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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
9th August to 21st August 1946

Two Hundredth Day: Saturday, 10th August, 1946
(Part 5 of 6)

[GENERAL TELFORD TAYLOR continues his cross examination of Erich von Mannstein]

[Page 67]

Q. You talked to the Chiefs of Staff and other staff officers from time to time, did you not?

A. I only met the other Commanders-in-Chief when there was a conference with any of them at the OKH. Naturally I talked to my officers. But this question of the SD never cropped up, because as far as we were concerned it did not appear to us to be an important question.

Q. Did you not ever ask your Chief of Staff or any staff officer to keep you very carefully informed on what these independent groups under Himmler were doing in your area?

A. No. One cannot speak of independent troops of Himmler, for this Einsatzgruppe was comparatively small and never put in an appearance. It only appeared when they supplied us with troops for the partisan fights in the Crimea. I know that my staff was negotiating with the SS leader about that.

Q. I have two or three documents dealing with this matter which are already in evidence. I would like to show them to you and ask you a question about it. The first one is the Affidavit No. 12, which is already in evidence. It is Exhibit USA 557. The first part of this affidavit concerns matters which you probably do not know about directly. You should know about the second paragraph

[Page 68]

certainly. This is an affidavit by Walter Schellenberg. I would like to read the first two paragraphs. The Tribunal will find this in the first document book on the General Staff.
"In the middle of May, 1941, as far as I remember, the Chief of Amt IV of the RSHA (SS Brigadefuehrer Muller), in the name of the Chief of the RSHA (SS Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich), held discussions with the Generalquartiermeister of the Army (General Wagner) about questions connected with the operations of the Sipo and SD within the bounds of the Field Army during. the imminent campaign against Russia. Wagner could come to no agreement with Muller and therefore asked Heydrich to send another representative. I was at that time Chief of Section E in Amt IV of the RSHA under Chief of Amt Muller, and because of my experience with protocols was sent by Heydrich to Wagner for the purpose of drawing up the final agreement. According to the, instructions given to me, I was supposed to make sure that this agreement would provide that the responsible headquarters in the Army would be firmly bound to give complete support to all activities of the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos of the Sipo and SD. I discussed the problem of this mutual relationship in great detail with Wagner. After this discussion I then presented him with the completed draft of an agreement which met with his full approval. This draft was the basis for a final discussion between Wagner and Heydrich towards the end of May, 1941.

The contents of this agreement, as far as I remember, were substantially as follows: Its basis was the Fuehrer's command, mentioned at the very beginning of the agreement, that the Sipo and SD should operate within the combat elements of the Field Army, with the mission of utterly smashing all resistance in conquered rear areas of the front, as well as in conquered rear supply zones, by every means and as quickly as possible. The various areas were then set down to which the Sipo and SD were to be assigned for operations. The individual Combat Groups were then assigned to the army groups which were to take part in the campaign, and the individual Combat Commandos to the respective armies which were to take part in the campaign.

The Combat Groups and Combat Commandos were to operate in detail

(1) In front-line areas: In complete subordination to the Field Army, tactically, functionally and as regards troop service.

(2) in rear of conquered areas: In subordination to the Field Army only as regards troop service but under the command and functional control of the RHSA.

(3) In rear army areas: The same arrangement as in (2).

(4) In areas of the civil administration in the East: Same as in the Reich.

The tactical and functional authority and responsibility of front-line headquarters of the Field Army over the Combat Commandos was not limited under the agreement and therefore needed no further clarification."
THE PRESIDENT: This is already in evidence, so we do not need the details.

GENERAL TELFORD TAYLOR: It is in evidence. It was never read before I have just one more paragraph I would like to read with your permission.



"The agreement made it clear that subordination as regards troop services embraced not only disciplinary subordination, but also the provisioning of rear headquarters of the Field Army, the Combat Groups and Combat Commandos being subordinated in matters of supply (petrol, rations, etc. as well as in the use of the communications network "
That is all that needs to be read, your Honour.

[Page 69]


Q. Witness, is it not true that the Army made it possible for these Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos to operate; that you furnished them with the supplies and transports and other things they had to have to carry out their mission?

A. Yes, certainly. We know that because of the economic contribution the SS made to our army.

Q. Is it not also true that the commanding generals had to keep track of what these units were doing, so that their operations would not interfere with military operations?

A. No. Actually the commanding generals did not have to bother with the Einsatzgruppen unless they appeared at the front and caused disturbance. As I have told you, I, as commanding general, did not meet any such Einsatzgruppe in my zone.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal it was only at the front where military operations could be disturbed? Is it not also true that rear areas are also important as regards the securing of communications and pacifying the population. Were you not concerned about the rear areas, too?

A. In the rear areas we were interested in securing our lines of supply, that is the roads and railroads. Mostly we did this ourselves. A disturbance could only have taken place if, for instance, mass executions or some such thing - as I have heard now did take place - caused difficulties and unrest amongst the population. The commanders of the rear areas would have heard about this, and they would have taken action.


Q. Your Honour, I would like next to read a short extract from Document 447-PS in evidence as Exhibit USA 135. May I call your attention to paragraph a, subdivision A, beginning with "The area of operations." Do you see that?

A. Yes.

Q. I would like to read two paragraphs:

(a) "The area of operations, created through the advance of the Army beyond the frontiers of the Reich and the neighbouring countries, is to be limited in depth as far as possible. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army has the right to exercise the executive power in this area, and may transfer his authority to the commanders of the army groups and armies.

(b) In the area of Army operations, the Reichsfuehrer SS is entrusted on behalf of the Fuehrer with special tasks for the preparation of the political administration, tasks which result from the struggle which has to be carried out between two opposing political systems. Within the realm of these tasks, the Reichsfuehrer SS shall act independently and under his own responsibility. The executive power invested in the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (OKW) and in agencies determined by him shall not be affected by this. It is the responsibility of the Reichsfuehrer SS that military operations shall not be disturbed through the execution of his tasks. Details shall be arranged directly through the OKH with the Reichsfuehrer SS."


I am asking you again, witness, whether it was your responsibility and that of your headquarters to make sure that the operations of these groups did not interfere with military operations and that you must have kept yourself fully informed on what they were doing?

A. If there had been disturbance of military operations in any form, naturally the commanders would have had to intervene, but the fact that the political police supervised an occupied area and, in that occupied area, investigated the political reliability of people, is by no means reason to assume that wrongs were committed or that there were mass shootings or any shootings at all in this area. The political supervision by political police is a phenomenon which exists in every occupied territory.

[Page 70]

Q. I think you have already testified that you did not know of any mass shootings in your area. Is that right? You did not know of any?

A. No, I did not know of any.

Q. I wish to present Document 102, which is now in evidence as Exhibit USA 470, and would like to read two paragraphs from the last page of the translation. I think the two paragraphs in question are marked in your copy. They are on Pages 17 or 18. You will see the original report covering the activities of the Einsatzgruppen in the USSR during the month of October and it covers the activities of all four Einsatzgruppen, including Group B, which was attached to your army. The section beginning on Page 16 relates to the activities of the Einsatzgruppen C and D, which were in the Ukraine. Under that you will note paragraph B, which is headed "Arrests and Executions of Communists and Officials." Do you find that?

A. Yes.

Q. I quote:

"The search for leading Communists resulted in the arrest of Kaminski, former GPU chief of Cherson. In the years 1919-21 he had carried out the liquidation of the Czarist officers. The head of the prison workshops of the NKVD was also caught.

In Kiev a number of NKVD officials and political Commissars were rendered innocuous."

And the next sub-heading "Jews." The first two paragraphs relate to cities outside your area, I believe. Then there is a paragraph which deals with Cherson. Cherson is about 40 miles from Nikolajev. Would you say that 60 kilometres would be right? A. Yes, that must be right. Q. I quote:
"In Cherson 410 Jews were executed as a measure of retaliation for acts of sabotage. Especially in the area east of the Dnieper, the solution of the Jewish question has been taken up energetically by the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD. The areas newly occupied by the Commandos were purged of Jews. In the course of this action, 4,891 Jews were liquidated. At other places the Jews were marked and registered. This rendered it possible to put at the disposal of the Wehrmacht for urgent labour Jewish worker groups up to 1,000 persons."
Are you still telling the Tribunal that you knew nothing of the operations of this Einsatzgruppe under your army?

A. If you mean the case of Cherson, then I have to tell you that I never received a report about such incidents, nor did I receive a report of the arrest of the GPU man, Kaminski. I remained in Nikolajev only until about 24th September, then I had my command post in the vicinity of Melitopol, which is far to the east. As far as the liquidation of Jews east of the Dnieper is concerned, I would point out that the operational zone of my army at that time was the Nogai Steppe, a steppe with very few settlements, and part of these settlements, former German villages, were completely evacuated and the inhabitants taken away by the Red Army. Therefore, there could not have been any liquidation of Jews worth mentioning as there were hardly any Jews there. These 4,000 Jews can only have come from the district east of the Dnieper, that is, where the large operations of the Donetz area started, and that was already the operational territory of the First Panzer Army; it was not my territory any longer.

Q. Did the commanding general on the Eastern Front submit special instructions to the troops which support this programme to liquidate the Jews and Commissars?

A. No, that is quite out of the question.

Q. Did General Reichenau issue such an instruction?

[Page 71]

A. No. I only know of one order of General Reichenau, which has been brought up in Court, and in which he discusses the fighting in the East. This order was sent to us on Hitler's instructions as an example. I personally turned down the order and did not apply it in any way in the orders I issued, and I know of no other commander who used the order.

Q. That order of General Reichenau instructed troops to take the most severe revenge on subhuman Jews and all elements of Bolshevism, did it not? Have you seen the order?

A. No, I remember that I received an order from General von Reichenau, but I do not remember that it demanded the liquidation of the Jews, and I consider it entirely out of the question that he did order that.

Q. What did you do yourself when it was suggested that you issue an order like General Reichenau's order?

A. It was not suggested to me. It was sent to us as an order of Hitler's as a model. I did nothing about it and I considered such order as quite beside the point, because I wanted to conduct the fight in a military manner and in no other way.

Q. So you did not do anything about it?

A. No, what should I have done?

Q. I ask to be shown to the witness, as I said first, the document by General Reichenau. It is Exhibit USA 556.

I will now ask that the witness be shown a new document, 4064-PS, Exhibit USA 927.

Will you look at this order, witness, and tell us if this is not a document issued out of your headquarters and signed with your facsimile signature on 20th November, 1941? It is already in the record.

A. I must first read the document thoroughly. I do not recollect this order.

Q. Is that your signature?

A. It looks like it, but I must first of all read the order to see whether I gave it or not.

Q. The document, as indicated at the top of the page, states XXX Corps IC Ref. IC. That is the intelligence office, is it not?

A. Yes, that is the name of the office that dealt with enemy intelligence and countering enemy espionage. It has nothing to do with Secret Service as such.

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