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 6 of 7)

[Page 150]

DR. SIEMERS: If it please the High Tribunal, in this connection I would like to submit Exhibit Raeder 67, to be found in my Document Book IV, Page 309. That is the letter from Rosenberg to Raeder dated 13th December, 1939, which was not mentioned by the prosecution. The prosecution merely mentioned the appendix mentioned in the letter - that is, a note by Rosenberg, Document C-65, Exhibit GB 85, which will be Exhibit Raeder 67.

THE PRESIDENT: You say there was another document besides Raeder 67 which you were referring to?

DR. SIEMERS: Yes; I am referring to Raeder 67.

THE PRESIDENT: I got that. But you said some other document as well.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, the document submitted by the prosecution, C-65, and that is an appendix to this letter; the two belong together. The latter document, C-65, is to be found in the Document Book of the British Delegation 10-A, Page 33. If these two documents are taken together, it can be seen that the political side is not mentioned in either; and this explains what the witness meant when he said that he was not concerned with the political side of the question, but only with the military side. It is for that reason that Rosenberg had sent it to him.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it would be a good time to break off.

(A recess was taken).

MR. DODD: Mr. President, with respect to the case of the defendant, Seyss-Inquart, his counsel and representatives of the prosecution have been conferring with respect to his application for documents. We have agreed on a great number, but there are twenty upon which we are unable to agree.


[Page 151]

MR. DODD: Twenty. I think we could do it in thirty minutes if the Tribunal will set some time aside; it might take a little more. Sir David has reminded me that the translators are waiting for us to go ahead with their translation work.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, I think the best thing would be to take it tomorrow morning at ten o'clock.

MR. DODD: Very well, Mr. President. It has been suggested also that the case of Seyss-Inquart precede that of defendant von Papen. I understand that is the wish of the counsel, and it is very convenient to us too.


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

DR. SIEMERS: We have to refer briefly to Document 1809-PS, the diary of Col. General Jodl. It is Exhibit GB 88 in the Document Book of the British Delegation 10-A, Page 289.

Q. May I first ask when the plans for the occupation of Norway were drafted?

A. I may say that on the basis of the conference which Quisling had with the Fuehrer in my presence on 14th December the Fuehrer ordered the OKW to deal with the matter and study it. He had two more conferences with Quisling on 16th and 18th December, at which I was not present. The matter was then handled by the OKW according to the directives and an initial plan known as "North" was drafted. Document C-21, which I have mentioned before, shows that "Plan North" was received by SKL on the 13th January, and then, in the course of January - 27th January was mentioned - the draft of a directive for the plan was made. That draft was made in the OKW in the usual way. Captain Kranke, as expert for the Navy, took part in it. The directive was completed on 1st March, 1940, and was issued to the three branches of the armed forces. In the meantime, a large number of reports had been received, and it was possible to use these as a basis for the drafting of the directive. These reports besides coming from Captain Schreiber now also came direct from Quisling, who sent them to the Fuehrer. They mentioned the preparatory work carried out by the English and the French - special mention was made of the Navy Attache Kermereck - in Norwegian ports for finding out the possibilities of landing, measurements of quays and the height of the bridges between Narvik and the Swedish border and similar things.

These reports which reached us showed clearly that within a reasonable time a landing was intended. Also political reports reached us which Hagelin received through his connections in Norwegian circles, reports which in part came directly from members of the Storting - and of the Government and Government circles.

All these reports confirmed that the pretext of aid for Finland in the dispute between Finland and Russia had a certain part to play. The danger was discussed that England, under this pretext, would proceed to a bloodless occupation of Norway. The directive for the case "Norway," therefore, was issued on 1st March. In the further course of the month of March more reports were received. In the meantime, the Altmark incident had occurred, and it was observed by Hagelin too that the behaviour of the Norwegian Commander was mere camouflage, and it was clear that in the case of any encroachment on the part of Great Britain, the Norwegian Government would protest only on paper.

Q. You said just now the directive is dated 1st March. This is correct. The prosecution submitted a quotation of 5th March from Document 1809. That is an entry in Jodl's diary which reads: "1500 hours big conference with the three Commanders-in-Chief regarding 'Weserubung.' Field Marshal having no knowledge about plans is furious." How is it possible, Admiral, that Reichsmarschall Goering had not been consulted at a time when the directive was already issued?

A. I cannot explain that at all. I had no authority to speak about it and I cannot say why he was not consulted.

[Page 152]

Q. Does it sound like a conspiracy when the second man in the Reich is not informed about it from the start? Has he not ever spoken to you about that matter?

A. No, not that I remember, but that shows how little, especially in the Fuehrer's entourage, one can speak of a conspiracy. The Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, also was not present during any of the Quisling conferences or receptions and I had no authority to speak to him about these matters.

Q. Then I should like to know your position regarding Jodl's entry of 13th March, in which he stated: "Fuehrer not yet given the order for Weserubung he is still trying to find a justification." I ask you to explain these words to us as you understand them.

A. Yes. The English translation as far as I can remember says: "Looking for an excuse." But he needed neither justification nor excuse, because in the first paragraph of the directive of 1st March - that is to say, two weeks before that - he had stated why it was necessary to occupy Norway and Denmark with certain forces of the Wehrmacht, for our submarines to secure us against British encroachments in Scandinavia and the Baltic, and for the navy and the air force to expand the bases against England. So would our ore deposits in Sweden be ensured.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, may I point out that this is Document C-174; that is, Exhibit GB 89, Document Book of the British Prosecution 10-A, Page 113. That is the directive for case "Weserubung," of 1st March, 1940, which as the witness has mentioned, already contains the justification for it.

May it please the Tribunal. To prove that the information received by the witness through the Intelligence Service of Admiral Canaris, through Captain Schreiber and so on, is objective and in agreement with facts, may I be permitted to submit Exhibit Raeder 75 from the White Book dated 17th February, 1940, which mentions the landing of British troops in Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik, and several appendices to it, which show the trends of thoughts at that time in regard to the Swedish ore -

THE PRESIDENT: This is 75, Pages 43 and 44?

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon. Exhibit Raeder 75. It is Page 340. Document Book 4.

Then Exhibit Raeder 77, also from the White Book: which reads "The French Premier Daladier to the French Ambassador in London Corbin."

In Document Book 4, Page 352, there is a mistake. On Page 353, or rather on Page 354, the heading is missing. I may point out that this document bears the date 21st February, 1940. That is contained in the original document under the heading "Intervention in Scandinavia." It concerns the occupation of the more important Norwegian ports, etc., and mentions again the question of the Swedish ore.

Then I come to the Exhibit Raeder 78; Document Book 4, Page 357, an excerpt from the war diary of 4th March, of the Naval War Staff in which, in connection with the case of the Altmark, it is explained that a defence by Norway against British military action is not possible.

Then Exhibit Raeder 79, Document Book 4, Page 359, note by the Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, General Gamelin. Here also there is a mistake in the translation. The heading of the document was omitted on Page 360. I would be grateful if the Tribunal would note that the original document bears the date 10th March, 1940. It is top secret and is based on the fact that the general plan for armed intervention in Finland had existed since 16th January, and that, as a precautionary measure, the ports and air fields on the Norwegian coast were to be occupied.

Then may I submit Exhibit Raeder 80, a report about negotiations of the Scandinavian Commission of the Inter- Allied Military Study Commission of 11th March, 1940, top secret, concerning landing at Narvik.

[Page 153]


Q. Then, Admiral, we are finished with Norway. I believe you said already that the reports increased considerably in the month of March. When did Hitler give the final order for the occupation?

A. At the end of March or beginning of April. I cannot recall the exact date.

Q. I believe that is sufficient.

A. May I also mention a particularly important report which I remember now. Quisling reported in February that Lord Halifax had told the Norwegian Ambassador in London that an operation on the part of the British for the acquisition of bases in Norway was planned for the near future. That report also reached us at that time. I should like to add, as I emphasized before, that being fully conscious of my responsibility I always tried to show the Fuehrer both sides of the picture and that the Fuehrer would have to be guided by my documentary proof when deciding to take or refrain from taking that tremendous step. But that does not mean to say that, because I pointed out to my Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces that particular danger, I in any way decline to accept responsibility. Of course, I am in some measure responsible for the whole thing. Moreover, I have been accused because in a letter submitted here under C-155, I had told my Officer Corps that I was proud of the way in which this extraordinarily dangerous enterprise had been executed. I should like to confirm this, because I believe I was entitled to be proud that the Navy had carried out that operation with such limited means and in the face of the entire British fleet; I still stick to that.

Q. Did reports reach the SKL, in March about violations of the neutrality of Norway? That is incidents in territorial waters?

A. Yes. In the second half of March repeated attacks were made by British planes and naval forces against our merchant ships bringing the Swedish ore down from Narvik.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, in that connection may I submit some more documents? Exhibit Raeder 81, Document Book 5, Page 372, War Diary of the Naval War Command which contains several entries showing that towards the end these incidents became more and more frequent and that the Norwegian neutrality was violated by British air and naval forces. As that document is known there is no need to read anything from it.

Then Exhibit Raeder 82 in Document Book 5, Page 377, also War Diary of 27th March, also, concerning violations of neutrality.

Furthermore, Exhibit Raeder 83, Page 397, a draft resolution of the 6th session of the Supreme Council, dated 28th March, 1940, which was already mentioned yesterday. It deals with vital interests from the standpoint of international law and with the laying of mines in territorial waters on 5th April.

Then Exhibit Raeder 84, Page 384, and 85, Page 386, both of which are documents from the White Book. I only wish to point out that it mentions that the first transport is to leave on J.I. day, that is actually on the 5th of April; in other words, four days before the occupation by Germany.

Exhibit Raeder 86 is an excerpt from the War Diary, of which I ask you to take official notice and which concerns the chartering by England of ninety per cent of the Norwegian tankers.

As my last reference to Norway, may I ask you to look at Documents C-151 and C-115. Those are Exhibits GB 91 and 90 respectively, Document Book of the British Delegation 10-A, on Pages 106 and 62. The dates are 30th March, 1940, and 4th April, 1940. The documents show that the ships which were to carry out the landing should carry the British flag for camouflage reasons. The prosecution uses that document also to support its accusation.


Q. What do you say about it?

[Page 154]

A. That is quite a regular rule of war, that warships carry a foreign flag. A prerequisite for the legality of that act, however, is that at the moment of an enemy action, the moment fire is opened, their own flag must be hoisted in time. That has always been done in the German Navy, especially in the case of our auxiliary cruisers, which frequently sailed under a foreign flag in order to avoid being reported by merchant ships, but which always lowered that flag in time. That is a matter of honour. It must be added that in this case, as the War Diary shows, on 8th September -

Q. 8th of April.

A. 8th of April, yes - that on 8th April, on account of certain considerations, we rescinded that order, because we had the report that an English action was under way, and we feared that complications would arise from that. So this order was not carried out in the long run. I believe the document can be found which contains that.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I submit, in this connection, Exhibit Raeder 89, Document Book 5, Page 400, where we find, under 8th April, that the previous order is rescinded, the British flag is not to be used.

A. You also asked about Document C-115, which says that the blockade runners camouflaged as merchant ships with dimmed lights should enter Oslo Fjord unobtrusively. That has always been quite a regular rule of war against which, from the legal point of view, no objection can be made. Likewise there is nothing to be said against English names given in answer to signals of identity.

I did not finish answering one question because I was interrupted. That was the question concerning the expression "justification" or "excuse" in the War Diary of Colonel- General Jodl. As I have shown, it was not a question of the justification, which had been declared a long time before by Hitler, but I believe I am right in saying that the question was that the diplomatic note which at the moment of the execution of the enterprise had to be presented to the Norwegian and Danish governments giving the reason for his action, had not yet been drafted, especially as he had not spoken to the Foreign Minister at that time at all. The Foreign Minister received the information, as he has said himself, only on 3rd April.

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