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-Second Day: Friday, 17th May, 1946
(Part 4 of 7)

[DR. SIEMERS continues his direct examination of Erich Raeder]

[Page 142]

Q. You just said that you had discovered that Hitler knew about the article. When did you discover this?

A. Here, from my co-defendant, Hans Fritzsche.

Q. So, not at the time?

A. No, by no means.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit again at a quarter past two.

(A recess was taken until 1415 hours.)

DR. SIEMERS: In the meantime I have perused my documents and I am therefore in a position to carry out the original plan, that is, of submitting the documents during the examination.

In connection with the document with which we dealt last, C- 126, "Strategic Planning," I should like to submit the following documents which are contained in the White Books, documents which have been granted me for my use and which also concern strategic planning on the part of the Allies: Exhibit Raeder 33. It is a document dated 9th November, 1939; Exhibit Raeder 34, General Gamelin to General Lelong, 13th November, 1939; and Exhibit Raeder 35, two extracts from the diary of Jodl, 1809-PS, which concern the measures taken by the Luftwaffe regarding the Caucasus. It is not necessary for me to comment on this. I would just like to call your attention to the questions which I put to the witness Reichsmarschall Goering on 18th March; he has already testified regarding the plans of the Allies for the destruction of the Caucasian oil-fields. And finally in this connection, Exhibit Raeder 41, to be found in the Document Book III, Page 205, and the following pages, a report of the Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, General Gamelin, dated 16th March, 1940,; it deals with the war plans for the year 1940, concerning the tightening of the blockade, the plans regarding the Scandinavian countries and, in addition, the plans for the destruction of the Russian oil-wells in the Caucasus.

[Page 143]


Q. Grand Admiral, before I deal with the separate campaigns of Greece, Norway, and so forth, I would like to ask you to answer a question which relates to you personally. What decorations did you receive from Hitler?

A. I received from Hitler, in addition to the Golden Emblem which I have already mentioned, in the autumn of 1939, the Knight's Order to the Iron Cross. Furthermore, in the year 1941, on the occasion of my sixty-fifth birthday, I received a donation of 250,000 marks. This donation was given to me by Hitler through an adjutant and in connection with that he sent a document.

When I thanked him, he told me that he was giving me this donation in lieu of a decoration, in the same manner as the former rulers of Prussia had given their Generals similar donations, whether as sums of money or as a country estate; then he emphasized that Field Marshals von Hindenburg and von Mackensen had received donations from him as well.

Q. Now I shall turn to the passages referring to Greece. With regard to Greece, the prosecution has quoted Document C- 12, which is Exhibit GB 226. This is to be found in Document Book No. 10, Page 1. This document deals with the directive on the part of Hitler which was transmitted through the OKW, dated 30th December, 1939, signed by Jodl, and we read under No. 1:

"Greek merchant ships in the area around England declared by the United States to be a barred zone, are to be treated as enemy vessels."
This directive on the part of Hitler was made on the basis of a report put by the SKL. What caused you to make this report even though Greece was neutral at the time?

A. At that time we had received a large number of reports from our Intelligence Service, to the effect that Greek shipping companies, apparently with the knowledge of the Greek Government, were allowing Greek ships to be chartered by England under favourable conditions. Therefore these Greek ships were in the service of England, and according to that were to be treated in the same way as we were treating the English merchantmen. These Intelligence reports were confirmed later on to an even greater degree.

DR. SIEMERS: In this connection I would like to submit to the High Tribunal, Exhibit Raeder 53, to be found in my Document Book III, Page 258. This document deals with the War Diary kept by the SKL in the month of December, 1939.

On Page 259, under the date of 19th December, the following entry is made:

"Greece has put about twenty vessels at the disposal of the United States on their sea lanes to Le Havre and Liverpool."
This is confirmed by the reports just mentioned by the witness.

The next entry, on the same page under the date Of 3oth December:

"Justified by the sale and chartering of numerous Greek ships to England it has been decreed, with the agreement of the Fuehrer, that Greek ships in the zone from 20 degrees West to 2 degrees East and from 44 degrees North to 62 degrees North shall be considered by U-boats as hostile craft. Attacks to be made invisibly as far as possible."
I also submit the following document, No. 54. This document is taken from the White Books. It is dated the 23rd of January, 1940, and it is a report from the German Embassy at the Hague to the Foreign Office. The heading is: "The contemplated chartering of fifty to sixty ships to the British Government." It is not necessary for me to read it. I should like merely to quote the beginning of the first sentence:

"After the British Press brought reports at the end of November last year" - that is, 1939 - "about the alleged charterings of Greek vessels to British companies" - and so forth. Then follows the statement that these fifty to sixty ships are now chartered by British companies.

[Page 144]

Even though it is not chronologically correct, I would now like to first of all conclude the question of Greece. Norway should be first, but for the sake of coherence I should like to deal with Greece and the occupation of Greece first.


In Document C-152, Exhibit GB 122, in the Document Book of the British Delegation, number 10, Page 23, the prosecution has specifically charged you on (9). It reads:

"The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy requests confirmation of the fact that the whole of Greece is to be occupied even in the case of a peaceful solution. The Fuehrer: 'Complete occupation is a stipulation for any regulation'."
This document concerns your report to Hitler of 18th March, 1941. What were the reasons for your making this proposal?

A. In the beginning I had but little knowledge of the political intentions of the Fuehrer as far as Greece was concerned, but I did know of his Directive Number 20, dated 13th December, 1940.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon, I would like to mention for the assistance of the Tribunal that we are dealing with Document 1541-PS, that is Exhibit GB 117, Document Book of the British Delegation, 10-A, Page 270. This directive is dated 13th December, 1940.

A. In this directive the Fuehrer, for the reasons given in paragraph 1, said that his intention was, as set forth in paragraph 2: After the setting in of favourable weather, probably in March, to send this task force to occupy the North Coast of the Aegean by way of Bulgaria, and, if necessary, to occupy the entire Greek mainland (Operation Marita). He added, that the support of Bulgaria was to be expected.

The next time I heard about these things again was when I learned, on or about 5th or 6th March, that the British had landed in the South of Greece on the 3rd. For this reason I told the Fuehrer that he should occupy the whole of Greece in order to prevent the British attacking us from the rear, or establishing air bases and so hampering our conduct of the war not only in Greece but also in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Matters were such that when a political decision had been made by Hitler of his own accord and without having asked anyone, I, as Commander-in-Chief of the Naval War Staff, always had to make my strategic plans to meet this political decision, and then had to make my proposals on naval and on other warfare as far as they concerned me.

Since in December he had already considered the possibility that the whole of Greece would have to be occupied, the time had now actually come for me to, propose this to him, for the reason I have already mentioned. When I said "the whole of Greece," that to me and the Naval Command meant the entire Greek coast, where the British forces might land.

Q. Your proposal was made about two weeks after British troops had landed in Greece?

A. Yes.

DR. SIEMERS: In this same connection I would like to submit Exhibit Raeder 58, in my Document Book III, Page 271. This is a document contained in the White Book, according to which on 4th January - I beg the Tribunal's pardon, Sir David has corrected me - Document 58 has been rejected and I withdraw it.

In this connection I would like to submit Exhibit Raeder 59. It is to be found in Document Book III, Page 273, and is an extract from the White Book. It is the minutes of the French War Committee of 26th April, 1940. This document deals with the decision of the War Committee regarding Norway, the Caucasus, Roumania, and Greece.

[Page 145]

I also submit Exhibit Raeder 63, in Document Book III, Page 285, which is an address by the British Secretary of State for India, Mr. Amery, dated 1st December, 1940. This document also shows plans regarding Greece, a year and a quarter before the time just mentioned by the witness.

Now I shall turn to the topic of Norway.


Q. The British Prosecutor, Major Elwyn Jones, considers the attack against Norway a special case in the series of aggressive wars waged by the Nazi conspirators. In this connection he pointed out that, in this case, Hitler did not think of this himself, but rather was persuaded by you. Since this point is very important, I should like to ask you to describe this event exactly. Therefore, my first question is: When was the first conversation about this matter between you and Hitler?

A. The first conversation between Hitler and myself concerning the question of Norway was on 10th October, 1939, and it was at my request. My reason for this request was that through our Intelligence Service by the intermediary of Admiral Canaris, we had received reports at various times during the last week of September that the British intended to occupy bases in Norway.

I recall that after reports to this effect had reached me several times, Admiral Canaris, on one occasion, visited me himself, which was something he only did in very important cases. And, in the presence of my Chief of Staff, he gave me comprehensive details of these reports. In them, air bases were constantly mentioned, as well as bases in the South of Norway. Stavanger and the airport Sova were frequently mentioned, as was Trondheim, and occasionally Christiansund.

On one of the last days of September I had a telephone conversation with Admiral Karls, who was the Commander-in- Chief of Navy Group North, and was therefore in charge of operations in the Skagerrak, the Kattegat and in the North Sea. This man had obviously received similar reports. He informed me that he had composed a private letter addressed to me, in which he dealt with the danger of Norway being occupied by British forces and in a general way, with the disadvantages such a step would have, for us, and whether we should have to forestall such an attempt. He also dealt with the advantages or disadvantages of the occupation by our forces of Norway - that is, of the Norwegian coast and the Norwegian bases.

Up to that point I had not concerned myself with the Norwegian question at all except for the fact that I had received the reports from the Intelligence Service But when I received this letter at the end of September or the beginning of October, it must have been about then, I felt bound to show it to the Chief of Staff of the SKL and to instruct him, with all dispatch, to deal with the question of the occupation of Norwegian bases by England, and the other questions which Admiral Karls had dealt with, and to have the following points discussed in the SKL: what would be the advantages and disadvantages of an expansion of the war towards the North, not only of an expansion on our part, but, above all, an expansion on the part of England; would we gain by acting first; what disadvantages would result if we had to defend the Norwegian coast?

The result of this was the questionnaire mentioned in Document C-122, Exhibit GB 82: as to what places were to be used as bases; what would be our chances of defence; whether these ports would have to be developed further; and also, what would be the gain to our U-boats?

These questions, as I have already stated, were put to Admiral Donitz as well, but his answers arrived only after I had made the report on 10th October. I would like to say, by way of introduction, that it was entirely clear to me that occupation of these bases could constitute a violation of neutrality. But I also knew of the assurance given by the German to the Norwegian Government on the 2nd of

[Page 146]

September, regarding neutrality, and I knew the concluding sentence, in the aide-memoire, which is Document TC-31, Exhibit GB 79, dated 2nd September, 1939.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon, but I should like to point out, Mr. President, that this document is found in the Document Book of the British Delegation 10-A, at Page 330.


Q. You have that document before you?

A. Yes, I have, it before me, and I would like to quote the concluding sentence.

DR. SIEMERS: It is the last document in the book, your Honour, at page 329.

A. (continuing). The last sentence: "Should the attitude of the Royal Norwegian Government deviate from this so that any such breach of neutrality by a third party occurs, the Reich Government would then obviously be compelled to safeguard the interests of the Reich in such a way as would be forced upon the Reich Cabinet by the resulting situation."

Then, within the next few days, I asked the Chief of Staff of the SKL to submit to me the data which the SKL had prepared during the preceding days. Then I reported to Hitler on the 10th of October, because I considered this problem tremendously important. It was entirely clear to me that the best possible solution for us would be that Norway should maintain a reliable neutrality, and I expressed my opinion, as maybe seen in Document C-21, Exhibit GB 194. This is an extract from the War Diary of the SKL.

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