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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Eighth Day: Thursday, 6th June, 1946
(Part 9 of 12)

[MR. ROBERTS continues his cross examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 406]


Q. It is a note, is it not, witness, signed Warlimont, your deputy, 15th October. I think you will find it the second document in your file. I do not want to read it all again because it has been read, but you see: "The Proposal of the Amt Ausland Abwehr will be submitted as Appendix 1."

The Tribunal will find Appendix 1, in which he says - in which it is suggested under letter "A" that sabotage troops who do not wear uniforms should be court-martialled. You have said "No." You have given your reasons. I will not worry you about that any more. And then "B": "Members of sabotage units who are in uniform but are guilty of dishonourable activities are, after capture, to be put into special confinement."

And then, if you will go back to 15th October, just the second paragraph down:

"The Chief of WR" - that is the legal department - "has made a statement to the effect that the order was to be drawn up in such a way that it will take into account our own interests."

[Page 407]

Is it "our own interests," witness? "Take into account our own interests"?

A. Yes, "our own interests."

Q. " ... our own interests while considering the future conduct of the war. In this way he wanted to avoid repercussions which would counteract our further intentions. Sabotage is an essential part of conducting war at a time of total warfare; we ourselves have strongly developed this method of fighting."
And you write against that, do you not, "But the English make much more use of it"?

A. Yes, it is an undeniable fact that at that time of the war, the English made much more use of it than we.

Q. Is that a reason for making a law - an order of this kind to try and discourage the English from using sabotage detachments?

A. No, that is certainly not a reason. It is only a denial of the statement that we strongly developed this method of fighting; hence my remark, "Yes, but the English to a much greater extent than we." That, of coursed has nothing at all to do with the reason for the order.

Q. Then I am not going to take more time on that particular document, except - Have you got a document dated the 14th of October with 1, 2, 3, 4 at the end? I think it is on a separate page, the 1, 2, 3, 4.

A. Yes.

Q. It says:

"With this view in mind to prevent the enemy fighting the war by using sabotage troops, following questions have to be clarified before formulating an order:

(1) Have we ourselves the intention of dropping sabotage units in the zone, of rear echelons of the enemy, or also far back in the zone of the interior?

(2) Who will drop more sabotage troops, the enemy or we?

(3) Can we establish the principle: Sabotage units do not conduct legal war: they are to be exterminated in the fighting without mercy?

(4) Do we attach importance to first arresting members of this group for interrogation by Counter-Intelligence and not killing them immediately?"

These were the considerations which were discussed in your office before the orders were drawn up.

A. These were questions - not points of view - questions which were raised in the Wehrmachtsfuehrungsstab as a result of the Wehrmacht communique. Fortunately, the submission of all these documents proves the complete correctness of everything I said here two days ago. The staff, the Legal Department and the department "Ausland" racked their brains and pondered how they could draw up the executive order for the Fuehrer's additional passage in the Wehrmacht communique. Neither they nor I came to any conclusion, and no proposal was made to the Fuehrer; nothing was done. That is what I stated here the day before yesterday, and that is what, fortunately, you yourself have proved by submitting these documents.

Q. You have said, I think, that part of the Fuehrer's order disgusted you?

A. Yes.

Q. And you have said in your interrogation that circulating this order was one of the things which went against your inner conscience - one of the few things. "Your inner " - to use your actual words.

A. In the preliminary interrogation I said that it was one of the few - or the only - order I received from the Fuehrer which I, in my own mind, completely rejected.

Q. You rejected it, but these young men went on being shot, did they not?

A. I have already described exactly how the commanders-in-chief at the front, vigorously supported by me, interpreted this order in the mildest imaginable way

[Page 408]

in practice; actually, only very few such incidents occurred, and I believe that most - at any rate, nearly all that came to my knowledge - were very strongly justified, because the fighting methods of those people were not methods of honest soldiers.

Q. You see, you talk about your inner conviction. I think Keitel spoke about his inner conscience. But should we have heard anything about these convictions and this conscience if Germany had not lost the war?

A. No, but then we might have heard of the strangled at Dieppe in a similar trial.

Q. It is very late and ... now, I just want to deal with a few examples, very, very quickly, of the order being carried out, as you said it was only carried out a few times. First of all, I just want to refer to Document UK 57, which is Page 309 of Document Book 7, German copy Page 344. It is a report which is initialled by Keitel.

"On 16th of September, 1942" - mark the date; that is more than a month before the Commando Order came into force - "ten Englishmen and two Norwegians landed on the Norwegian coast, dressed in the uniform of the British Mountain Rifle Regiment, heavily armed and equipped with explosives of every description. After negotiating difficult mountain country; they blew up important installations in the power station Glomfjord, on 21st September. The German sentry was shot dead on that occasion. Norwegian workmen were threatened that they would be chloroformed. For this purpose the Englishmen were equipped with morphia syringes. Several of the participants have been arrested, whilst the others escaped into Sweden."
Then follow seven names, which I read out to the Tribunal, I think, in January. They were shot on 30th October, 1942. That would be, shot as a result of the order which you circulated, although it was not in existence when those men blew, up that power station. You told me some little time ago, that that power station was a proper military target. These men were in uniform. Can you begin to justify that?

A. No, I cannot justify that, and I will not justify it. I consider it completely illegal, because this order could certainly not have been retroactive; but I did not learn of this affair at the time. Of UK 57 I read the first and second parts here for the first time; the third part I read in April, 1944.

O. Well, now, there are other exhibits dealing with this matter which I am not going to put to you. They have been referred to before, and I do not want to be cumulative. I would like you ... or perhaps I will ask you one question first.

I think it was laid down, was it not, that every action taken under this Fuehrer order was to be reported in the Wehrmacht communique?

A. Yes, that was ordered.

Yes, I just want to give you an example of the Wehrmacht communique.

MR. ROBERTS: Document 526-PS, Exhibit USA 502. My Lord, it is 7A, Page 15. It is dated 10th May, 1943, German Page 21 of the small book.


It is a notice from the "Q" branch of your staff:

"On 30th March, 1943, in Toftefjord (degree of latitude 70), an enemy cutter was sighted. Cutter was blown up by enemy. Crew: Two dead and ten taken prisoners.

Cutter was sent from Scalloway (Shetland Isles) by the Norwegian Navy.

Armament: two Colt machine guns, two mounted machine guns. Also a small transmitting set. There were likewise found on board: four tripods for mounting machine guns, six sub-machine guns and 1,000 kilos of high explosives ...."

"Purpose: Construction of an organization for sabotaging of strong-points, battery positions; staff and troop billets and bridges.

[Page 409]

Assigner of Mission in London: Norwegian Major Munthe.

Fuehrer order executed by Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service).

Wehrmacht report of 6th April announces the following:-

In Northern Norway an enemy sabotage unit was engaged and destroyed on approaching the coast."

That was false, was it not?

A. I confirmed this communique of 6th April, which included the contribution from the commander in Norway, as I received it on 6th April; this brief formulation always originated with the commander at the front. But what actually happened is set down in this note of 10th May, which, most unfortunately, I never saw, because on 10th May, 1943, I travelled by train to Bad Gastein to begin a cure of a severe attack of lumbago; and so, unfortunately, I saw this document for the first time here in Nuremberg. I am sorry, because this would have been one of the few cases in which I might have been able to intervene.

Q. Yes, but, witness, keep it in front of you, because, you see, the action was not taken on 10th May; it was taken before, or on 6th April. Look at the last paragraph:

"Wehrmacht report of 6th April announces the following:

Enemy sabotage unit engaged and destroyed on approaching the coast."

Whereas, in fact, they had been taken prisoner and then shot like dogs by the SD.

A. Yes, I have just said that. Before this contribution of the 6th of April, I heard nothing about the whole matter, but only on the 10th of May did it come to our knowledge, and then the Wehrmachtsfuehrungsstab issued this note. The whole investigation into these events was made by the Counter-Intelligence, the office of Canaris, together with its Security Police; it was not the "SD"; that is wrong; it was the Security Police.

Unfortunately I did not know of these details; the Counter-Intelligence knew them. I was concerned with the whole question only because I had to issue the communique, otherwise I would never have dealt with the Commando Order; it happened accidentally.

Q. Now I just want to show you one more instance. It is Document 2610-PS.

MR. ROBERTS: It is, my Lord, in small Document Book 7A, Page 23, the German small book, Page 41.


Q. Now, I want you to notice, witness, this is the only document which I rely on, which is not one of your own captured contemporaneous German documents. This is a report from the Judge Advocate General's Department, United States Army. It concerns fifteen United States personnel who were shot under this order. If you look at the second page:

"On the night Of 22nd March, 1944, two officers and thirteen enlisted men of the Special Reconnaissance Battalion of the Army of the United States disembarked from some United States Navy boats and landed on the Italian coast near Stazione di Framura. All were members of the United States Army and were in the military service of the United States. When they landed they were all properly dressed in the field uniform, they had no civilian clothes. Their mission was to demolish a railroad tunnel on the main line between La Spezia and Genoa. That rail line was used to supply the German Forces on the Cassino and Anzio Beachhead fronts."
That was a good military target, that tunnel, was it not?

A. Yes, a military target, absolutely.

Q. And all fifteen men were shot because of the order that you circulated.

A. I did not understand. The order which - which I circulated; yes.

Q. . which you circulated on 19th of October. You circulated a supplementary order to the Fuehrer Order, the last paragraph of which, I think, disgusted you. That is Document 503-PS.

[Page 410]

A. It would be more correct to say, "which you had to circulate."

Q. I'll take that question up in a moment. I do not agree. I must not argue with you, but I must put some questions.

General Dostler, who ordered that shooting of those men, he himself, you see, was also shot by sentence of this court-martial.

I am going to turn now from the Commando Order and

A. (Interposing): May I say something else about this document?

Q. Yes, anything you like.

A. This incident never came to my knowledge; at least, I have no recollection of it. As far as I know, it never appeared in the Wehrmacht communique, because General Dostler did not report the incident to his Commanding Officer Kesselring, who might have been able to take, and might have taken, a different course in this affair.

Q. Why do you say that you had to circulate this order? No man can compel another to circulate an order for murder.

A. I have explained at length that this order could not simply be interpreted as an order to murder, but that very serious and justified doubts and considerations could arise with regard to International Law, and with regard to the right or wrong of this order. In any case, you should have complete appreciation of such a delicate situation, because even now, in my position here, I cannot say or do as I like, and that exactly is what happened to me during these last five and a half years.

Q. You could have refused. You could have said, and the other generals could have said, could you not: "We are all honourable soldiers. We will not publish and issue those orders."

A. Certainly under other circumstances it might have been possible, firstly, if at the time I had not had that conflict with the Fuehrer, and secondly, if the British Ministry of War had made my task a little easier. However, these events and the statement made by the British on the 2nd of September put the Fuehrer into a rage against which I was powerless. As to how much I tried to resist, that document itself is the best proof, because the threat of punishment and the detailed justification were directed against me personally.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, would that be a convenient time to break off?

(A recess was taken.)


Q. I want to ask you a few questions about the deportation of the Jews from Denmark. Will you look, please, at a new document, D-547, which I offer as Exhibit GB 488.

Now, that is to the OKW Operational Staff from the Commander, Denmark, dated 20th September, 1943. That is before the teletype, which has been put in, two days before:

"The Fuehrer has agreed in principle with Best's telegram that the Jewish question in Denmark be solved very soon by deportation.

Execution of this measure should take place while the state of martial law still exists. It is not certain if sufficient police forces can be provided for the arrest of the Jews and their families, about 6,000 persons, most of whom live in Copenhagen. The Army would be heavily burdened.

I believe that the results of the deportation will be serious.

The armament industry deliveries will be prejudiced. Considerable disturbances will have to be reckoned with." And you made a note on the back of it: "I know nothing of this. If a political measure is to be carried out by the Commander, Denmark, the OKW must be notified by the Foreign Office."

Is that right?

A. Yes. - I would not have recalled this document, but I certainly wrote the note. It proves what I did not remember until now, that obviously this question

[Page 411]

had been discussed in Denmark some days before and that the Commander in Denmark had been making objections. Consequently I wrote, "I know nothing of this. This is a political measure, and if a political measure is to be carried out by the Commander, Denmark, the OKW must be notified by the Foreign Office."

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