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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th July to 27th July 1946

One Hundred and Eighty-Fifth Day: Wednesday, 24th July, 1946
(Part 2 of 11)

[Page 293]

THE PRESIDENT: The two names Karl and Heinz are Christian names, I suppose?

MR. DODD: Yes, so I have understood, Mr. President.

I am not clear, Mr. President, whether or not you wish me to deal with the Reich Cabinet. Shall I make known our attitude toward the one witness?

THE PRESIDENT: I think so. Certainly, you may deal with them now if they are ready. Dr. Kubuschok -

MR. DODD: In any event, he has only asked for one witness, Mr. President, and we have no objection. The witness Schlegelberger.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Mr. Dodd. Unless counsel for the SD, Gestapo and the Reich Cabinet want to say anything, the Tribunal does not think it is necessary to hear them.

Then we will hear counsel for the High Command, Dr. Laternser.

Yes, Dr. Laternser.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for the High Command): Mr. President, in view of the accusations raised against the military leaders, I am convinced that the application for six witnesses is justified. In order to be able to decide the question whether the military leaders were criminal or not, the Tribunal must first obtain a personal picture and a personal impression of some of these military leaders. If only a few of the 129 persons affected by the Indictment against the organization I defend are heard here, can one assume that the High Tribunal will have gained a true picture? My answer is "No".

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell me how many of the 129 we have already heard before the Tribunal?

[Page 294]

DR. LATERNSER: Before this Tribunal, Mr. President; before the Commission, seven members of the group were heard, two are still outstanding.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not say before the Commission; I said before the Tribunal.

DR. LATERNSER: I put questions to about five or six persons of this group, when they appeared here.


DR. LATERNSER: In estimating the number of witnesses to be heard here, I ask that the following also be taken into consideration:

In the defence of the organization and the calling of witnesses who might be in a position to refute statements made by witnesses produced by the prosecution, according to the resolution of the High tribunal, any possibilities along these lines are very limited, for these witnesses have to be heard before the Commissions first, even though in any other legal proceedings there would be extensive examinations of witnesses on many points. The circle of witnesses is thus restricted from the beginning and dependent upon the scope of the Commission's activities.

I consider it necessary, Mr. President, to be in a position to convey to the Tribunal a personal picture of the group indicated, and I should therefore like to make the following suggestion, which I believe to be practicable:

May I suggest that for the group which I represent ... only for my group, since I am not entitled to make a similar application on behalf of the other organizations ... that for my group the Tribunal should fix a certain time within which I may examine my witnesses before the Tribunal, and that the actual distribution of the time allotted should be left to the defence, Then I should be able to question the six witnesses for whom I asked. I would even be prepared to use only two-thirds of the time to be allotted by the Tribunal, and to put one third of it at the disposal of the prosecution for cross-examination. In this way, Mr. President, I merely want to accomplish one thing - in my opinion the most important point - I want the Tribunal to gain a personal impression of the persons coming under the Indictment.

I assume that the Tribunal will not object to this. I would also like to suggest for the consideration of the Tribunal that the case against the organizations -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, let me make certain that I understand the suggestion. You are suggesting that the Tribunal should allot a certain time for the witnesses for the High Command, and that you, as counsel examining the witnesses, should take up two-thirds of the time, and that the prosecution, in cross-examination, should take up one- third of the time. Is that correct?


THE PRESIDENT: How much time are you contemplating?

DR. LATERNSER: That is rather difficult for me to answer ....

THE PRESIDENT: It is your suggestion. The Tribunal would like to know how much time you are suggesting.

DR. LATERNSER: One and a half to two days in all. I should like to make two more suggestions, which have some significance in this connection. All the witnesses appearing here have already been heard by the Commission and the transcripts of the interrogations are in the hands of the Tribunal if the same questions are put again, the evidence would certainly be cumulative. How then is the examination of the witnesses to be carried through without interruptions?

Looked at from this angle, the suggestion I have just made becomes even more important, and also seems to remove the difficulties which I have described: If this is taken into consideration I believe the Tribunal will be able to follow my

[Page 295]

suggestion. Finally, I should like to suggest that the Tribunal make a decision with regard to the handling of the final words on behalf of the accused organizations. That is all.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to hear you with reference to Dr. Laternser's suggestions, Mr. Dodd.

MR. DODD: Very well, Mr. President. We have, in so far as we recall, made a list of the names of the people who have appeared before the Commission as members of the organizations, or of the groups, and of those who have appeared before the Tribunal. I stated a few minutes ago that all of those who have not appeared, such as von Brauchitsch - who was to appear and who may have appeared yesterday, I am not informed - will appear in a day or so.

With reference to the suggestion of Dr. Laternser that he be allowed a specific time and may use as many witnesses in that time as he sees fit, we find two difficulties. First of all, we do not feel that he is being generous enough in allotting us one-third of the time. Possibly we may require more time for such a number of witnesses. In any event, we do not want to have a restriction placed on us to the effect that we have only one-third of the time that he has. If we are to examine witnesses on the time standpoint, we feel that much of the time would be taken up before the Tribunal on matters that have already been thoroughly dealt with before the Commission. All the witnesses have been heard before the Commission, and Dr. Laternser has had a full opportunity to examine and cross-examine before the Commission, and it seems unnecessary to burden the Tribunal with a great number of witnesses here.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to know whether it would make any difference to the arguments just presented to us if the prosecution were allotted the same amount of time as Dr. Laternser?

MR. DODD: Well, it would make a little difference. Frankly, I did not consider that too important a point.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps there's one other thing which bears upon it. The Tribunal would like to know how you think the difficulty is to be met that it seems unnecessary for the witnesses who are called before us here to give the whole of the evidence before the Commission, or even to enter upon the subjects which have been entered upon before the Commission.

MR. DODD: We have been thinking about this very problem and we had assumed that the witnesses who have appeared before the Commission and who have been examined there would not go over the same grounds before the Tribunal, otherwise the proceedings of the Commission would be rather senseless, and we might just as well get up and read the record of what was said before the Commission. We had understood that the witnesses would have something new to add to what they have already said before the Commission. That is our understanding.

THE PRESIDENT: Of course, I think Dr. Laternser has said on various occasions that he attached importance to the actual presence of the witnesses so that the Tribunal could see them and form their own opinion of the witnesses' credibility.

MR. DODD: Yes, that is what I understood to be one of the reasons, but three members -

THE PRESIDENT: In addition to our seeing the witnesses and forming an opinion of their credibility, we would be able to summarize the evidence given.

MR. DODD: Yes, I assume that would be so. Of course, about four of these members of the groups we have no knowledge, and two of the members of the Naval Command, von Brauchitsch and Milch - and a number of others.


[Page 296]

MR. DODD: With respect to the time suggestion which I made, I repeat I do not think that is too important. I know we can confine ourselves in cross-examination to the important matters, but I think it is the experience of the Tribunal that we seldom stayed within the limits which were established.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think it is necessary to hear further argument. We will consider your suggestion, and further arguments, Dr. Laternser, are unnecessary unless there is anything particularly new that you wish to say. The Tribunal will consider your suggestion. We will now deal with the political leaders.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The leadership group has asked for seven witnesses, two of them are Gauleiter, and are witnesses Kauffmann and Wahl; one Kreisleiter Mayor van der Borch; one Ortsgruppenleiter Wegscheider; Blockleiter Hauffe, and two experts on the staff of the Hoheitstrager, namely a farming expert who was also a political leader, and Haupfbauer who was a political leader in the DAF. The prosecution has no objection to any of these witnesses, but we feel that the grounds could not be adequately and properly covered. And it may be of help to the Tribunal if I suggested the witnesses most important and those which might be dispensed with.

THE PRESIDENT: Probably defence counsel would wish to make their own selection.

LT.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I fully appreciate that. I was only trying to assist the Tribunal if I could.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, in indicating which appeared to you to be the most important.


THE PRESIDENT: Yes, perhaps you could do that.

I.T.-COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The Blockleiter Hott, I respectfully submit, ought to be called, as he is the only Blockleiter represented. The witness Haupfbauer ought to be called because he represents the experts on these staffs. There is a certain amount of dispute about them. And also, he represents a number of political Leiter who were in the DAF itself. Of the Gauleiter, Kauffmann and Wahl are experienced. Kauffmann comes from an industrial district and Wahl from an agricultural district, and I understand, if there were to be any preference, that Dr. Servatius prefers Kauffmann.

There are also, representing the agricultural districts, in addition to the Gauleiter Wahl, the Ortsgruppenleiter Wegscheider and the farmer Moor. My Lord, I would respectfully suggest that certainly three of those witnesses are unnecessary. They really cover very much the same grounds as each other and the prosecution, quite frankly, would have preferred the witness Wahl. I simply put that forward to explain that they are all from agricultural areas and perhaps one, or certainly two, would be sufficient. Mayor van der Borch is an experienced Kreisleiter from an industrial district, and does, to a great extent, cover the same ground as the Gauleiter Kauffmann, so that the Tribunal might consider having one or the other if they felt that the present number was excessive.

Now, I do not think I can assist the Tribunal further than that.

DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for the political leaders): Mr. President, I named two Gauleiter; one from the industrial area, that is the witness Kauffmann, and the witness Wahl from a rural area in the vicinity of Augsburg. I believe it would be important to get an impression of these two types of Gauleiter; one of these men was active in the Party for twenty years, and the other for seventeen years, and both were political leaders. Before being able to judge the activities of the political leaders over such a wide area and throughout such a long period of time

[Page 297]

it is necessary to hear two people from the top level. I should therefore like to ask that, if possible, both witnesses be allowed. I should like the witness

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Servatius, two things I should like to ask you about these Gauleiter. Did not these two, Kauffmann and Wahl, deal with exactly the same topics before the Commission?

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, but I want to divide the topics and ask Kauffmann about the connections with the top, with the Reich Government, and Wahl about the connections with the lower echelons, with the Kreis and Ortsgruppen. Of course, I could limit myself to one witness, but then the topics would not be independently dealt with and would be more involved.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean you have not asked them about it before the Commission?

DR. SERVATIUS: Yes, but in the same way, separately.

THE PRESIDENT: There is one other thing: How many Gauleiter have we heard already before the Tribunal?

DR. SERVATIUS: I should think three or four, I do not know the exact figure; but they were not questioned about this topic because it would have disturbed the taking of evidence at the time, if we had gone into such detail.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead and deal with the other matters.

DR. SERVATIUS: The next witnesses are for Kreis, Ortsgruppen and Block, and I think that from each level there should be one witness who can speak of the conditions in his field. Their testimony will, of course, overlap, but it can be shortened, so that the actual examination will be quite brief and not lead us too far afield; but it is, I think, important to have one witness from each level.

THE PRESIDENT: Could you give the Tribunal any estimate of the time you think it would take to deal with these seven witnesses?

DR. SERVATIUS: I am sure I can do it in one day, it depends upon how the evidence is to be taken. I assume we shall have a brief summary and clarify only a few questions at greater length.

Then there are two more witnesses, Haupfbauer and Moor. One is from the DAF, the German Labour Front, from an industrial region; and the other is from the Reich Food Estate, and can speak about rural conditions. Both witnesses can speak about the position of the specialist offices which were not political directing offices, and can thus differentiate between the non-political and the political leaders.

That is all I have to say.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

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