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THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, have you concluded your interrogation?
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Does the French Prosecution wish to ask any questions?
Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to examine further?
DR. STAHMER: No, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STAHMER: I call the next witness, Colonel of the Luftwaffe, Bernd von Brauchitsch.
[The witness Von Brauchitsch took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
BERND VON BRAUCHITSCH (Witness): Bernd von Brauchitsch.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat the oath after me. I swear by God -- the Almighty and Orrmiscient -- 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: Witness, what position did you hold on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was the first military adjutant of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. I held the rank of chief adjutant. I had the job of making the daily arrangements as ordered by the Commander-in-Chief and working out the adjutants' duty roster. The military position had to be reported daily; military reports and messages only to the extent that they were not communicated by the offices themselves. I had no command function.
DR. STAHMER: In the course of your work did you know that on 25 March 1944 from the prison camp of Sagan, Stalag Luft III, 75 English Air Force officers had escaped?
12 March 46
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I knew of this as a special event, as at that time it was reported that a number of air force officers had escaped.
DR. STAHMER: Can you give us some information about the fate of these officers after their escape?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The fate of these officers is not known to me.
DR. STAHMER: Were you not ever informed that 50 of these officers were shot ostensibly while trying to escape?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I heard only much later that a number of these officers were said to have been shot.
DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us under what circumstances these shootings were carried out?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know anything about that.
DR. STAHMER: Did Reich Marshal Goering order the shooting, or did he have any part in these measures?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know nothing about the Reich Marshal having taken part or given an order in this matter.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know of the attitude of Hitler with regard to the treatment of so-called terror-fliers who were shot down?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the spring of 1944 the number of civilian air-raid casualties by machine-gunning increased suddenly. These attacks were directed against civilians working in the fields; against secondary railroads and stations without any military importance; against pedestrians and cyclists, all within the homeland. This must have been the reason for Hitler giving not only defense orders, but also orders for measures against the fliers themselves. As far as I know, Hitler favored the most drastic measures. Lynching was said to be countenanced.
DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal of the Luftwaffe to this order?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The Commander-in-Chief and the Chief of the General Staff expressed their opinion that a most serious view must be taken of these attacks, which were directed solely against civilians. Notwithstanding, no special measure should be taken against these airmen. The suggestion that those who bailed out should be lynched and not afforded protection could not be agreed with. In view of Hitler's instructions, the Luftwaffe was forced to deal with these questions. They endeavored to prevent these ideas of Hitler, of which they disapproved, from being put into practice. The solution was to pretend that measures would be taken which, however, were not actually carried out.
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Then I was given the task, which was outside my competence, of conferring with the High Command of the Armed Forces about the definition of the term "terror-fliers." All those cases which constituted violations of international law and criminal acts were the subject of subsequent discussions and correspondence. These definitions were meant to prevent lynching. The lengthy correspondence also shows the endeavors of the office to put the matter off. At the end of June 1944, the term "terror-fliers" was defined. The Stalag was instructed to report all cases of violation, but not to take any action. Thus we avoided giving an order of the character Hitler had wanted.
DR. STAHMER: In your opinion, therefore, could we say that the measures directed by Hitler were not carried out by the Luftwaffe?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes. It can be said that the measures directed by Hitler were not carried out. As confirmed by the commanders of the air fleets, their men did not receive any orders to shoot enemy airmen or to turn them over to the SD.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything about the Luftwaffe having received directives to take hostages or to shoot them?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know of any directive or order dealing with hostages.
DR. STAHMER: Now one more question: Can you give us any information about the treatment of the five enemy airmen who in March 1945 bailed out over the Schorfheide and were captured?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: In March 1945, an American four-engined bomber was shot down after an attack over the Schorfheide. Part of the crew saved themselves by jumping. Some of them were injured and sent to a hospital. The observer, an American captain of the reserve, who in civilian life was a film director in Hollywood, on the following day was interrogated by the Reich Marshal himself about this mission and his bringing down.
DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions for this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants' counsel wish to ask the witness any questions?
DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few questions for this witness.
[Turning to the witness.] What post did you hold when the war started?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: At the outbreak of war I was at the war academy and had just left my squadron.
DR. LATERNSER: Can one say that the outbreak of war caused a happy feeling among the professional soldiers? What was the mood like at that time?
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VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, one cannot say that the outbreak of war was greeted with enthusiasm. Rather we faced the fact with great gravity. As young soldiers, we saw our mission in training and educating our men for the defense of our country.
DR. LATERNSER: What posts did you hold during the war? Were you ever on the staff of an air fleet?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was never on the staff of an air fleet. Except for a short time, when I served as group commander, I was throughout adjutant of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.
DR. LATERNSER: As chief adjutant, as you said before, to the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, you had a lot of inside information about the Luftwaffe?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Insofar as material was available, yes.
DR. LATERNSER: Now, according to your inside information, did the chiefs of air fleets have any influence on political decisions or the conduct of the war?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: According to my information the chiefs of air fleets had no influence on any political decisions. Their job was the technical execution of the orders received, and orders on the conduct of the air war were given more and more by Hitler himself.
DR. LATERNSER: Did the chiefs of air fleets make any suggestions to use more severe methods in the conduct of the war?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know of any suggestions of that kind made by chiefs of air fleets. They were professional soldiers who acted according to orders.
DR. LATERNSER: I have still one question: Was there any co-ordination between the branches of the Wehrmacht? Was this co-ordination of a purely official nature or did it go farther?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: There was co-ordination between the leading local authorities at the front; at a higher level it was effected by the Fuehrer himself.
DR. I.ATERNSER: I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defendant's counsel wish to ask any questions? Do the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I would ask that the witness be shown Document Number 1156-PS of the United States documents.
[Document 1156-PS was submitted to the witness.]
Do you recognize this document, Witness?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, I do not know this document.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I call your attention to the date, the 20th of March 1941, and I call your attention to the fact that it purports to be a report to Reich Marshal Goering at the 19th of March 1941 meeting.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: While in the service I attended military conferences only if they did not take place at the Fuehrer's Headquarters, or if they were not personal discussions. I have not seen this document and I do not know the facts.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Let me call your attention to Item 2 which refers to you, I take it, and which reads:
"The directive worked out by the Wi regarding destructive measures to be undertaken by the Luftwaffe in Case Barbarossa. was agreed to by the Reich Marshal. One copy was handed to Captain Von Brauchitsch for transmission to the General Staff of the Luftwaffe."
And I ask you whether that states the facts.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I cannot remember these facts, neither can I give any information about the contents of the letter mentioned here.
MIL JUSTICE JACKSON: You knew about Case Barbarossa, did you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I did not hear about Case Barbarossa until the beginning of 1941. 1 was not present at the conferences.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you did know that certain destructive measures were planned to be undertaken in connection with that by the Luftwaffe, did you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know only of the first missions given to the Luftwaffe, and I recollect that attacks on airfields were ordered.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did it not also provide for attacks against cities, particularly St. Petersburg?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: To my recollection and knowledge, at the time this letter was written nothing was said about these targets but only about attacks on airfields, which were the main targets of the Luftwaffe.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that the witness be shown Document Number 735-PS, in evidence as Exhibit Number GB-151.
[Document 735-PS was submitted to the witness.]
That is in evidence and appears to be a most secret document of which only three copies were made, is that correct?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I read this letter first before I answer the question?
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I call your attention first to the signature at the end of it and ask you if you recognize it?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The signature is Warlimont.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was Warlimont?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Warlimont was the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew him well and he knew you well, is that not so?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I knew him by sight and on this occasion I spoke to him for the first time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: On the occasion of this meeting that is recorded in these minutes, is that the occasion when you first met and spoke to Warlimont?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: When I first spoke to him officially, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was on the 6th of June 1944, when this meeting was held?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: According to this letter, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention to Paragraph Number 1 of the minutes of this meeting, from which it appears that ObergruppenFuehrer Kaltenbrunner opened this meeting with a report that a conference on the question of the fliers had been held shortly before with the Reich Marshal, the Reich Foreign Minister and the Reich Fuehrer SS. That is the opening of it, is it not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know nothing of the record of this conference or even that it took place.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the Reich Marshal at that time?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I remember the fact because on the 6th of June the invasion started and during the night of the 5th to the 6th I phoned Reich Marshal Goering himself at 0200 hours and informed him that the invasion had begun. In the morning he left Veldenstein for Klessheim, in order to attend in the afternoon a conference there on the situation.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this meeting is said to have been held in Klessheim on the afternoon of the 6th of June, is it not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I said once before that I do not know anything of the meeting as such and of the subject of the discussion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, I understand, you were not present. Goering was Reich Marshal; is that right?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Ribbentrop was Foreign Minister at that time, was he not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was the Reich Fuehrer SS?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Himmler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, it was as a result of that meeting at which the Foreign Minister -- just follow the next sentence, ". . . the Foreign Minister who wished to include every type of terror attack on the native civilian population...." It was agreed that this conference, which you did attend, was to take place; is that not the sense of the first paragraph?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the first place, I was not at this meeting and, secondly, I do not know anything about the subject as shown in evidence here.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, were you not at the meeting with Kaltenbrunner which Kaltenbrunner called?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I was not at the meeting with Kaltenbrunner which is mentioned here.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Despite the signature of Warlimont on these minutes which says you were?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: In spite of the signature. May I first read the whole document before I give a definite answer?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Read the last sentence. Witness, I may be misinterpreting this. It does not say you were present, but it does say that you gave them this information. I ask you to look at the last paragraph and say whether that is not true?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The last paragraph of this document, above the signature, can only refer to a conference which, if I remember correctly, took place in the late afternoon of 6 June in General Warlimont's quarters and which I have mentioned in my previous statement.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think I was confused about the two meetings and that these minutes do not show you to have been present. There was such a conference as Warlimont describes but it was not the same conference at which Kaltenbrunner was present, is that correct?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes, that is correct. I know only of this one meeting in the late afternoon of 6 June between Warlimont and myself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that is the conference to which he refers in the first paragraph?
12 March 46
VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, the conference in the afternoon has nothing to do with the first paragraph which I just read, and has no connection with it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The third paragraph had no connection with the first meeting, you say?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Paragraph Number 3 has no connection with Paragraph Number 1. I had no knowledge of Paragraph Number 1. I mentioned before that I was given the task of conferring with the OKW about the definition of acts which were to be considered as iriolations of international law, and criminal acts.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Let us ask it once more so we will have no misunderstanding about it. The conference referred to in Paragraph Number 3 of Warlimont's minutes is a conference between you and him later that afternoon and had nothing to do with the Kaltenbrunner conference which was held earlier in the day.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what was the situation in the beginning of 1944 with reference to the bombing of German cities?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The situation was that the air raids had increased in intensity and in the beginning of 1944 they were very heavy.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was becoming very embarrassing to the Reich Marshal, was it not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Of course it was very unpleasant for the Luftwaffe, because their defensive strength was too weak to stave off these attacks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And they were being blamed somewhat and the Reich Marshal was being blamed for the air attacks, was he not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Of course, that goes without saying.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Reich Marshal was in the embarrassing position of having assured the German people back in 1939 that they could be protected against air attacks on the German cities. You understood that fact, did you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I understand that to be so, but I also know that the conditions in 1939, which led to this statement, were entirely different from those of 1944 when the whole world was against us.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the fact was that German cities were being bombed and the German people had looked to the Reich Marshal to protect them, is that not a fact?
12 March 46
VON BRAUCHITSCH: It is clear that the German people expected the Luftwaffe to use all available means to ward off these attacks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what were the relations between Goering and Hitler at this time?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I ask to have the question repeated? I did not understand it clearly.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the relation between Goering and Hitler at this time? Was there any change in the relations as this bombing of German cities progressed?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The relations between the Reich Marshal and the Fuehrer were no doubt worse than they had been before. Whether that was only due to the conditions caused by the air warfare is not known to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were very close to Reich Marshal Goering throughout this period, the entire period of the war, were you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I do not know what you mean by close in the relations between a commander-in-chief and his adjutant.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you were particularly friendly; he had great confidence in you and you had great regard for him. Is that not a fact?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can confirm that, but unfortunately only on very rare occasions did the Reich Marshal disclose his real motives.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were with him on the 20th day of April 1945, when he sent the telegram proposing to take over the government of Germany himself, and was arrested and condemned to death?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes, I was present at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the SS seized you and the Reich Marshal and several others and searched your houses, seized all your papers, and took you prisoner, did they not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: It is correct that on 23 April at 1900 hours we were surrounded. The Reich Marshal was led to his room and from that moment on he was kept closely guarded; later we were separated and put into solitary confinement. Finally we were separated from him altogether by SS troops stationed at the Berghof.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this occurred at Berchtesgaden?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: It happened at Berchtesgaden.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you have told us that you were all supposed to be shot by the SS at the time of the surrender
12 March 46
and were supposed to approve it by your own signature. Is that correct?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, that is not quite correct.
I know that an order existed that the Reich Marshal with his family and his entourage should be shot in Berlin at the time of capitulation.
The second thing you mentioned refers to, something else, namely, that we were to be compelled to report voluntarily to the SS. I must say, in order to be just, that this SS leader would far rather not have had us there at that time so as not to have to carry out this order. At that time we were already separated from the Commander-in-Chief.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the state of your knowledge about the activities of the SS? What was the SS and what was its relation to the Wehrmacht at this time? What was its relation to the Luftwaffe? Tell us about the SS.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can only say this much, that SS was a comprehensive term, that the SD, Gestapo, and Waffen-SS were quite separate subdivisions, and that the Gestapo was an instrument of repression which restricted much personal freedom.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Waffen-SS likewise, is that not a fact?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: The Waffen-SS was a military force. I myself had neither trouble nor any friction with them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But what about the SS proper? Witness, you know this situation about the SS, I am sure, and you impress me as wanting to tell us candidly what you know about this situation, and I wish you would tell us a little, what the influence of the SS was on these situations.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I pointed out once before that as a purely military adjutant I am able to give you information only about the Luftwaffe, but I am not in a position to say anything about general things of which I have no expert knowledge but merely personal opinions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, was not the SS the subject of a good deal of discussion among you officers, and was not everybody aware that the SS was an organization like the Gestapo which was repressive and cruel?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: In the Luftwaffe we had so many troubles of our own because of the growing air power of the enemy that we had no time to worry about anything else.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you knew, did you not, about the 6ampaign against the Jews of Germany and the Jews of occupied countries?
12 March 46
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I did not know about the campaign against the Jews as it has been presented here and in the press.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I do not want to interrogate you on what is in the press, but do you want the Tribunal to understand that you had no knowledge of a campaign against the Jews in Germany?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I only knew that some of the Jews were taken to ghettos. I had, however, no knowledge of the cruelties against Jews as now published in the press.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your father was Field Marshal, was he not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At what period was he Field Marshal?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Field Marshal is a military rank which he held from 1940 until now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He has never been deprived of his rank, is that a fact?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: He was never deprived of his rank.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There came a time when your father, as you know, disagreed with Hitler as to military programs?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I know that my father had great difficulties with Hitler concerning political and military questions, and that this led to his retirement in December 1941.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not say to the interrogator who examined you for the United States that he retired from active command in 1941?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what did you understand to be the reason for his retirement? You gave the reasons as follows, that neither in the military nor in the political considerations did he see eye to eye with Hitler, and could not come to any accord and, since he could not make his own opinions prevail, he desired to manifest his dissent by resigning, and that specifically also referred to religious questions.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is true, is it not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: That is correct, and I still maintain it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I hope you are proud of it. You were also asked this:
"And from 1941 to the end of the war, do you know what he was doing?"
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And you answered:
"Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he occupied himself with studies of family history and also with forestry, economics, and hunting, but did not take part..."
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Only with questions of military history and agriculture.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Beg pardon. I did not get that.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: He was interested only in economic questions and hunting, but not in military questions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not in military, yes.
"...but did not take part in any sort of bloody political endeavors."
You said that, did you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: May I ask to hear the question once more.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This is your answer in full. You interrupted me. This is your answer to the interrogator:
"Well, he had, through his second marriage, a little house in a small town in Silesia, Bockenheim, and he occupied himself with studies of family history and also with forestry, economics and hunting, but did not take part in any sort of bloody political endeavors."
And, with the exception of economics, you still stand by that answer, do you not?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I have never said that he ever took part in bloody things. It must be an error. I never saw this record again. I did not sign it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have not made myself clear. You said he did not take part in any bloody political endeavors. That is what this says you said.
VON BRAUCHITSCH: He did not take part; but I did not say anything of a bloody movement.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not use these terms in the examination?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: No, I cannot remember having said that. I did not sign the protocol and I did not see it again after the interrogation.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you say that you did not use these words on the 26th of February 1946 to Captain Horace Hahn, interrogator?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I say I did not use the words "take part in any bloody endeavors," et cetera, because that expression is
12 March 46
foreign to me. Neither do I know in what connection it is supposed to have occurred.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you do not know of any that he did partake in, do you?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: No. My father retired.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Absolutely from this whole Nazi outfit. He disassociated himself from them and retired to a little village rather than go on with the program he did not agree with, did he not? Is that not a fact?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: Yes.
HERR HORST PELCKMANN (Counsel for SS): I believe that I have no longer any formal right to question this witness after Justice Jackson has cross-examined him, but I should be grateful if I might be permitted to do so since Justice Jackson questioned the witness also about the SS.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness' statement about the SS was that he knew nothing about it. What ground does it give for a crossexamination by you?
HERR PELCKMANN: He was asked whether he was guarded by the SS on Obersalzberg who also had the order to shoot him and Goering too. I should like to, have it made clear whether that was SS or SD.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
HERR PELCKMANN: I therefore ask the witness: Do you know whether these people whom you have just mentioned were members of the SS or SD? Do you know the difference, Witness?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I have a general idea of the difference. I believe that the troops which had the task of guarding us were SS, but that the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) had been given the special order.
HERR PELCKMANN: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other counsel for the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
Dr. Stahmer, do you wish to re-examine?
DR. STAHMER: I have only two short questions.
Colonel Von Brauchitsch, can you tell us something about the relations between the Reich Marshal and Himmler?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: As far as I know and am able to give information, in their outward relations Himmler and Goering exercised the utmost circumspection, but there was no real personal contact between the two.
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DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us whether the German people, until the last moment, still had confidence in Reich Marshal Goering, and showed it on special occasions? Can you mention any particular instances?
VON BRAUCHITSCH: I can mention two cases.
The first one was at the end of 1944 or the beginning of 1945 -- I cannot say the exact date -- in a public air raid shelter. The Reich Marshal had no guards or escort and chatted with the people, and they greeted him with the old cry, "Hermann, halt' die Ohren steif! (Hermann, keep your chin up)."
Another example was on the trip from Berlin to Berchtesgaden during the night of the 20th to 21st April. In the morning or towards noon of the 21st the Reich Marshal arrived at a town in Sudetengau, where he made a short stop for breakfast at an inn. After a short while the market place became so crowded with people asking for his autograph, that we could not get his car through the crowd. Here too, he was greeted by the old cry, "Hermann."
DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.
DR. STAHMER: As next witness, I call State Secretary Paul Korner.
[The witness Korner took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Is your name Paul Korner?
PAUL KORNER (Witness): Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God -- the Almighty and Onmiscient -- 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: Witness, what official post did you hold before the capitulation?
KORNER: I was State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.
DR. STAHMER: In this capacity were you one of the Reich Marshal's close collaborators?
DR. STAHMER: When did you first meet the Reich Marshal?
KORNER: In 1926.
DR. STAHMER: When were you selected by him to collaborate?
KORNER: At the end of 1931.
DR. STAHMER: In what capacity?
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KORNER: I became his secretary.
DR. STAHMER: When were you taken over by the Civil Service?
KORNER: In April 1933. Pardon; the previous date was 1931.
THE PRESIDENT: The translator said the previous date was 1931; which date was 1931?
DR. STAHMER: In 1931 he first came into contact with Goering and became his private secretary. In 1933 he entered the Civil Service.
DR. STAHMER: What post was given to you?
KORNER: I became State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.
DR. STAHMER: What do you know about the institution of the Secret State Police, the Gestapo?
KORNER: In the first months after the seizure of power the Secret State Police evolved from the Political Police Department Ia. Basically the Political Police Department remained; it was only reorganized under the name of Secret State Police.
DR. STAHMER: What was its range of activities?
KORNER: Its main task was to watch the enemies of the State.
DR. STAHMER: Have you any information about the establishment of concentration camps?
KORNER: I know that at that time concentration camps were established.
DR. STAHMER: What purposes did they serve?
KORNER: They were supposed to receive enemies of the State.
DR. STAHMER: What do you mean by "receive"?
KORNER: Elements hostile to the State, mainly Communists, were to be concentrated in these camps.
DR. STAHMER: And what was to be done with them there?
KORNER: They were to be taken into protective custody, and, as far as I remember, they were also to be re-educated so that later on they could be incorporated into the community of the people.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything of the treatment meted out to the inmates?
KORNER: As far as I know, the treatment was always good.
DR. STAHMER: Did you ever hear anything about unauthorized concentration camps?
KORNER: Yes, in 1933, in various places unauthorized concentration camps were established.
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DR. STAHMER: By whom?
KORNER: I remember that one was established in Breslau by SA GruppenFuehrer Heines; and one in Stettin. Whether there were any others, I do not know.
DR. STAHMER: In Stettin?
KORNER: I think it was Karpfenstein, but I cannot say for certain.
DR. STAHMER: And what became of these camps?
KORNER: When the Reich Marshal heard about them he had them instantly disbanded because they were established without his permission.
DR. STAHMER: What was the Reich Marshal's attitude when he heard of complaints?
KORNER: He always followed them up immediately.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know of any case where he took specially strong measures?
KORNER: Yes, I can remember the case of Thalmann.
DR. STAHMER: What happened in that case?
KORNER: It had come to the Reich Marshal's knowledge that Thalmann had not been treated in the way the Reich Marshal wished. He immediately followed the matter up and had Thalmann brought to him.
DR. STAHMER: Who was Thalmann?
KORNER: Thalmann was one of the leaders of the Communist Party and a communist member of the Reichstag.
DR. STAHMER: And how did the Reich Marshal speak to Thalmann?
KORNER: He had him brought into his office and asked him to tell him exactly why he had made a complaint.
DR. STAHMER: And then?
KORNER: Thalmann was very reticent at first, because he feared a trap. When the Reich Marshal spoke to him in a humane manner, he realized that he could speak freely. He told the Reich Marshal that on several occasions he had not been treated properly. The Reich Marshal promised him immediate redress and gave the necessary instructions. He also asked Thalmann to notify him immediately if it happened again. In addition he ordered that any complaints made by Thalmann should be passed on to him.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know how long the Reich Marshal was in charge of the Gestapo in the concentration camps?
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KORNER: Until the spring of 1934; 1 believe it was March or April.
DR. STAHMER: Under whom did they come then?
KORNER: By order of the Fuehrer, they came under the competence of ReichsFuehrer Himmler.
DR. STAHMER: What do you know about the events in connection with the Rohm revolt on 30 June 1934?
KORNER: That a Rohm revolt was planned I heard when I was with the Reich Marshal in Essen, where we were attending the wedding of Gauleiter Terboven. During the wedding festivities Himmler arrived and made a report to the Fuehrer. Later the Fuehrer drew the Reich Marshal aside and told him in confidence of Rohm's designs.
DR. STAHMER: Do you also know what he told him?
KORNER: I can only say that what Himmler told the Fuehrer was also brought to Goering's knowledge.
DR. STAHMER: Do you not know any further details?
KORNER: No, I do not know any further details, but I think that is sufficient.
DR. STAHMER: What instructions did Goering receive?
KORNER: The Fuehrer instructed Goering to return to Berlin immediately after the wedding festivities, and the Fuehrer went to southern Germany to investigate the reports personally.
DR. STAHMER: When was this wedding?
KORNER: As far as I remember, it was 2 days before the Rohm Putsch.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether, on the day after the Rohm Putsch, the Reich Marshal was with Hitler?
KORNER: No. The Reich Marshal was in Berlin. We returned to Berlin the same evening.
DR. STAHMER: And on the day after the Rohm Putsch on 30 June, that is on 1 July?
KORNER: The Reich Marshal was in Berlin.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether there was a conversation between him and Hitler?
KORNER: Yes. I remember that the Reich Marshal drove to the Reich Chancellery to report several things to the Fuehrer. In particular the Reich Marshal had heard that on this occasion innocent people also might have or rather had fallen victim. Therefore, he wanted to ask the Fuehrer to stop the whole action immediately.
DR. STAHMER: Was that done?
12 March 46
KORNER: Yes, that was done.
DR. STAHMER: In what way?
KORNER: After the report of the Reich Marshal, the Fuehrer himself issued an order that no further unauthorized action should take place, that the action was over, and if any guilty people were still found they should be brought before the ordinary courts which would decide whether or not proceedings should be brought against these people.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether the Reich Marshal had anything to do with the action against the Jews during the night of 9 November 1938?
KORNER: No, the Reich Marshal had definitely nothing to do with it and had no inkling of it.
DR. STAHMER: How do you know?
KORNER: Because I was with the Reich Marshal on 9 November in Munich -- he was always there on that day. The same evening we went to Berlin. Had the Reich Marshal known anything about it, he would certainly have told me or those who were with him. He had no inkling.
DR. STAHNER: When did he find out about it?
KORNER: Shortly before he arrived in Berlin, or at the Anhalter Station in Berlin.
DR. STAHMER: Through whom?
KORNER: Through his adjutant.
DR. STAHMER: And how did he take the news?
KORNER: He was furious when he received the report, because he was strongly opposed to the whole action.
DR. STAHMER: And what did he do about it?
KORNER: He got in touch with the Fuehrer immediately to ask for the action to be stopped at once.
DR. STAHMER: What were your tasks within the framework of the Four Year Plan?
KORNER: I was Chief of the Office of the Four Year Plan.
DR. STAHMER: What were your tasks?
KORNER: The management and supervision of that office.
DR. STAHMER: How did the Four Year Plan come about? When and how did it start?
KORNER: The official Four Year Plan was announced in October 1936, but its origin goes back to the food crisis of 1935. In the autumn of 1935 the Reich Marshal received the order from the Fuehrer ...
12 March 46
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, try not to go quite so fast. It is very difficult to get the translation.
KORNER: Yes, Sir.
In the autumn of 1935 the Reich Marshal received the order from the Fuehrer to make the food for the German people secure, as the food situation was serious because of the bad harvests of 1934 and 1935. At the time we were short of at least 2 million tons of breadgrain and several hundred thousand tons of fat, which had to be procured by some means or other.
The Reich Marshal solved this problem satisfactorily, and this led the Fuehrer to ask him for suggestions as to how the entire German economy could be made proof against crises. These suggestions were worked out in the first half of 1936 and by midsummer were submitted to the Fuehrer.
These suggestions gave the Fuehrer the idea of a Four Year Plan, which he announced on Party Day 1936. On 18 October 1936 the Fuehrer issued a decree appointing the Reich Marshal Delegate of the Four Year Plan.
DR. STAHMER: What were the aims of the Four Year Plan.
KORNER: As I said before, to make German economy proof against crises. The main tasks were to increase German exports to the utmost, and to cover any deficits as far as possible by increased production, particularly in the agricultural sphere.
DR. STAHMER: Did the Four Year Plan also serve rearmament?
KORNER: Of course it also served the rebuilding of the German Wehrmacht indirectly.
DR. STAHMER: Did the Four Year Plan also provide for the allocation of labor?
KORNER: Yes. The Four Year Plan provided for the appointment of a General Plenipotentiary for the Allocation of Labor. The former president of the Reich Labor Office, President Syrup, was appointed Plenipotentiary General.
DR. STAHMER: When was he appointed?
KORNER: That was at the beginning of the Four Year Plan, in the auturnn of 1936.
DR. STAHMER: What were his particular tasks?
KORNER: He had to regulate the allocation of labor and thus put an end to the great muddle on the labor market.
DR. STAIDdER: How long did Syrup remain in office?
KORNER: Syrup left in the spring of 1942 for reasons of health.
DR. STAHMER: Who became his successor?
12 March 46
KORNER: His successor was Gauleiter Sauckel.
DR. STAHMER: Who appointed Sauckel?
KORNER: Sauckel was appointed by the Fuehrer.
DR. STAHMER: And what was his task?
KORNER: His main task as Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor was to regulate labor.
DR. STAHMER: Under whom did he work?
KORNER: He was formally under the Delegate of the Four Year Plan, but he received his instructions straight from the Fuehrer.
DR. STAHMER: What was your part in it?
KORNER: In the spring of 1942 I ceased to have any influence over the allocation of labor, since Sauckel received his directions straight from the Fuehrer and carried them out accordingly.
DR. STAHMER: Did you not have any more dealings with Sauckel?
KORNER: No; there were no more dealings, as far as I remember, because he received his directions from the Fuehrer.
DR. STAHMER: Who allocated the manpower?
KORNER: The labor exchanges allocated the manpower and were under Sauckel.
DR. STAHMER: What were the relations between the Reich marshal and Himmler?
KORNER: They were not very cordial. There was frequent tension and mutual confidence was completely lacking.
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions?
[There was no response.]
Do the Prosecution wish to ask any questions?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In your testimony you made some references to a conversation between Goering and Thalmann.
KORNER: Yes, I did.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Will you tell us when that occurred?
KORNER: That must have been in the summer of 1933.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In the summer of 1933? Was that before or after the Reichstag fire?
KORNER: That was after the Reichstag fire.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Thalmann was accused in the Reichstag fire trial and acquitted by the court, was he not?
KORNER: I cannot remember that very well.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you remember it at all? Do you remember that he was accused?
KORNER: I can no longer remember whether he was accused. It may be.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know where he died?
KORNER: No, I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know that he was interned in Buchenwald after the Reichstag fire and remained there until he died in 1944? Did you know that?
KORNER: Yes, I remember it was said he was a victim of an air attack.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where was he when he was caught in this air attack?
KORNER: Where was Thalmann? I did not quite understand the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where was he when he became a victim of an air attack?
KORNER: As far as I heard, he was said to be in the Buchenwald concentration camp.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And how long had he been there?
KORNER: That I do not know; I have no knowledge of that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you present at the conversation between Thalmann and Goering?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did he complain about then in the concentration camp?
KORNER: About treatment during interrogations.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was the only complaint he made?
KORNER: Yes, as far as I can remember. The Reich Marshal asked him whether he had good food and whether he was properly treated. All these things were discussed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Thalmann found no fault with the concentration camp except treatment during interrogation?
KORNER: Yes; as far as I remember that was his chief complaint.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were the Communists regarded by the Nazis as enemies of the country?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And concentration camps, then, were built to receive Communists among others, were they not?
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Jews?
KORNER: Yes, as far as they were known to be enemies of the State.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were Jews also regarded as enemies of the State?
KORNER: Generally not; only when they had been recognized as such.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Recognized as such -- what, as Jews?
KORNER: No, if a Jew was recognized as an enemy of the State, he was treated as an enemy of the State.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the test as to whether he was an enemy of the State?
KORNER: Well, his attitude, his active participation in actions hostile to the State.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Such as what? What actions?
KORNER: I cannot give any details. I was not Chief of the Gestapo, and therefore I do not know any details.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you not with Goering as his secretary during the time he was Chief of the Gestapo?
KORNER: In April 1933 I became State Secretary in the Prussian State Ministry.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you not have to do with concentration camps under the secret police as such?
KORNER: No, I had nothing to do with that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who handled that for Goering?
KORNER: The then Ministerialdirektor Diels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that, in setting up the Secret State Police, Goering used SS men to man the Gestapo?
KORNER: I cannot remember that any more.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were a member of the SS, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was your office in the SS?
KORNER: I never held any office in the SS, neither was I in charge of an SS formation. I was just a member of the SS.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you not ObergruppenFuehrer?
KORNER: Yes, I was an SS-ObergruppenFuehrer.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, as to these unauthorized concentration camps, you were asked who set them up, and I do not think you answered. Will you tell us about who set up these concentration camps?
KORNER: I remember two camps. In the case of one, I know for certain it was GruppenFuehrer Heines, in Breslau.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: GruppenFuehrer of what?
KORNER: SA-GruppenFuehrer Heines, in Breslau.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the other?
KORNER: I cannot say exactly. I believe it was Karpfenstein, but I am not sure of it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was he?
KORNER: Karpfenstein was Gauleiter in Stettin.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Gauleiter was a Party official?
KORNER: Yes, he was a Party official.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the concentration camps were designed to take care of not only enemies of the State but enemies of the Party, were they not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Prime Minister of Prussia was the Chief of the Secret State Police?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in his absence the State Secretary of the State Ministry was to act as Chief of the Secret State Police?
KORNER: No, that was Diels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was that not the law, whatever was done about it? Did you not know that that was the law under which the Secret State Police was set up, Section 1, Paragraph 2?
KORNER: I cannot remember that law any more. I no longer know the details.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know the law of 30 November 1933? You do not know the law under which you were operating?
KORNER: I do not remember that law now. I would have to see it again.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, what was wrong with these concentration camps that they had to be closed down?
KORNER: These unauthorized concentration camps had been established without permission of the then Prussian Prime Minister and for that reason he prohibited them immediately.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is the only reason, that they were set up without this authority?
KORNER: I believe so; yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he had them stopped immediately?
KORNER: Stopped; yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering did not tolerate concentration camps that were not under his control and the Fuehrer backed him up in it, is that right?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, from time to time complaints came to you about the treatment of people in concentration camps, during all the time you were with Goering, did they not?
KORNER: Yes, there were frequent complaints.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did they complain of?
KORNER: Various things.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Tell the Tribunal what the complaints were with which you had to deal.
KORNER: Well, mostly from relatives of the people taken to concentration camps whose release was applied for; or complaints that these people had been taken to a concentration camp without reason.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, that they were innocent people, innocent of any offense?
KORNER: The relatives asserted this.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you do anything to get them released from concentration camps?
KORNER: The Reich Marshal had ordered that all complaints were to be replied to. Every case was followed up at once.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you find that many of these people were innocent, or did you find that they were guilty?
KORNER: If anybody was found to have been wrongly taken to a concentration camp he was released immediately.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And to whom was the communication given, that he had been found innocent and was to be released from the concentration camp?
KORNER: It was given to the Secret State Police.
1VIR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom at the Secret State Police? Who was the man you communicated with?
12 March 46
KORNER: I cannot name the individual who dealt with these matters. The chief, as far as I remember, was first Heydrich and then Kaltenbrunner or Miller.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering was on good terms with all of those, was he not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well acquainted with all of those men?
KORNER: Of course.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, when you say that Goering obtained the release of people from concentration camps, are you talking about just one or two cases or did he obtain the release of a good many people?
KORNER: In the course of the years, there were naturally several cases.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What do you mean by "several"?
KORNER: Well, I cannot give the number now, but there were quite a lot of releases.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you find any where the people were guilty when you investigated?
KORNER: If they could not be released, then they were guilty somehow.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who decided that?
KORNER: That, as far as I know, was decided by the chief men of the Secret State Police.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, then, what did you do in requesting their release? Did you advise the Secret State Police that you disagreed with their conclusion that the man was guilty, or did Goering simply order the man to be released or request his release?
KORNER: No, they were told the exact reason why the man should be released.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know of any instance in which Goering requested the release of a person from a concentration camp, where it was not granted?
KORNER: I cannot say that now. I have to think it over.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You cannot recall any today, can you, in which Goering's word requesting a release was not honored?
KORNER: At the moment I cannot remember any particular case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were put in concentration camps as a result of the Rohm revolt?
12 March 46
KORNER: That I cannot say either.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were killed as a result of it?
KORNER: I cannot say from memory. As far as I know, the figures were published at the time.
MR. JUSTICE. JACKSON: Well, would it be a couple of hundred people that were killed for it?
KORNER: I should not like to tie myself to a figure, because I may be wrong.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it was a very large number of people was it not?
KORNER: No, I am sure it was not a very large number.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Give a figure.
KORNER: The number was published at the time. This could still be checked.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, why did the Reich Marshal want Hitler to stop punishing the people who had been a party to the Rohm revolt?
KORNER: I did not quite understand the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understood your testimony to be that the Reich Marshal went to Hitler at some time and wanted this campaign against people who were in the Rohm revolt to be stopped. And I want to know why he wanted it stopped?
KORNER: In order to prevent innocent people being involved. Only the really guilty were to be caught and punished accordingly. It was clear that someone or other might seize this opportunity to take personal revenge and do away with his enemy, and in order to prevent this the action should be stopped immediately and only ordinary courts should deal with the matter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was in charge of the selection of the people who were shot or otherwise killed as a result of the Rohm revolt?
KORNER: The Fuehrer himself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the Reich Marshal had sufficient influence to stop that immediately when he complained?
KORNER: At that time, yes, the Reich Marshal definitely had sufficient influence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In connection with this Four Year Plan you said that it was its function to regulate the confusion in the labor market?
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you represented the Reich Marshal at many meetings, did you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And was not one of your functions to get prisoners of war to work in the armament industry and other industries that needed labor?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never had anything to do with that?
KORNER: No. The Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor of course applied for prisoners of war for labor.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You attended many meetings when that was discussed, did you not?
KORNER: I cannot recall that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you report to the Reich Marshal what happened at those meetings?
KORNER: When questions of a general nature were discussed, a report was made and submitted to the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were representing the Reich Marshal on that Board?
KORNER: No. I did not represent the Reich Marshal there, It was a board of three men -- Minister Speer, Field Marshal Milch and myself. The Central Planning Board was set up in the spring of 1942.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who appointed you?
KORNER: The three of us were appointed to the Central Planning Board.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who appointed you?
KORNBR: As far as I remember, Goering.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you reported to him, did you not, what occurred from time to time?
KORNER: The Central Planning Board was merely an office for the distribution of raw materials. We usually met every 3 months in order to fix the quotas for the following quarter. Previously the office of the Four Year Plan, in co-operation with the Minister of Economics, handled the distribution and, from the spring of 1942 on, the Central Planning Board handled it in the interests of armament.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, do you want us to understand that the Central Planning Board only met every 3 months?
KORNER: Yes, approximately. In very rare cases another meeting was called, especially if there were urgent problems to be solved. I remember, for instance, the case when it was said that agriculture was not getting enough nitrogen and that if the nitrogen quota were too small, agricultural production would suffer. In view of this State Secretary Backe asked for a meeting to be called and this took place at the Central Planning Board office.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Would you testify that Sauckel did not report to the Central Planning Board, at a meeting at which you were present, that out of all the labor that came to Germany only 200,000 came voluntarily -- out of the millions who came only 200,000 came voluntarily?
KORNER: I cannot remember that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you say that the Central Planning Board never discussed labor questions?
KORNER: At the Central Planning Board only demands for labor were submitted, and the quota holders to whom raw materials were allocated also demanded the necessary labor. Only very rough figures were given and then passed on to the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What about prisoners of war?
KORNER: With these the Central Planning Board was not at all concerned, as it was given only rough figures. For instance, if some branch of industry needed so many thousand workers, they were asked for.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What about concentration camp labor?
KORNER: The distribution of labor was dealt with by the labor exchanges. The Central Planning Board had nothing to do with it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Are you familiar with a letter dated 9 March 1944, reciting that 36,000 concentration camp prisoners were now being used and wanting an increase to 90,000?
KORNER: I do not know about these demands.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know about the use of Russian prisoners of war in manning antiaircraft guns?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: After Goering closed the unauthorized concentration camps, did you know that the number of concentration camps increased very greatly in Germany?
KORNER: This I do not know. What happened after they were turned over to Himmler is beyond my knowledge. It may be that a large number of concentration camps was then set up.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How do you come to know about Goering's relations with Himmler? Did he tell you?
KORNER: Goering once spoke about it, and I concluded that the relations were not at all good.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know about the appointment of Kaltenbrunner as head of the Austrian State Police after the Anschluss?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know who obtained that appointnient for Kaltenbrunner?
KORNER: No, I have no idea.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you say that Goering and you were in Munich on the night or nights of the anti-Jewish riots in Germany?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Goebbels also there?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Go ahead; do you want to say something else?
KORNER: On 9 November we traveled from Munich to Berlin, so Goebbels could not be there then.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Why could he not be there?
KORNER: Because the Reich Marshal, with his entourage, traveled in his train to Berlin.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I mean, did you know that Goebbels was in Munich before these uprisings?
KORNER: Yes, that I heard afterwards -- that Goebbels was in Munich. All National Socialist leaders were in Munich because 9 November was a day when all of them met.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Goebbels spoke in Munich on the Jewish question that night did he not?
KORNER: That I do not know. I do not remember the speech.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Goering was there to attend the meeting of the National Socialist leaders, was he not?
KORNER: Yes, on 9 November the entire leadership of the National Socialist Party met in Munich. It was an anniversary meeting.
AIR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Goering attended regularly?
KORNER: Of course he did.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you did?
KORNER: I did also.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, Hess attended?
KORNER: As I said, all National Socialist leaders always attended if they possibly could. Nobody ever failed to attend unless he were ill, or prevented by official duties.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Which of the defendants in the dock attended those meetings? Ribbentrop, of course?
KORNER: Ribbentrop, certainly.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Keitel?
KORNER: I assume so.
MR, JUSTICE JACKSON: Kaltenbrunner?
KORNER: I never saw Kaltenbrunner, because Kaltenbrunner held a public post only during the latter years, and during these years the meetings were not as regular as before.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Rosenberg, of course, was there?
KORNER: Of course, as I said before.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Streicher?
KORNER: Not during the latter years, I do not think so; but previously he attended.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was that, during the latter years?
KORNER: As far as I know, Streicher did not attend during the latter years, but I do not know for certain.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He attended in November 1938 when the anti-Jewish uprisings took place, did he not?
KORNER: I believe so, because at that time Streicher was still in Nuremberg.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was very active, was he not?
KORNER: I did not understand the question quite correctly.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was very active in the anti-Jewish matters, was he not?
KORNER: Yes; this is generally known.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he see Funk at those meetings?
KORNER: I believe that Funk frequently attended these meetings.
12 March 46
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was the subject considered at this meeting of 9 November, the night of the anti-Jewish uprising?
KORNER: I do not know of any discussions as there was always a fixed program on that day, and I did not know about anything else, nor can the Reich Marshal have known.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the adjutant who informed him on his arrival the next morning that something had happened during the night?
KORNER: This I cannot say exactly as the adjutants were always changing. I only know that an adjutant came and reported.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did he say that happened?
KORNER: He reported that during the night anti-Jewish riots had taken place and were still going on; that shop windows had been smashed, goods thrown into the streets. Goering was infuriated about this.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he infuriated about?
KORNER: About the riots.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?
KORNER: About the entire action.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean that he was taking the part of the Jews?
KORNER: Goering always showed a different attitude to the Jewish question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You just tell us what it was. You may go into all details. Tell us what his attitude was.
KORNER: He always showed a moderate attitude towards the Jews.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Such as fining them a billion Reichsmark right after the fire, right after these outrages? You know that he did that, do you not?
KORNER: Yes. The Fuehrer demanded it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that the Fuehrer is dead, do you not? Do you know that for a fact?
KORNER: Yes, I know he is dead.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is generally understood, is it not, among all of you, that the Fuehrer is dead?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So the Fuehrer ordered the Reich Marshal to levy a fine of a billion Reichsmark? Who ordered the
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confiscation of the insurance of the Jews a few days after this assault?
KORNER: That I do not know. I can no longer remember the details.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you not remember that that was Goering's order?
KORNER: I cannot recall it now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Why did Goering go to Hitler to get this stopped? Why did he not go to the head of the police, which is supposed to prevent crime?
KORNER: Naturally he went to the highest chief so that an authoritative order could be given for these riots to cease immediately.
MR. JUSTICi JACKSON: Did he have any idea who had started them?
KORNER: It had gone round that Goebbels had instigated these riots.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he know that the Gestapo and SS also participated?
KORNER: I do not know. As far as I know the SS did not participate.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did the Gestapo?
KORNER: No, I do not know that either.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he went to Hitler to complain about Goebbels instigating these riots, is that the fact?
KORNER: Yes, that is correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that he knew the next morning that these riots against the Jews had been instigated by members of the Government?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were interrogated at Obersalzberg, the interrogation center, on the 4th of October of last year by Dr. Kempner of our staff, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you stated in the beginning of your interrogation that you would not give any testimony against your former superior, Reich Marshal Goering, and that you regarded Goering as the last big man of the Renaissance; the last great example of a man from the Renaissance period; that he had given you the biggest job of your life and it would be unfaithful and disloyal to give any testimony against him; is that what you said?
KORNER: Yes, that is more or less what I said.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that is still your answer?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: No further questions.
TEE PRESIDENT: Do any other members of the Prosecution wish to examine this witness?
GEN. RUDENKO: Perhaps you can remember, Witness, the conference of the heads of the German authorities in the occupied territories which took place on 6 August 1942 under the chairmanship of Defendant Goering.
KORNER: I cannot remember straight off what conference that could have been.
GEN.RUDENKO: Perhaps you can recall that after this conference of 6 August you circulated the minutes to all the ministers. The appendix to these minutes showed how much foodstuff and other raw materials should be supplied to Germany by the occupied territories?
KORNER: I cannot remember offhand.
GEN. RUDENKO: I shall put before you a document signed by you yourself which gives proof of this meeting.
KORNER: Yes, I have read it.
GEN. RUDENKO: You remember that you circulated this document, do you not?
GEN. RUDENKO: The document shows that certain figures were fixed as to how much foodstuff should be sent to Germany: 1,200,000 tons from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway. From Russia, 3,000,000 tons of grain were to be sent to Germany, et cetera. Do you not consider such deliveries to be a spoliation of the occupied territories?
KORNER: It was a matter of course that the occupied territories had to make every effort in contributing to the food supply. Quotas were imposed on the occupied territories which they could meet or, if they were not in a position to do so, they could subsequently ask for modifications.
GEN. RUDENKO: You said something about "squeezing out," I think?
KORNER: No, I never talked of squeezing out. I said it was a matter of course that the occupied territories had to contribute to the food supply with all the means at their disposal.
GEN. RUDENKO: That the occupied territories had to contribute?
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GEN. RUDENKO: Had these occupied territories asked Germany to come and rule over them?
KORNER: I did not quite understand that question.
GEN. RUDENKO: I do not suppose you did. I now want to ask you another question in connection with this. You did not see that this was plunder, but do you not recall that Goering himself ...
KORNER: No, this could not have been plunder.
GEN. RUDENKO: Goering himself at the same meeting said in his address that he intended to plunder the occupied territories systematically; you do not remember his expression "systematically plunder"?
KORNER: No, I do not know this expression.
GEN. RUDENKO: No, you do not remember. Perhaps you can recall that at the same meeting, when addressing the leaders of the occupied territories, he said to them, "You are sent there not to work for the welfare of the people you are in charge of, but you are sent there in order to squeeze out of that country everything possible." Do you remember these words of the Defendant Goering?
KORNER: No, I cannot remember these words.
GEN. RUDENKO: You cannot remember?
GEN. RUDENKO: And you do not recall a lengthy correspondence between Goering and Rosenberg in which Rosenberg insisted that all functions relative to the economic exploitation of the occupied territories of the Soviet Union should be taken away from the military economic offices and transferred to the ministry headed by Rosenberg?
KORNER: No, I do not recall this letter.
GEN. RUDENKO: You do not know. And in connection with this you do not remember that this correspondence did not lead to a final settlement of the question?
KORNER: I do not know anything about this correspondence.
GEN. RUDENKO: You do not know anything, do you? In 1944 do you not recall that ...
DR. STAHMER: I should like to point out that the interpretation is very incomplete and hard to understand. We ourselves do not fully understand the questions either.
GEN. RUDENKO: I suggest it is not my fault if the witness does not get all my questions.
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[Turning to the witness.] Do you not recall that in 1944, after the Red Army had driven the German troops from the Ukraine, Goering, wishing to shelve the question of the economic exploitation of the Ukraine, wrote to Rosenberg that it should be postponed until a more opportune time, and Goering mentioned a second seizure of the Ukraine and other Soviet territories?
KORNER: Is this supposed to have happened in 1944?
GEN. RUDENKO: In 1944.
KORNER: No, I cannot remember it.
GEN. RUDENKO: I shall not argue about it.
[Turning to the President.] Evidently, Mr. President, you wish to adjourn now. I have a few more questions, but I assume it will be convenient to resume after the adjournment.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn at 4:30 today.
GEN. RUDENKO: Witness, I intend to hand you a document which is a letter addressed to you by the Permanent Delegate of the Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories. This is Document Number USSR-174. I want you to read it and say whether you have ever seen this letter before. You will see that this document begins with the words, "Honorable Secretary of State and dear Party Comrade Korner."
This letter deals with the unification of economic leadership.
KORNER: I have taken note of this document. I definitely received it.
GEN. RUDENKO: You have received it; that is quite obvious. As is quite clear from this communication, the question is that of holding a special meeting under your leadership.
GEN. RUDENKO: Therefore I may conclude that you were a very close collaborator of the Defendant Goering in the matter of the so-called unification of economic leadership?
KORNER: Yes, for the conference mentioned.
GEN. RUDENKO: One last question. Do you confirm that the Defendant Goering as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, was at the head of both the civilian and the military German organizations dealing with the economic exploitation of all the occupied territories, and that you were his closest collaborator where these economic measures were concerned?
KORNER: The conference mentioned in this document never took place. The unification of economic leadership was a problem which arose, but which never really became a fact. Therefore the conference mentioned was superfluous.
GEN. RUDENKO: The problem was not solved, because of circumstances over which you had no control. It depended on the advance of the Red and Allied Armies. Am I right?
KORNER: I did not understand the question clearly enough to answer it.
GEN. RUDENKO: You say that the question was not solved. I ask you, is it not a fact thatthe problem was not solved because of circumstances which did not depend on yourselves? You were prevented by the Red and Allied Armies?
KORNER: I believe that at the time this letter was sent no such influence could have been felt. The question of the comprehensive
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organization of economic matters in occupied territories did not, as a fact, materialize because it was opposed by other circumstances.
GEN. RUDENKO: I do not mean to discuss these causes with you at the present moment, but you have not yet answered my last question. I asked: Do you confirm that Goering, as Delegate for the Four Year Plan, was at the head of both the civilian and the military German organizations dealing with the economic exploitation of all the occupied territories, and that you were his closest collaborator?
KORNER: As far as the exploitation of occupied countries is concerned, it cannot be dealt with in this manner. The Four Year Plan had the possibility of exerting influence in economic questions in the occupied countries, but it was done only if it was absolutely necessary. In general it did not concern itself with such problems. The authorities who took care of economic matters in the occupied countries were the military commanders or the heads of the civil administration. In the East was the Economic Staff East and Rosenberg's Ministry. Only if there was a matter between the military and the economic authorities or between German departments, 0here there was a dispute or a disagreement, could the Four Year Plan be drawn in. The Reich Marshal in those cases could make special decisions, but that was in very, very few cases as, for instance, in the case of this conference mentioned today, concerning the occupied countries having to help supply foodstuffs for Europe. We had the right, since in the occupied territories not only in the East but also in the West, we carried out many new developments in the sphere of agriculture. In the West I can point out.
GEN. RUDENKO: What right are you discussing?
KORNER: I speak of the right which Germany had to share in the agricultural production of these countries, because we introduced many new developments there. I would like to point out that in the East, the regions which had been completely devastated, which had no seed, no machines, and with greatest difficulty...
GEN. RUDENKO: Who gave that right to the Germans?
KORNER: The right? It is only natural that once we have occupied a country and built it up, we are entitled to share in the surplus. We had to take care of the whole of Europe and we knew what anxieties and problems we encountered in the occupied countries.
GEN. RUDENKO: I asked you, where did the Germans get the right?
KORNER: I am no jurist. Therefore I cannot answer the question.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you were talking about German rights.
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KORNER: I am speaking only of the natural right that if we built up a country we should share in the results of that work of development.
GEN. RUDENKO: After you had devastated these areas?
KORNER: Germany did not devastate these areas, especially not in any agricultural respect. We, in fact, instituted great developments. I remember, in the West, that some parts of France were completely devastated and our organizations performed reconstrtiction work there. Thus we rebuilt the uncultivated land which we found in France, through a German organization which had reconstructed whole areas in Reich territory, and repatriated French people there, giving them the possibility of working again as peasants and sharing in the agricultural production of the country. In the East we found territories whose agriculture had been greatly damaged through the war. All the machines had disappeared. All the tractors had been taken away by the Russians, and all agricultural implements had been taken away or destroyed. There we had to start in the most elementary and primitive way to build up agriculture again.
That it was possible for us in the years of our occupation in the Eastito restore agriculture, German initiative and German machinery alone are to be thanked.
GEN. RUDENKO: Did German, initiative also include, together with the restoration of agricultural measures and developments, a vast net of concentration camps which you established in the occupied countries? Was that also included in the extent of the German initiative?
KORNER: I had nothing to do with that problem, and can say nothing about it.
GEN. RUDENKO: But I am asking you this question ...
KORNER: And therefore I do not understand what you mean.
GEN. RUDENKO: You are not sufficiently informed on the question of concentration camps, but it would appear that you are quite well informed, or appear to be informed, on restoration work in the agricultural field?
KORNER: Natilrally, I know a great deal about the rehabilitation of agricultural areas.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you know nothing about concentration camps?
KORNER: I was not concerned with these matters.
GEN. RUDENKO: You knew nothing about the fact that millions were being annihilated by the German occupational authorities?
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KORNER: No, I knew nothing about it.
GEN. RUDENKO: You really knew nothing about it?
KORNER: I have only just found out about it.
GEN. RUDENKO: Only now?
GEN. RUDENKO: I have no further question to ask.
HERR GEORG BOEHM (Counsel for SA): Witness, do you know that Heines was Chief of Police at Breslau?
THE PRESIDENT: I asked defendants' counsel at the end of the examination by Dr. Stahmer whether they wished to ask any questions, and they said they did not wish to ask any questions. Therefore it is not your turn now to ask any questions.
HERR BOEHM: Mr. President. In the interrogation by Mr. Justice Jackson a point arose which I did not know of before and which calls for comment. It concerns the Chief of Police, Heines. May I be allowed to put two or three questions to the witness so that the point in question may be clarified?
THE PRESIDENT: Very well. We hope you will not take too long.
HERR BOEHM: I will try to be brief, Mr. President. Thank you.
[Turning to the witness.] Witness, do you know that Heines was Chief of Police at Breslau?
HERR BOEHM: Further, do you know that in that capacity he was in charge of the prisons in Breslau?
KORNER: Of course, the Police Chief is in charge of prisons.
HERR BOEHM: Do you know whether at the time in question when this camp was set up, the police prisons of Breslau were overcrowded?
KORNER: That I do not know. I mentioned the case of Heines only as one of the camps which at that time were set up without the permission of the Prime Minister or the Minister of the Interior.
HERR BOEHM: Then you also know that Heines could establish this camp merely in his capacity as Chief of Police?
KORNER: Yes, that may be.
HERR BOEHM: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, have you any questions to ask?
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions to put to the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness may retire.
DR. STAHNER: With the permission of the Tribunal I call as next witness, Field Marshal Kesselring.
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[The witness Kesselring took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell me your name?
ALBERT KESSELRING (Witness): Albert Kesselring.
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 if you wish.
DR. STAHMER: Witness, since when have you served with the Luftwaffe?
KESSELRING: Since 1 October 1933.
DR. STAHMER: What rank did you hold on your transfer to the Luftwaffe?
KESSELRING: Up to that time I was a colonel and officer commanding artillery in Dresden. Then I was retired as air commodore.
DR. STAHMER: You helped to build up the Luftwaffe?
KESSELRING: During the first 3 years I was Chief of the Administrative Office, subsequently Chief of the General Staff, and I then served in the Gruppenkommando.
DR. STAHMER: Was the Luftwaffe being built up for defensive or aggressive purposes?
KESSELRING: The German Luftwaffe was purely a weapon of defense. I must, however, add the comment that the single plane as well as the whole of an air force by its very nature is an aggressive weapon. Even in land fighting, mere defense unaccompanied by offensive movements is considered not to lead to any appreciable results or successes. This applies to a still greater degree to air warfare. The air force covers a wider range, both for defense and attack. This had been realized by the Reich Marshal and his generals.
It is obvious that when an air force is being built up, only light machines are produced, or are the first types to reach the units. Thus, up to 1936-37 we had only light craft, fighters, Stukas, reconnaissance planes, and a few "old sledges" as we called them, such as Ju 52, Do 11 and D 13 -- all obsolete bomber types.
One may hold the view that defense can be successfully conducted with these light craft. On the other hand, I should like to point to the end of the World War, when the German defensive air force was smashed by the offensive air force of the enemy.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal thinks the witness is dealing with this matter in far too great detail.
KESSELRING: I will go on. Up to 1937-38 there was no offensive air force, especially no bombers, and the bombers which were built
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later had neither the range nor the load capacity necessary for an offensive weapon. There were no four-engine bombers.
DR. STAHNER: Did you play any part in the attack on Warsaw?
KESSELRING: As Chief of Air Fleet 1, I led this attack.
DR. STAHMER: Did the military situation at the time justify this attack, and how was it carried out?
KESSELRING: Several attacks were made on Warsaw. In the German view, Warsaw was a fortress, and, moreover, it had strong air defenses. Thus the stipulations of the Hague Convention for land warfare, which can analogously be applied to air warfare, were fulfilled.
As to the first phase of the attack on Warsaw, according to the operational principle governing the employment of the Luftwaffe, the enemy air force and the aircraft factories in the immediate vicinity of the airfields were to be attacked. These attacks were in my opinion fully justified and they comply with the rules.
The second phase concerns the combating of the operational movements of the Poles. I may add that Warsaw is a junction for northern and central Poland. When our long-range reconnaissance reported -- this was confirmed by the final phase -- that the railway stations were crammed with material and that reinforcements in increasing numbers were moving on Warsaw, the air attack on these movements was ordered and carried out.
It was mainly directed against railway stations and sidings and the Vistula bridges. For the execution of these attacks I detailed Stukas and ground "strafer" aircraft, because the precision of these machines afforded the guarantee that mainly the military targets would be hit.
The third phase was the shelling of Warsaw. I consider the shelling to be an army action in which, at the request of the army, small units of the Luftwaffe were employed against military targets. I myself was over Warsaw, and after practically every air attack I consulted the army commanders about the execution. From my own experiences and reports I can assert that everything that was humanly possible was done to hit military targets only and to spare civilian targets.
DR. STAHMER: Can you confirm conclusively that these attacks were kept throughout within the limits of military necessity?
DR. STAHNER: Did you play any part in the attack on Rotterdam?
KESSELRING: As Air Force Chief 2, to which rank I had been promoted, I led air attacks on Holland, Belgium, and France, and
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the airborne corps operated under my command also. The airborne corps was commanded by General Student, who asked for his paratroops to be supported by a bomber attack. General Student had such a comprehensive knowledge of the ground situation that he alone must be considered responsible for preparation and execution of the attack. The Fourth Air Corps was ordered to provide air support, and one group, the smallest unit necessary for this purpose, was employed. The attack was carried out solely in accordance with the tactical requirements and technical possibilities. The orders of General Student reached my command very early. Thus all preparations could be made leisurely according to plan. At the instance of the Reich Marshal the unit was informed of possible changes within Rotterdam and of the approach of Panzer divisions. The objective set by General Student was quite elear as to extent, central and key points, and occupation. It was not difficult for seasoned troops to grasp the objective. There was radio communication between General Student's command, my staff, and other staffs, including the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe. Any interruption of this communication could only have been a very short one as radio orders were transmitted by me or the Reich Marshal. The technique at that time made it possible to maintain contact through this radio communication between the tactical ground station and the flying unit via its ground station. The ground communications usual at that time such as flags, flares, and signal code designations at the front were maintained according to plan. They functioned without a hitch. In accordance with its training and its orders the formation had sent out a reconnaissance aircraft which kept them informed of the situation and the objective. In addition, by order of the Reich Marshal, there followed a General Staff officer attached to my air fleet who had the same mission.
DR. STAHMER: Had the order been given that the situation and the objective should be...
KESSELRING: I myself never had any doubt that the attack had to be carried out; I was only not quite sure whether or not it should be repeated. And this was the question to which the signals referred. Judging from my knowledge of General Student and -- I stress this particularly -- his technique in leading an attack and his clearly stated requirements, I had to expect the attack to be carried out.
The attack was carried out according to plan and time schedule. The report that the target had been accurately bombed came through very quickly together with the message that no further attacks were necessary. During the 3 days of fighting in Holland the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe was kept well informed. Particularly on the third day, that is, the day I am talking of, the Reich Marshal in his outspoken manner intervened more than usual
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in the direction of the air fleet and did, in my opinion, everything that could possibly be done from such a high position. I do not remember any message to the effect that the bomber attack was no longer warranted by the tactical situation.
DR. STAHMER: Bombs are said to have been dropped when negotiations about capitulation had already started.
KESSELRING: As I said, no message to this effect had been received by the command, neither had the formation operating over Rotterdam picked up a message from the ground. Probably some confusion occurred at the command In Rotterdam itself of which I know nothing. Neither do I know about the agreements reached between General Student and the officer commanding the Dutch troops in Rotterdam. I wanted later to have a talk with General Student on this question, but it was not possible because of his having received a serious head injury. If, contrary to my firm conviction, the attack had been no longer warranted by the situation, this would be most regrettable. As a soldier of 42 years' standing, as an artillery man, as an airman, as a General Staff officer, and as a leader for many years, I wish to make it clear that this case was one of those unforeseeable coincidences of war which, I am sorry to say, occur in the armed services of all countries more frequently than one might think; only the world does not know.
DR. STAHMER: How do you explain the big fires that still broke out in Rotterdam?
KESSELRING: When I received the report from the formation I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that the effect of the bombing was confined to the target area, but this war has shown that most of the destruction is not caused bythe bombs themselves, but by the spreading of fires. Unfortunately a bomb had hit a margarine or some other factory in Rotterdam, causing oil to run out and the fire to spread. As after the attack the capitulation was already effective, it should have been possible to prevent the fires from spreading by bringing in the fire services and the troops.
DR. STAHMER: What were the military consequences of this attack?
KESSELRING: The immediate consequence of the attack was the surrender of the Rotterdam troops. General Wenninger, who was air attache at the time and who later was attached to my air fleet, told me that in consequence of this attack the whole of the Dutch Army capitulated.
DR. STAHMER: Did you lead the attack on Coventry in November 1940?
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KESSELRING: As Chief of Air Fleet 2 I took part in this attack, without any doubt. I cannot say now whether Air Fleet 3 took part in it as well, but I did.
DR. STAHMER: What was the object of the attack?
KESSELRING: According to the target index kept by the archives department of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, Coventry was an English armament center; it was known as "Little Essen." This index was compiled with meticulous care by experts, engineers, and officers, and contained maps, charts, photographs, description of targets, key points, et cetera. I myself, as well as my men, was fully familiar with these details. Furthermore, I had the aforementioned General Wenninger and several engineers with the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe give lectures to the troops about targets, in order to make them acquainted with the nature of the targets, their vulnerability, and the effects of an air attack.
Preparations for an attack were made most conscientiously. I was very often present and the Reich Marshal himself occasionally inspected them. The case of Coventry was extremely simple, as during those nights favorable weather conditions prevailed, so that Coventry could be reached without radio navigation. The distribution of the targets in Coventry was likewise very simple, so that bombs could be dropped without the help of flares, and it was hardly possible to miss the target. But bombs follow the same law as other projectiles; in other words, in land and air warfare dispersion covers a wide range. With an air force this is the further peculiarity that if strong formations are employed not the individual target but only the target area as a whole can be aimed at, which naturally causes a deviation from the target itself. By order of the Commander-inChief of the Luftwaffe and on the reconnaissance pilot's own initiative, all hits and attacks were checked the following day by air photographs. The ground visibility was good but, as I already said in the case of Rotterdam, the destruction of the objective was not caused so much by the bombs themselves as by the spreading of fire.
I do not know whether I should add anything further. The Hague Convention on land warfare did not provide for the requirements of air warfare. In order to avoid an arbitrary selection of targets, the Supreme Command had to go into the question and issue general directives based on the preamble to the Hague Convention, the literature published in the meantime, and finally, the special conditions governing the Luftwaffe itself. Only those targets which we considered admissible according to international law were assigned to the air fleet or formation. This did not exclude the reconsideration and change of targets in individual cases, which were discussed with the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, and we took the responsibility ...
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THE PRESIDENT: You are speaking too fast.
KESSELRING: By personal visits and other means we impressed upon our units the need to study preparation, the dropping of bombs, aiming, the meteorological conditions, so carefully that the highest degree of accuracy could be obtained and regrettable deviations into the perimeter of the objectives could be avoided. The case of Coventry was particularly fortunate as it presented an important military target, and no one could speak of it as an attack directed against the civilian population.
DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defense counsel wish to ask questions?
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, since when were you commander of an army group?
KESSELRING: I became commander of an army group in September 1943 after, as commander of the German troops in the Supreme Command, I had already served in a supervisory capacity as far as general strategic and tactical questions were concerned.
DR. LATERNSER: The army group which you led was in Italy?
KESSELRING: The army group was in the Mediterranean area.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know the composition of the General Staff and High Command group as presented by the Prosecution?
DR. LATERNSER: First I have a preliminary question. What is, strictly speaking, understood by the German General Staff of the individual branches of the Wehrmacht?
KESSELRING: The General Staff of the individual branches of the Wehrmacht comprises all those officers who assist the commanders-in-chief of the services and share their responsibility.
DR. LATERNSER: Would you please state how this group was composed and organized in the Luftwaffe, for instance?
KESSELRING: The General Staff of the Luftwaffe was the equivalent of the General Staff of the Army and these organizations were as alike as two pins. The General Staff consisted of the central department, called the Operations Staff in the Luftwaffe, headed by the Chief of the General Staff, the operational departments, the organizational groups, the departmental chiefs of the Luftwaffe, the supply office, et cetera. The various commands, from the air fleet down to the division, the ground staff and the Luftgaue, had General Staff officers attached to them to assist in the command. A chief of general staff no longer bore co-responsibility, as was previously customary, since this was held to be inconsistent with the
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Leadership Principle. These chiefs of general staffs and the chief of the central department of the General Staff exercisedtheir influence regarding military and ideological training on all the General Staff officers within the Wehrmacht, without prejudice to the responsibility of the individual military commander.
DR. LATERNSER: If I summarize your reply that by General Staff of the Luftwaffe is meant the Chief of General Staff and the regimental staff officers, would I then be describing correctly the composition of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe?
KESSELRING: Most certainly.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you consider the term "General Staff" as has been employed in these proceedings to be in accordance with military usage?
KESSELRING: As I said before, the General Staff was composed of officers assisting in the command, which did not include the commanders and commanders-in-chief. According to German views they did not belong to that category, because not all the commanders and commanders-in-chief had had the same education and training as the General Staff officers. The cornmanders-in-chief were single individuals. They would be treated collectively only in connection with their rank as generals and for budget and pay purposes.
DR. LATERNSER: Would you consider it to be erroneous to apply the term "General Staff" to the high military conuxianders?
KESSELRING: According to the German conception it would be a misnomer.
DR. LATERNSER: Have at any time in the history of the Wehrmacht the high military commanders been subsumed under this group as is being done here?
KESSELRING: In Germany such subsumption was not indicated and for various reasons was not even admissible. Neither did the commanders-in-chief form a collective body to act in any way as a war council or as a similar assembly with definite tasks. They were not even, individually or collectively, members of the Reich Defense Council, but were only appointed ad hoc commanders of a front or a command post. To set up the commanders-in-chief as a collective body for any specific purpose was in my opinion quite impossible, for the simple reason that they were under the commander-in-chief of the Army, the Luftwaffe, or the Navy or under the High Command of the Armed Forces. Moreover, some were 100 percent under the German Supreme Command; others were 100 percent under Axis command. Some of them were under two different commands, some were independent commanders-in-chief, others were army commanders-in-chief subordinate to an army group.
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DR. LATERNSER: You are speaking too fast. Had the commanders-in-chief only to work out military problems set before them, or did they themselves draw up plans and submit them to Hitler for consideration?
KESSELRING: The commanders-in-chief were purely military leaders, responsible only for the task allotted to them. Within the scope of this task they could submit suggestions or improvements, et cetera, to the OKW or to the OKH, but their activities in the sense of collaboration were limited to these suggestions.
DR. LATERNSER: You just mentioned improvements and modifications. Did this mean that the commanders-in-chief were expected to suggest modifications of a plan only from the military-technical aspect, or also to submit suggestions as to whether or not a plan should be carried out at all?
KESSELRING: Generally it meant suggestions for modifications from the military-technical aspect only. In matters of minor importance they had a say also as to policy. If, however, the highest authority had made a decision, the others kept silent.
DR. LATERNSER: We will revert to this later. Did the "General Staff" group as presented here ever meet collectively?
DR. LATERNSER: Were there any rules providing for the organization of this group?
DR. LATERNSER: Did any members of this group ever suggest a departure from the rules of international law?
KESSELRING: I do not think so; rather the contrary.
DR. LATERNSER: Was there a frequent reshuffle of the holders of the offices which make up this group, or did they hold the offices for a long period?
KESSELRING: In the course of the later years the commandersin-chief and commanders were rather frequently reshuffled.
DR. LATERNSER: What do you know about the conferences Hitler held with high-ranking military leaders?
KESSELRING: There were two kinds of conferences. First, an important address before a campaign to the higher leaders taking part in it. The object of the address was generally to inform the leaders of the situation and to brief them. In view of the Fuehrer's persuasive rhetoric it was hardly possible for us to take any stand in the matter, particularly as we were not informed about all the details. At such conferences discussions did not take place; they
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were not allowed. There sometimes followed military-tactical consultations, and every leader had the chance of putting forward and stressing his views and requests. As I have said, we had no say in political questions. We were, as is known, faced with the accomplished fact, which we as soldiers had to accept.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you attend a conference held by Hitler on 22 August 1939, that is, shortly before the Polish campaign started?
DR. LATERNSER: Was it not made known at the end of this conference that we had concluded a treaty with the Soviet Union?
KESSELRING: At the end, after the address, we were all called together again and informed that the message had just been received that Russia would adopt benevolent neutrality.
DR. LATERNSER: What impression did this message have on you and the other high military leaders?
KESSELRING: It was a tremendous relief to me and to the others. Otherwise we could not have dismissed the possibility of an extension of the war toward the East. Now that Russia was going to hold herself aloof, the Luftwaffe at least -- I speak as an army commander -- had a superiority which guaranteed a rapid and decisive success, and which over and above this, in my opinion, would possibly prevent the expansion of the war.
DR. LATERNSER: In any case, the message was a great relief to you?
KESSELRING: Yes, very great.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, can you tell me whether members of the General Staff and OKW group ever met and had discussions with leading politicians and Party men?
KESSELRING: If I may speak for myself, I was operating both in the Mediterranean area and in the West. In the Mediterranean area I had to work with the Gauleiter Rainer and Hofer and then in the West with ...
DR. LATERNSER: That was not the point of the question. I wanted to know whether the high military leaders ever met and discussed any political plans with leading politicians.
KESSELRING: No, no. That I can definitely say was not the case. We as soldiers generally did not bother about politics. Political decisions were made by the politicians and we had to carry them out.
DR. LATERNSER: Among military leaders, as a result of their many years of experience in the Wehrmacht, which foster the
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principle of giving the soldier a nonpolitical education, this attitude is customary, is it not?
KESSELRING: This policy has been developed in the German Army since the 18th century.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether the higher military leaders had any contact with the Fifth Column?
KESSELRING: The military leadership had nothing to do with the Fifth Column. This was beneath us.
DR. LATERNSER: What was your impression of the conference Hitler held with the higher military leaders before the Eastern campaign started? Was the situation presented to you in such a way that war had to be considered unavoidable?
KESSELRING: I had the definite impression that the purpose of the address to the leaders was to convince them of the necessity of the war as a preventive war; and that it was imperative to strike before the building up and the mobilization of the Russian armed forces became a danger to Germany.
DR. LATERNSER: Could you state the reasons for your impression?
KESSELRING: As I have already said, the purpose of the address was to give us a convincing picture of the general situation; of the military situation and its time schedule -- and it did convince us. In connection with the Russian campaign I should like to say that up to the last day of August I had no doubt...
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you go more slowly please and have some consideration for the interpreters.
DR. LATERNSER: Would you please repeat the last answer.
KESSELRING: I had still less reason to doubt Hitler's words because, up to the last moment, I, as Commander-in-Chief of Air Fleet 2, was engaged in operations against England and had had neither time nor the means to form a well-founded judgment of my own on the Russian situation. I had to confme myself...
DR. LATERNSER: This Trial has shown that the commandersin-chief are being made responsible for what is bound to happen in a war. I should like you to describe the daily routine of a commander-in-chief of an army group, an army, or an air fleet.
KESSELRING: The daily routine depended of course on the personality of the individual leader. If I may speak of myself...
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, I ask you to be very brief.
THE PRESIDENT: Witness -- Dr. Laternser, surely, that is cumulative to what the witness has already been saying, and likely to be very long. About the description of the day of a commander,
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this witness already said the commander had nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with the staff. Why should we be troubled with what the commander's day consists of?
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I attach particular importance to this question for the following reasons: In view of the range of a commander-in-chief's activities, especially at the front, not every report can reach him because even reports from his own sector have to be dealt with by the respective officers. Thus, only those reports come to him which are of particular importance and of a decisive nature and which have a direct bearing on the conduct of the action.
THE PRESIDENT: Give it in that way then, rather than giving the witness a full day to describe.
DR. LATERNSER: Very well, I shall put it that way.
Witness, in view of the range of your activities as commanderin-chief did every report reach you, or only those which, after having been studied by the respective officers, were found to be of such importance that they had to be submitted to the commander-in-chief?
KESSELRING: Especially when an action was in Progress all reports could not reach the commander-in-chief. In my particular case this was still less possible as I spent 50 to 70 percent of my time at the front. The staffs of the armies, air fleets, and navy units had to retain a responsibility of their own within their competence.
DR.ILATERNSER: Did the many activities of a commander-in-chief allow all reports on violations of international law, even of a minor nature, to be submitted to him?
KESSELRING: This had to be aimed at. I doubt, however, for the afore-mentioned reasons, whether this was possible in every case.
DR. LATERNSER: In this matter, therefore, the commander-in-chief had to rely on his staff, had he not?
KESSELRING: Yes; 100 percent.
DR. LATERNSER: Were you commander-in-chief of an air fleet on the Eastern front from June to November 1941?
DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear anything about the extermination of Jews in the East?
DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear anything about the Einsatzgruppen of the SS?
KESSELRING: Nothing. I did not even know the name of these units.
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DR. LATERNSER: Did you get to know anything about the regrettable order that Russian commissars were to be shot after their capture?
KESSELRING: I heard of this order at the end of the war. The air fleet, not being engaged in ground fighting, had actually nothing to do with this question. I think I can safely say the Luftwaffe knew nothing whatsoever about it. Though I very frequently had personal dealings with Field Marshal Von Bock, with commanders of armies and armored units, none of these gentlemen ever told me of such an order.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you know about the Commando Order?
KESSELRING: Yes, I did.
DR. LATERNSER: And what did you think of this order?
KESSELRING: I considered such an order, received by me as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean, where I held a double post, as not binding for me, but as the outline of an order which left me a free hand in its application. On this question I held the view that it was for me, as commander-in-chief, to decide whether a Commando action was contrary to international law'or whether it was tactically justified. The view adopted more and more by the army group, which view was directed by me, was that personnel in uniform who had been sent out on a definite tactical task were to be treated and considered as soldiers in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention for land warfare.
DR. LATERNSER: The Commando Order was consequently not applied within your command?
KESSELRING: In one case, yes, it was certainly applied.
DR. LATERNSER: Which case do you mean?
KESSELRING: I mean the case of General Dostler.
DR. I.ATERNSER: The case of General Dostler has already been mentioned in this Trial. Did you know about this case when it was pending?
KESSELRING: As a witness under oath I have stated that I cannot remember this case. I think there are two reasons why I was not informed of it. Firstly, after a conversation with my chief, who spoke to another commander about it, it appeared that none of us knew anything. Secondly, because of the gigantic operations on the Southern Front, I was more often absent than not from my headquarters.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, if you had been called upon to make a decision on the Dostler case, how would you have decided?
KESSELRING: I am not well enough acquainted with the case. I know it only from hearsay.
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MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I do not think we can try Dostler's case, or that this witness should give his conclusions, inasmuch as Dostler's case has been tried by a competent court and that issue is disposed of. I have no objection to any facts that inform this Tribunal, but his conclusion as to the guilt of his fellow officer is hardly helpful.
TBE PRESIDENT: Particularly as he said he cannot remember.
DR. LATERNSER: I withdraw the question.
Witness, can you quote other cases where the Commando Order was not applied in your area?
KESSELRING: Small scale landings behind the lines at Commazzio, south of Venice, also airborne landings north of Albenda in the region of Genoa and minor actions in the Lago di Ortona district. I am convinced the troops adopted this general view and acted accordingly.
DR. LATERNSER: You were commander-in-chief of an air fleet in the East. What can you say about the treatment of the Russian civilian population during the campaign?
KESSELRING: I was in Russia until the end of November and I can say only that the population and the troops were on the best of terms, and that the field kitchens were used everywhere for the benefit of the poor and the children; also that the morality of the Russian woman, which, as is known, is on a high level, was respected by the German soldiers to a remarkable extent. I know that my doctors, during the hours of attendance, were frequently consulted by the Russian population. I remember this, because the doctors spoke to me about the fortitude they showed in enduring pain. The war passed so quickly over the plains as far as Smolensk that the whole area presented quite a peaceful aspect; peasants were at work, fairly large herds of cattle were grazing, and when I visited the area I found the small dwellings intact.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear of any excesses committed by German soldiers in the East? Whenever cases of violations of international law were reported to you, did you take action with all the means at your disposal?
KESSELRING: I at least tried to do so, if only for the sake of maintaining the reputation of the German Wehrmacht and also in the interests of the relations of the Wehrmacht with our Italian allies. I therefore thought it expedient to deal severely with any German soldier who committed an offense. As I was mindful of the fact that war is a brutal business and the longer it lasts the more brutal it becomes, particularly if the leaders and subordinates are no longer able to cope with their tasks, I had recourse to preventive measures. The preventive regulations, which I am sure
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were seen at many places by the Allied Forces during their advance through Italy, my various announcements of the penalties imposed which became generally known, are the best proof of what I just said.
As a preventive measure I ordered whole towns, or if this was not possible, their centers to be cleared of military and administrative offices and soldiers, and barricaded off. Furthermore, as far as air raid precautions allowed, the soldiers were garrisoned and billeted in confined areas. I also ordered detached individual soldiers, who are usually the cause of such trouble -- for instance soldiers going on and returning from leave-to be grouped together, and nonmilitary vehicles to form convoys. For control purposes I had cordons drawn by military police, field police, gendarmes, with mobile courts and flying squads attached to them.
The buying-up of Italian goods, which was partly the cause of the trouble, was to be restricted by establishing stores, in cooperation with the Italian Government, along the return routes, and here the soldiers could buy something to take home. This was enforced by penalties. German offenders reported to me by the Italians, I had prosecuted or I myself took proceedings against them. Whenever local operations prevented my personal intervention, as for instance at Siena, I notified the Wehrmacht that I would have the case dealt with by court-martial at a later date. In other cases, when the situation was critical, I declared an emergency law and imposed the death penalty for looting, robbery, murder, et cetera. The death penalty was, however, rarely found to have a deterrent effect. I took action against officers who, naturally disposed to shield their men, had shown too great leniency.
I understand all files are available here, so that all details can be seen from the marginal notes on the reports sent in by the military police.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side?
KESSELRING: During my many visits to the front I did, of course, come across a large number...
GEN. RUDENKO: I protest against this question. In my opinion, the witness is not the person to make any statement as to whether Germany's enemies have violated international law. I think this question should be omitted.
DR. LATERNSER: May I explain my point? I am interested in an answer to this question because I want to follow it with the further question to the witness, whether after he heard of violations of international law by the other side, he became more lenient
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concerning violations of international law by his own men. That is why I am anxious to have this question answered.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to know exactly ,vhat your question is and why you say it is competent.
DR. LATERNSER: The exact wording of the question is as follows:
I asked the witness, "Do you also know of any violations of international law by the other side?"
According to his answer I intend to put the further questions to the witness, whether, in view of such violations of international law by the other side, he either did not punish at all or dealt more leniently with violations of international law by his own men.
From the answer to this latter question I want to ascertain the attitude of the witness as a member of the group, and that is why I consider the answer to the first question to be important.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to hear what Counsel for the United States says about it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If Your Honor please, I believe it is a well-established principle of international law that a violation on one side does not excuse or warrant violations on the other side. There is, of course, a doctrine of reprisal, but it is clearly not applicable here, on any basis that has been shown.
In the second place, even if the treatment of the subject matter were competent, I think it is being improperly gone into in this manner. Here is a broad question, "Did you hear of violations of international law?" It would at least, even if the subject were proper, require that some particularity of a case be given. A broad conclusion of a charge -- a violation of international law -- would hardly be sufficient to inform this Tribunal as to the basis on which this witness may have acted.
If there were some specific instance, with credible information called to his attention, there might be some basis; but surely the question as asked by counsel does not afford a basis here.
It seems to me we are getting far afield from the charges here and that this is far afield from anything that is involved in the case. I do not know what particular atrocities or violations of international law are to be excused by this method. There must have been atrocities committed, on the basis of which there is sought to be excused atrocities committed by somebody else. Who else committed them, why they were committed, is a subject we might have to try if we went into this subject. It seems to me that the inquiry is quite beside the point, and even if it were not, if there were any way that it is within the point, it is improperly put in this manner.
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DR. STAHMER: This question, which is of fundamental importance, was argued before this Tribunal some time ago. This was when I applied for permission to be given to produce White Books containing reports on atrocities. I think it was during the sitting of 25 February.
At that time Professor Exner defined his attitude to this question and the Tribunal then permitted me to produce these White Books, with the proviso that I would still have to state what I intended to present from these books.
Already on that occasion attention was drawn to the importance of the question of whether atrocities were committed by the other side as well, because this very point may contribute to a more just and possibly to a more lenient judgment of German behavior. The motive of an act has always a decisive bearing on the findings, and the view will be taken here that an act on the German part will be judged differently if the other side has not really, shown entirely correct behavior.
Furthermore it is an important question whether measures taken may have been reprisals. On the strength of these considerations I hold that this important question should be admitted.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal have considered the questions which Dr. Laternser proposed to put to the witness and have also considered the objections made by General Rudenko and Mr. Justice Jackson, and they hold the questions are inadmissible.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I assume that I am allowed to put the following question.
[Turning to the witness.] Witness, did you either not punish at all or deal more leniently with violations of international law by your own men when violations of this law by the other side were reported to you?
THE PRESIDENT: That seems to me to be putting in one question what before you put in two.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, this question is not meant to cause the witness to give instances of violations of international law by the other side. From the answer, I merely want to ascertain the fundamental attitude of the witness, namely whether he, as commander-in-chief, dealt most severely with violations of international law by his own men even if violations on the other side were reported to him. I withdraw the question.
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THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would see no objection in your asking the witness whether he was anxious to avoid violations of international law; if you wish to put that question to him there will be no objection to that question. The question which you have suggested putting is really identical with the questions you put before.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, during this Trial severe accusations have been made because of atrocities committed by German soldiers. Was not every soldier sufficiently enlightened and instructed about the regulations of international law?
KESSELRING: I answer this question in the affirmative. The many talks given by me and the commanders under me always contained such admonitions and instructions.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you, as commander of an army group, spare art treasures and churches as far as possible?
KESSELRING: I regarded it as a matter of course as my duty to spare centers of art and learning and churches, and I gave orders accordingly, and acted accordingly myself in all my operations and tactical measures.
DR. LATERNSER: What do you know about the treatment of prisoners of war who had fallen into German hands?
KESSELRING: Prisoners of war were treated according to international law. Wherever inspections ordered by me revealed any neglect, I had it redressed and reprimanded the commandant in charge.
DR. LATERNSER: I have still three more questions. Were you, as Field Marshal, informed that Italy would enter the war?
KESSELRING: No, I had not been informed about that. As far as I know, the entry of Italy into the war was so spontaneous that even the political leaders were surprised.
DR. LATERNSER: And were you informed that war would be declared upon America?
KESSELRING: No. I cannot say anything about this question.
DR. LATERNSER: And now the last question. What was the position regarding the resignation of military leaders during the war?
KESSELRING: Resignation from the Wehrmacht of one's own free will, or an application for permission to resign from the Wehrmacht, was not allowed. In 1944 there was an order prohibiting this under threat of the severest penalties. The Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht reserved for himself the exclusive right to make changes of personnel in the leading positions.
DR. LATERNSER: Was there a written order to this effect?
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KESSELRING: Yes, I think so.
DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions.
DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, you said before that the commanders-in-chief had, in military matters, the right and the opportunity to present their demands and views to Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht. Did I understand that correctly?
DR. JAHRREISS: Did you personally have differences of opinion with Hitler?
KESSELRING: Considerable differences about operational and tactical questions.
DR. JAHRREISS: Did it come to a real clash?
IMSSELRING: "Clash" is perhaps putting it too strongly; rather a divergence of opinion on either side.
DR. JAHRREISS: Shall we say disputes? Were they frequent?
DR. JAHRREISS: After all we have heard, here, Adolf Hitler must have been a rather difficult customer.
KESSELRING: That must be admitted. On the other hand, I found him -- I do not know why -- understanding in most of the matters I put to him.
DR. JAHRREISS: Did you yourself settle these differences of opinion with Hitler?
KESSELRING: In critical cases Colonel General Jodl called me in if he could not carry his point.
DR. JAHRREISS: If you could not carry the point?
KESSELRING: No, if Jodl could not carry the point.
DR. JAHRREISS: If Jodl could not carry the point, you were called in?
DR. JAHRREISS: Did Jodl's opinions, too, differ from Hitler's?
KESSELRING: On the various occasions when I attended for reporting I observed very definite differences of opinion between the two gentlemen, and that Jodl -- who was our spokesman at the OKW -- put his point of view with remarkable energy and stuck to it right to the end.
DR. JAHRREISS: What do you mean, he was your spokesman? Whose spokesman?
KESSELRING: My theaters of war, speaking as a general in the Wehrmacht, were so-called OKW theaters of war, and the East was
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an Army theater of war. The East was an Army theater of war, whereas the others were OKW war theaters.
DR. JAHRREISS: Had the OKW no say regarding the Army theaters of war in the East?
DR. JAHRREISS: And the Army had no say regarding the OKW theater of war?
DR. JAHRREISS: I think not everybody will be able to understand this difference.
KESSELRING: It would be asking too much, because I myself cannot understand it.
DR. JAHRREISS: So, you were in an OKW theater of war?
DR. JAHRREISS: What does OKW mean in this connection?
KESSELRING: Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.
DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, I know that.
KESSELRING: It meant that the commander-in-chief was directly under Adolf Hitler, and headquarters under Jodl's operations staff.
DR. JAHRREISS: In a previous interrogation you spoke of orders from the OKW, did you not?
DR. JAHRREISS: Who is the OKW? Who gave orders?
KESSELRING: Orders of a fundamental nature were issued by one person only, and that was Adolf Hitler. All the others were only executive officers. This did not prevent these executive officers from holding views of their own or sharing the views of the army groups under them. They presented these views energetically to Adolf Hitler.
DR. JAHRREISS: What you are saying now rather surprises me, since the opinion had been voiced that Jodl, who you say was a kind of spokesman for the commanders-in-chief, was a willing tool of Adolf Hitler.
KESSELRING: I think the one does not exclude the other. I cannot imagine any marriage of 6 years standing without both partners having tried to understand each other. On the other hand, I can very well imagine that even in the happiest marriage serious quarrels occur.
DR. JAHRREISS: But in the average marriage the husband does not necessarily have to be a willing tool.
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KESSELRING: Here the situation is still a little bit different. As with all comparisons, this comparison with marriage does not go the whole way. In addition to this, in the army there is the principle of unquestioning subordination.
DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, but what you have just told us, about Jodl's position as spokesman for the commanders-in-chief, sounds as if Jodl acted as an intermediary, does it not?
KESSELRING: Jodl represented our interests in an outstanding way and thus acted as an intermediary for all of us.
DR. JAHRREISS: Did he also pit his opinions against those of Adolf Hitler when Adolf Hitler, in one of his famous fits of rage, had issued an order?
KESSELRING: I can state only that, on the occasion of my few visits to headquarters, I saw Colonel General Jodl grow red in the face, if I may say so, and in expressing his views he went very near the limit of what is permissible for a military man.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 13 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]