it from the prosecution in three sections and I should now like to give him these three parts so that he may have it complete.

THE PRESIDENT: The statement that we have here in English is five pages done in type, and is certified in this way:

"This appendix contains an accurate translation of oral statements made to me by Major General Westhoff on 13th June, 1945, in reply to questions concerning the shooting of 50 R.A.F. officers from Stalag Luft 3. Dated the 23rd day of the ninth month, 1945. J. E. Parnell, Captain, Intelligence Corps."
Is that on - ?

DR. NELTE: Mr. President, I do not know whether General Westhoff was not perhaps interrogated several times. In this document he also made statements relative to the whole policy regarding prisoners of war; in other words, not only about the Sagan case. We are here concerned with a continuous report and the witness ...

THE PRESIDENT: The only document which is in evidence is this document, which I have in my hand, which is annexed to the report of Brigadier Shapcott.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I looked at the document, the part that Dr. Nelte has. I think my German is sufficient to identify it. It is the same document. If your Lordship will look at Page 2, your Lordship will see the passage

"General-Inspector, General Roettig."
My Lord, that is where it starts, and I have checked it as to the last paragraph. It is the same, "I cannot remember having received any reports." As far as my German goes, that is the same here, so this part of the document is the last half of the document that your Lordship has.

THE PRESIDENT: I see, yes; Dr. Nelte and Sir David, perhaps the best course would be if Sir David put the passages upon which he relies to the witness, and the witness could then be asked whether those were accurate.

[Page 193]


THE PRESIDENT: And Dr. Nelte can ask any questions that he wishes to after that. Witness, counsel is going to ask you questions upon this document now, so you need not go on reading.


Q. Witness, have you had a chance of reading the first paragraph of this statement?

A. Yes, I have read it.

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