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 Fiftieth Day: Saturday, 8th June, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[DR. JAHRREISS continues his direct examination of Percy Ernst Schramm]

[Page 57]

Q. Professor Schramm, might I ask you to speak just a little more slowly?

This order - the contents of which you have just described to us, and by means of which you have established the date of the final and most stringent formulation - did this order apply to a man like General Jodl?

A. If it applied to the Army Commanders, it naturally applied all the more to General Jodl.

Q. I now turn to another question.

General Jodl has been described as a political general. You are a civilian, and, what is more, a professor; I assume, therefore, that you are qualified to express your views on that point and to supply the Tribunal with facts which will permit it to form its decision. Can you give us facts which would of necessity form a basis for judgement for or against?

A. If the question aims at establishing whether or not the General was a Party general, then I say most emphatically "No". It was utterly immaterial to the General whether the members of his staff were Party members or not. Although I was on that staff for two years, I personally could not tell you which of the officers were Party members. That was completely unimportant. As to whether the General exercised political influence, I must again draw your attention to the tremendous amount of work for which he was responsible. He would not have had time for political affairs, and, with regard to my documents, I can only tell you that I do not remember any papers from which such a conclusion might be drawn. What the General committed to paper - and these papers, as I have seen myself, run into thousands - was always strictly confined to military matters and in no way encroached upon the sphere of politics. To be more exact, I do not remember in the course of those two years ever seeing in my files any document of a political nature inspired by the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff or written by himself.

Q. Yes; but perhaps he was fond of the limelight and had great ambitions; and perhaps outside the files -

A. I can answer that question with a definite "No", because I know from his associates, and from conversations with him, that all the diplomatic procedure was repugnant to him, and that he disliked it because it had nothing to do with soldiers. I did not notice any ambition, for if the General had been ambitious, he certainly had chosen the least suitable position for realising his ambitions - a position in which he was exposed to criticism from those under him, from people who did not know the underlying reasons. From that time on he was criticized a good deal; and he did not receive from higher quarters the recognition he deserved. I always thought it peculiar and even grotesque, that the General, at the time of Adolf Hitler's death, had scarcely more German war decorations than I had myself, a mere major in the reserve. I did not see whether he had foreign decorations. I never saw him wearing a foreign order. At any rate, there were no indications of ambition or of political aspirations.

[Page 58]

Q. During this trial there has been frequent mention of a speech made by the General during the winter of 1943-1944, which was addressed to the Gauleiter. I do not know whether you know anything about that speech.

A. Yes, I remember it exactly.

Q. What do you remember exactly?

A. First of all, let me tell you that the reason why I remember it exactly is because I received the material on which the speech had been based; after it was no longer needed, it was given to me for my war diary.

It was a speech for which material was collected in the various departments. For this purpose, an enormous map was needed, which was difficult to prepare because it was larger than the offices in which we were working. The speech was made at this annual meeting in Munich on 8th or 9th November.

The particular reason for the General to make a speech outside the usual military circle was the following:

Italy's dropping out of the war in September 1943 had led to a break in the Southern front extending from Marseilles to Athens - a distance of 4,000 km. We had succeeded in filling the gap again, but a good deal of uneasiness was felt by all those who understood the situation.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I object to long reasons being given for the speech being made. The speech is in evidence, and, in my submission, the reasons for the speech are entirely immaterial.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal upholds the objection.


Q. Witness, please go on telling us about the attack.

A. This was the one reason -

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, I said that the Tribunal upheld Mr. Roberts' objection as to what the witness must say. That's a mistranslation.

DR. JAHRREISS: It was a misunderstanding. I am so sorry. It was wrongly translated.


Q. Witness, I want to show you a document which was submitted to the Tribunal by the prosecution two days ago, PS-1808.

Perhaps you will just look through the whole of the document first.

(The witness is handed the document.)

THE PRESIDENT: Is it among the Jodl documents?

DR. JAHRREISS: No; it is a document which the prosecution submitted in the course of the cross-examination two days ago.

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, that document was handed up separately by me during the cross-examination, and I am afraid it is not in the book. It is one of those documents which received a new GB number, and was handed up loose towards the end of the cross-examination, 1808-PS.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you. May I go on?

THE PRESIDENT: Go on, Dr. Jahrreiss.


O. Witness, does your signature appear at the foot of the second last page, on the right?

A. Yes. This is a file which I started after the attempt of 20th July, 1944, in order to have a permanent record of what was being done in the Operations Staff. I want to add in this connection that the Operations Staff was in no way involved in that conspiracy. This copy presumably comes from the war archives. The signature and the corrections are partly mine, and partly those of my clerk.

Q. I want to draw your attention to number five in this file of documents.

A. Yes.

[Page 59]

Q. It is dated 25th July. Have you got it?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you draw it up?

A. Yes, I drew it up myself.

Q. Please, will you tell us what the basis for this work of yours was?

A. The officers of the staff were called to our mess hall at short notice. We were told that the General wanted to address his staff. As not all the officers were able to attend, I was ordered to take notes, so that the other officers could be informed of what the General had said. I remember clearly that I noted down a few heads, still standing; so this is not a shorthand record; I cannot write shorthand. There was no time to find a stenographer.

Q. Well, did you base this on your notes?

A. Yes. Afterwards, probably on the following day, I reconstructed the General's speech as far as possible from my notes. I am not certain, of course, if all the details are quite accurate, because the notes which I had taken standing up were much too sketchy for that, and, of course, I am particularly doubtful about the accuracy of the actual words spoken. I now see that there are four and a half pages. The speech was, of course, very much longer than that. It is therefore a condensed account.

Q. A condensed account?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I should like to know more about the circumstances in which the General made that speech; the actual words of which we do not possess. That was -

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, it is my respectful submission, again in the interests of saving time, to mention that these matters are all very irrelevant. We know that an attempt was made on Hitler's life, and that Jodl addressed his staff. It is my submission that the circumstances are not relevant at all.

DR. JAHRREISS: Mr. President -

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal hopes you'll do it briefly.

DR. JAHRREISS: Yes; thank you.


Q. Witness, please will you be very brief and quote the personal circumstances?

A. The general appeared on the scene with white bandages round his head. We were all most surprised that he should have recovered so quickly from the attempt considering that he had been standing right next to the explosion: I must say that at that time we were deeply impressed by the concentrated energy with which he reappeared before his staff and by his moral attitude to such an attempt.

DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you, Mr. President. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do other defendants' counsel want to ask any questions? (No response.)

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution want to?

MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I have no questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. JAHRREISS: I have no further questions. May I now call the next witness, General Winter?

GENERAL AUGUST WINTER, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. August Winter.

[Page 60]

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.)

THE PRESIDENT: Will you sit down.



Q. Witness, did you take part in the beginning of the Russian campaign?

A. Yes, I took part as the first general staff officer of Field Marshal von Rundstedt's army group.

Q. Witness, may I point out to you that I want you to allow a slight pause after my question and to speak in general more slowly than you have just been doing.

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell me, since you had a very responsible position, what was Hitler's official reason for the German attack on the Soviet Union?

A. The official reason given to me at the time by my Commander-in-Chief was that an attack from Soviet Russia was to be expected shortly and that this was therefore a preventive measure.

Q. And then you were present at the first battles on the frontier, were you not?

A. Yes, as a staff officer.

Q. That was in the south?

A. It was in the Ukraine, Army Group South.

Q. Even after those first battles, you had gained some experiences and formed certain impressions of the enemy, had you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Were they, General, such impressions as to confirm the official reason given, that of a preventive war?

A. It was the universal impression of the Supreme Command of the Army Group, including the Supreme Commander, the Commander-in-Chief, and the operational division under my command, that the reason given for the campaign was the true one. Our own impression at the time was that we had hit on active preparations for an offensive campaign.

Q. But had you any facts on which to base this impression?

A. We had a number of facts which, we thought, confirmed that impression. I will state them briefly. First of all, there was the strength of the troops we were fighting, which, although I cannot give you figures now, was greater than the figures mentioned in our marching orders. Then there was the forced deployment of troops so near the frontier, which was striking; the unusually large proportion of armoured troops, far exceeding anything we had expected; and the deployment of a comparatively strong group opposite the Hungarian border, which we could not explain to ourselves as a defensive force. One point is particularly significant; the fact that during the first week we found that captured enemy staffs were equipped with maps which covered a large area of German or ex-Austrian territory which, again, did not seem to accord with purely defensive considerations. In addition we observed a number of smaller things, not very important in themselves.

Q. Witness, just now you spoke of a thing which, in your opinion, was particularly significant, namely, the finding of these maps which you described a few minutes ago. Why is that particularly significant - more significant than the other things you have mentioned?

A. It is particularly noticeable that the units on the Russian front were equipped with maps covering much more than the area which would normally be included in a defensive reconnaissance area, even allowing for the fact that at the beginning of a campaign such reconnaissance might go beyond the enemy's frontier.

[Page 61]

Q. There has been mentioned in this courtroom the fact that after marching into the Ukraine our troops found themselves faced with exceptional circumstances and difficulties in certain Ukrainian cities. Have you any idea of what I mean?

A. Yes, that is obvious. We encountered an enormous number of these difficulties when we approached the Dnieper. I imagine that you are referring to the matter of remote-controlled explosions or delayed-action explosions which were carried out, as it seemed, on a very large scale in our fighting zone in the Kiev-Karkov-Poltava area. They caused us a great deal of trouble and they forced us to adopt extensive counter-measures at the time.

Q. Do you know whether that applies to Odessa?

A. I heard that things were blown up in Odessa but I cannot give you details.

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