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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Seventh Day: Friday, 8th March, 1946
(Part 4 of 9)

[MR. JUSTICE JACKSON continues his cross examination of General von Bodenschatz]

[Page ]

Q. And you knew of that order?

A. I did not know of the order; it was only through these examples which were brought to my notice that it became clear to me that this transportation was taking place. I never read the order myself, nor even heard of it, because I had nothing to do with it.

Q. It came to your attention that Jews were being thrown into concentration camps merely because they were Jews?

A. In this case I am not speaking of concentration camps, but it was ordered that people were to be brought to collection camps.

Q. Not concentration camps, but special camps? Where were they going from there?

A. That I do not know.

Q. And where was this special camp that you speak of?

A. I do not know where they were to be taken. I was told they were to be taken away.

Q. But neither you nor Goering had any suspicion that if they were taken to concentration camps any harm would come to them, did you?

A. I know nothing about what took place in the concentration camps.

Q. Now did you not hear about the concentration camps, and was not the reason of your saving these people from going to them, that the people who went there were maltreated?

A. I must reiterate that I freed people from the Gestapo who were not yet in the concentration camp.

Q. What would the Gestapo take them into custody for if not to be sent to the concentration camp?

A. What purpose the Gestapo was pursuing with these arrests I do not know.

Q. But you intervened to save them from the Gestapo without even finding out whether the Gestapo had cause for arresting them?

A. If the Gestapo arrested anyone, then they must have had something against him.

Q. But you made no inquiry into that, did you?

A. I have already said it was generally known that these people were taken to collection camps, not concentration camps. It was known, many German people knew, that they were to be taken away. They knew that the people were taken to work camps, and in these work camps they were put to work.

Q. Forced labour?

A. It was just ordinary work. I knew, for instance, that in Lodz the people worked in the textile industry.

Q. And where were they kept, while they were doing that work?

A. I cannot say, for I do not know.

Q. They were in a camp, were they not?

A. I cannot tell you about that for I do not know.

Q. You would not know about that?

A. I have no idea.

Q. What is the difference between a work camp and a concentration camp? You have drawn that distinction.

A. A work camp is a camp in which people were housed without their being in any way ill-treated.

[Page 238]

Q. And a concentration camp is where they are ill-treated? Is that your testimony?

A. Yes, I can only tell you that now because in the meantime I discovered that through the Press and through my imprisonment. At that time I still did not know it. I learned that from the newspapers. I was a prisoner of war in England for quite a while, and I read about it in the English Press.

Q. You spoke of collection camps, that many people knew they were being taken to collection camps to be taken away. Where were they being taken?

A. I do not know where they went from there.

Q. Did you ever inquire?

A. No, I never inquired.

Q. You were adjutant to the Number Two Man in Germany, were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you never ventured to ask him about the concentration camps?

A. No, I never spoke to him on that subject.

Q. The only instruction you had was to get everybody out that you could?

A. Where a request or a complaint was made, I followed those cases up, and in those cases I assisted.

Q. You knew that Hermann Goering was a close co-worker with Himmler, did you not?

A. I did not know that he was a fellow worker with Himmler, because he never worked with him directly. Himmler frequently came for discussions with Hermann Goering, but these were private conversations just between the two.

Q. And you knew that he was not only a friend, but that he had aided Kaltenbrunner to his post when Kaltenbrunner came into office, did you not?

A. No, that I did not know.

Q. You did not know that?

A. I did not know that Reichsmarshal Goering recommended Kaltenbrunner for his office. My activity was confined simply to the military sector. I was military adjutant to the Reichsmarshal. I had nothing to do with these matters.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the procedure of making full Aryans out of half-Jews?

A. On the question of mixed blood, requests concerning the Luftwaffe came to me, and in fact, officers, according to the regulations, would have to be dismissed if they were of mixed blood. In many cases the Reichsmarshal gave instructions that these officers should not be dismissed.

Q. What was done about it?

A. In these cases the Chief of the Personnel Office was instructed not to dismiss these officers.

Q. And in some cases some kind of an order was made, was it not, that they were full Aryans, notwithstanding Jewish parentage?

A. At the moment I can remember no such case.

Q. You spoke of the requests for help from Goering coming from broad masses of the people, and those requests were submitted to his staff. Is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. And who was the head of that staff?

A. At the head of that staff stood the Chief of Staff, Dr. Witzbach.

Q. How many assistants did he have?

A. There were three divisions: The Press section, with Dr. Goerner in charge, and the private secretariat. There were three sections.

Q. And which of these sections handled the people's requests for relief from arrest?

A. Dr. Witzbach and Dr. Goerner were concerned with that.

Q. To whom did they talk about these matters, do you know?

A. These gentlemen, as well as myself, submitted these matters to the Reichsmarshall.

[Page 239]

Q. So that he was kept fully informed of what you did and of what they did?

A. Please repeat the question.

Q. The Reichsmarshal was kept fully informed of these applications to you and to the other sections?

A. He was informed from my section.

Q. And as I understand you he never failed to give his assistance to any one of the applications that was made to him, so far as you know?

A. As regards requests addressed to my office or to me personally he never refused assistance and, actually, help was always given.

Q. And never inquired into the guilt or innocence of the person he was helping?

A. They were innocent; that was clearly established.

Q. Now, you were present on 20th July at the bomb explosion, as I understand from your direct testimony?

A. On 20th July I was present at that discussion and stood very near to the bomb.

Q. Where was Hermann Goering on that day?

A. Hermann Goering was in his headquarters on that day, about seventy kilometres from the Fuehrer's Headquarters.

Q. Only seventy kilometres away; is that right? And at what time were you instructed to represent him at that meeting?

A. I was not instructed to represent him at this meeting. I took part in this conference as in any other as a listener. I had no such orders to represent Goering, to represent him in the Fuehrer Headquarters. I was merely in the Fuehrer Headquarters to inform him of what went on there.

Q. You represented him to listen, but not to talk; is that right?

A. I did not say, very much during those years; I was simply a listener and was to inform him as to what took place at the conference, that would interest him in his capacity as Reichsmarshal.

Q. How far in advance of that meeting were you instructed to attend?

A. At this meeting? On 20th July? On 19th July I was on a special commission, sent to the Muenster Camp to take part in the review of an Italian division. On 20th July, at noon, I came by air to the Fuehrer Headquarters, gave Hitler a military communication, and Hitler said to me: "Come and discuss the situation." I did not want to go but I went with him and after fifteen minutes the attempted assassination took place.

Q. Who sent you with the message? Whose message was it that you were delivering?

A. I was commissioned at that time by Reichsmarshal Goering, in Muenster, to attend the review of the Italian division there and to tell Field-Marshal Graziani that the men in this division were to be used to command flak guns. After Field-Marshal Graziani had declared himself in disagreement with this, I was obliged to go to the Fuehrer Headquarters by air. It had been proposed that I should go by Mussolini's special train which was in Muenster, and on the night of 19th to 20th . . .

Q. Answer my question, witness. Just answer the question, please, and you will save us a great deal of time. Whose message were you carrying to the Fuehrer?

A. I brought the message that Graziani was not disposed to handing over these soldiers of the Italian division.

Q. And before you started for the Fuehrer Headquarters, you communicated with Goering about it, did you not?

A. Before my departure, when I flew to Muensterlager, that was a few days before, I spoke to him, and when I returned, before reporting to the Fuehrer, I telephoned Hermann Goering in his headquarters and gave him the same message.

Q. And did he instruct you to go to the Fuehrer's Headquarters at that time and give the message to the Fuehrer?

[Page 240]

A. This trip from Muensterlager I made on my own initiative because it was important to Adolf Hitler to know of this information before Mussolini, who was expected to arrive at the Fuehrer Headquarters at three o'clock on 20th July.

Q. As I understand you, Goering wanted a peaceful outcome of the negotiations at Munich?

A. He said that to me several times.

Q. And he was highly pleased with the outcome that was achieved there?

A. He was very pleased. I emphasized that before when I said that when he came from the conference room, he said spontaneously: "That is peace."

Q. And when you say that Goering wanted peace with Poland he also wanted that same kind of a peace, did he not?

A. I did not speak with him regarding peace with Poland.

Q. Did he send someone or induce Hitler to take someone to Munich, in order to counter-check Ribbentrop?

A. All I know personally on this subject is as follows: Here in imprisonment, Captain Wiedemann told me that Hermann Goering had expressed the wish to take von Neurath with him, and Wiedemann told me that Hitler had granted that wish.

Q. Now you were interrogated by the United States about this subject before Wiedemann got here, were you not?

A. Before?

Q. Before Wiedemann was brought here.

A. I was not interrogated on this subject - the Munich Agreement and von Neurath.

Q. Were you interrogated on 6th November, 1945, and did you not then say that Goering used very harsh words about Ribbentrop and asked Hitler to take Neurath to Munich with him, in order to have a representative present? Did you not say that to the interrogators of the United States?

A. I cannot remember at the moment. If that is in the record then it must be so.

Q. This meeting as to which you have - oh, by the way, after Munich you know that Goering gave his word of honour to the Czechs that there would be no further aggression against them, do you not?

A. Please repeat the question?

Q. You know that after Munich, when Goering was pleased with the outcome, he gave his word of honour that there would be no further aggression against the Czechs. Did you know that?

A. No, I did not know that.

Q. This meeting that took place in London, I mean the meeting that took place when the Englishmen were present ...

A. In Husum, yes.

Q. Who was the Swedish person who was present?

A. Herr Dahlerus was the Swede who was present.

Q. Who were the English who were present?

A. There were six to eight English economic experts. The names I do not know.

Q. And at that time - by the way, have you fixed the time of that? What was the date?

A. I cannot say precisely. It was the beginning of August.

Q. Was it not August the 7th?

A. I cannot say.

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