The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Sixth Day: Thursday, 3rd January, 1946
(Part 8 of 15)

[Page 265]


Q. When you spoke of the written agreement between the leaders of the Einsatz Groups and the Army, do you know whether or not the functions and purposes of the Einsatz Groups were described in the agreement? Did the agreement say what the groups were going to do?

A. I no longer remember that. In any case it was not the task of liquidation.

Q. Do you understand the question?

A. Yes. I cannot quite remember if there was a general clause in the agreement about the tasks and activities of the Security Police in the operational area, but I am certain that it contained nothing regarding the task of liquidation.

Q. You stated that there had been a general order for the liquidation of all Jews. Was that order in writing?

A. No.

Q. Do you know who gave the order?

A. Is this question with regard to the activities of the Einsatzgruppen?

Q. Yes.

A. Regarding the Einsatzgruppen, the order came first via Himmler, Heydrich and Streckenbach to the Einsatzgruppen and then was repeated a second time by Himmler personally.

Q. Did a similar order go to the Army?

A. I know of no such order to the Army in this form.

THE PRESIDENT: Now do any of the defendants' counsel wish to cross-examine this witness?


BY DR. NELTE (Counsel for defendant Keitel):

Q. Witness, you said that several weeks before the opening of the Russian campaign, there were conferences regarding the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos. Were you personally present at these conferences?

A. May I briefly correct this by saying that the main subject was not the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen but the set- up within the operational area...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment.

Q. Will you repeat that, please?

A. May I make a correction by saying that according to my recollection the main subject was not the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen but the establishment of these mobile organisational units for activities within the operational area of the Army.

Q. In other words, this concerned tasks within the sphere of the Army?

A. Yes.

Q. You testified that the written agreement was concluded between the R.S.H.A. on one hand and the O.K.W. and O.K.H. on the other. Are you familiar with the difference in authority between the O.K.W. and the O.K.H.?

A. Yes.

[Page 266]

Q. Who was present from the O.K.W. at these conferences?

A. I cannot mention any one name because I personally was not present at these conferences, but these conferences were conducted by Heydrich on the one hand and by his deputy, Schellenberg, on the other.

Q. Schellenberg also spoke on this question in an affidavit presented here, but he mentioned Quartermaster-General Wagner as the official with whom he had to deal. Can you remember now whether this was also occurred at the conferences to which you are referring?

A. At any rate, the name of Quartermaster-General Wagner is one of the few names mentioned which I do remember in connection with these conferences.

Q. Is it known to you that Quartermaster General Wagner had nothing to do with the O.K.W. as an institution?

A. Yes.

Q. I take it that you cannot therefore name any personality who might be regarded as representative of the O.K.W.?

A. No, I cannot. I merely said that I have remembered, that is, I still have in my mind's eye the letterhead O.K.W.- O.K.H. I took this double heading to mean that essential negotiations with Canaris were probably being carried out, that arrangements with Canaris were therefore included in this agreement and that this accounted for the letterhead O.K.H. plus O.K.W., which, to me as well, had appeared unusual, since the O.K.H., per se, was naturally in charge of all marching and maintenance problems.

Q. A joint letterhead O.K.W.-O.K.H., as such, did not, of course, exist. In your case then it could have been only a typewritten copy?

A. I can still visualise a mimeographed sheet.

Q. Do you know which signatures were on this document which you visualise?

A. I cannot remember; I am sorry.

Q. One of the Judges already put the question that orders would naturally result from an similar agreement. Is the name of the O.K.W., or the signature perhaps, included in any one such order?

A. Now, I do not understand what kind of orders you mean.

Q. When an agreement is made between two different organisations such as the R.S.H.A. on the one hand and, shall we say the O.K.H. on the other, then the office entrusted with the execution of that which has been agreed upon must be informed thereof in a form known as an "Order" in military parlance. Is such an order known to you as originating from the O.K.W.?

A. Please understand that no such orders from the Army or the O.K.W. were received by me. I merely had orders or wishes expressed by the Army.

Q. From the Army or from your Superior Command?

A. Of course. No. I am speaking now... If I think of the Fuehrer...

Q. Therefore, there was no connection of any kind between you, as Leader of the Einsatzgruppe, and the O.K.W. as such?

A. No immediate connection. I know very well that individual reports reached the O.K.W. through official channels.

Q. If you know that, can you tell me to which office? Because, after all, O.K.W. covered a great many.

A. I should assume that it eventually reached Canaris.

DR. NELTE: I thank you.

[Page 267]

DR. EGON KUBUSCHOK (Counsel for the Reichsregierung):

Q. Witness, in your position as Chief of the S.D., you were probably able to have some idea about the trustworthiness of the members of the Reich Cabinet with regard to respecting the secrecy of supremely important matters. Please answer this question, whether the order which has been discussed to- day regarding the liquidations, in your opinion, originated in the Reich Cabinet and whether this order, in your opinion, was made known to the individual members of the Reich Cabinet?

A. I am convinced that both questions are to be answered in the negative.

Q. I should like to ask the witness a few more questions on behalf of the defendant Speer, since counsel for the defendant Speer is absent and I have taken over this task out of esprit de corps.

Witness, is it known to you that the defendant Speer, contrary to Hitler's orders, took measures to prevent the destruction of industrial and other installations?

A. Yes.

Q. That these measures also extended beyond the interior of Germany to the then still-occupied area of Upper Silesia, et alia?

A. I believe that the period of time during which this was known to me was so late that, except for some small areas in the West, it no longer applied to any area in the East.

Q. One more question which you might perhaps know about. Do you know if the defendant Speer prepared an attempt on Hitler's life in the middle of February of this year?

A. No.

Q. Do you know that Speer undertook to turn Himmler over to the Allies so that he could be called to account and possibly clear others who were innocent?

A. No.

Q. This question will perhaps be answered in the affirmative by another witness.

Are you well informed regarding the events of the 20th of July?

A. To a considerable extent.

Q. Is it known to you that the circle of plotters of 20 July had also planned to keep the defendant Speer as head of his Ministry?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know any details about that?

A. From the participants in the plot of the 20th of July, I merely learned that they had considered him, on a drafted organisational scheme, as continuing in his post as head of the Armament Ministry.

Q. Witness, do you believe that this intention of the plotters of the 20th of July was due to the fact that the defendant Speer, in view of his activities, was considered not only in these circles, but even elsewhere, merely as an expert and not as a politician?

A. The question is very hard to answer. It is very difficult not to be considered a politician if one has been so closely connected with those authorities of the Reich who made the final political decisions, and if one has, perhaps, been an essential contributor to the suggestions and proposals from which the decisions evolved. On the other hand, Minister Speer was known or believed to be not purely a politician.

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