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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Forty-Ninth Day: Friday, 7th June, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[Page 16]

THE WITNESS [ALFRED JODL]: May I ask the Tribunal for permission to make a correction in my objection to this document?

THE PRESIDENT: Which document are you speaking of?


THE PRESIDENT: What do you want to say about it?

[Page 17]

THE WITNESS: I previously described that document as nonsensical because, at the first moment, I regarded it as a German order. In the meantime I have ascertained that it is obviously a Croatian order, because it is addressed to three Ustaschi battalions. [NB. Ustaschi i.e. Croatian anti-Jewish, anti-Communist movement.] In this Croatian order the Croatian commander of this mountain regiment tells his troops something which he had apparently received in the way of orders from the 4th German Mountain Division, regarding the treatment of prisoners. He, in turn, traces it back to an order from Keitel, which, however, is misrepresented, and which, if it were correct, ought to be handed to the defence counsel for Field Marshal Keitel, because it is the best example of the attitude toward the guerrillas in Yugoslavia in keeping with international law; that is, if it is correct.

Therefore it is not a German order; it is apparently a draft or a translation of a Croatian order of the 4th Mountain Regiment. But what the 4th Croatian Regiment has to do with the General or the defendant Jodl is a puzzle to me. I do not understand it.

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Colonel Pokrovsky.


Q. I ask you, witness Jodl, whether you knew of such a directive by Keitel to the effect that divisional commanders or commanders of higher rank were entitled to issue orders that no prisoners should be taken? Do you know of such a directive?

A. No, it is not known to me, and it is not certain that the order was issued in that way. However, in certain cases it is permissible under international law.

Q. I have no further questions to ask in connection with these documents. The defence counsel will obviously ask some questions when the original document is submitted to the Tribunal.

I shall now proceed to another group of questions. If I am not mistaken, you confirmed the authenticity of your so-called notes for "Plan Grun" where it dealt with the organization for the creation of an incident on the borders of Czechoslovakia. It is stated quite clearly there that the organization of this incident was to be entrusted to the Abwehr (Counter Intelligence). Have I interpreted the idea of your notes correctly?

A. No. The translation as it came over to me is completely distorted. But there has been a full discussion about that too.

Q. To facilitate the task of the interpreters, I shall simplify the question. You, I believe, confirmed the authenticity of this document dealing with the incident and the organization of the incident. This is defence Document Jodl 14.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it has come through properly.

THE WITNESS: No. It did not make any sense to me at all.


Q. All right. I shall repeat it. Do I clearly understand that you do not contest the authenticity of Document Jodl 14?

A. If that is the letter from me to Major Schmundt, then that is an absolutely genuine document which I wrote myself.

Q. To elucidate this I should like to ask you one question: Do you confirm that the provocation which you call the "organization of an incident" had two objects in view; first, to give a pretext for an attack against Czechoslovakia; and secondly - to use your own terminology, which we heard here on 4th June - the aim would be worded as follows: "I shall shift the blame for the war on to somebody else's shoulders"? Had you these two objects in view when you proposed to organize an incident? Do you understand my question?

A. I understood roughly what you said.

Q. Can you give an answer?

A. I can repeat the answer I gave yesterday.

Q. You confirm this?

[Page 18]

A. My testimony of yesterday? Yes, of course. I still maintain today something which I said yesterday.

Q. Very well. I would like you to tell the Tribunal everything you know about the supplying of weapons to the Sudeten Germans forming the Henlein Corps; which you mentioned to the Tribunal in passing. You stated that this Corps contained a certain number of officers. Do you remember?

A. Yes, I remember.

Q. In order to help you, I will show you a document - it is the testimony of Karl Hermann Frank. He declares in this testimony that the Henlein Corps received a certain quantity of weapons. Do you know anything about this?

A. I only know of weapons supplied to the Henlein Free Corps at the time when it was being formed on German territory. Whether arms had been previously smuggled into Czechoslovakia for that Sudeten German group, or how they were brought in, is something which I know nothing about. The Armed Forces were never in any way concerned with that, just as later on they were never concerned with the Henlein Free Corps.

Q. Do you know what kind of weapons were sent? Were they of German origin or not?

A. The fact that arms were taken into Czechoslovakia is something I know absolutely nothing about. I was not a "gun-runner"; I was a General Staff officer.

Q. That is why I am asking you, since you have said that you received reports on the arming of the Henlein Free Corps when it arrived on German territory That is why I asked you, as an officer of the General Staff. Were these weapons of German origin or not? You must know that.

A. Henlein's Free Corps, which was formed near Hof and in the district to the North on 17th September, received in my opinion former Austrian, or even German arms; I think they were Austrian weapons, but I do not know that for certain.

Q. Then we can ignore that. We only need definite information and definite facts. You will now be handed a photostatic copy of file "Gruen" and you will look at the passage which has been marked. The marked passage says:

"For the success of the operation, the penetration into Sudeten Germany with parachute troops will be of great value."
The defendant Keitel, on 6th April, 1946, when questioned regarding this part of the document, said that it is precisely you who could give the requisite explanations with regard to this document.

A. With reference to this paragraph I have to say that in the preparation for a possible war there was a code word for the Army to the effect that fortifications would have to be penetrated quickly, or would have to be opened up from the rear, and that for success of this joint action the co-operation of air-borne troops together with the border population and the Sudeten Germans who deserted to us might be of value. For, of course, it was a fact, that among the Germans who had been drafted into the ranks of the Czechoslovakian Army, and who numbered about 100,000, not one would have turned his weapon upon us, but would have deserted on the spot. They wrote that to me personally while wearing Czech uniform. These Germans would have deserted on the spot. That, of course, we expected and took it into account in our military calculations.

Q. I am afraid you have not understood me quite correctly, or did not wish to understand the question which I put to you. I, defendant Jodl, am interested in something else: do you confirm the fact that prior to the attack on Czechoslovakia you had planned diversionary work on the territory of Czechoslovakia proper? That is what I am interested in. Yes or no?

A. Firstly, there was no attack upon Czechoslovakia at all; that is a historical untruth. Secondly, this was General Staff work, which was prepared for the possibility of a war, and there is nothing else to be said about that.

[Page 19]

THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to the question. The question was whether you planned before the war, or the possible war, diversionary activity in Czechoslovakia. Did you plan that? Can you answer that?

THE WITNESS: No, I did not. You will have to ask Admiral Canaris about that. Such matters were not in my jurisdiction.


Q. Keitel advised us to ask you, and you advise us to question Canaris. Very well, I have another question to ask you. Was the unification of all pro-fascist forces and armed fascist bands in Yugoslavia, which fought against the Allied Bloc, carried out with your knowledge? Or do you know nothing about that?

A. You mean the military organization under Marshal Tito? That is known to me, yes.

Q. No, I am referring to the organization under the direction of the German High Command, of a united front of all pro-fascist bands: of Neditch, Michailovitch and others, financed by Germany, helped by Germany and under the leadership of the German High Command. Do you know anything about that, or do you not?

A. I do not know whether you have in mind the Chetniks. They were under Italian command. Because of this there was always a row between us and the Italians. Then there was the Ustaschi, they were Croatians. But the other pro-fascist organizations are not known to me.

Q. Very well. You will look at Exhibit USSR 288. It has already been submitted to the Tribunal. It is the testimony of Neditch. Two or three sentences from this document have a direct bearing on the question that I have asked. Neditch testified under oath and named those who had helped him to form and to finance his bands. He named the representatives of the German High Command and of the Gestapo who helped him to create his armed forces.

Have you found that?

A. That is right. Neditch formed a Serbian unit. I forgot that before. Neditch had a - what shall I say - a Serbian -

Q. Do you remember it?

A. Yes, Neditch had a small unit. That is right, there were perhaps five to six thousand men. They were Serbs.

Q. Did you finance this undertaking?

A. No. I had no money.

Q. No, I am not speaking of your personal means, but the means of the German Reich.

A. I cannot tell you that. I did not concern myself about money in this war.

Q. Was the German High Command the controlling head of the organization of these bands? Or was it not?

A. No. I did not organize it. The Commander-in-Chief South East probably discussed that with Neditch. But it was Neditch's own private affair if he wished to call on the Serbs to fight.

Q. I do not know whether it was his private business or not. But it is most important to me that you should confirm that these bands actually were created. How Neditch created them does not interest me.

A. I can confirm that. There were about 5,000 to 6,000 men of the Serbian Service.

Q. Very well. You will be shown another report from this group of questions. It is an official report of the Polish Government sent to the Military Tribunal. You will find that it contains some very valuable information about the activities of the Fifth Column. Please turn to the sentence which is marked "B". It is said there:

"In addition to the agents, selected from among the young people and appointed to co-operate with the German population, there also existed a group of leaders and instructors, consisting of officers who had come to Poland, supplied with passports, weeks before the outbreak of hostilities."

[Page 20]

Do you, as the direct leader of the "Abwehr" (Counter Intelligence ) - this section was subordinate to you-know anything about this Fifth Column organization in Poland?

A. There are two small errors you have made, Colonel Pokrovsky. First of all, Counter Intelligence was not responsible to me, but to the Chief of the OKW; and secondly, I stated at length yesterday that I know nothing about any of the: preparations for the Polish campaign either from the point of view of operations or otherwise, because I was Artillery Commander in Vienna and Brunn. What Canaris did at that time with respect to Poland is something I know absolutely nothing about. I am afraid, therefore, I cannot be of any help.

Q. Let us proceed to the next group of questions. You were examined on the 8th November by the Soviet Prosecution and you were asked whether Germany was pursuing a predatory policy when attacking the Soviet Union. Do you remember being asked this question?

A. I remember very well. Yes.

Q. You will now be handed a copy of your answer. You replied: "I admit that the question of the expansion of Germany's 'Lebensraum' and the utilization of Russian economy for Germany's needs, did play a certain part, but it was not the basic reason for the attack on the Soviet Union." Do you remember answering in this sense?

A. It is possible. I did not sign it. At any rate, I said it was not the chief cause.

Q. You also said in the same answer: "It was never our intention constantly to enlarge our 'Lebensraum' and thereby acquire new enemies." It appears that you do remember that?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Very well. Perhaps you will now recall that the witness Ohlendorf testified before the Tribunal that prior to the outbreak of hostilities against the Soviet Union, Himmler, in his speech, had outlined a programme for the annihilation, in the East, of 10,000,000 Slavs and Jews?

A. I recollect having heard that testimony in this courtroom, yes.

Q. In the light of this, in the light of Ohlendorf's testimony, would you not like to answer more precisely to the question whether the war against the Soviet Union was waged with a predatory purpose, with the purpose of seizing territory, annihilating the population and then of transforming the land thus freed, to quote Hitler's own words: "Into a garden of Paradise for the Germans"? Do not you think that is exactly what did happen?

A. What the Fuehrer might have wanted to create later on I do not know, but the military and strategic reasons which he gave us, and which were definitely confirmed by the many reports received, I explained yesterday in great detail. The main reason was the feeling of being under a tremendous threat of an attack by Russia. That was the decisive point.

Q. Very well. You will now be handed Document 57-S. It has already been submitted to the Tribunal, my Lord. On the evening of 5th April, 1946, this document was put to the defendant Keitel as Exhibit USSR 336. I must ask you to turn to sub-paragraph 4 of this document and to sub-paragraph 7, for Keitel stated that you could give far more detailed explanations about these documents. Sub-paragraph 4 referred to the active participation of Spain in the seizure of Gibraltar as far back as 1941. Tell us, how was this active participation to be expressed? Have you found this passage in the document?

A. Yes, I already know the document. But nobody signed it. First of all, I have to give an explanation of what this document is, so that it is not mistaken for an order.

Q. But I do not believe I ever said that it was an order.

A. That is all right, because it is not an order. I cannot say what the people who drew up this document had in mind. It was obviously a draft which the General Staff officers, presumably, from my department, together with the

[Page 21]

Operations expert of the Navy prepared in my office and which they submitted to the Naval Staff for their perusal, according to the principle that German Staff -officers must think and plan a long time ahead. They had these personal ideas and put them down on paper without my ever having seen them.

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