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 8 of 10)

[DR. EXNER continues his redirect examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 28]

Q. Very well. The British Prosecutor has submitted a new document, 754-PS, dealing with the destructions during the retreat in Norway. Why in this purely military Fuehrer Decree did you write: " ... The Fuehrer has agreed to the proposals of the Reich Ministry for the occupied Norwegian areas, and has given his orders accordingly ..." and so on? Why did you deliberately put in "to the proposals," and so forth?

A. In issuing orders I had a kind of secret code for the commanders-in-chief. If an order was the result of an agreement between the OKW and the Fuehrer then I started with the words "The Fuehrer has decreed ...."

If a decree originated from the Fuehrer himself, I started the decree with a preamble which gave the Fuehrer's reasons and the arguments in favour. Then, after the preamble, I wrote "The Fuehrer therefore, has decreed."

If the Fuehrer brought out a decree on the proposal of a non-military agency, then, as a matter of basic principle, I added, "The Fuehrer on the proposal of this or that civil authority, has decided ..." In this way the commanders-in-chief knew what it was all about.

[Page 29]

Q. Did you draft this decree - number 754 - without objection or resistance?

A. This decree originated in much the same manner as the commando decree. One of the Fuehrer's civilian adjutants advised me that Terboven wished to speak to the Fuehrer. He had had trouble with the Wehrmacht in Norway because of the evacuation of the civilian population from Northern Norway. The civilian adjutant said he wanted to advise me first, before he established connections with Terboven by telephone. Thereupon I at once had inquiries made, through my staff, from the Commander-in-Chief in Finland. I was told that the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht in Norway had rejected Terboven's proposals and did not consider them possible on such a large scale. In the meantime Terboven had spoken with the Fuehrer. I then remonstrated with the Fuehrer and told him that, in the first place, the decree and Terboven's intention were not practicable on such a scale; and secondly, that there was no necessity for it on such a scale. I said that it would be better to leave it to the discretion of General Rendolic to decide what he wanted or had to destroy for military reasons. The Fuehrer however, incited by Terboven, insisted on the decree being issued on the grounds of these arguments, which I had to set down. But it was certainly not carried out to this extent. This is shown by the report of the Norwegian Government, and it can also be seen from personal discussions between myself and my brother.

Q. Now let us turn to something else. When there were drafts and proposals to be submitted to the Fuehrer, you often voiced objections and presented arguments. It seems remarkable that when matters contrary to international law were contemplated you raised no objections on the grounds of international law or on moral grounds, but you mostly voiced objections of a practical nature or based on considerations of opportunity. Can you tell us briefly why you acted in this manner?

A. I already told you that when I gave my reasons for the formulation of the proposal not to renounce the Geneva Convention.

Q. Namely?

A. This form had to be chosen in order to meet with any success with the Fuehrer.

Q. Yes, that is sufficient. Now, you said yesterday

MR. ROBERTS: Your Lordship, I object to this merely in the interest of time, because it is exactly the same evidence which was given yesterday, and, in my submission, it is pure repetition.


Q. This discussion at Reichenhall was mentioned today. Please tell us briefly how it came about that you made such statements in Reichenhall or how such directives as you described today were decided upon in Reichenhall?

A. I have already testified about the conversation with the Fuehrer.

Q. Yes, it was only a question of provisions -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, the defendant has just told us that he has given evidence about this already.

DR. EXNER: Yes, about the conversation which preceded it but you did not testify about the actual conversation at Reichenhall.

A. No, I have not yet spoken of the actual conversation at Reichenhall.

Q. Please be brief.

A. In regard to this conversation at Reichenhall - that is, the orientation of the three officers of my staff - Warlimont described something in quite a different way to me. He is confusing here the earlier events with the later ones, which is not surprising, because, from the 20th of July until the time he was arrested, he was ill at home with severe concussion of the brain and complete loss of memory. From that date, up to the time he was captured, he was no longer fit for service. That my description is the right one may be readily seen from the notes in the

[Page 30]

war diary of the Naval War Staff. It is stated there that these divisions would be transferred to the East only, to prevent Russia from taking the Roumanian oil fields.

DR. EXNER: I should like to correct one point, which, it seems to me, was presented erroneously by the Soviet Prosecutor. He said that Goering and Keitel did not consider the war against Russia to be a preventive war. On Page 135, Part 9, it is shown that Goering too considered the war to be a preventive one, and that he only differed in opinion from the Fuehrer in so far as he would have chosen a different time for this preventive war. Keitel was essentially of the same opinion.

Furthermore, the Soviet Prosecutor submitted Document 683-PS. I do not know what exhibit number he gave. I cannot quite see how this document is to ,be connected with Jodl, and I have the idea that may be a matter of signature, for the document is signed "Jodl". But, that is someone quite different from the defendant Jodl. I just wanted to draw attention to this point. Perhaps there is simply a mistake in the names.

Further, the prosecution said that the defendant made a remark about partisans being hanged upside-down, and so on.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner, you have simply made a statement, which you are not entitled to do, about this document. If you want to prove it by evidence you should ask the witness about it. You have told us that this document has nothing to do with Jodl, and that the signature on it is that of somebody else. Why did you not ask the witness?

I have been told just now that it has already been proved that it is not Jodl's document.

DR. EXNER: The translations this morning were bad; I do not remember having heard that. I do not know if it is permissible for me now in this connection to read something from a questionnaire? It is only one question in connection with this remark about the hanging of prisoners, and so on. Is that permissible?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, if it arises out of the cross-examination.

DR. EXNER: Yes. The Soviet Prosecutor brought up the question of whether the defendant made this remark during the discussions about the prisoners, in connection with the guerrilla order - that members of guerrilla bands could be quartered during the fight.

He says:

"Question: Is it true or not . . .?"
Oh, yes, I must say that is my document, AJ 7, Page 189 of Volume 2 of my Document Book. It is a questionnaire of General Buhle, which was taken in America.

Then it says:

"Question: According to a stenographic transcript, you also took part in a report on the military situation on the evening of 1st December, 1942, which led to a long discussion between the Fuehrer and Jodl as to the suppressing of the partisans in the East. Is that correct?"

"Answer: I took part in this discussion but I no longer remember the exact date."

THE PRESIDENT: What page did you say, Dr. Exner?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, it is the third page of the third book, or the third document in the third book.

DR. EXNER: It is Page 189. I have just read Question 4. Now I come to Question 5:

"Question: Is it or is it not correct that on this occasion Jodl asked the Fuehrer to approve the directive which had been drawn up in his office relative to partisan warfare?

"Answer: That is correct.

[Page 31]

"Question 6: Is it or is it not correct that in this draft the burning of villages was expressly prohibited? "Question 7: Is it or is it not correct that the Fuehrer wants to have this prohibition rescinded?

"Answer: Since I never had the draft of the directive in my hands, I do not know for certain if the burning of villages was expressly prohibited. However, this may be assumed, because I remember that the Fuehrer protested against individual orders of the directive and demanded the burning down of villages.

"Question 8: Is it or is it not correct that the Fuehrer also objected to the draft because he did not want any restrictions to be placed on soldiers who were directly engaged in combating the partisans? According to the minutes Jodl stated in reply:

"'There is no question of that. During the fighting they can do whatever they like, they can hang them, hang them upside-down or quarter them, it says nothing about that. The only limitation applies to reprisals after the fighting in those areas in which the partisans were active ....'

"Answer: It is correct that the Fuehrer had fundamental objections to these restrictions. Jodl's remark is correct as far as its contents are concerned. I can no longer recall his exact words.

"Question 9: Is it or is it not correct that following this remark all those present (Fuehrer Keitel, Kranke) and you yourself laughed and the Fuehrer abandoned his standpoint?

"Answer: It is probable that all of us laughed on account of Jodl's remark. Whether after this the Fuehrer really abandoned his standpoint I do not know for certain. However, it seems probable to me.

"Question 10: Then how were the expressions 'hang, hang upside-down, quarter' interpreted?

"Answer: The expressions 'hang, hang upside-down, quarter' could in this connection only be interpreted as being ironical and be understood to mean that in accordance with the directive no further restrictions were to be placed on the soldiers in combat.

"Question 11: Could you, perhaps say something about Jodl's fundamental attitude towards the obligation of the Wehrmacht to observe the provisions of international law in wartime?

"Answer: I do not know Jodl's fundamental attitude. I only know that Keitel, who was Jodl's and my own immediate superior, always endeavoured to observe the provisions of international law.

"Question 13: Did you ever have the experience yourself that Jodl urged the Fuehrer to issue an order which violated international law?"

THE PRESIDENT: None of that last part arises out of the cross-examination.


Q. Did you have anything to do with prisoners of war?

A. I had nothing at all to do with prisoners of war. It was the general Wehrmacht office which dealt with them.

Q. Now, one last question.

It is alleged by the prosecution and during yesterday's examination it was reaffirmed that there was or had been a conspiracy between political and military leaders for the waging of aggressive wars, and that you were a member of that conspiracy. Can you say anything else about that before we finish?

A. There was no conspiracy -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Exner, the Tribunal does not think that that really arises out of the cross-examination. Anyhow, he has said it already; he said that he was not a member of a conspiracy. There is no use repeating his evidence.

[Page 32]

DR. EXNER: It was again said yesterday that there was a very close connection with the Party and the members of the Party, and, of course, that is connected with the conspiracy. That is why I should have thought the question permissible.

THE PRESIDENT: He has said already that he was not a member of the conspiracy.

DR. EXNER: In that case, I have no further questions.

DR. LATERNSER: (counsel for the General Staff and the OKW): Mr. President, I merely wish to join in the objection which Dr. Nelte has raised against the written statement of Lieutenant-General Oesterreich. I refer to the reasons which he has given. That is all.

BY THE TRIBUNAL (Justice Biddle):

Q. Defendant Jodl, you spoke, I think it was the day before yesterday, about the number of SS divisions at the end of the war. Do you remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. I think you said there were thirty-five at the end of the war: Is that right about thirty-five?

A. If I remember rightly, I said between thirty-five and thirty-eight.

Q. Right. Now, what I want to be clear about is this. You were referring only to Waffen SS divisions, were you not? Only the Waffen SS?

A. Yes, only the Waffen SS .... It is true they were -

Q. Were they completely co-ordinated into the Army and under the command of the army?

A. For tactical operations they came under the army commanders, but not for discipline. As regards the latter their superior was, and remained, Himmler, even when they were fighting.

Q. Was discipline the only thing that brought them under Himmler's jurisdiction?

A. He was also looked upon as their commander-in-chief for all practical purposes. This can be seen from the fact that the condition of the divisions, their equipment, and their losses, were frequently or almost exclusively reported to the Fuehrer by Himmler himself.

Q. When were they co-ordinated into the Army? When? What year?

A. They were co-ordinated into the Army at the beginning of the war, at the moment when the Polish campaign began.

Q. Now, only one other question, about Russia, I want to see if I understood your point of view clearly. You feared an invasion of Germany by Russia; is that right?

A. I expected at a certain moment, either political blackmail on the strength of the large concentration of troops, or an attack.

Q. Now, please, defendant, I asked you if you did not fear an attack by Russia. You did at one time, did you not?

A. Yes, I was afraid of that.

Q. All right. When was that? When?

A. It began through -

Q. (interposing). When did you fear it? When did you first fear that attack?

A. I had that fear for the first time during the summer of 1940, it arose from the first talks with the Fuehrer at the Berghof on the 29th of July.

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