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 Hundred-First Day: Monday, 12th August, 1946
(Part 1 of 10)

[Page 75]

MONDAY, 12th AUGUST, 1946

DR. SAUTER: (Counsel for the defendant Funk):

Mr. President, I beg to be granted permission to submit to the Tribunal an urgent application on behalf of the defendant Funk.

On Monday, 5th August, 1946, that is to say a week ago today, the prosecution submitted an affidavit of the former SS Obergruppenfuehrer Oswald Pohl, its number being 4045-PS, alleging certain connections between the defendant Funk and the SS, particularly with reference to the so-called "gold deposits" of the SS in the Reichsbank; I was unable to object to the use of this affidavit during the session of last Monday since I was absent on that day because of illness. I had reported my absence in the appropriate manner to the Secretary General. On the same day, 5th August, Dr. Nelte, in an application to the Tribunal on my behalf, asked for permission to interrogate the witness Oswald Pohl in prison, in order to obtain an affidavit from him. On 7th August, 1946, I myself repeated that application, asking at the same time for permission to call the witness Oswald Pohl for cross-examination, and also to recall the defendant Funk himself to the witness stand to give testimony with reference to these new accusations.

Since the submission of these applications of mine, the SS judges, Dr. Reinecke and Dr. Morgen, were heard as witnesses for the SS herein Court. Both of these witnesses have raised the gravest accusations against Oswald Pohl, although he was their SS comrade. The testimony of these two witnesses, Dr. Reinecke and Dr. Morgen, have furnished proof that the former Obergruppenfuehrer Oswald Pohl, a witness of the prosecution, firstly -

THE PRESIDENT: Are you applying to cross-examine Pohl or what?

DR. SAUTER: No. If you will permit me, Mr. President, I shall in a moment give you the reason why I do not wish to do so. I have just said that the examination of the witnesses, Dr. Reinecke and Dr. Morgen, have furnished proof that firstly, this witness of the prosecution is a millionfold murderer, secondly, that he was the head of that clique of criminals which carried out the atrocities in concentration camps; thirdly, that Pohl, with every means at his disposal, attempted to prevent the discovery of these atrocities and even committed new murders for this purpose.

All that has been ascertained from the testimony given under oath by witnesses, Dr. Morgen and Dr. Reinecke. Under these circumstances, gentlemen of the Tribunal, the defence of the defendant Funk refuses to use such a beast as a means of evidence. Therefore, as defence counsel for the defendant Funk, I desist from calling this witness of the prosecution, Oswald Pohl, to the witness stand, because testimony coming from a man who murdered millions of innocent people -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, I understand that you are not making an application of any sort now; you are making what is in the nature of a -

DR. SAUTER: No, on the contrary, I desist from it.


[Page 76]

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I beg to have your permission to make another application. I said that the testimony of a man who murdered millions of innocent people, who made a dirty business out of murdering them, is in our conception completely without value for establishing the truth.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal thinks that this is an inappropriate time at which to make a protest of this sort, which is in the nature of an argument. If you are making an application, you can make an application. If you want to make a protest, you must make it later when the case for the organizations is at an end.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, may I say the following: We are now near the end of the submission of evidence, and I do not think that I can wait with this application until after the end of the trial. The application which I was going to make, must be made now, so that the Tribunal will receive it in good time.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, if you would only come to your application we should be glad to hear it.

DR. SAUTER: Very well, Mr. President, at once.

I herewith apply that the Tribunal decide, firstly, that the affidavit of Oswald Pohl, dated 15th July, 1946, namely, Document 4045-PS, should not be admitted in evidence against the defendant Walter Funk, and, secondly, that that part of the contents of the affidavit of Oswald Pohl, 4045-PS, which has reference to the defendant Funk should be stricken from the record of the session of 5th August, 1946.

Furthermore, as an additional application and as a precautionary measure, I beg permission to apply that the defendant Walter Funk be recalled to the witness stand in order to give him the opportunity to make his own statement on these completely new assertions of Oswald Pohl.

Mr. President, I submitted this application to the general secretary in writing this morning, but I do not know when the translating division will pass it on to you. I therefore considered it necessary to ask your permission to make this application orally during the proceedings, so that I could not then be told that I should have made it in good time here during the session, but had failed to do it. That is the application, Mr. President, which I beg to make.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to hear the prosecution on this application.

DR. KEMPNER: May I reserve our answer until I have an occasion to talk to the Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Dodd?


DR. KEMPNER: I would like to state that even murderers sometimes tell the truth.

DR. SAUTER: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine the witness any further?



Q. Witness, I have two additional questions to ask you, both connected with the activities of the Action Group D. You stated here that you exclude the possibility of your army group having participated in the shooting which was carried out by this group. Did you know that the watches taken from those who were shot were sent to the Army, according to the report of the Army Command?

A. No, I knew nothing about that. As far as the watches are concerned, the Army Administration Officer on one occasion reported to me, as far as I remember

[Page 77]

that he had procured a large consignment of watches from Germany. He showed me one of these watches; it was a completely new watch made in Germany. He wanted to issue these watches to the troops. I do not remember that confiscated watches were ever issued and in no event have I heard of watches belonging to Jews who had been shot.

Q. And these watches were used for the supply of the German Army, is that right?

A. This consignment of watches from Germany, yes.

Q. But you spoke about watches which belonged to the Jews who were shot. That is the way I understood you.

A. No, I did not say that, I did not say that at all. I only said that the Army Administration Officer reported to me about a consignment of German watches. That is the only thing I can remember with regard to watches. That he could have spoken of watches belonging to Jews who had been shot is completely out of the question.

Q. Very well. Did you know that in Nikolajev and Simferopol the executions were attended by representatives of the Army Command?

A. No.

Q. Do you know that these facts were brought out here in Court by the witness Otto Ohlendorf? Do you think that Ohlendorf testified falsely here when relating these facts?

A. I know Ohlendorf's testimony and I remember that he said that soldiers had participated in executions near Simferopol. But he also said that he did not know for certain what soldiers they were. He thought they were probably mostly units attached to the Army, that is, not troops of my army. In any event, while I was in the Crimea I never heard that any soldier participated in the execution of Jews.

Q. I would like you to answer my question. Do you call Ohlendorf's testimony false or do you consider it correct?

A. I assume that he had made a mistake. At any rate, I am quite certain that units of my army did not participate in these executions of Jews. What he means by units attached to the Army; I do not know.

Q. He had in mind the troops of the 11th Army which you were commanding. Now I am asking you this: Did you not know that over 195,000 persons, inhabitants of Kiev, were exterminated by the German Army and the German Police, including over 100,000 people who were put to death in Babi-Yar alone?

A. I heard of this for the first time from the document submitted by the Russian prosecution.

Q. But you were aware of this type of mass extermination of the civilian population?

A. No, I did not know of it, and at the time when these executions apparently took place Kiev did not belong to my sector.

Q. Had you knowledge of the OKW decree transmitted in August, 1941, by Quartermaster-General Wagner, forbidding the feeding of Soviet prisoners of war from Army supplies? Did not this decree result in the mass starvation of the Soviet prisoners of war?

A. I do not recall that order. In August, 1941, I was the Commanding General of an armoured corps far ahead of the front, and I could not even have received that order. What is more, I cannot imagine that the order was given in that form, because, at least in our area, we always supplied food to the prisoners, and I do not believe, therefore, that in my area any prisoners died of hunger.

Q. But you yourself admit that there was a tremendous mortality rate from starvation among the prisoners of war. You admitted so yourself here yesterday, did you not?

A. I did not say that was so in my army, but that I could see from the documents of the prosecution that after the large battles of encirclement in the area of Army

[Page 78]

Group Centre, in which hundreds of thousands of prisoners were taken, many apparently died from starvation, firstly because they were half-starved when they emerged from the pockets, and secondly, because no army was in a position to take over the feeding and care of, let us say, half a million prisoners arriving quite suddenly. This naturally resulted in difficulties which, in view of the physical condition of the Russian soldiers when they arrived, very probably led to a large number of deaths. But when I said this before I was referring to the prisoners taken in the battles of encirclement and not those in my area.

Q. It is not necessary to give such detailed replies to my questions. Would you kindly be more brief? Did you know of the operation called "Krimhild"?

A. The code name "Krimhild" for an operation is at the moment meaningless to me, nor do I know whether I ever heard it. Perhaps you can tell me when and what this is supposed to have been, then possibly I can recall it.

Q. I will help you. This operation provided for the transfer of German troops from Kuban to the Crimea in connection with the advance and the pressure of the Red Army. A decree from Hitler was therefore issued and sent to all headquarters.

A. I did not quite understand that. Do you mean the transfer of the Army from the Crimea to the Kuban district or the retreat from the Kuban district to the Crimea?

Q. The transfer, the retreat of German forces from Kuban to the Crimea.

A. I cannot say anything about that, I do not know details about it, because that was the area of the Army Group Kliest and not in my area.

Q. And where was your army at the time?

A. My army was in the southern Ukraine at the time. The southern border was evidently near Rostov.

Q. The retreat from Kuban was in connection with the army group in the southern sector of the front. You were handed this decree from Hitler, maybe you will be able to recall something in this connection. I would like to draw your attention to one particular point in this decree.

(The document is handed to the witness.)

Q. Do you remember this decree?

A. I must look at it more closely for a moment.

Q. If you please.

A. I can no longer tell you today whether or not I received a copy of this order; actually, it only concerns Army Group A. It is feasible that I did receive a copy, but I can no longer remember. At any rate, I had nothing to do with it.

Q. This decree was sent to all headquarters, but that is not the point. I would like you to find the second paragraph of that decree which is entitled "Destructive Measures during the Evacuations"; and please look at point G of that section; quoting: "The enemy must take over completely useless and uninhabitable waste territory where mine detonations still will occur month by month." Have you read that passage?

A. Yes.

Q. Now I am asking you: In your opinion, were military considerations the only motive for this decree?

A. Yes, in my opinion, it was issued for purely military reasons; namely, because Hitler - as I know - wanted to free as many of the forces in the Kuban as possible in order to use them in other parts of the Eastern front. He wanted to leave only a minimum of forces for the defence of the Crimea, and that of course was only feasible if the danger of a Russian attack coming from the Kuban could, if possible, be excluded for a lengthy period or at least made very difficult; and probably for that reason these orders for destruction were issued, and in points A, B, C, D, E and F they do in fact deal only with objects which are of military importance; in other words roads, bridges, railroads, field railroads, corduroy roads, oil installations -

[Page 79]

Q. I know this decree, witness, and you do not have to reiterate it, I have it before me. I merely asked you to look at point G which talks not about railways and bridges and oil wells, but talks generally about reducing the territory of the enemy to complete waste, so that it would not be usable for months to come. I am asking you as a soldier - since you call yourself one - do you approve of such a decree? Was it prompted entirely by military considerations? Please answer my question.

A. Yes, I am convinced that the order was only given for military reasons; and I am equally convinced that letter G means territory completely useless for the military purposes of war. I do not believe, therefore, that the purpose here was to lay waste the land and to, let me say, exterminate the population, but the reason was a military reason, that the land should be rendered useless for the continuation of military operations; that is what I believe.

Q. It states here clearly enough what was meant. The interpretation is a matter of opinion. I shall pass to the next question. Were you aware that in May, 1944, a special conference was held at Sonthofen?

THE PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that document?

GENERAL ALEXANDROV: I am passing to another question, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: I asked you if you were passing from the document.


THE PRESIDENT: I think you should put to him paragraph 3-C.


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