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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd July to 15th July 1946

One Hundred and Seventieth Day: Wednesday, 3rd July, 1946
(Part 2 of 10)

[Page 41]


Now we come to question 10:

"Did the Fuehrer repeatedly order the former Reichsmarschall to divulge the name of the officer of the Luftwaffe who, in May of 1944, protected an Allied airman, who had been shot down in Munich, from being lynched by the population. Is it a fact that, despite repeated inquiries on the part of the Fuehrer the Reichsmarschall gave no instructions to find out the name of this officer and to make it known to the Fuehrer."
I can summarize the answer:

He says he cannot say this from his own experience; it had only been reported to him that an officer of the Luftwaffe and an Ortsgruppenleiter had interfered on behalf of this American crew; that the Ortsgruppenleiter, who was known, was shot on Hitler's order; that Hitler then demanded to have the name of the Luftwaffe officer given to him and that he had not been told the name. He said further that if the Reichsmarschall had actually wanted to find out the name of this Luftwaffe officer, he could easily have done so.

"Question 11: At the end of the war did the Luftwaffe ever receive orders to destroy Dachau with bombs at the approach of the enemy? In particular, was an order to that effect given by the Gauleiter in Munchen under the code word 'Wolke'? Could a Gauleiter give such instructions to the Luftwaffe?"
Here again I can summarize the answer. The witness says:
"I do not recall any order to that effect, and especially he does not know whether the Gauleiter m Munchen gave such an order. The Gauleiter was not competent to give an order of this kind and he does not believe that a senior officer of the Luftwaffe would have been willing to carry out such an order.

Question 12: What do you know about the attitude of the Reichsmarschall and his Luftwaffe to enemy airmen who had been shot down?

Answer: Notwithstanding occasional expressions of displeasure, the attitude of the Reichsmarschall was always correct and chivalrous, which was in line with the Air Force tradition which he learned in the First World War and to which he frequently referred. Of course, in his anxiety about the great difficulties of air defence and pressed by the Fuehrer perhaps on occasion he used harsh words. These words, however, were soon forgotten and I do not know of a single case where the Reichsmarschall followed up these spontaneous utterances by incorrect or harsh measures or orders against members of foreign air forces. The conduct of the entire Luftwaffe was always correct and humane. To fight in a chivalrous manner was a matter of honour with

[Page 42]

the German airmen - to quote only a few examples of many. Even though the enemy aircraft shot at German airmen who were parachuting to earth, and these practices were bitterly resented by our airmen - "
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Doctor Stahmer. Again, what you are now reading is all comment, it is not statement of facts, it is comment and argument.

DR. STAHMER: Now, Mr. President, he is coming to an example in which he reports about those things.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let us come to it.


"The sea rescue service of the Luftwaffe from the Bay of Heligoland through the English Channel as far as Brest, in the Bay of Biscay, in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean, was put into use for the enemy in the same way as for the Germans. The rescue service crews in their aircraft and the rescue service boats made untiring efforts and showed exemplary willingness to sacrifice in going to the rescue of friend and foe in distress."
THE PRESIDENT: But, Dr. Stahmer, these were not particular instances. These were not particular facts; they are just general statements which are really comments and argument about the chivalry of the German Air Force; that is all.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, by this he is trying to prove the chivalry of the German Air Force.

THE PRESIDENT: But he does not prove it by making a general statement.

DR. STAHMER: No. Later on he comes - he will go on to say how many were rescued, how many of those were enemies and how many were their own people. I believe these facts, Mr. President, are important when judging the attitude of the Luftwaffe.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, as I said just now, if you will get down to the facts, if you have got the numbers, well, then, no doubt that will be a matter of fact.


"Of the thousands who were rescued from the sea by the German Luftwaffe Rescue Service the great majority belonged to the enemy-crews of enemy aircraft and ships. Without being able to give exact figures at the moment, I would estimate, according to my memory, that the proportion of enemy rescued was from seventy to eighty per cent."
And he continues:
"If, when we went out to rescue our own people, or to make reconnaissance flights for them, or were engaged on other work, we saw that crews, including enemy crews, were in distress off the enemy coast or beyond the range of our own rescue service, we immediately signalled to the enemy and called upon him to go to the rescue."
Then there are several questions put by the prosecution. The first question is "What had Kaltenbrunner to do with - "

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, it is for the prosecution to read their questions if they want to read them.

DR. STAHMER: I am not interested in these questions, Mr. President.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The prosecution do not want the questions read.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will read them. Do you mean you want to put them in, put them in evidence?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: We will put them in, but we do not want them read.


[Page 43]

DR. STAHMER: I have already stated that this is Exhibit Goering 55. Then I have one more interrogatory, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, you realize that the Tribunal proposes to read all the evidence and therefore these interrogatories will be read and considered even though they are not read now in open court. You have offered them in evidence so the Tribunal will be grateful if you will cut short the reading of these affidavits and interrogatories as far as possible.

DR. STAHMER: I shall proceed accordingly, Mr. President. Now, we turn to the interrogatory of Hammerstein which I shall submit as Exhibit Goering 52. Mr. President, this interrogatory is not at my disposal in the original. I can only submit a certified copy. It has been submitted to the prosecution; it has been translated but it cannot be found at the moment. But I assume I shall find the original very soon, I have advised Sir David of this. The British prosecution has already had it and this document has been translated.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean the original has been mislaid or something.

DR. STAHMER: It has been mislaid, Mr. President, and I am unable to find it at the moment. Anyhow, it has been submitted.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, there is no objection to this affidavit. I have a copy in front of me. It is general in its terms and if I may say so, I thought it would serve its purpose admirably if Dr. Stahmer put it in and the Tribunal consider it in due course.


DR. STAHMER: The original will be submitted in the next few days. It is an interrogatory of the Judge Advocate of the Air Force, Dr. von Hammerstein. For several years he was the Supreme Judge of the Air Force and in that capacity he reported once a month to the defendant Goering. Thus he was in a position to judge the attitude of Goering as Supreme Law Lord and he now describes in detail how seriously the defendant Goering took his duties as Supreme Law Lord. He further describes how the Reichsmarschall Goering reserved to himself the right to make decisions in all the more important matters; how he took great care in dealing with all matters, how he insisted that the soldiers under his command must maintain a strict discipline and saw to it that the soldiers under him were punished most severely if they committed illegal acts against the civilian population and especially against the civilian population in the occupied countries. Then he further describes how Reichsmarschall Goering demanded severe punishment particularly when it was a question of acts of violence against women and how in the many decrees he always insisted that respect to women was the first duty of a soldier; how in serious cases of rape, he always demanded the death penalty, no matter what the nationality of the woman was. In two cases, for instance, he rescinded the sentences because they were too lenient and he confirmed the sentences only after the death penalty had been imposed.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, surely, what you have said, Dr. Stahmer, has given us the substance of the affidavit. You said that this man was the Judge Advocate for the Air Force and that the law with reference to offences in the Air Force was strictly carried out. I am sure that is all you want to say in summarising it.

DR. STAHMER: Yes, Mr. President. What I wanted to bring out was that it did not matter what the nationality of the woman involved was. In one case against a Russian woman, he -

THE PRESIDENT: That is exactly what I have said, that the law was strictly carried out. It is only an illustration of how the law was strictly carried out.

DR. STAHMER: Very well, Mr. President, I have given the substance. I shall dispense with all further explanation and submit this document.

[Page 44]

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal thinks that its time is being wasted, and unless counsel for the defence can do what the Tribunal desires them to do, which is to offer these affidavits and interrogatories in evidence, giving the shortest possible summary or description of the affidavits or interrogatories, the Tribunal will have to order that the interrogatories and affidavits shall be simply offered in evidence, and they will hear no comment whatever on them.

The time is approaching when the defence counsel are going to make their speeches, and if there is anything in these affidavits or interrogatories of real importance, they will have the opportunity then of commenting upon it. And also, the Tribunal itself proposes to read not only the oral evidence, but the documentary evidence in this case.

DR. STAHMER: Then, Mr. President, I should like to submit this document as Exhibit 52.

THE PRESIDENT: Now then, the counsel for the defendant von Ribbentrop. Dr. Horn, you have no affidavits or interrogatories to put in, have you, that have been approved by the Tribunal?

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I ask to be permitted to submit four affidavits to the Tribunal.

We are concerned here with the affidavit of Legation Counsellor Dr. Eberhardt von Thadden, Legation Counsellor in the Information Office No. 14 of the Foreign Office, which was a branch which dealt with the Jewish problem and with the co-ordination of anti-Semitic propaganda in foreign countries with other German agencies. It was -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, have you applied for these documents?

DR. HORN: I applied to the General Secretary in writing and I asked that these affidavits be accepted. This morning I received confirmation that these affidavits had been given to the prosecution and to the Translation Department. Therefore, I beg to submit this document as Exhibit Ribbentrop 319.

A further affidavit which I am submitting, and I have applied to the General Secretary in writing for its acceptance, is the affidavit of Dr. Werner Best, the former Reich Plenipotentiary.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, but I was telling Dr. Horn that we have not had copies of these yet; they have not reached us so far.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have before me a list of four affidavits, Thadden, Best, Ribbentrop and Schulze, and it is stated that they are not approved by the Tribunal. Therefore -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, Dr. Horn mentioned them to me a day or two ago and asked me whether I would object to their being translated, and I said no, that I should not object to their being translated. Of course, I have not had a chance to see them.

THE PRESIDENT: Would not the best course be, as they have gone to the Translation Department, for them to be offered in evidence now, as I understand Dr. Horn is intending to do, subject, of course, to any question which may arise as to their admissibility?


THE PRESIDENT: Very well, if you will just give us the numbers, then -

DR. HORN: The affidavit signed by Best I should like to submit as Exhibit Ribbentrop 323. I should like to give a brief explanation of the reason for this affidavit.

In cross-examination, my client was confronted with Document 2375-PS. This document is an affidavit of a colonel of the police, Dr. Rudolf Mildner. A passage from this affidavit which dealt with the handling of the Jewish question in Denmark was quoted to my client. I examined this document and have ascertained that two

[Page 45]

documents bear the number 2375-PS. One document is a statement made by Dr. Mildner which was not made under oath. This statement which was not made under oath contained that passage which was put to my client in cross-examination. Under the same number there is an affidavit which has been sworn and is also by Dr. Mildner. The passage about the attitude of Ribbentrop to the Jewish question is not contained in this affidavit.

For this reason, I have got Dr. Best, who had been instructed by Ribbentrop to handle the Jewish question and according to Dr. Mildner did do so, to give this affidavit, No. 320, which I am now submitting to the Tribunal.


DR. HORN: Apart from that my client was confronted in cross- examination with a series of documents to which he could only make brief statements, as they were lengthy documents, most of which he had not seen before. I should like to ask the Tribunal to permit me to submit a few brief explanations on behalf of my client in the form of an affidavit, which I shall call Exhibit Ribbentrop 321.

Then, I should like to be permitted to define my attitude on Document TC-75, which contains a note sent by Ribbentrop to Hitler. This was submitted by the prosecution in a very abbreviated form. When I had this document given to me in the original for the first time, the photo copy tallied with the copy submitted by the prosecution. When I had this same document given to me a second time, I received a photostatic copy of nine pages. In my final speech I should like to refer to this document. Therefore, in order to save the Tribunal's time I ask for permission to submit this complete document TC-75.

I have no further applications, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you did not give a number to that last affidavit.

DR. HORN: TC-75 will become Exhibit Ribbentrop 322.


DR. SIEMERS (counsel for the defendant Raeder): Mr. President, with the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to deal with those points of my examination which have not yet been dealt with.

First of all we are concerned with the witness who has been allowed me by the Tribunal, Admiral Boehm. The Tribunal will recall that I was permitted to examine this witness at the end of the presentation of evidence. In the meantime, after consultation with Mr. Elwyn Jones and Sir David, I have obtained an affidavit from Admiral Boehm in Hamburg, so that I could perhaps dispense with calling him as a witness.

I submitted this affidavit to Sir David and to Mr. Elwyn Jones and Mr. Jones told me yesterday afternoon that Sir David agreed, and that he would dispense with the cross- examination, and at the same time I agreed not to insist on an examination, but to be satisfied with the submitting and the reading of the affidavit. I believe Sir David agrees.

I should like to submit this affidavit of Admiral Boehm's as Exhibit Raeder 129. This was sworn to on the 13th of June this year in the presence of notary Dr. Wiedekind at Hamburg.

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