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 9 of 10)

[Justice Biddle continues his examination of ALFRED JODL]

[Page 32]

Q. Then from the military point of view, from that moment on, it was necessary for you to attack first, was it not?

A. After the political clarification, as up to then it had only been a conjecture.

Q. How could you afford to wait for the political clarifying work if you were afraid of an immediate attack?

A. For that reason we increased our defensive measures to begin with, until the spring of 1941. Up to then, we only took measures for defence. It was not until February, 1941, that we began concentrating troops for an attack.

[Page 33]

Q. Now, then, just one other question. I am not at all clear on this. During that period, did you then advise that Germany attack first, or did you advise that Germany should not attack? What was your advice? You saw this danger; what did you do about it?

A. That problem, too, like most of the others, was the subject of a written statement I made to the Fuehrer in which I drew his attention to the tremendous military effects of such a decision. One knew of course how the campaign would begin but no human being could imagine how it would end -

Q. We have heard all that. I did not want to go into that. What I wanted to get at was this: You were afraid that Russia was going to attack. If that was true, why did you not advise Germany to attack at once? You were afraid Russia would attack, and yet you say you advised against moving into Russia. I do not understand.

A. That is not the case. I did not advise against marching into Russia; I merely said that if there were no other possibility, and if there was really no political way of avoiding the danger, then I, too, could only see the possibility of a preventive attack.

JUSTICE BIDDLE: That is all. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant can return to the dock.

(The defendant left the witness stand.)


DR. EXNER: I have four witnesses to bring before the Tribunal, but I should like to begin by making a request. In consideration of my lame leg may I leave it to my colleague Jahrreiss to question the witnesses?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly, Dr. Exner.

Dr. Exner, the Tribunal wishes me to say that we allow another counsel to examine the witnesses as an exception to our general rule that only one counsel may appear in court, and in the presentation of the case on behalf of the defendant. We will make this exception in your favour.

DR . JAHRREISS (for the defendant Jodl): In that case, with the permission of the Tribunal, I will call the first witness, General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar Brandenfels.

GENERAL HORST FREIHERR VON BUTTLAR BRANDENFELS, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your name, please?

A. Horst Freiherr von Buttlar Brandenfels.

Q. Will you repeat the 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.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

BY DR. HERMAN JAHRREISS (Counsel for defendant Jodl):

Q. Witness, were you in the Armed Forces Operations Staff during the war?

A. Yes.

Q. During what period?

A. I was a member of the Armed Forces Operations Staff from 1st January, 1942, until 15th November, 1944.

Q. What was your position on the Staff?

A. I was First General Staff Officer of the Army, and in my capacity as Department Chief I was in charge of the Operations Department of the Army.

Q. I am going to have a document shown you, 823-PS, Exhibit RF-359. It is in Document Book Jodl, second volume, Page 158. Will you please be good enough to have a look at it.

A. Do you want me to read the whole document?

[Page 34]

I want you to glance through it. Who is the author of the document?

A. It is written by the Armed Forces Operations Staff, Department Administration Group.

Q. By whom is it signed?

A. It is signed by me.

Q. By you. To what extent is that document connected with the defendant Jodl?

A. The document has nothing at all to do with the defendant Jodl.

Q. Then, please will you look at the right hand top corner on the first page by the signatures, there is an initial which can be read as a "J"?

A. That must be a mistake. The initial is exactly the same as the one which appears below in the signature to the written note. And this signature is that of the Chief of the Quartermaster Department, Colonel Polleck.

Q. Colonel Polleck.

A. If you will look at Page 2, you will see two signatures at the bottom. The first must be that of the expert. I cannot recognize it for certain. I take it for the signature of the Administrative Counsellor Niehmenst.

Q. You mean the initial behind which there are the numbers 4 or 9 for the date?

A. I mean the top one.

Q. The top one - ?

A. The top one. The bottom initial is the signature, the initials of Colonel Polleck. When the document had been submitted to the Chief of the OKW it was returned to me. Then I initialled it again at the top, and marked it for the Quartermaster's Department, that is the Q" underlined at the top. Then it was again initialled by the "Q" chief, and after that it is marked "Administrative Group" and initialled again by the man who dealt with it. In addition I should like to point out that all this relates to prisoners of war, and that was a field of work with which, actually, Jodl had nothing to do. In the Quartermaster and Organisational Branches of the Armed Forces Operations Staff we had several fields of work, which, although they came from his staff -

Q. Just a minute, witness. I do not mind you giving us a lecture, but I should like to get to the point. There are remarks in the margin of this document, do you see them?

A. Yes.

Q. Is any one of them written by Jodl?

A. No, they are initialled with "K" for Field-Marshal Keitel.

Q. But the French Prosecution asserts that these are comments made by Jodl on the prisoner-of-war question, and if I understand you correctly, you mean to say that this was not possible for reasons of competency?

A. Apart from the fact that there is not a mark on the document made by Jodl, it is unlikely that Jodl had any knowledge of the affair at all, because of the way in which it had to be treated.

Q. But is it not correct, witness, that departments "Q" came under Jodl?

A. Actually, it is correct, but in "Q" department, just as in "Org." department, there were several fields of work which the General had given up and which were dealt with either directly by the head of the department or through the deputy chief, with the chief of the OKW.

Q. You say that department was competent for prisoner-of-war questions, is that true?

A. Among other things it was competent for the question of prisoners of war.

Q. What other work did this department "Q" have?

A. "Q-I" looked after nothing but supplies, and also supervised the provisioning of the various theatres of war which came directly under the OKW; "Q-II" was occupied mainly with military administration, and "Q-III" dealt with general questions, such as the prisoner-of-war system, for example questions concerning international law and so on.

[Page 35]

Q. Then I have just one more question about these organisational matters. Were all the departments of the Armed Forces Operations Staff in the Fuehrer's headquarters?

A. No, for example we had the "Org." department, an organisational department, which was not located at headquarters but in the neighbourhood of Berlin.

Q. If I have understood you correctly, the affairs of department "Q" bypassed Jodl, so to speak, and were dealt with by the chief of OKW?

A. Not in every case, but in a certain number of cases.

Q. At all events the question of prisoners of war?

A. Certainly, the question of prisoners of war.

Q. Thank you. Witness, what position did you have at the beginning of the war?

A. At the beginning of the war I was the Second General Staff Officer in the Central Department of the General Staff of the Army.

Q. Would you speak a little more slowly. And what were your duties there?

A. My department dealt with the filling of positions in the higher command offices for mobilization.

Q. Those of the general staff officers of the OKW too?

A. Yes.

Q. General, do you know who was meant to be Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff in the event of mobilization from October 1st on?

A. Yes, General von Sodenstern was meant to hold this position for the next mobilization year.

Q. Am I to understand that if the war had broken out after 1st October - let us say on the 5th or 6th - then Jodl would not have been Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff at all?

A. I am not sure of the date on which the new mobilization year of 1939 to 1940 began. From that time on -

MR. ROBERTS: I submit this testimony is not relevant to any issues in this case at all, and, though it may be somewhat interesting to hear them, the answers that are given have no relevancy at all.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not quite understand what the relevancy of the evidence at the moment is.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, if the prosecution is right that the defendant Jodl belonged to a group of conspirators aiming at world conquest, and if, as the prosecution says, that group of conspirators obtained use of the German State machine to achieve their aims, then it must be a somewhat peculiar State decree when conspirators are changed periodically. To that extent I believe the case must be presented to the Tribunal for consideration.

THE PRESIDENT: Has he been given the dates of his exchanges, without any cross-examination? He went to Vienna at a certain date, he came back at another date, and we have no challenge of that.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, that is a different question. The defendant Jodl has said that if mobilization was decreed before the 1st of October he was chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff and had to leave Vienna for Berlin. Now the witness says that this was only up to the new mobilization year and that then another chief would have been appointed if the war had broken out fourteen days later. I think -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely that is extraordinarily remote, Dr. Jahrreiss. You show us a matter of surmise about what would have happened if something else would have happened. That does not help us very much.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President, the testimony of the witness is not a mere conjecture. He only said that the person who held this important position was disposed of in a routine manner according to date. He had to prove this.

May I continue, Mr. President?

[Page 36]

THE PRESIDENT: No, in the interest of time and an expeditious trial, the Tribunal rules you may not go into that.


Q. Witness, if I now ask you about a certain field of activity which you just mentioned, it is because I assume that you have a particular expert knowledge of it. Is it true that you were officially connected with the suppression of the partisans?

A. Yes, The chief responsibility for fighting the partisans was turned over to my department towards the end of the summer of 1942, and the tactical basis for partisan warfare was dealt with by my department from that date on.

Q. Are you familiar with the pamphlet on the suppression of partisans issued in May, 1944?

A. Yes, the leaflet was drawn up in my department.

Q. Was that the first one or had there been a previous regulation concerning partisan warfare?

A. Yes. In the autumn of 1942 a short and incomplete directive had been issued on the subject of partisan warfare. At that time we were still comparatively inexperienced, and since partisan fighting had not been anticipated in peace time, we first had to get further experience.

Q. In this connection I am interested particularly in the partisan warfare in the East and South-east, on the subject of which the prosecution has shown that it has very definite ideas. Is it correct to speak of a guerrilla war, as has been done here several times?

A. It is correct. According to the extent and danger which guerrilla fighting assumed, given its limitations as regards time and space.

Q. Does that mean that the characteristics of this fighting went beyond the general conception of the "Franc-Tireur" system?

A. In extent, yes. In the methods, no.

Q. What do you mean by "extent"?

A. I mean by "extent" the dimensions of the area affected by guerrilla fighting.

Q. Was it territorially of an unusual or of a moderate size?

A. The guerrilla fighting was certainly unusual both in its territorial extent and as regards the people who took part in it.

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