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THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): I have three announcements to make.
First, to avoid unnecessary translation, Defense Counsel shall indicate to the Prosecution the exact passages in all documents which they propose to use, in order that the Prosecution may have an opportunity to object to irrelevant passages. In the event of disagreement between the Prosecution and the Defense as to the relevancy of any particular passage, the Tribunal will decide what passages are sufficiently relevant to be translated. Only the cited passages need be translated, unless the Prosecution require translation of the entire document.
Second, the Tribunal has received an application from Dr. Nelte, counsel for the Defendant Keitel, inquiring whether a defendant, in order to support his memory, may make use of written notes while giving oral evidence. The Tribunal sanctions the use of written notes by a defendant in those circumstances, unless in special cases the Tribunal orders otherwise.
Third, cases have arisen where one defendant has been given leave to administer interrogatories to or obtain an affidavit from a witness who will be called to give oral evidence on behalf of another defendant. If the witness gives his oral evidence before the case is heard in which the interrogatory or affidavit is to be offered, counsel in the latter case must elicit the evidence by oral examination, instead of using the interrogatory or affidavit.
That is all.
I now call upon counsel for the Defendant Goering.
DR. OTTO NELTE (Counsel for Defendant Keitel): Mr. President, in yesterday's afternoon session, you observed that application Number 2, which I had submitted as a supplement, had not yet been discussed orally. I was unfortunately not present at the afternoon session yesterday. It is a question of a subsequent, formal supplement to my applications regarding the witnesses Westhoff and Wielen. Both of these witnesses had already been granted me in the open Tribunal session. I submitted these names again only in order to complete my application.
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As an addition I mentioned only State Secretary Stuckart, a witness who also has already been granted me previously by a decision of the Tribunal. I believe, therefore, that I do not need to discuss this supplementary application, and that the Prosecution have no objection to this action.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Nelte, General Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application.
DR. NELTE: Is State Secretary Stuckart also granted me, Your Honor?
THE PRESIDENT: Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application. I am afraid it is difficult to remember these names. I think that Stuckart has been granted to you.
DR. NELTE: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am told he has.
DR. ALFRED THOMA (Counsel for Defendant Rosenberg): Mr. President, at yesterday's afternoon session my name was also mentioned in the following connection: I have hitherto submitted only written applications, and I must now present them orally. I assume that this refers to the written application which I handed in with my document and witness list, in which, in a rather lengthy written application, I requested that I might have permission to submit in evidence as historical documents of the time, quotations from theological and philosophical works which were considered important at the time of Rosenberg's public power. I beg Your Honor to inform me whether this is the application in question.
I should like to repeat: The President told me yesterday that I should repeat my written application orally. Therefore I should like to ask whether this refers to the written request that I handed in with my list of witnesses and documents.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, so far as the Tribunal knows, everything will be covered by the written order which the Tribunal will make upon your application. It is not convenient, really, to deal with these matters now by way of oral requests, but everything that is in your written application will be covered by a written order of the Tribunal. It will be subject, of course, to the order which I have announced this morning, in order to assure that there will be no more translation than is absolutely necessary.
DR. OTTO STAHMER (Counsel for Defendant Goering): Mr President and Gentlemen of the Tribunal, before I start with my presentation I beg to make two supplementary applications. I am aware of the fact that supplementary requests as such should be put in
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writing. But since it is a question of several requests, I should like to have your decision whether I should submit these applications now or whether the Tribunal desires a written request.
THE PRESIDENT: You may put your request now, verbally, but we would prefer to have it in writing afterwards as soon as possible.
DR. STAHMER: I name first Major Butz, who is in custody here in Nuremberg, as a witness for the following facts: Reich Marshal Goering repeatedly opposed in the summer of 1944 the measures which Hitler had ordered against aviators taking part in terror attacks. Furthermore, he knows that no order was issued either by the Luftwaffe or by the Wehrmacht corresponding to Hitler's orders regarding terror aviators. Finally, he can give evidence in regard to the following: An officer of the Luftwaffe in May 1944 in Munich protected an airman, who had bailed out, from the lynching which the crowd wanted to carry out. Hitler, who had knowledge of this incident, demanded of Goering the name of this officer, and that he be punished. In spite of repeated inquiries on Hitler's part, Goering did not give the name of this officer, although he knew it, and in this way protected him. This is the application regarding the witness Butz. Another supplementary request is concerned with the following: In the session of 14 February 1946 the Soviet Prosecution submitted that a German military formation, Staff 537, Pioneer Battalion, carried out mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war in the forests near Katyn. As the responsible leaders of this formation, Colonel Ahrens, First Lieutenant Rex, and Second Lieutenant Hodt were mentioned. As proof the Prosecution referred to Document USSR-64. It is an official report of the Extraordinary State Commission of the Soviet Union which was ordered to investigate the facts of the well-known Katyn case. The document I have not yet received. As a result of the publication of this speech by the Prosecution in the press, members of the staff of the Army Group Center, to which Staff 537 was directly subordinate and which was stationed 4 to 5 kilometers from Staff 537, came forward. These people stated that the evidence upon which the Prosecution have based the statement submitted was not correct.
The following witnesses are mentioned in this connection:
Colonel Ahrens, at that time commander of 537, later chief of army armament and commander of the auxiliary army; First Lieutenant Rex, probably taken as a prisoner of war at Stalingrad; Lieutenant Hodt, probably taken prisoner by the Russians in or near Konigsberg; Major General of intelligence troops, Eugen Oberhauser, probably taken prisoner of war by the Americans; First Lieutenant Graf Berg -- later ordnance officer with Field Marshal Von Kluge -- a prisoner of war in British hands in Canada. Other members of the units which are accused are still to be mentioned. I name these
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witnesses to prove that the conclusion as to the complicity of Goering drawn by the Prosecution in the above-mentioned statement is not justified according to the Indictment.
This morning I received another communication bearing on the same question, which calls for the following request: Professor Naville, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Geneva, carried out, with an international commission at Smolensk, investigations of the bodies at that time. He established from the state of preservation of these corpses, from the notes found in the pockets of their clothes, and other means of evidence, that the deed must have been committed in the year 1940.
Those are my requests.
THE PRESIDENT: If you will put in those requests in writing, the Tribunal will consider them.
DR. STAHMER: And now I come to the . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Just one minute. Dr. Stahmer, if you would communicate your written application to the Prosecution, they would then be able to make a written statement if they have any objection to it. You will do that as soon as possible. Let us have both your written application and the Prosecution's answer to it.
DR. STAHMER: The Tribunal has ordered in its decision of 11 December 1945 that the Defense is entitled to one speech only. This shall take place only after the conclusion of the hearing of the evidence. The Tribunal decided some time later that explanatory words may be permitted at the present stage of the proceedings in connection with the presentation of documents by the Defense. The witnesses have already been named by me. A decision has been made concerning their admission except for today's request and, with the Court's permission, I shall call a witness shortly. Before I do that, I wish to make the following comments to the documents to which I shall refer during my final speech:
The Prosecution have charged the defendant repeatedly with the violation of the Treaty of Versailles. This charge is not justified in the opinion of the Defense. Detailed statements on this question belong to the concluding speech of the Defense and will therefore be dealt with there. The present part of the proceedings deals only with the production of documents which will be used to support the contention that the Treaty was not violated by Germany but that the German Reich was no longer bound by it. I submit that the Fourteen Points of the American President Wilson, which were the basis of that Treaty, are commonly known, and therefore do not need further proof, according to Paragraph 21 of the Charter.
The Treaty of Versailles has already been submitted to the Tribunal. It was published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1919, Page 687.
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Of this Treaty of Versailles, Article 8 and Part V are important for its interpretation. These provisions insofar as they are of interest here, read as follows -- I quote the first four paragraphs of Article 8:
"The members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
"The Council, taking account of the geographical situation, and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several governments.
"Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every 10 years.
"After these plans shall have been adopted by the several governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council."
The first paragraph of Part V reads:
"In order to render possible the introduction of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval, and air clauses which follow."
These regulations infer, not only that Germany had to disarm, but also that the signatories of the pact were likewise bound to disarm. Germany, however, was committed to start disarmament first. Germany completely fulfilled this commitment.
On 17 February 1927 Marshal Foch stated, "I can assure you that Germany has actually disarmed."
Therefore, the signatories of the pact had to fulfill their commitment to disarm. As they did not disarm, Germany was no longer bound by the pact according to general principles of law, and she was justified in renouncing her obligations.
This interpretation agrees with the point of view which has been expressed by French as well as by English statesmen. Therefore, I should like to refer to the speech made by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927, in which Boncour stated as follows -- I quote from Document Book 1, Page 28:
"It is correct that the introduction to Part V of the Treaty of Versailles concerns the limitation of armaments which was imposed on Germany as a prerequisite and as the forerunner of a general limitation of armaments. This brings out very clearly the difference between the armament restrictions of Germany and other similar armament restrictions which in the course of history have been imposed after the conclusion of wars. This time these regulations -- and in this lies their
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entire value -- have been imposed not only on one of the signatories to the Treaty, but they are rather a duty, a moral and legal responsibility, for the other signatories to proceed with a general limitation of armaments."
Further, I should like to refer to the speech by David Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, in which he particularly describes the memorandum to the skeleton note of 16 June 1919, as -- and I quote from the Document Book 1, Page 26:
". . . document which we handed Germany as a solemn pledge on the part of Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and 20 other nations to follow Germany's example after she was disarmed."
The Treaty of Versailles was felt not only by the German people to be a bitter injustice -- there were numerous voices even in foreign countries that called the Treaty exceedingly unfair for Germany. I am quoting the following from Rothermere's Warnings and Prophecies, Document Book 1, Page 30:
"Germany was justified in feeling that she had been betrayed in Versailles. Under the pretext..."
MR. JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON (Chief of Counsel for the United States): [Interposing.] I call the Tribunal's attention to the fact that the documents which are now being read into the record are documents which, as I understand it, were excluded as irrelevant by the Tribunal when that matter was before it before. They are matters of a good deal of public notoriety and would not be secret if they were not in evidence; but I think the reading of them into the record is in violation of the Tribunal's own determination.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal has suspected that these documents had been excluded, and they have sent for the original record of their orders. But I must say now that the Tribunal expects the defendants' counsel to conform to their orders and not to read documents which they have been ordered not to read.
[At this point Defendant Hess was led out of the courtroom.]
DR. STAHMER: Shall I continue?
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.
"Under the pretext that it was the first step to world disarmament, Germany was forcibly disarmed. Great Britain was, indeed, also deceived. She had actually continued to disarm for a period of 15 years. But from the day on which the various peace treaties were signed, France encouraged a number of small states to powerful rearmament and the result was that 5 years after Versailles, Germany was surrounded by a much tighter ring of iron than 5 years
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before the World War. It was inevitable that a German regime, which had renounced Versailles, would at the first opportunity rearm heavily. It was evident that its weapons, diplomatically, if not in the true sense of the word, were to be directed against the powers of Versailles."
In the same way the Locarno Pact is contested, with a breach of which the defendant is also charged, and, as far as the Defense are concerned, unjustifiably.
Germany renounced this pact and could do so rightfully because France and Soviet Russia had signed a military assistance pacts although the Locarno Pact provided a guarantee of the French eastern border. This act by France, in the opinion of Germany, was in sharp contrast to the legal situation, created by the Locarno Pact.
In a speech of Plenipotentiary Von Ribbentrop before the League of Nations on 19 March 1936, this opinion was expressed in the following terms -- I quote from Document Book 1, Page 32...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have before me now the order of the Tribunal of 26 February 1946, and Paragraph 4 of that order is in the following terms: "The following documents are denied as irrelevant," and then the heading "Goering," and the fourth of the documents is the speech by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927; and the sixth is the speech by Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, which you have not read but which you have put into your trial brief. I would again call your attention, and the attention of all the Defense Counsel, to the fact that they will not be allowed to read any document which has been denied by the Tribunal. Go on.
DR. STAHMER: This quotation is as follows:
". . . but it is also clear that if a world power such as France, by virtue of her sovereignty, can decide upon concluding military alliances of such vast proportions without having misgivings on account of existing treaties, another world power like Germany has at least the right to safeguard the protection of the entire Reich territory by re-establishing within her own borders the natural tights of a sovereign power which are granted all peoples."
Before I take up the question of aggressive war in detail I have the intention, if I have the permission of the Tribunal, to call on the first witness, General of the Air Force Bodenschatz.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.
[The witness Karl Bodenschatz took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
KARL BODENSCHATZ (Witness): Karl Bodenschatz.
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THE PRESIDENT: 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 In German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
DR. STAHMER: General Bodenschatz, since when have you known Reich Marshal Goering?
BODENSCHATZ: I have known Reich Marshal Goering since June 1918.
DR. STAHMER: In what capacity did you get to know him?
BODENSCHATZ: I came to know him when he was the commander of the Richthofen Squadron. I was at that time the adjutant of Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen who had just been killed in action.
DR. STAHMER: Were you taken into the Reichswahr at the end of the first World War?
BODENSCHATZ: At the end of the first World War I was taken into the Reichswehr as a regular officer and remained from the year 1919 until April 1933.
DR. STAHMER: When, after the completion of the World War, did you resume your connection with Goering?
BODENSCHATZ: In November 1918 I was with Goering at Aschaffenburg, at the demobilization of the Richthofen Fighter Squadron, and later in the spring of 1919 I was with him again for several weeks in Berlin. There our paths separated. Then I met Goering for the first time again at his first wedding, and I believe that was in the year 1919 or 1920. I cannot remember exactly. Up to 1929 there was no connection between us. In the year 1929, and until 1933, I met Hermann Goering several times here in Nuremberg where I was a company commander in Infantry Regiment 21. My meetings with Goering here in Nuremberg were solely for the purpose of keeping up the old friendship.
DR. STAHMER: And then in the year 1939, you entered the Luftwaffe?
BODENSCHATZ: In 1933 I reported to Hermann Goering in Berlin. At that time, Goering was Reich Commissioner of the Luftwaffe and I became his military adjutant.
DR. STAHMER: How long did you retain this post as adjutant?
BODENSCHATZ: I retained this post as adjutant until the year 1938. Later I became Chief of the Ministerial Bureau, 1938.
DR. STAHMER: And what position did you have during the war?
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BODENSCHATZ: During the war, I was liaison officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe the Fuehrer's headquarters.
DR. STAHMER: Were you at the headquarters, or where?
BODENSCHATZ: I was alternately at the Fuehrer's headquarters and at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe..
DR. STAHMER: When did you leave that position?
BODENSCHATZ: I left that position on 20 July 1944, because I was seriously wounded that day.
DR. STAHMER: And what was the cause of your being wounded?
BODENSCHATZ: The plot against Hitler.
DR. STAHMER: You were present?
DR. STAHMER: And what were your tasks at the Fuehrer's headquarters?
BODENSCHATZ: It was my duty in the Fuehrer's headquarters to report on special events, special matters, inquiries, and desires of the Reich Marshal if he were absent, and to transmit them. I also had to transmit inquiries from the Fuehrer's headquarters direct to Hermann Goering. Then I had to inform Hermann Goering early, that is, not through of ficial channels, regarding all that took place in the Fuehrer's headquarters insofar as it was of interest to him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.
DR. STAHMER: Did you take part regularly in the conferences?
BODENSCHATZ: I was a listener at these conferences.
DR. STAHMER: From what time onwards did Reich Marshal Goering lose his influence with Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: According to my personal opinion and conviction, Hermann Goering began to lose influence with Hitler in the spring of 1943.
DR. STAHMER: And what were the reasons?
BODENSCHATZ: That was the beginning of large-scale air attacks by night by the R.A.F. on German towns, and from that moment there were differences of opinion between Hitler and Goering which became more serious as time went on. Even though Goering made tremendous efforts, he could not recapture his influence with the Fuehrer to the same extent as before. The outward symptoms of this waning influence were the following:
First, the Fuehrer criticized Goering most severely. Secondly, the eternal conversations between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering
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became shorter, less frequent, and finally ceased altogether. Thirdly, as far as important conferences were concerned, the Reich Marshal was not called in. Fourthly, during the last months and weeks the tension between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Goering increased to such a degree that he was finally arrested.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything about this arrest? What was the cause?
BODENSCHATZ: I have no exact information about it. I can only tell you what I heard. I was at that time in Bad Reichenhall in the military hospital. I merely heard that Reich Marshal Goering had sent a telegram to the Fuehrer, and in this telegram Goering requested that, since the Fuehrer no longer had freedom of action, he might act himself. As the result of this telegram, which was sent by wireless to Berlin, the arrest took place. I would like to emphasize that I only heard that. I have no proof of any of these statements.
DR. STAHMER: And who made the arrest?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you about that because I know nothing. I heard, however, that a Kommando of the SS from Obersalzberg made the arrest.
DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Goering have any previous knowledge of the incidents against the Jews which took place during the night of 9 to 10 November 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: Goering had no previous knowledge of these incidents. I inferred that from his demeanor -- how he acted towards me with regard to these incidents. He acted in the following manner: When he heard of these happenings he was dismayed and condemned them. A few days later he went with proof to the Fuehrer and complained about the people who had instigated these incidents. Captain Wiedemann, the adjutant of the Fuehrer, can give you further particulars on the subject on oath.
Several weeks later, Hermann Goering called all the Gauleiter to Berlin, in order to make clear his attitude regarding the incidents of the 9th and 10th. He was violently opposed to these individual acts of barbarism. He criticized them severely as unjust, as economically unreasonable and harmful to our prestige in foreign countries. The former Gauleiter, Dr. Uiberreither, who took part in this conference of Gauleiter, has already given further particulars on oath.
DR. STAHMER: Were you present at a conference which took place in the beginning of August 1939 at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I personally took part in that conference.
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DR. STAHMER: Who was present there?
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I remember the following were present: Hermann Goering; Herr Dahlerus, from Stockholm; six to eight English economic experts, whose names I do not recall; I was present, and there was an interpreter, Ministerialrat Dr. Bocker.
DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us about the subject of this conference?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember it word for word, but as far as I can tell you Hermann Goering made the following statements . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, did the witness say where this conference took place?
DR. STAHMER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell us where it was?
DR. STAHMER: [To the witness.] Please repeat where this conference took place.
BODENSCHATZ: The conference took place at the beginning of August at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein.
DR. STAHMER: Please continue. You were going to tell us about the subject of this conference.
BODENSCHATZ: I repeat, in substance, Goering made the following statement: At that moment relations between England and Germany were very tense. Under no circumstances should this tension be increased or peace be endangered. The welfare and the trade of our two countries could only flourish and prosper in peace. It was to the greatest interest of Germany and Europe that the British Empire should continue to exist. Goering emphasized that he himself would do his utmost for the maintenance of peace. He requested the British business leaders, on their return home, to use their influence in authoritative circles for that purpose.
DR. STAHMER: Did Goering give you his opinion on how the foreign policy of the Reich should be carried out? When and on what occasions did conversations take place?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering often discussed these topics with me, in 1938 and 1939, especially during the period following the Munich agreement. These conversations would take place perhaps in connection with a report, or perhaps in his special train. Hermann Goering was always of the opinion that the policy of the Reich must be directed in such a way as to avoid war if possible. Hermann Goering dealt with this topic at particularly great length in a conference with the Gauleiter in the summer of 1938 in Karinhall. Dr. Uiberreither, whom I have previously mentioned, has already given further sworn testimony to this effect.
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DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Goering speak to you before leaving for Munich in September 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: Before Hermann Goering left for Munich, he told me he would do everything within his power to effect a peaceful settlement. He said, "We cannot have war." He exerted his influence on the Fuehrer to this effect, and during the negotiations in Munich he worked decisively for the preservation of peace. When he left the conference hall after the conference at Munich he said to us spontaneously, "That means peace."
DR. STAHMER: Did he often discuss with you for what reason he was against a war, and on what occasions?
BODENSCHATZ: We talked about this topic very frequently. He always said to me:
"In the first World War as an infantry officer and as an air force officer I was constantly at the front. I know the horrors of a war, and, therefore, my attitude is to preserve the German people from these horrors if possible. My ambition is to solve conflicts peacefully."
In general, his opinion was that war is always a risky and unsure business. Even if you win a war, the advantages are in no relation whatsoever to the disadvantages and sacrifices which have to be made. If you lose the war, then, in our position, everything is lost. Our generation has already experienced the horrors of a great World War and its bitter consequences. To expect the same generation to live through another war would be unthinkable.
I would like to add that Hermann Goering, according to his inner thoughts and character, was never in favor of war. Nothing was further from his mind than the thought of a war.
DR. STAHMER: Did Goering converse with you about what were, according to his wish, the aims to be accomplished by the rearmament which Germany had undertaken? When and on what occasion?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering spoke with me about these matters in the year 1935 after the Wehrfreiheit had been proclaimed. He described Germany's rearmament, after vain attempts to achieve general limitation of armament, as an attempt at equality with the armament of other countries, in order to be able to collaborate with other powers in world politics with equal rights.
DR. STAHMER: Did conversations of this kind take place after 1935 also?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. Now and then we resumed such conversations and he spoke in a similar vein.
DR. STAHMER: Did you find out through Reich Marshal Goering what purpose the Four Year Plan was to serve?
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BODENSCHATZ: I happened to speak with Goering about this matter in the year 1936, and that was the Four Year Plan had been announced. He explained it to me as follows: That in this plan he saw a means of securing for Germany those raw materials which she could not import in peacetime because of the lack of foreign exchange or whose import in an emergency might possibly be cut off.
DR. STAHMER: When and on what occasion did Goering give you his opinion on the Russian campaign?
BODENSCHATZ: Towards the end of 1941, after the first reverses in the Russian campaign, Hermann Goering talked with me about the fighting in the East. He said to me:
"Adolf Hitler foresaw a very hard battle in the East, but he did not count on such reverses. Before the beginning of this campaign I tried in vain to dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plan of attacking Russia. I reminded him that he himself, in his book Mein Kampf, was opposed to a war on two fronts and, in addition, I pointed out that the main forces of the German Luftwaffe would be occupied in the East, and England, whose air industry was hit, would breathe again and be able to recover."
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off for 10 minutes?
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has observed that the witness is using notes whilst giving his evidence. The ruling which I announced this morning was confined to the defendants and did not extend to witnesses. Nevertheless, the Tribunal will allow the same rule to be applied to witnesses. But the evidence must not be read, the purpose of the rule being merely to assist recollection in giving evidence.
[Turning to Dr. Stahmer.] Yes, Dr. Stahmer.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether people turned to the Reich Marshal with the request that their relatives should be freed from concentration camps or to help them in their difficulties with the Gestapo?
BODENSCHATZ: The Chief of Staff is the person who can answer that question. I myself only heard that such requests were made to the Reich Marshal.
DR. STAHMER: Did you not have to deal with such requests in the military section?
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BODENSCHATZ: In the military section I had to deal with the requests which were concerned with the Luftwaffe. But they were only requests regarding the arrests of German citizens who stated that they had not been given the reason for their arrest. We also received communications regarding detention, grievances, and also regarding arrests of Jews. Requests of this kind came to me only from Luftwaffe sources or from my immediate circle of acquaintances.
DR. STAHMER: How were such requests treated?
BODENSCHATZ: Such requests were always treated as follows:
Most of the requests, which came from the broad masses of the people, were submitted to the Reich Marshal through the Staff. Those requests that came from the Luftwaffe were presented through my office, and requests that came from the Reich Marshal's relatives or friends, they themselves presented. The Reich Marshal did not refuse his help in these cases. In individual cases he asked the Fuehrer personally for a decision.
In all the cases that I dealt with help could be given.
DR. STAHMER: Did many Jews turn to Goering with requests for help?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, Jews, and particularly Jews of mixed blood applied to Reich Marshal Goering.
DR. STAHMER: How were these requests handled?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal did not deny his help and he gave instructions whenever possible that help should be given.
DR. STAHMER: What was Goering's general attitude to human society?
BODENSCHATZ: In his feelings, thoughts, and actions, as far as human society was concerned, he was a benefactor to all in need. He was always ready to help those who were in need, for instance sick people, wounded, the relatives of those who had been killed in the war and of prisoners of war.
Care for the working classes was particularly important to him. Here is an example of this: The introduction of miners' compensation. Every miner who had completed 25 years of steady work was to receive over 20,000 marks. This is one of his most important social works.
DR. STAHMER: Did you know of the conditions in the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: I had no knowledge of the conditions in the concentration camps.
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DR. STAHMER: Were the concentration camps spoken of at the Fiihrer's headquarters during discussions with the Fuehrer, or on any other occasion?
BODENSCHATZ: In the Fuehrer's headquarters I never heard the Fuehrer speak about the concentration camps. He never discussed them in our circle.
DR. STAHMER: Was the question of the annihilation of the Jews discussed there?
BODENSCHATZ: No, it was not; not in his discussions with me, at any rate.
DR. STAHMER: Not even in discussions on the war situation?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I cannot remember him ever discussing the annihilation of the Jews in my presence during discussions on the war situation.
DR. STAHMER: Did anyone else there mention anything?
DR. STAHMER: Not Himmler?
BODENSCHATZ: He never discussed the subject with Himmler. I have only heard since being in prison that Himmler's reply to people who spoke to him on this matter was, "What you have heard is not true; it is incorrect." I personally did not discuss this question with Himmler.
DR. STAHMER: Did you know how many concentration camps there were?
BODENSCHATZ: Everyone knew that the camps existed, but I was not aware that so many existed. It was only after the war that I learned the names of Mauthausen and Buchenwald from the newspaper. I only know of the camp of Dachau because I happen to come from Bavaria.
DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear of the atrocities either?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I never heard of the atrocities. The very first time I heard was last year, when I reported to the Reich Marshal -- to be exact it was the middle of March 1945 -- when I reported my departure on sick leave. The Reich Marshal told me during lunch that very many Jews must have perished there and that we should have to pay dearly for it. That was the first time that I heard of crimes against the Jews.
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions. I can now turn the witness over to the other Defense Counsel and to the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions of this witness?
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DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces): I have only a few questions to ask this witness.
[Turning to the witness.]
Witness, in your capacity as liaison officer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe at the Fuehrer's headquarters you took part, as you have already mentioned, in the. discussions on the war situation. Did you also take part in discussions on the war situation when front-line commanders were making their reports to Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: I personally did not take part in such discussions. At two discussions, however, I was in the adjoining room, once when Field Marshal Von Kleist was there for a conference,
and the second time was when the leader of the Crimea Army came to make a report after the evacuation of the Crimea. I was, as I said, not actually present at those conferences, but I heard, in the adjoining room, that there were some differences of opinion between Hitler and the commander in question as they were raising their voices. That is all I can say.
DR.LATERNSER: Did you hear enough to follow the trend of this discussion?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I could not follow the trend nor the substance of these discussions.
DR. LATERNSER: In that case I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions?
[There was no response.]
Then does the Prosecution wish to ask any questions?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal.
[Turning to the witness.] You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: I beg your pardon. Could you please repeat the question. I did not understand it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: At the present time I am a prisoner of war of the United States.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have been interrogated on a number of occasions by representatives of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: I was interrogated several times by representatives of the United States.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have also had a number of consultations with Dr. Stahmer who has just examined you?
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BODENSCHATZ: I have had several discussions with Dr. Stahmer who has just addressed questions to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Those questions were addressed to you some time ago and you prepared your answers in writing?
BODENSCHATZ: Those questions were submitted to me beforehand and I was able to prepare my answers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Coming to the subject of the concentration camps and the activities of your department in releasing persons from them -- as I understand, a large number of applications came to the Goering office for release from concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: I stated before that the requests for release from concentration camps did not come to my department but to the Staff office. I received only the requests and complaints in which people begged for help because they had been arrested, among them Jews who were to be arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And were those applications that did come to you numerous?
BODENSCHATZ: My sector covered only the Luftwaffe.. There were perhaps 10 to 20 such applications.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those applications were from persons who were threatened with imprisonment, or had been imprisoned, or both?
BODENSCHATZ: Partly from people who were threatened with arrest and partly from people who had already been arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in each case, as I understand you, you intervened to help them.
BODENSCHATZ: On the instructions of the Reich Marshal, I helped in all cases that were submitted to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you know of any other cases that came to the Staff in which help was not given to the imprisoned persons?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything about that. I only heard from Dr. Gritzbach, Chief of Staff, that requests that came to him also were settled in a humane way.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, were the persons that you intervened for innocent of crime or were you helping out those who were guilty of crime?
BODENSCHATZ: Those I helped were innocent people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So it came to your notice that innocent people were being put in concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: Could you please repeat that question.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your notice that innocent people then were being put in concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: Had not been put into concentration camps, but were destined for them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said you intervened for some who had been arrested.
BODENSCHATZ: Yes; they were not taken to concentration camps. I will give you a practical example. A comrade of mine, from the Richthofen Squadron, a Jew by the name of Luther, was arrested by the Gestapo, that is to say, he was not taken to a concentration camp, but first was simply arrested by the Gestapo. His lawyer informed me. I informed the Reich Marshal of this case, and the Reich Marshal instructed me to have this man freed from his temporary custody by the Gestapo in Hamburg. He was not yet in a concentration camp. So far as I know this case happened in 1943.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he charged with when he was arrested?
BODENSCHATZ: He was arrested because he was a Jew, and he had been told that he had committed an offense against decency in that he had been with an Aryan woman in a hotel.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you make any inquiries as to whether the charge was true?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not have to make such inquiries because I had no difficulty in obtaining his release. When I called up, he was released and thereafter stayed under the protection of Hermann Goering.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did you call up to get his release?
BODENSCHATZ: The chief of the Gestapo office in Hamburg. I do not know the name. I did not make the call myself but had it done by my assistant, Ministerialrat Dr. Bottger.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that the Gestapo would release persons upon the request of Hermann Goering?
BODENSCHATZ: Not from Hermann Goering's office, but the Reich Marshal gave instructions that it should be carried out, and it was carried out.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said your assistant called up. Did Goering also call the Gestapo himself?
BODENSCHATZ: No, he did not call himself, not in this case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that even though this man may have been guilty of the charge, if he belonged to the Luftwaffe he was released, on the word of the Reich Marshal?
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BODENSCHATZ: He was not a member of the Luftwaffe, he was a civilian. He had previously been one of our comrades in the Richthofen Squadron. He was not in the Wehrmacht during the war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your instructions were to release all persons who were Jews or who were from the Luftwaffe? Were those your instructions from Goering?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal told me, again and again, that in such cases I should act humanely, and I did so in every case..
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How did you find out that Jews were arrested against whom there were no charges?
BODENSCHATZ: In one case, in the case of the two Ballin families in Munich, these were two elderly married couples, more than 70 years old. These two couples were to be arrested, and I was informed of this. I told the Reich Marshal about it, and he told me that these two couples should be taken to a foreign country. That was the case of the two Ballin couples who, in 1923, when Hermann Goering was seriously wounded in front of the Feldherrnhalle, and was taking refuge in a house, received him and gave him help. These two families were to be arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: For what?
BODENSCHATZ: They were to be arrested because there was a general order that Jews should be taken to collection camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew of that order?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not know of the order. It was only through these examples which were brought to my notice that it became clear to me that this evacuation was to take place. I had never read the order myself nor even heard of it, because I had nothing to do with it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your attention that Jews were being thrown into concentration camps merely because they were Jews?
BODENSCHATZ: In this case I am not speaking of concentration camps, but it was ordered that people were to be brought to collection camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not concentration camps, but special camps? Where were they going from there?
BODENSCHATZ: That I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where was this special camp that you speak of?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they were to be taken. I was told they were to be taken away.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But neither you nor Goering had any suspicion that if they were taken to concentration camps any harm would come to them, did you?
BODENSCHATZ: I knew nothing about what took place in the concentration camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now did you not hear about the concentration camps, and was not the purpose of your saving these people from going to them, that the people who went there were mistreated?
BODENSCHATZ: I must reiterate that I freed people from their first arrest by the Gestapo that were not yet in the concentration camp.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What would the Gestapo take them into custody for, if not the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: What purpose the Gestapo was pursuing with these arrests I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you intervened to save them from the Gestapo without even finding out whether the Gestapo had cause for arresting them?
BODENSCHATZ: If the Gestapo arrested any one, then they must have had something against him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you made no inquiry into that, did you?
BODENSCHATZ: I have already said it was generally known that these people were taken to collection camps, not concentration camps. It was known -- many German people knew that they were to be taken away. They knew that the people were taken to work camps, and in these work camps they were put to work.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Forced labor?
BODENSCHATZ: It was just ordinary work. I knew, for instance, that in Lodz the people worked in the textile industry.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where were they kept while they were doing that work?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say, for I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were in a camp, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you all that, for I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You would not know about that?
BODENSCHATZ: I have no idea.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What is the difference between a work camp and a concentration camp? You have drawn that distinction.
BODENSCHATZ: A work camp is a camp in which people were housed without their being in any way ill-treated.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And a concentration camp is where they are ill-treated? Is that your testimony?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I can only tell you that now because in the meantime I discovered it through the press and through my imprisonment. At that time I did not know it. I learned it from the newspapers. I was a prisoner of war in England for quite a while, and I read about it in the English press.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You spoke of collection camps, that many people knew they were being taken to collection camps to be taken away. Where were they being taken away?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they went from there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever inquire?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I never inquired.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were adjutant to the Number 2 man in Germany, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you never ventured to ask him about the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not speak to him on that subject.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The only instruction you had was to get everybody out that you could.
BODENSCHATZ: Where a request or a complaint was made, I followed those cases down, and in those cases I assisted.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You knew that Hermann Goering was a close co-worker with Himmler, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not know that he was a fellow worker with Himmler, because he never worked with him directly. Himmler frequently came for discussions with Hermann Goering, but these were private conversations just between the two.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that he was not only a friend, but that he had aided Kaltenbrunner to his post when Kaltenbrunner came into office, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: No, that I did not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not know that?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not know that Reich Marshal Goering recommended Kaltenbrunner for his office. My activity was confined simply to the military sector. I was military adjutant to the Reich Marshal. I had nothing to do with these matters.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you have anything to do with the procedure of making full Aryans out of half-Jews?
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BODENSCHATZ: On the question of mixed blood, requests concerning the Luftwaffe came to me, and in fact, officers, according to the regulations, would have to be dismissed if they were of mixed blood. In many cases the Reich Marshal gave instructions that these officers should not be dismissed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was done about it?
BODENSCHATZ: In these cases the chief of the personnel office was instructed not to dismiss these officers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in some cases some kind of an order was made, was it not, that they were full Aryans, notwithstanding Jewish parentage?
BODENSCHATZ: At the moment I can remember no such case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You spoke of the requests for help from Goering coming from broad masses of the people, and those requests were submitted to his staff. Is that right?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was the head of that staff?
BODENSCHATZ: At the head of that staff stood the Chief of Staff, Dr. Gritzbach.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many assistants did he have?
BODENSCHATZ: There were three sections, a press section, with Dr. Gerner in charge of that, and the private secretariat -- there were three sections.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And which of these sections handled the peoples' requests for relief from arrest?
BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Gritzbach and Dr. Gerner were concerned with that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom did they talk about these matters, do you know?
BODENSCHATZ: These gentlemen, as well as myself, submitted these matters to the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that he was kept fully informed of what you did and of what they did?
BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal was kept fully informed of these applications to you and to the other sections?
BODENSCHATZ: He was informed by me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, as I understand you, he never failed to give his assistance to any one of the applications that was made to him, so far as you know?
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BODENSCHATZ: As regards requests addressed to my office or to me personally he never refused assistance and actually help was always given.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And never inquired into the guilt or innocence of the person he was helping?
BODENSCHATZ: They were innocent; that was clearly established.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were present on the 20th of July at the bomb explosion, as I understand from your direct testimony?
BODENSCHATZ: On 20 July I was present at that meeting and stood very near the bomb.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where was Hermann Goering on that day?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering was in his headquarters on that day, about 70 kilometers from the Fuehrer's headquarters.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Only 70 kilometers away; is that right? And at what time were you instructed to represent him at that meeting?
BODENSCHATZ: I was not instructed to represent him at this meeting. I took part in this conference, as in any other, as a listener. I had no orders to represent Goering, to represent him in the Fuehrer's headquarters. I was merely in the Fuehrer's headquarters to inform him of what went on there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You represented him to listen, but not to talk; is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not say very much during those years. I was simply a listener and had to inform him as to what took place at the conference; what would interest him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How far in advance of that meeting were you instructed to attend?
BODENSCHATZ: At this meeting? On 20 July? On 19 July I was on a special commission, sent to the Munster Camp to take part in the review of an Italian division. On 20 July, at noon, I came by air to the Fuehrer's headquarters, gave Hitler a military communication, and Hitler said to me, "Come and discuss the situation." I did not want to go, but I went with him and after 15 minutes the attempted assassination took place.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who sent you with the message? Whose message was it that you were delivering?
BODENSCHATZ: I was commissioned at that time by Reich Marshal Goering to attend the review of the Italian division at the
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Munster Camp and to tell Field Marshal Graziani that the men in that division were to be used to command flak guns. After Field Marshal Graziani had declared himself in disagreement with this, I was obliged to go to the Fuehrer's headquarters by air. It had been proposed that I should go by Mussolini's special train which was in Munster, and on the night of 19 to 20...
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Answer my question, Witness. Just answer the question, please, and you will save us a great deal of time. Whose messages were you carrying to the Fuehrer?
BODENSCHATZ: I brought the message that Graziani was not disposed to hand over these soldiers of the Italians division.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And before you started for the Fuehrer's headquarters you communicated with Goering about it, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: Before my departure, when I flew to Munster Camp -- that was a few days before -- I spoke to him and when I returned, before reporting to the Fuehrer, I telephoned Hermann Goering in his headquarters and gave him the same message.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he instruct you to go to the Fuehrer's headquarters at that time and give the message to the Fuehrer?
BODENSCHATZ: This trip from Munster Camp I made on my own initiative because it was important for Adolf Hitler to know of this information before Mussolini, who was expected to arrive at the Fuehrer's headquarters at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on 20 July....
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: As I understand you, Goering wanted a peaceful outcome of the negotiations at Munich?
BODENSCHATZ: He said that to me several times.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was highly pleased with the outcome that was achieved there?
BODENSCHATZ: He was very pleased. I emphasized that before when I said that when he came from the conference room, he said spontaneously, "That means peace."
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you say that Goering wanted peace with Poland, he also wanted that same kind of a peace, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Regarding peace with Poland, I did not speak to him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he send someone or induce Hitler to take someone to Munich in order to countercheck Ribbentrop?
BODENSCHATZ: All I know personally on this subject is this: Here, in imprisonment, Captain Wiedemann told me that Hermann
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Goering had expressed the wish that Von Neurath should be taken, and Wiedemann told me that Hitler had granted that wish.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were interrogated by the United States about this subject before Wiedemann got here, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Before Wiedemann was brought here.
BODENSCHATZ: I was not interrogated on this subject -- the Munich Agreement and Von Neurath.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you interrogated on the 6th of November 1945, and did you not then say that Goering used very harsh words about Ribbentrop and asked Hitler to take Neurath to Munich with him in order to have a representative present? Did you not say that to the interrogators of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember at the moment. If that is in the record then it must be so.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting as to which you have -- oh, by the way, after Munich you know that Goering gave his word of honor to the Czechs that there would be no further aggression against them, do you not?
BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that after Munich, when Goering was pleased with the outcome, he gave his word of honor that there would be no further aggression against the Czechs. Do you know that?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not know that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting that took place in London, I mean the meeting that took place when the Englishmen were present . . .
BODENSCHATZ: In Husum, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the Swedish person who was present?
BODENSCHATZ: Herr Dahlerus was the Swede who was present.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who were the English who were present?
BODENSCHATZ: There were six to eight English economic experts. The names I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And at that time -- by the way, have you fixed the time of that? What was the date?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say precisely. It was the beginning of August.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it not 7 August?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Mr. Dahlerus there?
BODENSCHATZ: The question as to whether Dahlerus was there -- I cannot remember one hundred percent whether he was there. I know only that when I spoke to my lawyer he said that Dahlerus was there, but I cannot swear one hundred percent that he was there. I assumed he was, since the Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer told me that he was there. That was the reason why I said previously that Hermann Goering and Dahlerus were present at that meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the subject under discussion was the Polish relations with the German Reich?
BODENSCHATZ: Polish relations were not discussed, but relations between England and Germany. There was no talk of relations with Poland.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Goering wanted the English gentlemen to see that England did not attack Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not express it quite that way. He said, as I have already stated, the English gentlemen should, when they returned home, work in the same way that he was working -- for peace, and to make their influence felt in important circles.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, was that not said in connection with the Polish negotiations that were then going on?
BODENSCHATZ: With the Polish negotiations? I cannot remember that any mention was made of Polish negotiations.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you with Hermann Goering when the Polish war broke out?
BODENSCHATZ: When the Polish war broke out I was in Berlin.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you still in your office under Hermann Goering's command?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was at that time under Hermann Goering's command.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first begin preparing for a movement of your forces in the direction of Poland?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot make any definite statement on that subject; that was a matter for the General Staff. I know only that during the period before the outbreak of war the Chief of the General Staff several times visited the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Hermann Goering, and that such matters were discussed. I, myself, was not informed as to how many forces were to be used in the Polish campaign.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you present at the conference in which Hermann Goering stated that he, right after Munich, had orders to multiply the Air Force by five?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot recall having been present at any such discussion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that the Air Force was greatly enlarged after Munich?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I do not know that. The Air Force was augmented according to plan. In this connection I can say for certain that the German Air Force, at the beginning of the Polish campaign, as regards leadership, planning, or material, was not equal to its task.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, would you like to adjourn now or would you like to go on in order to finish?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This would be a convenient time. I am sure we cannot finish before lunch hour.
THE PRESIDENT: You would like to adjourn now?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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THE PRESIDENT: We will have no open session tomorrow.
GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U. S. S. R.): I want to say a few words with respect to the statement of Defense Counsel Stahmer. When speaking about the document concerning the German atrocities at Katyn, Defense Counsel Stahmer stated that it was not in his possession. I do not want to speak about the nature of this document. I want to report to the Tribunal that on 13 February this document, as Exhibit USSR-54 -- 30 copies of it, all in the German language -- was given to the Document Room for the purposes of the Defense. We did not think that we had to present the document to each Defense Counsel separately. We considered that if the document were given to the Document Room, the Defense would take the necessary steps concerning it. That is all I wish to say on this matter.
DR. LATERNSER: There must be a misunderstanding about the number of this document. It was submitted at that time in open session by the Russian Prosecutor as Exhibit Number USSR-64. USSR-64 has not been distributed. I have not received it, and upon request at Information Room of the Defense, upon two requests, I have not been able to obtain it.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we will inquire into the matter.
[The witness Bodenschatz took the stand.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Previous to the spring of 1943, as I understand you, Hermann Goering was a man of great influence in the councils of the Reich?
BODENSCHATZ: Before the year 1943 -- that is, until the year 1943 -- Hermann Goering always had access to the Fuehrer, and his influence was important.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, it was the most important in Germany outside of the Fuehrer himself, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Within the Reich he had great influence, very great influence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Air power was his special mission and his special pride, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: As an old airman, he was very proud to be able to build up and lead the Air Force.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He had more confidence in air power as a weapon of war than most of the other men of his time, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: At any rate he was convinced that his Air Force was very good. But I have to repeat what I said before, that
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at the beginning of the war, in the year 1939, that stage had not been reached by the Air Force. I repeat that at that time the Air Force was, as far as leadership, training, and material were concerned, not ready for war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But ever since you first went with Hermann Goering you had been rapidly building up the Air Force, had you not?
BODENSCHATZ: The building up of the Air Force went relatively fast.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you first went with Goering -- I have forgotten what year you said that was.
BODENSCHATZ: I came to Hermann Goering in April 1933. At that time there was no Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, but only a Reich Commissariat for Aviation. But even at that time, the beginning of the building up of the Air Force -- the first beginnings -- started. It was only after 1935, however, when freedom from armament restriction was declared, that it was speeded up.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the building up of the Air Force was very largely in bombers, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: It was not mainly bombers; it was mixed, both fighters and bombers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering also had charge of the Four Year Plan?
BODENSCHATZ: He was commissioned by the Fuehrer to carry out the Four Year Plan.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He also held several other offices, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering, besides being Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, was put in charge of the Four Year Plan. Before that, at the beginning of the seizure of power, he was Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister of Prussia, President of the Reichstag and Reichsforstmeister.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I notice that you use here, as you have used in your interrogations by the United States, the expression "seizure of power." That was the common expression used in your group, was it not, to describe the coming to power of Adolf Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: It cannot be used in this sense. At that time it was completely legal because the National Socialist Party was then the strongest party, and the strongest party nominated the Reich Chancellor, and the strongest party had, as such, the greatest influence. It must not be interpreted to mean that they usurped the
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power, but that they had the most influential and prominent position among the parties, that is, by the completely legal means of election.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You want to change the word "seizure"?
BODENSCHATZ: I have to change that. It is only an expression which was common usage in the press at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering got along without any open break with Hitler until 1945, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Until the year 1945 there was no open break. The arrest was only quite at the end, as I have said before.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the arrest was the first open break that had occurred between them, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, the first big break between the two which was apparent to the public. But since the year 1943, as I have said before, there was already a gradual estrangement in the attitude of the two men.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But that was kept from the public, was it not, kept from the German people?
BODENSCHATZ: It was not so visible to the public. It was a development which took place gradually from the spring of 1943 to 1945 -- first to a small extent, and then the tension became greater and greater.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When the arrest was made it was made by the SS, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: I only heard that. It was said that in Obersalzberg a unit of SS had arrived which arrested Hermann Goering in his small house and confined him there. As to that, perhaps the witness who is going to testify later, Colonel Brauchitsch, who was present at this arrest and who was arrested himself, can give more details.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were not arrested by the SS?
BODENSCHATZ: At that time . . . since 20 July 1944, when I was seriously injured, I had been in the hospital. I was close to Berchtesgaden, at Bad Reichenhall, convalescing.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whenever there were conferences which you attended, was it not the custom, at the conclusion of Hitler's address to the group, for Goering as the ranking man present, to assure the Fuehrer on behalf of himself and his fellow officers of their support of his plans?
BODENSCHATZ: Of course I was not present at all conferences; I only took the part of listener. At these discussions, or shall we
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say conferences, in which I took part, it happened from time to time that the Reich Marshal made a remark at the end and gave assurance that the will of the Fuehrer would be carried out. But at the moment I cannot remember specifically any such conference.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You cannot remember any conference at which he did not do it either, can you?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. It was not always done; on the contrary, he did not do it as a rule. In the Reichstag Hermann Goering always made a concluding speech, after a session had ended, expressing his confidence in Adolf Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he not do that at every meeting of officers at which the Fuehrer was present?
BODENSCHATZ: May I ask you to repeat the question? I have not quite understood it. I beg you to excuse me, but I would like to mention that owing to my injury I have lost 60 percent of my hearing, and therefore I beg you to excuse me if I ask for repetitions. Please, repeat your question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Quite all right, Sir. Do you know of any conference between Hitler and his High Command at which Goering did not close the meeting, as the ranking officer present, by making assurances of support to Hitler's plans?
BODENSCHATZ: Some of the conferences I attended were concluded by a declaration of that nature. There were, however, many conferences -- in fact most of the conferences -- when nothing further was said at the end. When the Fuehrer had finished his speech, the meeting was ended.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In 1943, when Goering began to lose influence with Hitler, it was a very embarrassing time for Goering, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering suffered from this fact. He often told me that he would suffer very much on that account.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: From the fact that the Fuehrer was losing confidence in him?
BODENSCHATZ: What was that?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was suffering from the fact that the Fuehrer was losing confidence in him? Was that what was causing his suffering?
BODENSCHATZ: That may have been part of the reason, but differences of opinion arose about the Luftwaffe.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, in the spring of 1943 it was apparent to you and apparent to him that the war was lost for Germany, was it not?
8 March 46
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say that. The Reich Marshal did not tell me in 1943 that the war was lost, but that there were great difficulties, that it would become very dangerous; but that the war was definitely lost -- I cannot remember that the Reich Marshal at that time, in the spring of 1943, made a statement to me of that kind, or a similar one.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that it would not be possible for them to be bombed, as Warsaw, Rotterdam, and other cities were bombed?
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, he did not give the assurance in those words. Before the war, when our Air Force was growing -- I mean at the beginning of the war, when the great successes in Poland and in France were manifest -- he said to the German people that the Air Force would do its job and do everything to spare the country from heavy air raids. At the time that was justified. It was not clearly foreseen then that matters would develop differently later.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then he had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that the Luftwaffe would be able to keep enemy bombers away from Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that he gave an official assurance to the German people in the form of a decree or a big speech. At times it was said that the German Air Force, after the successes in Poland and France, was at its peak. I do not know of any official statement whereby it was made known to the German people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At all events, it became apparent in the spring of 1943 that any such assurance, if it had been given, was misleading?
BODENSCHATZ In the year 1943 the conditions were entirely different, owing to the fact that the British and American Air Forces came into the picture in such large and overwhelming numbers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was also true that the air defenses of Germany were proving entirely inadequate to cope with the situation; is that not a fact?
BODENSCHATZ: The air defense of Germany was very difficult, as the entire defense did not depend on the air crews alone, but it was also a radio-technical war, and in this radio-technical war, it must be admitted frankly, the enemy was essentially better than we were. Therefore it was not only a war in the air, but it was also a radio war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It had become apparent that Germany could not cope with it -- is that not a fact? -- by 1943.
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BODENSCHATZ: In the year 1943 it was not yet a hundred percent clear. There were fluctuations, low and high points. Efforts were made to increase the fighter strength at the expense of the bombers. It was not one hundred percent obvious that the enemy air force could not be opposed successfully. That became obvious only after the middle of 1944.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Fuehrer lost confidence in Goering as the bombing of German cities progressed, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, indeed, from the moment the British Air Force started with their large-scale attacks on German cities, particularly when the first heavy British air attack on Cologne took place. From that moment it was obvious that differences of opinion, at first not too serious, were arising between the two men.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Hitler accused Goering, did he not, of misleading him as to the strength of the air defenses of Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know that the Fuehrer ever accused the Reich Marshal of any offense in this respect. Discussions between Adolf Hitler and the Reich Marshal were, in spite of all tension, always very moderate. The criticism is said to have become more vehement only later, in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. But I was not present, because I had been off duty since 20 July 1944.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I asked you a question. I did not intend to imply that the Fuehrer accused him of an intentional misstatement, but he had misled him or he had misunderstood the strength of Germany's air defenses. Was that not generally understood in your circle?
BODENSCHATZ: There could be no question of misleading. The reports which the Air Force made to the Fuehrer were always correct. The weaknesses of the Air Force were also reported to the Fuehrer.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were the efforts that were made by Goering, which you refer to as tremendous efforts, to recapture his influence with the Fuehrer?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal, whenever there were conferences, asked through me that he might participate. The Reich Marshal came more frequently than usual to the Fuehrer's headquarters, and he also said to me, "I will try everything to regain the right contact with the Fuehrer." He said that personally to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was particularly careful after the spring of 1944 not to do anything that would offend the Fuehrer?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say anything more about the year 1945, because then I was no longer active. I had no further contact.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, this bombing of German cities had become very troublesome from the point of view of the German people's criticism of the government, had it not, in 1944?
BODENSCHATZ: The German people suffered terribly under these bombing attacks, and I can only say one thing -- that Adolf Hitler suffered most from them. When at night the bombing of a German city was reported, he was really deeply moved, and likewise the Reich Marshal, because the horror of such a bombing was indescribable. I have experienced a few such bombings in Berlin myself, and whoever has lived through that, will never forget it as long as he lives.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this was all becoming very embarrassing to Hitler and to the Reich Marshal, was it not, to explain to the German people why this was going on?
BODENSCHATZ: That did not have to be explained, because the German people felt it. No explanation was given. It was only said that all possible measures would be taken to master this peril.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew at that time, and the Reich Marshal knew, that no measures could be taken that would prevent it?
BODENSCHATZ: No, no, no. I emphasized before that it was a radio-technical war, and there were moments when, in the defense, we could counter the measures of the enemy while constantly discovering a new means to hit him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you made the announcement to the German people that all means would be taken, you had then no means at your disposal, that you knew of, to use, did you, to prevent the bombing of the German cities?
BODENSCHATZ: Oh yes, indeed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were they, and why were they not used?
BODENSCHATZ: There were, for example, the following means: The most important areas were protected by antiaircraft guns. Then there were radio-technical means, jamming transmitters, which would have made it possible, and which partly did make it possible, to jam the radio sets in the enemy aircraft.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The movement to satisfy the German people under the bombing attacks was a matter of great concern to the Reich Marshal, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal was very anxious that the population should be informed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And see that the population was satisfied, was he not?
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BODENSCHATZ: It is easy to say "satisfied." He could only assure the German people that he would do everything in his power to master these attacks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, have you seen the Reich Marshal and Hitler when the reports came in of the bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdamand of Coventry?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember whether I was present when the reports came.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never saw any such reactions on their part on those bombings, I take it?
BODENSCHATZ: I only know that Warsaw was a fortress which was held by the Polish Army in very great strength, provided with excellent pieces of artillery, that the forts were manned, and that two or three times Adolf Hitler announced that civilians should be evacuated from the city. That was rejected. Only the foreign embassies were evacuated, while an officer with a flag of truce entered. The Polish Army was in the city defending it stubbornly in a very dense circle of forts. The outer forts were very strongly manned, and from the inner town heavy artillery was firing towards the outskirts. The fortress of Warsaw was therefore attacked, and also by the Luftwaffe, but only after Hitler's ultimatum had been rejected.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Coventry a fortified city?
BODENSCHATZ: Coventry was no fortress. Coventry, however, was a city which housed the key industry of the enemy air force, in which the aircraft engines were built, a city in which, as far as I know, many factories were situated and many parts of these aircraft engines were manufactured. In any case, the Luftwaffe had at that time received orders to bomb only the industrial targets. If the city also suffered, it is understandable, considering the means of navigation at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were interrogated in November of 1945, were you not, by Colonel Williams?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was interrogated.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Colonel Williams asked you about certain fictitious incidents along the German-Polish border late in August of 1939, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, he asked me about that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And would you care to tell the Tribunal what you know about the fictitious incidents along the Polish border?
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BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything positive. I was asked by Colonel Williams whether I knew in advance about the incident of the Gleiwitz broadcasting section. I told him I knew nothing about it. It was only that the incidents on the Polish border were very similar to those which happened on the Czech border. It may have been presumed -- that was only my opinion -- that they were perhaps deliberate. But I had no positive proof that anything had been staged on our part.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you tell him on the 6th of November 1945, as follows:
"I heard about it, but I personally at that time had the feeling that all these provocations that had taken place had originated from our side, from the German side. As I said, I had no real proofs of that, but I always had that feeling."
Did you not say that?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that you had talked with people about this, from whom you got that feeling. Is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that very well now. I only know that the reports in the press gave me that suspicion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were asked, were you not, this question and gave this answer:
"Question: But you are of the opinion that what appeared in the press and these incidents that were reported were not true, but done merely to cause an incident as an excuse for an invasion?"
And did you not make this answer:
"I had that feeling. I cannot prove it, but I definitely know I had a feeling that the whole thing was being engineered by us."
Did you not make that answer to that question?
BODENSCHATZ: The minutes will show it. If it is in the minutes, I said it. At the moment I cannot remember the exact words.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not deny the fact, however?
BODENSCHATZ: I had that feeling, but it was a purely subjective opinion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But it was your opinion?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now then, I ask you whether you were not interrogated about the Fuehrer's desire to make war on Poland, and whether you did not give this answer:
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"Gentlemen, this question is very hard to answer, but I can state under my oath that the Fuehrer actually wanted the war against Poland. I can prove that he actually wanted a war of aggression against Poland by the circle surrounding the Fuehrer and the remarks that were made. I was present during the night when Hitler gave Henderson his conditions that he wanted Danzig, and I concluded from all the conferences that the Fuehrer had with the Ambassador -- I had the impression that the Fuehrer did not really want the Poles to accept those conditions."
And I ask you if you made those answers to Colonel Williams?
BODENSCHATZ: I can make the following answer to that:
I was not present at the conference. If I said that, I did not express myself correctly. I was not at the conference that the Fuehrer had with Henderson, but I was standing in the anterooms with the other adjutants, and outside in the anteroom one could hear the various groups, some saying one thing, some another. From these conversations I gather that the conditions which Henderson received for the Poles in the evening were such, and that the time limit for answering these questions -- which was noon of the next day -- was so short, that one could conclude there was a certain intention behind it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, that is the impression that you received from being in the anteroom and talking with the people who were about Hitler that night?
BODENSCHATZ: There were adjutants, the Reich Press Chief, and the gentlemen who were waiting in the anteroom without taking part in the conference.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask you, in order to make this very clear, one more question about your interrogation on that subject. Were you not asked this question:
"Then we can summarize your testimony this morning by saying that you knew in 1938, several months before Germany attacked Poland, that Hitler fully intended to attack Poland and wage an aggressive war against her; is that right?"
And did you not make this answer:
"I can only say this with certainty that from the night when he told Henderson that he wanted Danzig and the Corridor, from that moment, I was sure Hitler intended to wage an aggressive war."
Were you asked that question, and did you make that answer?
BODENSCHATZ: If it is in the minutes, I said it.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, if it were not in the minutes, it would still be your testimony now, would it not? It is a fact, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: My definition is precisely this: From the handing over of Adolf Hitler's demands to Henderson and from the short time that Henderson was granted, I conclude that there was a certain intention. That is how I should like to define it precisely now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that you be shown Document Number L-79, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-27. You have seen that before, witness?
BODENSCHATZ: A copy of this document was shown to me by Colonel Williams, and I told him that I myself could not remember having been present. But if my name is on the minutes, then I was there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your name is on the document, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Then I was there. I cannot remember the subject of this conference. I told Colonel Williams that that must have been discussed because Colonel Schmundt, whose handwriting I know -- I was shown a copy -- I told him that Colonel Schmundt was a man who was very conscientious in making his notes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all in his handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: That is it as I see it here.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is signed by Colonel Schmundt?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is signed by Colonel Schmundt -- Lieutenant Colonel Schmundt. The corrections are not in his handwriting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the body of the document is his handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is his own handwriting. I know it; yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you were asked about that by Colonel Williams, you took time to read it, and then you said, did you not: "I think that the thoughts are right as they are expressed here; these are the thoughts that the Fuehrer usually voiced to us in a small circle." You made that statement?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I did say that, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you said: "I cannot remember whether these things were expressed on that day. However, it is possible that the thoughts which are put down here are the thoughts of Adolf Hitler." You said that to Colonel Williams, did you not?
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BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that to Colonel Williams.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all I care to ask about that, Sir.
I now ask to have shown to you the original exhibit, Document Number 798-PS, Exhibit USA-29 in evidence.
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, a copy of this speech by the Fuehrer was also shown to me by Colonel Williams.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is right. You said, did you not, that you did not recall whether you were present but that the thoughts that were expressed...
BODENSCHATZ: The thoughts expressed there are correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They are correct. That is all about that.
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, but I must say one more thing. I tried to speak to Colonel Williams again and could not reach him. Probably I attended this meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will take that statement now and excuse you from looking for Colonel Williams.
I ask to have shown to you Document 3474-PS, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-580. Is that your handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is my handwriting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And signed by you?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is a note of a conference of the 2d day of December 1936, is it not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You prepared this memorandum for your files; is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to whom I gave this.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it says the notes for the files on that discussion; is that correct?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is a note for the files.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering was present at that conference; is that correct?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. He must have conducted it. It states here, "Present: Generaloberst Goering."
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, the note says he conducted it does it not?
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, there were also present Milch, Kesselring, and all of the others who are named in the list at the head of the note.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you then recorded that Goering told -- oh, by the way, all of those men were men connected with the Armed Forces of Germany, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: Those were all men from the Air Force, the leading men at the time. General Milch was concerned with armament; Lieutenant General Kesselring was, I believe, Chief of Staff; they were all officers who were in leading positions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: All concerned with the Air Force you say. And this meeting was held on the 2d of December 1936. Are we correct about that?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Goering opened the conference by saying: "The press all over the world is excited about the landing of 5,000 German volunteers in Spain. Great Britain protests officially and takes up the matter with France." Refreshing your recollection, that is what occurred, is it not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Goering said, "The general situation is very serious," and that he took full responsibility, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. The general situation was very serious. England was rearming intensively, and a state of readiness was desired.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, he next said, did he not, "Silence until 1941 is desirable. However, we cannot know whether there will be implications before. We are already in a state of war. It is only that no shot is being fired so far." Did he say that?
BODENSCHATZ: That is recorded in these minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he also said, did he not, that "beginning 1 January 1937, all factories for aircraft production shall run as if mobilization had been ordered."
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it is there in the text, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is contained here in the minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you have testified that Goering had no prior knowledge of the action taken against the Jews on the night of November 9th and 10th of 1938.
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BODENSCHATZ: I gathered that from the fact that on the next day he came to me and was very dismayed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was informed about them the next day?
BODENSCHATZ: The next day that was in the press, in the newspapers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said that he complained about the people who instigated them?
BODENSCHATZ: That I was told by Captain Wiedemann, who was here with me in captivity. He told me that a few days later Hermann Goering came to the Fuehrer with proof and complained about what had occurred.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did he complain about?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not tell me that. Wiedemann told me that Goering complained about Heydrich and Goebbels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I did not get that answer.
BODENSCHATZ: Wiedemann told me -- this I did not learn myself from Hermann Goering, but Wiedemann told me he had complained about the instigators, and that the instigators were Heydrich and Goebbels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Heydrich and Goebbels were both officials in Hitler's regime, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda, and Heydrich was Chief of the Gestapo.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So, immediately following these pogroms Goering knew and complained to Hitler that they had been incited by officials of the Nazi regime?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the details as to what he said there. Captain Wiedemann knows about that and can testify to it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering was then at the height of his influence, both with the Fuehrer and with the country, was he not?
BODENSCHATZ: He had at that time the greatest influence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I understand you to say that he immediately called a meeting of Gauleiter?
BODENSCHATZ: The meeting of Gauleiter was a few weeks later. I heard about it from the former Gauleiter of Styria, Dr. Uiberreither, who is imprisoned here with me. This Gauleiter Uiberreither took part in that meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did he wait before he called the meeting?
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BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Uiberreither told me that it was a few weeks afterwards.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, did you know about his holding a meeting on the 12th of November 1938 at his offices in the Reich Ministry for Aviation?
BODENSCHATZ. I cannot remember that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And do you remember that he had present at that meeting Heydrich, Goebbels, and many others? Is that the meeting to which you refer?
BODENSCHATZ: In this case it might be necessary to ask Dr. Uiberreither who was at that meeting. He told me that Dr. Goebbels was present as well as the Gauleiter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was the custom of Goering to keep minutes of the meetings that he conducted?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Goering always had stenographers present, and these stenographers took minutes of such meetings.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you want us to understand that Goering was shocked and offended by what had happened to the Jews on the nights of the 9th and the 10th of November 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not agree with it because, as I mentioned previously, he said it would be a great wrong; it would be unreasonable economically, and it would harm our prestige abroad. I was told by Dr. Uiberreither that Goering had spoken in these terms to the Gauleiter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it known to you that on November the 12th, 2 days after those pogroms, Goering promulgated the order fining all of the Jews a billion Reichsmark, confiscated their insurance, and passed a new decree excluding them from economic life? Did you know about that?
BODENSCHATZ: I have heard of it, but I personally had nothing to do with the idea and with this decree, as I was only the military adjutant.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: These decrees were promulgated 2 days after this pogrom that you say he complained about, is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the connection.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. M. G. GRIFFITH-JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, 1 have only one matter which I want to make clear.
You have referred to a meeting which took place in Schleswig-Holstein in July or August of 1939, at which Goering met a number
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of Englishmen, and you described those Englishmen, the first time you mentioned them, as members of the government, and the second time you mentioned them -- I think you mentioned them as economic specialists?
BODENSCHATZ: So far as I know now, they were English leading men in economics, not members of the government.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am obliged to you. Would it be correct to say that they were leading industrial and business gentlemen with no connection with the government whatsoever?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to what degree these gentlemen were influential. At any rate, Hermann Goering asked at the end that the gentlemen should exert their influence on the authorities in England in the interests of peace.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you know that that conference between Goering and those gentlemen took place at the instigation of Dahlerus?
BODENSCHATZ Dahlerus is said to have brought about this meeting, but I first learned of that in a conversation with Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer, who discussed the matter with me. Doctor Stahmer said he knew that Mr. Dahlerus had asked these gentlemen to come to Germany. It is only on the basis of this information that I assume Dahlerus asked these gentlemen to come.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And do you know that it was the object of Mr. Dahlerus that leading German and English personalities should meet, in order that they should understand one another's points of view?
BODENSCHATZ: Mr. Dahlerus later...he was again in Berlin after that meeting. On that occasion I met him in Berlin, and in conversations with him there I gained the impression that he was greatly interested in peace being maintained between Germany and England, and that he, assisted by Reich Marshal Goering, tried to establish this connection with influential British circles.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: One last question to you. Do you know that, in arranging that meeting and throughout the course of the negotiations thereafter, Dahlerus stressed the British point of view to Goering and in particular tried to impress Goering with the fact that the English were losing their patience with the policy of aggression being pursued by the German Government?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember having discussed with Dahlerus this line of thought which you mention now.
THE PRESIDENT: Any other questions to ask?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: No.
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DR. STAHMER: I have only one more question.
[Turning to the witness.] In the minutes of 2 December 1936, which were shown to you before and which you have before you, there is one paragraph which has not been read entirely. In my opinion it is very important for the interpretation and for the purpose and meaning of that meeting.
It says there:
"The general situation is very serious. Russia wants war. England is rearming strongly. Therefore, the order is: 'From today on, highest degree of readiness, no consideration for financial difficulties.. Generaloberst assumes full responsibility.' "
Was this order, "highest degree of readiness from today on," issued merely because Russia, as it says here, wants war and England is rearming strongly? Was that the motive?
BODENSCHATZ: What do you mean?
DR. STAHMER: Was the gravity of the general situation the motive for the order, "highest degree of readiness from today on"?
BODENSCHATZ: At any rate, there was no intention of attack involved, but a measure for defense.
DR. STAHMER: If it says here "Generaloberst assumes full responsibility," could that be understood to refer to the words "no consideration for financial difficulties" which would be a permissible literal interpretation?
BODENSCHATZ: That refers to financial difficulties, because the Reich Marshal had frequent controversies on that point with the Reich Finance Minister because the Luftwaffe had slightly exceeded its budget.
DR. STAHMER: Thank you. I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STAHMER: I should like to call as the next witness General Field Marshal Milch.
[The witness Milch took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
ERHARD MILCH (Witness): Erhard Milch.
THE PRESIDENT: 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 in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
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DR. STAHMER: Witness, did you take part in the first World War?
DR. STAHMER: In what position?
MILCH: First I was an artillery officer and at the end a captain in the Air Corps.
DR. STAHMER: When did you leave the Army after the end of the first World War?
MILCH: In the spring of 1920.
DR. STAHMER: What were your activities after you left the Army?
MILCH: I went into civil aviation.
DR. STAHMER: When did you join the Wehrmacht again?
DR. STAHMER: Did you go straight into the Air Force?
DR. STAHMER: What position did you have when the second World War began?
MILCH: I was General and Inspector General of the Air Force.
DR. STAHMER: When did the military construction of the Luftwaffe start?
DR. STAHMER: To what extent?
MILCH: A defensive air force was built up.
DR. STAHMER: Can you give us more details about that?
MILCH: In the year 1933 Germany had left the League of Nations and consequently also the Disarmament Conference. Hitler attempted to discuss with the individual nations whether or not disarmament should continue. These attempts to disarm failed, and Germany began to rearm. It was questionable whether the other nations would approve of that. Consequently Germany considered that it was imperative to have military strength in the air also, and to achieve that, the Air Force was itself to create an air power which would be sufficient for the defense of Germany. This is shown by the fact that principally fighters and antiaircraft artillery were provided.
Likewise, the organization of the German Air Force was constructed for defense. It consisted at that time of four "air districts" (Luftkreise), which one can picture as a kind of cross over Germany. There was a Northeast section, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Moreover the strength of the Air Force, as it was
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organized, was not planned for an aggressive war or for a largescale war. Besides fighter planes there were also bombers, but we always called these bomber formations the Risiko Luftwaffe (Risk Air Force), that is to say, their function was to prevent, if possible, any of Germany's neighbors from entering a war against Germany.
DR. STAHMER: What were the relations of the German Air Force with the air forces of foreign countries during the period beginning with the year 1935?
MILCH: During the first years after 1935 Germany had no air force worth mentioning. There were only the first units and the first larger schools that were established. Also during these years, our industry was built up. Before the rearmament started, our industry had been on a very small scale. I happen to know that the number of workers in the entire German air force industry at the time of the seizure of power by the National Socialists was about 3,000 to 3,300 men -- constructors, business men, technicians, and workers.
The first contacts with foreign countries in the field of aviation started in 1937. This was when, in January 1937, an English commission led by Air Vice Marshal Courtney and three other highranking officers -- Courtney was the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the British Air Force -- came to Germany. I myself accompanied this commission and acted as guide during the entire time. We complied with every request of these gentlemen as to what they wanted to see. Those were the first units which were established. We especially showed our training units, in which all new forms and models were first tried out, the industries, the schools, and anything else about which the gentlemen wanted to know. At the end of our conference the English vice marshal suggested that we should start a mutual German-English exchange of plans. I asked for the approval of my commander-in-chief and it was granted. At the time we forwarded to the British the plans of the German Air Force for 1937, 1938, and, I believe, 1939, and, on the other hand, we also received from the British the corresponding figures. We agreed that in the future also, should changes in plans occur or new units be established, an exchange of data should again take place. The visit was animated by a spirit of comradeship and was the beginning of further contacts.
In May of the same year, 1937, I was invited to Belgium with some other gentlemen, as representative of my commander-in-chief, to visit the air force there. Then in July...
DR. STAHMER: What happened on this visit to Belgium? Can you give me more details about that?
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MILCH: It was a very cordial reception. I made the acquaintance of the Minister of War, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister, and also of His Majesty the King, besides the officers of the air force, who, of course, were of main interest to me. The discussion was friendly on both sides, and the Belgians assured us of their personal feelings of friendship for Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Was there also an exchange of data?
MILCH: No. Not in the same way; but later in Germany we also showed the Belgians everything, when the Chief of the Air Force, General Duvier, returned our visit. Then there was a big international meeting in the summer, in July 1937, on the occasion of the aviation meeting in Zurich, which was held every five years. At this meeting we purposely showed our latest models of fighters, bombers, and Stukas, also our new engines which had just been produced, and anything else that would be of international interest. There were large French, Italian, Czech, and Belgian delegations present, besides the German one; and a commission of British officers also attended to see the material displayed by us, but did not take part in the contests as representatives of Great Britain. We showed our material to the French, the British, and to the other nations, in a spirit of comradeship. There was, for instance, the Messerschmitt Fighter 109 with the improvements of the time, more or less as it was flown until the end of the war; the newest Dornier bomber type; the newest Stuka by Junkers; also the Daimler-Benz 600 and 601 engines, and also of Junkers...
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that this amount of detail is of any interest to the Tribunal.
DR. STAHMER: Witness, please, no details; make it short.
MILCH: Yes. Then in October 1937, there was an invitation to France frown the French Government to inspect their air force also. The inspection is said to have been made in a very friendly spirit. Shortly after that, about one week later, a visit at the invitation of England took place in return for Air Vice Marshal Courtney's visit. Here, also, factories, organizations, schools and the War Academy were shown; also, as regards industry, the "shadow factories" were shown, that is, industries which produce peacetime goods in time of peace, and switch over to building aircraft and aircraft engines in time of war. There were also reciprocal visits with Sweden. I think I can conclude with that.
DR. STAHMER: Did you take part in a discussion with the Fuehrer on 23 May 1939?
DR. STAHMER: In what way did that happen?
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MILCH: I was suddenly ordered to come on the morning of that day, because the Reich Marshal was not there.
DR. STAHMER: Do you remember the course of this conversation?
MILCH: The Fuehrer made a long speech to the three commanders-in-chief of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and their chiefs of staff. Several other persons were also present. The gist of it was that Hitler declared he had decided to solve in one way or another the question of a corridor across the Corridor to East Prussia, and in connection with that he discussed the possibility of complications which, in consequence, might arise in the West. It was only a speech, not a discussion or a conversation.
DR. STAHMER: Was anything else discussed or presented by him, any further details?
MILCH: Yes, it was just the question whether the West -- probably he was thinking primarily of France -- would keep quiet or whether it would interfere.
DR. STAHMER: Was anything said of the possibility of an attack on Poland or, as I remember, was only the solution of this Corridor problem mentioned?
MILCH: Actually, I understood him to say that he would solve this problem in any case, so his first thought was probably of negotiations, but if these negotiations did not produce results, then a military solution would probably have to be considered.
DR. STAHMER: Were there any further discussions about that?
MILCH: No, it was expressly ordered that any discussion by the participants, even among themselves, was forbidden. I, for instance, was forbidden to inform the Reich Marshal, who was not there. Hitler declared that he himself would inform Goering. I remember that at that time there was also issued the famous order which has been mentioned previously, and which as Fuehrer Order Number 1 had to be displayed in every one of our offices, to the effect that nobody should tell anybody anything he need not know; that nothing should ever be told sooner than was necessary; and that only just as much should be told as was necessary for the other person to know.
DR. STAHMER: Then you did not about this conference?
MILCH: No; I was forbidden to do so.
DR. STAHMER: When did he find out about it?
MILCH: I do not know.
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DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the then Field Marshal Goering towards war?
MILCH: I was always under the impression -- this already became apparent at the time of the occupation of the Rhineland -- that he was worried lest Hitler's policy might lead to war. In my opinion, he was against war.
DR. STAHMER: When did you find out for the first time that Hitler had planned some operation against Russia?
MILCH: As far as I remember, that was in the spring of 1941. May I correct myself once more? I want to look in my notebook. On 13 January the Reich Marshal told me that Hitler expected an attack against Germany on the part of Russia; then for some time I did not hear anything further and the Reich Marshal did not mention either what his opinion was. At any rate, during the weeks and months following I did not hear any more about it. It is true, however, that at that time I was very seldom in Berlin and not at all at headquarters, but on inspection tours, et cetera. When I returned -- and I do not remember whether it was in March or April -- one of my subordinates made a report to me on a question of clothing, and he put the question to me whether winter clothing had to be provided in case of war against Russia. I was very surprised at this question. I had not been previously informed. I could only tell him that if it came to war with Russia we should then need clothing for several winters, and I told him what kind of winter clothing I would suggest.
DR. STAHMER: Did you speak a second time to Field Marshal Goering about this war?
DR. STAHMER: When was that?
MILCH: On 22 May, on one of my tours, I again came into contact with the Commander-in-Chief for the first time after a long interval. It was in Veldenstein where Goering was at the time. There I discussed the question with him and I told him that, in my opinion, it would be a great historical task for him to prevent this war since it could only end with the annihilation of Germany. I reminded him that we should not voluntarily burden ourselves with a two-front war, et cetera. The Reich Marshal told me that he also had brought forward all these arguments, but that it was absolutely impossible to dissuade Hitler from this war. My offer to try to speak to Hitler once more was declared by the Reich Marshal to be absolutely hopeless. We had to resign ourselves; nothing could be done about it. From these words it was quite clear that he was against this war, and that under no circumstances did
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he want this war but that also for him, in his position, there was no possibility of dissuading Hitler from this project.
DR. STAHMER: Did it also appear from what he said that he had told Hitler of his misgivings?
MILCH: Yes, it was quite clear to me, that he had also spoken about the question of a two-front war, and he told me that he had also laid before Hitler the arguments I had brought forward; but he told me that it was hopeless. I would like to say something more about the 23rd of May. After this discussion, and owing to the fact that the German Air Force had hardly any reserves of bombs available, I proposed that bombs should be manufactured. Previously Hitler had considered this unnecessary and superfluous for the time being. The shortage of iron came into the question. After this conference, being under the impression that complications might arise, I pointed out that the Air Force with its bomber fleet was not ready for action. My proposal was again rejected by Hitler after 23 May. He would let me know in time if and when we needed bombs. When we pointed out that the manufacture of bombs would take several weeks, even months, he declared that there would be plenty of time for that later. From that I came to the conclusion and you know I was not allowed to discuss it with anybody -- that Hitler's words on 23 May were not meant as seriously as they had sounded to me.
DR. STAHMER: When was this last conversation concerning the refusal to manufacture bombs?
MILCH: That was about -- I spoke once in that connection, after May when the situation was known. But later, during the latter part of summer, I again brought it to his attention. Again it was rejected. The order to manufacture bombs was not given by Hitler until 12 October 1939, although we had pointed out that deficiency before. Hitler said, if I remember correctly, "My attempts to make peace with the West after the campaign against Poland have failed. The war continues. Now we can and must manufacture the bombs."
DR. STAHMER: Did Hitler ever tell you that it was his serious desire to live in peace with the West?
MILCH: Yes. I did not go into the details of my visits. When I came back from France, I was with Hitler for two hours on the Obersalzberg, to report to him about the visit to France. Likewise, after the visit in England about two weeks later, I had to make a report to Hitler which lasted several hours. He was very interested, and after the second report, that is to say, after the English visit, he declared, "I wish to carry on my policy in such and such a way, but you can all rest assured that I will always rely on England.
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I shall try to co-operate with England at all times." This conversation took place on 2 November.
DR. STAHMER: What year?
MILCH: The year 1937, the 2d of November.
DR. STAHMER: You mentioned two conversations?
MILCH: Yes, the first was the report about the visit to France and the second about the visit to England. Hitler, who did not know foreign countries at all, was extremely interested to hear from a soldier something about his reception, the country, armaments, and so forth.
DR. STAHMER: What were the relations between Reich Marshal Goering and Himmler?
MILCH: It was not always clear to me. I had the impression that there was always some rivalry on the part of Himmler. The mutual relationship, however, must always have been very correct and very courteous on the surface; how they really stood, I could not say.
DR. STAHMER: In May of 1942, there was an exchange of correspondence between you and the SS Obergruppenfahrer Wolff?
MILCH: Yes, Sir.
DR. STAHMER: In particular, about medical experiments on inmates of the Dachau Camp. Could you tell us anything about that?
MILCH: I was interrogated about that question here in Nuremberg; and what I no longer remembered of the matter was recalled by two letters -- a letter from Wolff, who was adjutant to Himmler at the time, and another letter from Himmler to me and the answer which I had given, were submitted to me. They concerned the experiments with air-pressure chambers and chilling. These letters were addressed to me only because Himmler did not know the official channels of the Luftwaffe. The letters were delivered to the Medical Inspection department, which was not subordinate to me. The Medical Inspection department also wrote the answer and submitted it to me. I modified the answer a little and had it mailed. I have not read a report sent by Himmler in this connection. He also offered a film. I did not see the film. The Medical Inspector, whom I asked what it was all about, told me that the Air Force was fully informed about both problems, and that the experiments with air-pressure chambers had been carried out by our young doctors who had volunteered for that purpose. Likewise, in the question of chilling there was nothing of interest to the Air Force. We both agreed to his suggestion that we did not want to have anything to do with the matter. I asked him what these experiments were made for. He told me that criminals were subjected to
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these experiments. I asked him in what way. He said, in the same way as our young doctors had subjected themselves to these experiments. Then we wrote him a letter which was quite polite -- one could not write differently to these people -- but completely repudiating the experiments. We would have nothing to do with them. In Himmler's letter I had been asked to make a report to the Reich Marshal also about that question.
I had the impression that by these experiments the SS wanted to make themselves important in Hitler's eyes. These were the words also used by the chief of the medical department to me. During a long report on quite different questions I mentioned this matter briefly to the Reich Marshal, because I had to expect that one day he would be approached by Himmler, and perhaps would not know anything about the whole question. The Reich Marshal asked me, when I told him about such and such experiments, "What does this mean?" I gave him the reply which I had been given by the Medical Inspector. I told him that we did not want to have anything to do with them, and that we repudiated them. He said he was exactly of the same opinion, but I should be very careful not to provoke the SD or treat them badly. What the experiments were about I do not know, neither do I know what was done to the people; I do not know it even now.
DR. STAHMER: Did the Reich Marshal know?
MILCH: No, certainly not.
DR. STAHMER: Did Dr. Rascher leave you soon after that to join the SS?
MILCH: I could not say. I do not know Dr. Rascher, and had nothing to do with the question of transfer. Rascher was not subordinate to me any more than was the chief of the medical department or the personnel office.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether Reich Marshal Goering gave orders to the troops under his command, saying that sabotage troops should be annihilated, or that captured enemy terror-fliers should be turned over to the SD without judicial procedure?
MILCH: No, I did not know anything about that.
DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear anything of that kind?
DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal towards captured airmen in general?
MILCH: I sometimes used to speak to the Reich Marshal about that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I wish to interpose an objection. I think we have been very liberal. I think we have been very liberal
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in allowing all kinds of statements, but it does seem to me that this passes anything that is suitable as evidence. This witness has indicated that he has no knowledge of the subject; he did not know the orders which are in evidence, and he assumes to state the attitude of the Reich Marshal. I have no objection to his making any statement of any facts from which this Tribunal may be informed of the attitude of the Reich Marshal, but I think that for one witness to state the state of mind of another person without any facts whatever passes the bounds of what we can possibly let go here into evidence. It does not help to solve the problem and I respectfully object to the question and answer as not constituting credible and relevant evidence on any subject before the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I think you should confine yourself to any facts and observations of the Defendant Goering. As the witness had just said that he never heard of any action against the terror-fliers at all. I do not see how he could give evidence as to the attitude of the Defendant Goering about it.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. President; I should like to formulate my question as follows: Did Reich Marshal Goering discuss with the witness as to how enemy airmen who had been shot down, should be treated?
DR. STAHMER: That is, I suppose, a fact, is it not?
MILCH: This was not discussed with me.
DR. STAHMER: I have one more question. Did he speak to you about the fact that he was opposed to any cruelty in the treatment of the enemy?
MILCH: That was just what I wanted to say before. He said that to me before the war, remembering the first World War.
DR. STAHMER: And what did he say about it?
MILCH: That once they have been shot down, they are our comrades; that was the gist of it.
DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions to put to the witness. I place him at the disposal of the Defense or the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of you wish to ask this witness any questions?
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, as you know, the Prosecution have grouped together a certain circle of people consisting of the highest ranking military leaders in order to declare this circle criminal. You probably know this circle?
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DR. LATERNSER: Was there such a grouping of equivalent offices within the German Armed Forces?
MILCH: I did not understand the question.
DR. LATERNSER: Was there ever a grouping of offices within the German Armed Forces like the one that has now been created in order to form that group?
MILCH: Yes. I believe that ever since an army existed there have also been high-ranking leaders who were grouped under their commander-in-chief.
DR. LATERNSER: Were the holders of these offices occupied with the elaboration of technical military problems on Hitler's orders, or did they work out subjects on their own initiative which were submitted to Hitler for execution?
MILCH: No. The military leaders acted only upon the orders of their superiors, that is, the generals of the Air Force on the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, who got his orders from the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht -- that was Hitler, and before him, Hindenburg.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether this alleged group of the General Staff and the OKW, as they are now combined, ever met collectively?
MILCH: Before the attack on Poland only the Army and Navy commanders who were assigned for action there were called together by Hitler. Likewise, those who were to go into action in the West in the spring of 1940 were calied together by Hitler. The same thing happened again, as far as I know, before the attack on Russia.
DR. LATERNSER: Were you sometimes present at such conferences?
MILCH: At some of them, yes.
DR. LATERNSER: Could you describe the course of any such conference? Particularly I attach value to the point as to whether the higher military commanders had an opportunity to make counter-suggestions during these conferences?
MILCH: I remember the conference with Hitler which took place on the Obersalzberg before the Polish campaign. It was on 22 August. The commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the commanders of the armies attended. Hitler stood in front, behind a large desk, and the generals sat in chairs next to or behind each other. He made a speech giving the reasons, the political situation, as he usually did, and his intention. During this conference any reply or discussion on the part of the generals was impossible.
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Whether there was a subsequent conference dealing with the details I do not know. I know only of this speech of Hitler's. Then, before the attack on Russia, there was a different procedure. We sat around a very large table, and the respective commanders of the army groups and armies had to demonstrate on the map their intentions and the methods of executing the orders which they had received, whereupon Hitler agreed in general or, perhaps, in certain cases, said he would prefer greater strength here and less strength there: his objections, however, were only very slight.
DR. LATERNSER: That means these conferences were more in the nature of a briefing?
MILCH: Definitely, briefing.
DR. LATERNSER: Can you tell me whether any member of the group "General Staff" or of the so-called group "General Staff and OKW" ever made suggestions to deviate from the international law then in force?
MILCH: Not that I know of.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether members of this alleged group frequently met with politicians or high Party members?
MILCH: In my opinion, no. I mean that, of course, for the majority of these gentlemen. It goes without saying that the commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces, or the Chief of the OKW, must frequently have held conferences with politicians also. But the average commanders of the army groups, fleet, or army had no opportunity to do so.
DR. LATERNSER: Did the members of this so-called group, those who belonged to the Army, Navy, or Air Force, have discussions among themselves?
MILCH: If they were assigned to collaborate in a common task, for example, if the commander-in-chief of an army or an army group had a naval commander-in-chief working with him, there were naturally discussions of that kind. But with a neighboring commander-in-chief the relationship was certainly not close, and with a more remote neighbor it did not exist a:t all.
DR. LATERNSER: That means such discussions took place only with regard to the execution of a common task?
MILCH: Yes, for that purpose.
DR. LATERNSER: Within the Air Force, is it true that this circle of people included those officers who had held the position of Chief of Staff of the Air Force or commander of the Air Force or of an air fleet during a certain period? I have a list here of those generals of the Air Force who, belonged to that group, and I should like to
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ask you, with regard to a few of them, what rank and position these generals had when the war started. What was the rank of General Korten at the outbreak of war?
MILCH: I believe either colonel or lieutenant colonel, but I am not quite sure.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know what position he held?
MILCH: I believe he was Chief of Staff of the Munich Air Fleet.
DR. LATERNSER: Then, from August to October 1944 General Kreipe was Chief of Staff of the Air Force. What was this officer when the war started?
MILCH: I presume major or lieutenant colonel.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. Do you know what position he had?
MILCH: No, at the moment I could not say exactly. It may be that he was chief of staff of an air corps.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. And what rank did he have at the time as Chief of Staff of an air corps?
MILCH: From major to colonel; that depends.
DR. LATERNSER: General Koller also was Chief of Staff of the Air Force for a short time. What was this officer when the war started?
MILCH: I believe lieutenant colonel.
DR. LATERNSER: Then I have only a few more names. Do you know what rank and position Dessloch had at the outbreak of war?
MILCH: I do not remember exactly; perhaps major general or colonel. I do not know exactly.
DR.LATERNSER: And General Pflugbeil?
MILCH: The same.
DR.LATERNSER: General Seidel?
MILCH: Seidel, I believe, was already Major General at the outbreak of war.
DR. LATERNSER: And what position did he have at that time?
MILCH: He was Quartermaster General in the General Staff.
DR.LATERNSER- What rank did that position have compared with commander, commander-in-chief, divisional commander ... ?
MILCH: Corps commander is about the same as a quartermaster pneral.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. I have a few more questions concerning the Air Force itself and the highest military leaders. From your testimony it is to be concluded that in 1939 the Air Force was not
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fully prepared for war. As to this point, could you state the reasons for this unpreparedness of the Air Force for war?
MILCH: During the few years between 1935 and 1939 -- I gave the figures for industry before -- it would have been impossible for any soldier in any country to build an air force equal to the tasks with which we were faced from 1939 on. That is impossible. It is not possible to create the units nor to establish the schools and furnish them with adequate teaching staffs; nor is it possible to develop the planes which are necessary, and then to build them by mass production. Nor is it possible in that short period to train or produce air crews sufficiently qualified to meet the high technical standards necessarily demanded for modem aircraft. Likewise, it is impossible in such a short time to produce ground crews which are technically highly qualified and to put them at the disposal of the Air Force and also of the aviation industry. At the same time also....
THE PRESIDENT: He said that it is impossible. It should not be necessary to go into this detail on this subject.
DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few more specific questions.
[Turning to the witness.] Did the Air Force expect resistance against the invasion of Austria?
MILCH: No. We knew definitely that there would be no resistance. We did not take any arms with us.
DR. LATERNSER: How was the reception there?
MILCH: So friendly that it could not be more so in our own country.
DR. LATERNSER: Were you, as Field Marshal, informed in advance that war was to be declared against the United States?
DR. LATERNSER: In this Trial there are serious accusations against German soldiers and their leaders on account of cruelties committed. Was not every soldier sufficiently informed and instructed about the regulations of international law?
MILCH: Yes. Each soldier had a pay book. On the first page of the pay book were pasted ten commandments for the soldier. They included all these questions.
DR. LATERNSER: Can you give me examples of points contained in this memorandum?
MILCH: Yes. For instance, that no soldier -- no prisoner, should be shot; that looting was not permitted. By the way, I have my pay book here. Treatment of prisoners of war; Red Cross; civilian population inviolable; attitude of soldier when himself prisoner of war and, in conclusion, the threat of punishment for offenses.
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DR. LATERNSER: If it became known that soldiers had committed offenses or outrages against the civilian population, did the commanders concerned, so, far as you know, interfere with the severity necessary?
MILCH: I know of some cases, I knew of some cases, where that was definitely the case, even the death penalty being imposed.
DR. LATERNSER: So the commanders; always strove under all circumstances to maintain the discipline of the troops?
MILCH: Yes. I can give a notable example. A general of the Air Force had appropriated jewelry which belonged to a foreign lady. He was sentenced to death and executed. I think it was in 1943 or 1944.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, in particular during the critical days of 1939 you were in close official contact with Defendant Gbring. Did you ever hear through him about a large-scale plan for waging an extensive war?
DR. LATERNSER: In your opinion, did the other high military leaders hear or would they have heard more about it?
MILCH: No. All measures taken by Hitler -- beginning with the occupation of the Rhineland -- came very suddenly, as a rule after only a few hour's preparation. That applies to Austria; that also applies to Czechoslovakia and to Prague. The only time that we were told anything beforehand was the affair with Poland, which I mentioned before, where we had a conference on 23 May.
DR. LATERNSER: In all other cases, therefore, it was rather a surprise to the high military leaders?
MILCH: Yes, a complete surprise.
DR. LATERNSER: Now I have one more question: What was the possibility of resignation for high military leaders during the war?
MILCH: That has been told several times. I have also experienced it myself -- one was not permitted to hand in one's resignation. It was said if there was a reason for anyone to leave, he would be informed by his superiors. In an authoritarian state the subordinate, the citizen has no right to resign on his own initiative, whether he be a soldier or a civilian.
DR. LATERNSER: I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until Monday morning.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 11 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]