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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
2nd July to 15th July 1946

One Hundred and Seventieth Day: Wednesday, 3rd July, 1946
(Part 3 of 10)

[Page 45]

THE PRESIDENT: It is not necessary to read it now, is it?

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I should be very grateful if I might be permitted to read this affidavit, as it deals with a portion of evidence which is quite significant. The Tribunal will, I am sure, recall the fact -

THE PRESIDENT: But I have already told you, Dr. Siemers - you can certainly confine yourself to the really important part of it and summarize anything that is really not so important. We cannot have all these documents read out to us.

DR. SIEMERS: The Tribunal will agree with me that as far as my other documents are concerned, I read remarkably little. My reason for wanting to read a part of it was because the British Delegation, at the close of the cross-examination,

[Page 46]

submitted two very lengthy summaries, Exhibits GB 464 and GB 465. These are summaries about the key documents of the 22nd -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, surely you can tell us what the subject matter of the affidavit is. We will then know the general subject matter of it, and then I should have thought you could direct your attention to the particular matters which are of special importance here. It only takes up time if you are going to tell us what the prosecution have done.

DR. SIEMERS: I beg your pardon, Mr. President, if I have been misunderstood. It was my intention to do that.

I shall not read from "1" of the affidavit. I shall only summarize it. It is a discussion between Raeder and Admiral Boehm in the summer of 1939, on which occasion Boehm told Raeder that he was worried about the political developments. He then asked Raeder whether he had called Hitler's attention to the great dangers and to the fact that the German Navy would not be in a position to carry on a war at sea.

"Grand Admiral Raeder replied to me" - and these are his words:

"that he had put this up to Hitler more than once, and that he had concluded his exposition to Hitler with the fundamental sentence: 'In such a case the Navy could not do anything but die gloriously.' "

No. 11 of the affidavit of Admiral Boehm:
"On the 22nd October, 1939, Hitler made a speech to the top leaders of the Wehrmacht at the Obersalzberg. I was present during the entire speech, which lasted two to two and a half hours. The speech was delivered in Hitler's office."
I am omitting the next few points and continue:
"The speech which was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit Raeder 27 has been set down by me with great accuracy, and I can state under oath that the speech was delivered in the way in which I have set it down. In particular I can confirm that my account contains all the important ideas and words.

The versions submitted by the prosecution, Documents 798 and 1040-PS, have been submitted to me by Dr. Siemers. I have now compared my version with these two versions."

I am again omitting a paragraph:
" I declare under oath that some of the expressions as shown in these documents were not used by Hitler, while others were used in another sense by Hitler. As to Document 798-PS, the following pages agree with the version which I have just received, and which was submitted by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe.''
I should like to remind the Tribunal that this is the ten- page summary, Exhibit GB-464. In this version you will find the sentence, "Afterwards we shall discuss military details."


"This sentence was not used. Military details did not follow in Document 798-PS either."
Lines 7 to 10:
"I made this decision already in the spring, but I thought that, first of all, in a few years' time, I should turn against the West, and only afterwards against the East."
"The account as set down by me, on lines 5 to 8, is absolutely true. In any case Hitler never used the words that he would first of all turn against the West."
Lines 12 to 14:
"First of all I wanted to bring about a working agreement with Poland so that I could first of all fight against the West."

[Page 47]

"This sentence was never used, and what I have just said applies here too, Hitler never voiced the intention that he wanted to fight against the West."
Now I shall omit the next point and in lines 15 to 18 on Page two it says:
"It is easy for us to make decisions. We have nothing to lose, only to gain. Our economic situation, because of our limited resources, is such that we can hold out only a few more years."
"As to the attitude taken here: The version in my statement, Pages 21 to 26, is absolutely correct. Above all the sentence: 'We have nothing - '"
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, does it not come to this? There are two or three versions of this particular speech and this admiral is saying that his version is correct. That is all it comes to. I mean, he does not think the other versions are correct. Well, the Tribunal will no doubt have to compare the three versions and compare them with this affidavit. But what is the purpose or use of reading it to us at this stage I do not know.

DR. SIEMERS: Very well, Mr. President. Thank you very much. Then I ask that the Tribunal take judicial notice of the further statements as set out therein. I should like to refer only to the fact that Admiral Boehm expressly asserts and declares under oath that the sentence which has been quoted several times:

"'I am afraid that at the last moment some dirty dog (Schweinehund) will submit to me a plan for mediation' was not uttered by Hitler."
Referring to Document 1014-PS, I should like to read a sentence which has been brought up by the prosecution six or seven times.
"The destruction of Poland is in the foreground and the aim is the elimination of living forces, not the reaching of a certain line."
In this connection Boehm says:
"There was never any talk of destroying Poland or of eliminating the living forces of the Polish people. What was discussed was the breaking of the military forces."
And I should like the Tribunal to take judicial notice of these very carefully set down statements for it seems to me that this is important in assessing the evidence value of the documents presented by the prosecution.

Then under "III" Admiral Boehm describes that period during which he was commanding in Norway. I should like the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this. This statement chiefly concerns the struggle carried on by Raeder and Boehm against Terboven, against the German civilian administration and the attempts to make peace with Norway.

Mr. President, after many weeks the interrogatory of Albrecht has reached me in its final form. I sent it to the translation department several days ago and have not yet received the translation. This interrogatory has been approved and I put it in as Exhibit Raeder 128.

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this interrogatory.

I should like to mention that Admiral Albrecht was for many years one of Raeder's closest co-workers. He resigned in October, 1939. He knows the attitude taken by Raeder and he knows the High Command of the Navy before 1933 and up to 1938. He, too, confirms the fact that Raeder constantly warned Hitler of complications, and that Hitler always stated that he had matters under control and that he would not let it come to war.

As regards all the other points, I ask, Mr. President, that the Tribunal take judicial notice of them.

Then I should like to refer to the following: One interrogatory by Admiral Schulze has not yet come to hand. My efforts to obtain this interrogatory date back to March, 1946. I have given his address. The witness is in retirement and lives in Hamburg-Blankenese. Unfortunately the interrogatory has not yet arrived in Hamburg. I should be very grateful to the Tribunal if it would give me

[Page 48]

permission to submit this interrogatory at a later date, as I myself have no means of expediting it. I do not know when it will arrive, as it has been sent to Washington for reasons I do not understand, but I certainly hope that it will be returned at some future date. Finally, Mr. President -

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me. What do you mean by it having been sent to Washington? Did you say Washington?

DR. SIEMERS: I was informed by the General Secretary that this interrogatory had been sent to Washington in order to locate the witness there. But the witness resides in Hamburg- Blankenese. I am sorry that I have no influence in the matter. I have been trying for three months -

THE PRESIDENT: Well, no doubt the General Secretary is making every effort to have the witness found. If he is found, then - What are the dates? You say that three months ago you submitted this interrogatory? Was it sent to Hamburg or where was it sent?

DR. SIEMERS: I have -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely, Dr. Siemers, you ought to know. You have been in touch all these three months with the General Secretary and you are stating that he sent it to Washington. You ought to know. Have you given him any address in Hamburg? What is your complaint?

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, you have misunderstood. I was not complaining. I was just stating the facts in order to show why the interrogatory is not here, and I ask that when the interrogatory arrives I may be permitted to submit it then, though by that time the evidence -

THE PRESIDENT: I know you say that, but the Tribunal wants to know where the interrogatory was first sent and why it was sent to Washington, and why it was not sent to Hamburg and what you know about the fact - the alleged fact that the person who was to make the interrogatory was at Hamburg?

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I am from Hamburg myself and last November I talked with the witness, and I gave his address when I put in my first application to the General Secretary. Perhaps some misunderstanding arose with the other offices who transmitted the interrogatory. Perhaps they looked for a witness by the name of Schulze in some other place. The name of the Admiral is Otto Schulze and it is quite possible that they looked up someone else with this rather common name.

The only answer I received was that the witness was being looked for, to which I replied that it was not necessary to look for the witness.

MR. DODD: I think the Tribunal might be interested in knowing that Dr. Siemers himself returned from Hamburg a few days ago, and I think he has been there two or three times since he asked for this interrogatory. Now, if he knows where this witness is, all he had to do while he was up there was to go to a military government officer, submit his questions, get them answered and bring them back, and I think it is a little bit unfair to blame the General Secretary under these circumstances.

DR. SIEMERS: I regret very much that Mr. Dodd considers it necessary to reproach me with unfairness. I was told that an interrogatory could not be given to the witness by me. The interrogatory for Admiral Albrecht I brought back with me from Hamburg at the request of the General Secretary because the formula of the oath had been omitted. In a case of this kind I consider it quite natural that I should co-operate with the General Secretary. However, I have submitted this interrogatory and I cannot understand how Mr. Dodd could blame me if I have not brought the interrogatory back with me.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this seems to me a waste of time. We had better get a report from the General Secretary.

[Page 49]

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I believe that I still have not been understood. I am not accusing anyone. I am just asking for permission to submit my interrogatory subsequently.

THE PRESIDENT: Well. We will consider that. We will not make any decision until we have heard a report from the General Secretary upon the circumstances.

DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, then I should like to point out that two of my applications were granted, which were not carried out completely. One was the application concerning the files of the British Admiralty containing the Allies' plans regarding Scandinavia and Finland. Purely as a matter of form I should like to say that the answer from the Foreign Office, which is known to the Tribunal, is available, and the Tribunal had approved the submission of these files, but the request was turned down by the Foreign Office. As this matter has not been dealt with before I should like it to be made absolutely clear.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal, I think, has the communication from the Foreign Office.

DR. SIEMERS: But I did not submit it, Mr. President. Therefore, I did not know under what number, what exhibit number, it can be found in the files of the Tribunal. Would it be possible, Mr. President

THE PRESIDENT: You can give it a number, certainly. Give it whatever number you think right. What is the number you want?

DR. SIEMERS: May I submit this document as Exhibit Raeder 133 either this afternoon or at the latest tomorrow morning?


DR. SIEMERS: Then, Mr. President, I made the request that the first edition of Hitler's Book, Mein Kampf, be placed at my disposal. In this, case as well, I should like to point out, according to information received, the General Secretary has made every effort, for which I am grateful, but he has not been successful in providing me with this first edition.

I should like to remind you of the fact that the edition used by the prosecution is of the year 1933 and therefore it cannot be used as a basis for the argument put by the prosecution concerning the period before 1933.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a matter of argument.

DR. SIEMERS: Yes, indeed. During my absence four documents were submitted by Sir David Maxwell Fyfe. As far as I was able to ascertain, these documents, which all come from Admiral Assmann, were submitted with the remark that Admiral Assmann belonged to the Staff of Grand Admiral Raeder. This fact was also mentioned several times in preceding records.

For the sake of order, I should like to clear up this error. Assmann was in the historical section and he was in no way concerned with the Staff of Raeder.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got any evidence of the facts you are stating, or do the prosecution accept them?

DR. SIEMERS: I believe, Mr. President, that Sir David will not dispute this.

MR. DODD: We accept - I'm sure. My Lord, we have had it in evidence and we accept the fact that he was in the Naval Historical Section of the German Admiralty. My Lord, when I said "Staff" I was speaking generally. I did not mean the Operations Staff.

THE PRESIDENT: Then we need not waste further time about that.

DR. SIEMERS: I should like to refer to one point, Mr. President, concerning these four documents: D-879, D-881, D- 892 and D-854. I hope that in this matter as well Sir David will agree with me. All the English translations bear the heading "Diary".

[Page 50]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is simply a point of how the compilation of Admiral Assmann should be described. I am quite prepared that it should be described as it is in the original one.

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