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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-First Day: Thursday, 16th May, 1946
(Part 1 of 9)

[Page 88]

THE MARSHAL OF THE COURT: If it please the Tribunal, the defendants Sauckel and von Papen are absent.

The defendant Raeder resumed the witness-stand and testified further as follows:-



Q. Grand Admiral, yesterday we finished with the somewhat involved Document 32, and we had got as far as (11). We now come to (12), "Ammunition Stocks in Excess of the Armament Permissible." May I remind the Tribunal that this is Document C-32, Exhibit USA 50, Document Book 10-A, on Page 8.

Witness, may I ask what you have to say to the accusation that you exceeded the permissible amount of ammunition?

A. Some ammunition stocks were in excess of the permissible amount and some were below it. I cannot tell you at this date what the reason was in each particular case. I assume that this depended to a very considerable extent on the amounts left over from the last World War.

In the case of the first two items, the 17 and 15-cm. shells, the actual stocks rather exceeded the quantity permitted; whereas the third item, 10-5 cm. shells, fell very far short of it; instead of 134,000 there were 87,000. In the case of the 8.8 cm. shells there was an excess. Then comes a deficit again, and so on. But they are all very insignificant amounts.

Q. In the copy before the Tribunal there appears to be a note in the third column-on the next page in yours, witness- saying that quantities of ammunition were being manufactured, or in course of delivery, and that the total amount permissible would soon be exceeded.

I only wanted to ask you this: the list was made out in September 1933; are the figures stated correct for September 1933, or autumn 1933?

A. I did not quite understand you, I am afraid.

Q. If it says in this Document that measures to be taken later would bring the totals above the quantities permissible, which - according to this statement - they had not yet reached, then is that correct for autumn 1933?

A. That may be assumed - yes - because new gulls and new ammunition were being manufactured; old ammunition then had to be scrapped.

It also must be noted that ammunition for heavy artillery, which is not listed here, was in every case short of the permissible amount. A comparatively large amount of heavy artillery ammunition had been granted us for heavy coastal guns; and we had by no means as much as we were allowed to have.

DR. SIEMERS: For the assistance of the Tribunal, I may point out that this last point is proved by the actual documents in the hands of the Tribunal. In the Tribunal's copy (12), column 2, just beside the separate figures, there is a sentence which says: "that the whole quantity permitted for heavy artillery has not been reached."

Q. We now come to (13), "Exceeding the permissible stocks of machine guns, etc., rifles, pistols and respirators."

[Page 89]

A. Here, too, it must be admitted that in isolated cases stocks were a little higher than permitted. There were, for instance, 43,000 gas-masks, instead of the 22,500 permitted. Large numbers of rifles and machine-guns were taken away even by individuals after the World War to farms, etc. They were later called in and for that reason there was a comparatively large accumulation of them. But we are not dealing here with any very considerable quantities. Similarly, ammunition, bayonets, hand-grenades, searchlights, sundry equipment, etc., also exceed the prescribed limits, but not to any great extent.

Q. Now (14), "Obtaining 337 m/gC/30 without scrapping equally serviceable weapons." As I did not -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely, Dr. Siemers, it would he possible to deal with all these various points in the documents in one statement, as to why there were these excesses. We have a statement here which contains thirty different items, and you have only got as far as 13 - and you are dealing with each one.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, personally I am entirely agreeable. I am sorry that I caused the Tribunal so much trouble in connection with this Document. As I am not a naval expert, I had a great deal of trouble finding my way through it, but I do not think that I was the cause of the trouble. The prosecution, you see, has made use of the single points in evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, the question is - I am not blaming you, but we want to get on. We are not blaming you. Cannot it be done in one explanatory statement, one short statement?

DR. SIEMERS: I will try, Mr. President, and I will shorten it.


There is no need to say anything about (15) to (17). I think we have dealt with the most important points. Those connected with plans for a later date were not to be effective until the years 1933 and 1934. I may perhaps just point out to the Tribunal that (17) refers to the intended construction of reserve destroyers. The Versailles Treaty permitted the construction of these.

I pass over (18) because we have already dealt with that. (19) - again - only refers to intended construction. (20) I may consider irrelevant; it only concerns the arming of fishery cruisers. (21) to (29) -

THE PRESIDENT: I think, perhaps, you should ask the defendant to explain some of these observations in the third column. I mean in (18) for instance, "Difficult to detect. If necessary can be denied."

A. These were explanations given to our League of Nations' representative at the disarmament conference by the competent expert. It does not refer to local conditions. Construction of submarine parts, for instance, took place abroad or was to be prepared. It was actually carried out in 1934 and 1935, and the first submarine was launched at the end of June 1935.

Q. I may take it, witness, that only the construction and purchase of submarines was prohibited?

A. Yes, the construction in Germany.

Q. I cannot prove until a later stage that no violation of the treaty was involved by the construction of spare parts; but I think you will have to give some indication of your reason for wishing to conceal it, in view of the fact that spare parts were not forbidden. I may remind you that this took place in September 1933, at a time when negotiations had already been planned.

A. At that period, before the English naval agreement was concluded on the basis of 35 to 100, Hitler was particularly anxious to avoid everything which might embarrass the negotiations in any way. The construction and preparation of submarine parts came under this head as being a subject on which England was peculiarly sensitive.

[Page 90]

Q. Was there not an additional reason for this appendix and other remarks in this second column, namely, the unfortunate experiences which the Navy had had in home politics; the fact that whenever the slightest action was taken, a quarrel immediately ensued on the political home front?

A. Yes; and that went so far that the Defence Minister was attacked on occasion by Prussian Ministers who disagreed with the ministers of the Reich - e.g., Muller, Severing, Stresemann and, later, Bruning - who alleged to the Reich Chancellor that he took steps which he was not authorized to take. In reality, however, the Reich Government itself had sanctioned these things already and had put its signature to them.

Q. So these things were kept secret for reasons of home policy, so that they should not be apparent -

A. Yes.

Q. With the approval of the Reich Government?

A. With the approval of the Reich Government. As regards the firms, a number of firms -

Q. I am now anxious to refer back to (20) column 2, as I see from the record that the prosecution also expressly in the circumstances raised this point in connection with the arming of fishing vessels, emphasized it and made it the basis of a charge: "Representing warning shots as a bagatelle."

A. These fishing vessels were quite small vessels and were normally unarmed. They served to supervise the fishing boats in the North Sea right up to Iceland, to help them in case of emergency, to take sick men aboard and to afford them protection against fishermen of other nations. We thought it advisable to mount at least a 5-cm. gun on these ships as they were actually warships. "Warning shots" means that they fired a salute when they wanted to draw the fishermen's attention to something, so it was quite an insignificant affair; and had no need to be camouflaged as a mere bagatelle but was one in fact.

Q. We now come to (21) to (28), which are lists of various firms, including industrial firms, working on armament contracts. The Versailles Treaty admitted certain firms for this type of work, while it excluded others. In actual fact, other firms had received contracts. Perhaps you can make a general statement on this point.

A. This was at a time when we had strong hopes that progress would be made at the disarmament conference. The Macdonald Plan, which brought about a certain improvement, had already been accepted; and we might expect, in consequence, that the few factories still left to us would have to increase their output during the next few years. I may refer you to the shipping replacement scheme. Consequently, factories producing specialized articles were better equipped and supplied. There was, however, never any question of heavy guns or anything of that kind, but of automatic fuse- igniters, explosives - for instance, mine containers, etc., small items, but specialist items which could only be made by certain firms. But, apart from the firms admitted, other firms which had been excluded were also employed. Thus, for instance, the Fried. Krupp Grusenwerk A.G. at Magdeburg - (25) - was equipped to manufacture anti-aircraft guns and anti-aircraft barrels from 2 cm. to 10.5 cm-; similarly (26), a firm manufacturing anti-aircraft ammunition, explosives, etc., (27) -

Q. I do not think we need the details.

A. No. And then engines for which there was also a great demand.

Q. I have one question which applies to all these figures. Is there not a certain excuse in view of the fact that some of the firms admitted had already dropped out for economic reasons?

A. Yes, you can certainly say that. These firms had comparatively few deliveries which were not sufficient to keep them going.

Q. Witness, I think one not only can - I think one must - say so. May I draw your attention to point 22, column 3, which reads: "The list in any case is out of date as some firms have dropped out."

[Page 91]

A. Yes.

Q. That leaves us with (29) and (30). (29): "Preparations in the field of experiments with motor-boats." I think that these were preparations on a very small field.

A. At the moment I cannot tell you exactly what this means.

Q. I do not believe in any case that the Tribunal will attach any importance to it.

Then I only want you to make a final statement on (30), which reads: "Probably in the near future further considerable breaches will be unavoidable up to 1934." To all intents and purposes you have already made a statement on that point by your reference to the negotiations planned with the British Government, some of which were already in progress.

A. Yes, that was the point.

Q. These are matters, therefore, which were in any case due to be discussed in the course of the negotiations with the British Government and for the Admiralty.

A. You cannot say that of them all. For instance, points (1) to (3) deal with mines. The number of mines was to be increased and modern material was to replace the old. It goes on in the same way with the transfer of guns from the North Sea to the Baltic, not with the scrapping of guns.

Q. To conclude the whole matter, may I ask you to say what impression the whole thing made on a naval expert like yourself; all things considered, would you say that these were minor violations? How far would you say that their character is aggressive?

A. As I said yesterday, most of them were very inadequate defence improvements applied to an almost entirely defenceless position. The individual items, as I explained yesterday, are so insignificant that it is really impossible to spend very much time on them. I believe that the Control Commission also had the impression that very little weight need be attached to all these matters, for in 1925, when that Commission left its station at Kiel, where it had worked with the organizations of the naval command, Commander Fenshow, Admiral Charlton's chief of staff and head of the Commission, whose main interest was guns, and who had worked with a Captain Renken, a specialist in these matters, said:

"We must leave now; and you are glad that we are going. You did not have a pleasant task; and neither did we. I must tell you one thing. You need not think that we believe what you have been saying. You did not say a single word of truth; but you have given your information so skilfully that we might have been convinced, and for that I am grateful to you."
Q. I now come to Document C-29, which is Exhibit USA 46.

Mr. President, it is in Raeder's Document Book 10, Page 8 of the prosecution's Document Book.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean 10-A?

DR. SIEMERS: No. 10, Page 8. This Document, too, was submitted during the general indictment made by the prosecution at the beginning of the trial on 27th November. It is a letter - a document signed by Raeder, dated 31st January, 1933; General Directives for the support of the German armaments industry by the navy.


Q. The prosecution pointed out this letter, and has thought fit to conclude from it that on the very day after Hitler's nomination as Chancellor of the Reich, you were definitely supporting him. Will you define your attitude, please?

A. There is no connection at all between this letter and Hitler's accession to power. You must admit that it would be impossible to compile so long and complicated a document, which was, after all, carefully prepared, between the evening of 30th and the morning of 31st January. This document expresses the hope which I mentioned before, that even under Papen and Schleicher the

[Page 92]

stipulations of the Versailles Treaty and the Disarmament Conference might be somewhat relaxed. The British Delegation bad repeatedly said that they favoured the gradual restoration of equal rights. We had, therefore, to get our industry into the best possible condition as far as the manufacture of armaments was concerned, by increasing its output by enabling it to meet competition.

As I say in paragraph (c) of this letter, almost every country was, at that time, making efforts in the same direction, even those which, unlike Germany, had had no restrictions imposed on them. Great Britain, France, North America, Japan, and - especially - Italy were making the most determined efforts to make sure of a market for their armaments industry; and I wanted to follow their example in this particular sphere. In order to do this, there had to be an understanding between the various departments of Naval Command Staff to the effect that support must be given to this industry; and this support took the form of a considerable degree of secrecy on technical matters and developments. That is why I explain in paragraph (c) that secrecy in small matters is less important than maintaining a high standard and keeping the lead.

I stated in the final sentence that, to sum up, I attached particular importance to the continued support of the industry in question by the navy, even after the expected relaxation of the present restrictions, so that the industry would command confidence abroad and would find a market.

This had nothing at all to do with Hitler nor with any independent rearmament on my own behalf.

Q. Can you tell us when, approximately, you drafted these directives?

A. During the month of January - perhaps at the beginning of January - we had a conference on the matter, and after that I had them put in writing.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.