THE MAJOR WAR CRIMINALS
14 NOVEMBER 1945 — 1 OCTOBER 1946
PUBLISHED AT NUREMBERG, GERMANY
This volume is published in accordance with the
direction of the International Military Tribunal by
the Secretariat of the Tribunal, under the jurisdiction
of the Allied Control Authority for Germany.
8 March 1946 — 23 March 1946
|Seventy-seventh Day, Friday, 8 March 1946,|
|Seventy-eighth Day, Monday, 11 March 1946,|
|Seventy-ninth Day, Tuesday, 12 March 1946,|
|Eightieth Day, Wednesday, 13 March 1946,|
|Eighty-first Day, Thursday, 14 March 1946,|
|Eighty-second Day, Friday, 15 March 1946,|
|Eighty-third Day, Saturday, 16 March 1946,|
|Eighty-fourth Day, Monday, 18 March 1946,|
|Eighty-fifth Day, Tuesday, 19 March 1946,|
|Eighty-sixth Day, Wednesday, 20 March 1946,|
|Eighty-seventh Day, Thursday, 21 March 1946,|
|Eighty-eighth Day, Friday, 22 March 1946,|
|Eighty-ninth Day, Saturday, 23 March 1946,|
Friday, 8 March 1946
THE PRESIDENT (Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence): I have three announcements to make.
First, to avoid unnecessary translation, Defense Counsel shall indicate to the Prosecution the exact passages in all documents which they propose to use, in order that the Prosecution may have an opportunity to object to irrelevant passages. In the event of disagreement between the Prosecution and the Defense as to the relevancy of any particular passage, the Tribunal will decide what passages are sufficiently relevant to be translated. Only the cited passages need be translated, unless the Prosecution require translation of the entire document.
Second, the Tribunal has received an application from Dr. Nelte, counsel for the Defendant Keitel, inquiring whether a defendant, in order to support his memory, may make use of written notes while giving oral evidence. The Tribunal sanctions the use of written notes by a defendant in those circumstances, unless in special cases the Tribunal orders otherwise.
Third, cases have arisen where one defendant has been given leave to administer interrogatories to or obtain an affidavit from a witness who will be called to give oral evidence on behalf of another defendant. If the witness gives his oral evidence before the case is heard in which the interrogatory or affidavit is to be offered, counsel in the latter case must elicit the evidence by oral examination, instead of using the interrogatory or affidavit.
That is all.
I now call upon counsel for the Defendant Göring.
DR. OTTO NELTE (Counsel for Defendant Keitel): Mr. President, in yesterday’s afternoon session, you observed that application Number 2, which I had submitted as a supplement, had not yet been discussed orally. I was unfortunately not present at the afternoon session yesterday. It is a question of a subsequent, formal supplement to my applications regarding the witnesses Westhoff and Wielen. Both of these witnesses had already been granted me in the open Tribunal session. I submitted these names again only in order to complete my application.
As an addition I mentioned only State Secretary Stuckart, a witness who also has already been granted me previously by a decision of the Tribunal. I believe, therefore, that I do not need to discuss this supplementary application, and that the Prosecution have no objection to this action.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Nelte, General Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application.
DR. NELTE: Is State Secretary Stuckart also granted me, Your Honor?
THE PRESIDENT: Westhoff and Wielen have already been granted to you, and there is no need for any further application. I am afraid it is difficult to remember these names. I think that Stuckart has been granted to you.
DR. NELTE: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am told he has.
DR. ALFRED THOMA (Counsel for Defendant Rosenberg): Mr. President, at yesterday’s afternoon session my name was also mentioned in the following connection: I have hitherto submitted only written applications, and I must now present them orally. I assume that this refers to the written application which I handed in with my document and witness list, in which, in a rather lengthy written application, I requested that I might have permission to submit in evidence as historical documents of the time, quotations from theological and philosophical works which were considered important at the time of Rosenberg’s public power. I beg Your Honor to inform me whether this is the application in question.
I should like to repeat: The President told me yesterday that I should repeat my written application orally. Therefore I should like to ask whether this refers to the written request that I handed in with my list of witnesses and documents.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, so far as the Tribunal knows, everything will be covered by the written order which the Tribunal will make upon your application. It is not convenient, really, to deal with these matters now by way of oral requests, but everything that is in your written application will be covered by a written order of the Tribunal. It will be subject, of course, to the order which I have announced this morning, in order to assure that there will be no more translation than is absolutely necessary.
DR. OTTO STAHMER (Counsel for Defendant Göring): Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Tribunal, before I start with my presentation I beg to make two supplementary applications. I am aware of the fact that supplementary requests as such should be put in writing. But since it is a question of several requests, I should like to have your decision whether I should submit these applications now or whether the Tribunal desires a written request.
THE PRESIDENT: You may put your request now, verbally, but we would prefer to have it in writing afterwards as soon as possible.
DR. STAHMER: I name first Major Bütz, who is in custody here in Nuremberg, as a witness for the following facts: Reich Marshal Göring repeatedly opposed in the summer of 1944 the measures which Hitler had ordered against aviators taking part in terror attacks. Furthermore, he knows that no order was issued either by the Luftwaffe or by the Wehrmacht corresponding to Hitler’s orders regarding terror aviators. Finally, he can give evidence in regard to the following: An officer of the Luftwaffe in May 1944 in Munich protected an airman, who had bailed out, from the lynching which the crowd wanted to carry out. Hitler, who had knowledge of this incident, demanded of Göring the name of this officer, and that he be punished. In spite of repeated inquiries on Hitler’s part, Göring did not give the name of this officer, although he knew it, and in this way protected him. This is the application regarding the witness Bütz. Another supplementary request is concerned with the following: In the session of 14 February 1946 the Soviet Prosecution submitted that a German military formation, Staff 537, Pioneer Battalion, carried out mass shootings of Polish prisoners of war in the forests near Katyn. As the responsible leaders of this formation, Colonel Ahrens, First Lieutenant Rex, and Second Lieutenant Hodt were mentioned. As proof the Prosecution referred to Document USSR-64. It is an official report of the Extraordinary State Commission of the Soviet Union which was ordered to investigate the facts of the well-known Katyn case. The document I have not yet received. As a result of the publication of this speech by the Prosecution in the press, members of the staff of the Army Group Center, to which Staff 537 was directly subordinate and which was stationed 4 to 5 kilometers from Staff 537, came forward. These people stated that the evidence upon which the Prosecution have based the statement submitted was not correct.
The following witnesses are mentioned in this connection:
Colonel Ahrens, at that time commander of 537, later chief of army armament and commander of the auxiliary army; First Lieutenant Rex, probably taken as a prisoner of war at Stalingrad; Lieutenant Hodt, probably taken prisoner by the Russians in or near Königsberg; Major General of intelligence troops, Eugen Oberhauser, probably taken prisoner of war by the Americans; First Lieutenant Graf Berg—later ordnance officer with Field Marshal Von Kluge—a prisoner of war in British hands in Canada. Other members of the units which are accused are still to be mentioned. I name these witnesses to prove that the conclusion as to the complicity of Göring drawn by the Prosecution in the above-mentioned statement is not justified according to the Indictment.
This morning I received another communication bearing on the same question, which calls for the following request: Professor Naville, professor of forensic medicine at the University of Geneva, carried out, with an international commission at Smolensk, investigations of the bodies at that time. He established from the state of preservation of these corpses, from the notes found in the pockets of their clothes, and other means of evidence, that the deed must have been committed in the year 1940.
Those are my requests.
THE PRESIDENT: If you will put in those requests in writing, the Tribunal will consider them.
DR. STAHMER: And now I come to the . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Just one minute. Dr. Stahmer, if you would communicate your written application to the Prosecution, they would then be able to make a written statement if they have any objection to it. You will do that as soon as possible. Let us have both your written application and the Prosecution’s answer to it.
DR. STAHMER: The Tribunal has ordered in its decision of 11 December 1945 that the Defense is entitled to one speech only. This shall take place only after the conclusion of the hearing of the evidence. The Tribunal decided some time later that explanatory words may be permitted at the present stage of the proceedings in connection with the presentation of documents by the Defense. The witnesses have already been named by me. A decision has been made concerning their admission except for today’s request and, with the Court’s permission, I shall call a witness shortly. Before I do that, I wish to make the following comments to the documents to which I shall refer during my final speech:
The Prosecution have charged the defendant repeatedly with the violation of the Treaty of Versailles. This charge is not justified in the opinion of the Defense. Detailed statements on this question belong to the concluding speech of the Defense and will therefore be dealt with there. The present part of the proceedings deals only with the production of documents which will be used to support the contention that the Treaty was not violated by Germany but that the German Reich was no longer bound by it. I submit that the Fourteen Points of the American President Wilson, which were the basis of that Treaty, are commonly known, and therefore do not need further proof, according to Paragraph 21 of the Charter.
The Treaty of Versailles has already been submitted to the Tribunal. It was published in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1919, Page 687. Of this Treaty of Versailles, Article 8 and Part V are important for its interpretation. These provisions insofar as they are of interest here, read as follows—I quote the first four paragraphs of Article 8:
“The members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
“The Council, taking account of the geographical situation, and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several governments.
“Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every 10 years.
“After these plans shall have been adopted by the several governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.”
The first paragraph of Part V reads:
“In order to render possible the introduction of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval, and air clauses which follow.”
These regulations infer, not only that Germany had to disarm, but also that the signatories of the pact were likewise bound to disarm. Germany, however, was committed to start disarmament first. Germany completely fulfilled this commitment.
On 17 February 1927 Marshal Foch stated, “I can assure you that Germany has actually disarmed.”
Therefore, the signatories of the pact had to fulfill their commitment to disarm. As they did not disarm, Germany was no longer bound by the pact according to general principles of law, and she was justified in renouncing her obligations.
This interpretation agrees with the point of view which has been expressed by French as well as by English statesmen. Therefore, I should like to refer to the speech made by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927, in which Boncour stated as follows—I quote from Document Book 1, Page 28:
“It is correct that the introduction to Part V of the Treaty of Versailles concerns the limitation of armaments which was imposed on Germany as a prerequisite and as the forerunner of a general limitation of armaments. This brings out very clearly the difference between the armament restrictions of Germany and other similar armament restrictions which in the course of history have been imposed after the conclusion of wars. This time these regulations—and in this lies their entire value—have been imposed not only on one of the signatories to the Treaty, but they are rather a duty, a moral and legal responsibility, for the other signatories to proceed with a general limitation of armaments.”
Further, I should like to refer to the speech by David Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, in which he particularly describes the memorandum to the skeleton note of 16 June 1919, as—and I quote from the Document Book 1, Page 26:
“. . . document which we handed Germany as a solemn pledge on the part of Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and 20 other nations to follow Germany’s example after she was disarmed.”
The Treaty of Versailles was felt not only by the German people to be a bitter injustice—there were numerous voices even in foreign countries that called the Treaty exceedingly unfair for Germany. I am quoting the following from Rothermere’s Warnings and Prophecies, Document Book 1, Page 30:
“Germany was justified in feeling that she had been betrayed in Versailles. Under the pretext . . .”
MR. JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON (Chief of Counsel for the United States): [Interposing.] I call the Tribunal’s attention to the fact that the documents which are now being read into the record are documents which, as I understand it, were excluded as irrelevant by the Tribunal when that matter was before it before. They are matters of a good deal of public notoriety and would not be secret if they were not in evidence; but I think the reading of them into the record is in violation of the Tribunal’s own determination.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal has suspected that these documents had been excluded, and they have sent for the original record of their orders. But I must say now that the Tribunal expects the defendants’ counsel to conform to their orders and not to read documents which they have been ordered not to read.
[At this point Defendant Hess was led out of the courtroom.]
DR. STAHMER: Shall I continue?
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.
DR. STAHMER: “Under the pretext that it was the first step to world disarmament, Germany was forcibly disarmed. Great Britain was, indeed, also deceived. She had actually continued to disarm for a period of 15 years. But from the day on which the various peace treaties were signed, France encouraged a number of small states to powerful rearmament and the result was that 5 years after Versailles, Germany was surrounded by a much tighter ring of iron than 5 years before the World War. It was inevitable that a German regime, which had renounced Versailles, would at the first opportunity rearm heavily. It was evident that its weapons, diplomatically, if not in the true sense of the word, were to be directed against the powers of Versailles.”
In the same way the Locarno Pact is contested, with a breach of which the defendant is also charged, and, as far as the Defense are concerned, unjustifiably.
Germany renounced this pact and could do so rightfully because France and Soviet Russia had signed a military assistance pact, although the Locarno Pact provided a guarantee of the French eastern border. This act by France, in the opinion of Germany, was in sharp contrast to the legal situation created by the Locarno Pact.
In a speech of Plenipotentiary Von Ribbentrop before the League of Nations on 19 March 1936, this opinion was expressed in the following terms—I quote from Document Book 1, Page 32 . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I have before me now the order of the Tribunal of 26 February 1946, and Paragraph 4 of that order is in the following terms: “The following documents are denied as irrelevant,” and then the heading “Göring,” and the fourth of the documents is the speech by Paul Boncour on 8 April 1927; and the sixth is the speech by Lloyd George on 7 November 1927, which you have not read but which you have put into your trial brief. I would again call your attention, and the attention of all the Defense Counsel, to the fact that they will not be allowed to read any document which has been denied by the Tribunal. Go on.
DR. STAHMER: This quotation is as follows:
“. . . but it is also clear that if a world power such as France, by virtue of her sovereignty, can decide upon concluding military alliances of such vast proportions without having misgivings on account of existing treaties, another world power like Germany has at least the right to safeguard the protection of the entire Reich territory by re-establishing within her own borders the natural rights of a sovereign power which are granted all peoples.”
Before I take up the question of aggressive war in detail I have the intention, if I have the permission of the Tribunal, to call on the first witness, General of the Air Force Bodenschatz.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.
[The witness Karl Bodenschatz took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
KARL BODENSCHATZ (Witness): Karl Bodenschatz.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
DR. STAHMER: General Bodenschatz, since when have you known Reich Marshal Göring?
BODENSCHATZ: I have known Reich Marshal Göring since June 1918.
DR. STAHMER: In what capacity did you get to know him?
BODENSCHATZ: I came to know him when he was the commander of the Richthofen Squadron. I was at that time the adjutant of Rittmeister Freiherr von Richthofen who had just been killed in action.
DR. STAHMER: Were you taken into the Reichswehr at the end of the first World War?
BODENSCHATZ: At the end of the first World War I was taken into the Reichswehr as a regular officer and remained from the year 1919 until April 1933.
DR. STAHMER: When, after the completion of the World War, did you resume your connection with Göring?
BODENSCHATZ: In November 1918 I was with Göring at Aschaffenburg, at the demobilization of the Richthofen Fighter Squadron, and later in the spring of 1919 I was with him again for several weeks in Berlin. There our paths separated. Then I met Göring for the first time again at his first wedding, and I believe that was in the year 1919 or 1920. I cannot remember exactly. Up to 1929 there was no connection between us. In the year 1929, and until 1933, I met Hermann Göring several times here in Nuremberg where I was a company commander in Infantry Regiment 21. My meetings with Göring here in Nuremberg were solely for the purpose of keeping up the old friendship.
DR. STAHMER: And then in the year 1939, you entered the Luftwaffe?
BODENSCHATZ; In 1933 I reported to Hermann Göring in Berlin. At that time, Göring was Reich Commissioner of the Luftwaffe and I became his military adjutant.
DR. STAHMER: How long did you retain this post as adjutant?
BODENSCHATZ: I retained this post as adjutant until the year 1938. Later I became Chief of the Ministerial Bureau, 1938.
DR. STAHMER: And what position did you have during the war?
BODENSCHATZ: During the war, I was liaison officer between the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and the Führer’s headquarters.
DR. STAHMER: Were you at the headquarters, or where?
BODENSCHATZ: I was alternately at the Führer’s headquarters and at the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe.
DR. STAHMER: When did you leave that position?
BODENSCHATZ: I left that position on 20 July 1944, because I was seriously wounded that day.
DR. STAHMER: And what was the cause of your being wounded?
BODENSCHATZ: The plot against Hitler.
DR. STAHMER: You were present?
DR. STAHMER: And what were your tasks at the Führer’s headquarters?
BODENSCHATZ: It was my duty in the Führer’s headquarters to report on special events, special matters, inquiries, and desires of the Reich Marshal if he were absent, and to transmit them. I also had to transmit inquiries from the Führer’s headquarters direct to Hermann Göring. Then I had to inform Hermann Göring early, that is, not through official channels, regarding all that took place in the Führer’s headquarters insofar as it was of interest to him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.
DR. STAHMER: Did you take part regularly in the conferences?
BODENSCHATZ: I was a listener at these conferences.
DR. STAHMER: From what time onwards did Reich Marshal Göring lose his influence with Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: According to my personal opinion and conviction, Hermann Göring began to lose influence with Hitler in the spring of 1943.
DR. STAHMER: And what were the reasons?
BODENSCHATZ: That was the beginning of large-scale air attacks by night by the R.A.F. on German towns, and from that moment there were differences of opinion between Hitler and Göring which became more serious as time went on. Even though Göring made tremendous efforts, he could not recapture his influence with the Führer to the same extent as before. The outward symptoms of this waning influence were the following:
First, the Führer criticized Göring most severely. Secondly, the eternal conversations between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring became shorter, less frequent, and finally ceased altogether. Thirdly, as far as important conferences were concerned, the Reich Marshal was not called in. Fourthly, during the last months and weeks the tension between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring increased to such a degree that he was finally arrested.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know anything about this arrest? What was the cause?
BODENSCHATZ: I have no exact information about it. I can only tell you what I heard. I was at that time in Bad Reichenhall in the military hospital. I merely heard that Reich Marshal Göring had sent a telegram to the Führer, and in this telegram Göring requested that, since the Führer no longer had freedom of action, he might act himself. As the result of this telegram, which was sent by wireless to Berlin, the arrest took place. I would like to emphasize that I only heard that. I have no proof of any of these statements.
DR. STAHMER: And who made the arrest?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you about that because I know nothing. I heard, however, that a Kommando of the SS from Obersalzberg made the arrest.
DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Göring have any previous knowledge of the incidents against the Jews which took place during the night of 9 to 10 November 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: Göring had no previous knowledge of these incidents. I inferred that from his demeanor—how he acted towards me with regard to these incidents. He acted in the following manner: When he heard of these happenings he was dismayed and condemned them. A few days later he went with proof to the Führer and complained about the people who had instigated these incidents. Captain Wiedemann, the adjutant of the Führer, can give you further particulars on the subject on oath.
Several weeks later, Hermann Göring called all the Gauleiter to Berlin, in order to make clear his attitude regarding the incidents of the 9th and 10th. He was violently opposed to these individual acts of barbarism. He criticized them severely as unjust, as economically unreasonable and harmful to our prestige in foreign countries. The former Gauleiter, Dr. Uiberreither, who took part in this conference of Gauleiter, has already given further particulars on oath.
DR. STAHMER: Were you present at a conference which took place in the beginning of August 1939 at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I personally took part in that conference.
DR. STAHMER: Who was present there?
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I remember the following were present: Hermann Göring; Herr Dahlerus, from Stockholm; six to eight English economic experts, whose names I do not recall; I was present, and there was an interpreter, Ministerialrat Dr. Böcker.
DR. STAHMER: Can you tell us about the subject of this conference?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember it word for word, but as far as I can tell you Hermann Göring made the following statements . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, did the witness say where this conference took place?
DR. STAHMER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Would you tell us where it was?
DR. STAHMER: [To the witness.] Please repeat where this conference took place.
BODENSCHATZ: The conference took place at the beginning of August at Soenke Nissen Koog near Husum, Schleswig-Holstein.
DR. STAHMER: Please continue. You were going to tell us about the subject of this conference.
BODENSCHATZ: I repeat, in substance, Göring made the following statement: At that moment relations between England and Germany were very tense. Under no circumstances should this tension be increased or peace be endangered. The welfare and the trade of our two countries could only flourish and prosper in peace. It was to the greatest interest of Germany and Europe that the British Empire should continue to exist. Göring emphasized that he himself would do his utmost for the maintenance of peace. He requested the British business leaders, on their return home, to use their influence in authoritative circles for that purpose.
DR. STAHMER: Did Göring give you his opinion on how the foreign policy of the Reich should be carried out? When and on what occasions did conversations take place?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring often discussed these topics with me, in 1938 and 1939, especially during the period following the Munich agreement. These conversations would take place perhaps in connection with a report, or perhaps in his special train. Hermann Göring was always of the opinion that the policy of the Reich must be directed in such a way as to avoid war if possible. Hermann Göring dealt with this topic at particularly great length in a conference with the Gauleiter in the summer of 1938 in Karinhall. Dr. Uiberreither, whom I have previously mentioned, has already given further sworn testimony to this effect.
DR. STAHMER: Did Field Marshal Göring speak to you before leaving for Munich in September 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: Before Hermann Göring left for Munich, he told me he would do everything within his power to effect a peaceful settlement. He said, “We cannot have war.” He exerted his influence on the Führer to this effect, and during the negotiations in Munich, he worked decisively for the preservation of peace. When he left the conference hall after the conference at Munich he said to us spontaneously, “That means peace.”
DR. STAHMER: Did he often discuss with you for what reason he was against a war, and on what occasions?
BODENSCHATZ: We talked about this topic very frequently. He always said to me:
“In the first World War as an infantry officer and as an air force officer I was constantly at the front. I know the horrors of a war, and, therefore, my attitude is to preserve the German people from these horrors if possible. My ambition is to solve conflicts peacefully.”
In general, his opinion was that war is always a risky and unsure business. Even if you win a war, the advantages are in no relation whatsoever to the disadvantages and sacrifices which have to be made. If you lose the war, then, in our position, everything is lost. Our generation has already experienced the horrors of a great World War and its bitter consequences. To expect the same generation to live through another war would be unthinkable.
I would like to add that Hermann Göring, according to his inner thoughts and character, was never in favor of war. Nothing was further from his mind than the thought of a war.
DR. STAHMER: Did Göring converse with you about what were, according to his wish, the aims to be accomplished by the rearmament which Germany had undertaken? When and on what occasion?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring spoke with me about these matters in the year 1935 after the Wehrfreiheit had been proclaimed. He described Germany’s rearmament, after vain attempts to achieve general limitation of armament, as an attempt at equality with the armament of other countries, in order to be able to collaborate with other powers in world politics with equal rights.
DR. STAHMER: Did conversations of this kind take place after 1935 also?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. Now and then we resumed such conversations and he spoke in a similar vein.
DR. STAHMER: Did you find out through Reich Marshal Göring what purpose the Four Year Plan was to serve?
BODENSCHATZ: I happened to speak with Göring about this matter in the year 1936, and that was after the Four Year Plan had been announced. He explained it to me as follows: That in this plan he saw a means of securing for Germany those raw materials which she could not import in peacetime because of the lack of foreign exchange or whose import in an emergency might possibly be cut off.
DR. STAHMER: When and on what occasion did Göring give you his opinion on the Russian campaign?
BODENSCHATZ: Towards the end of 1941, after the first reverses in the Russian campaign, Hermann Göring talked with me about the fighting in the East. He said to me:
“Adolf Hitler foresaw a very hard battle in the East, but he did not count on such reverses. Before the beginning of this campaign I tried in vain to dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plan of attacking Russia. I reminded him that he himself, in his book Mein Kampf, was opposed to a war on two fronts and, in addition, I pointed out that the main forces of the German Luftwaffe would be occupied in the East, and England, whose air industry was hit, would breathe again and be able to recover.”
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off for 10 minutes?
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has observed that the witness is using notes whilst giving his evidence. The ruling which I announced this morning was confined to the defendants and did not extend to witnesses. Nevertheless, the Tribunal will allow the same rule to be applied to witnesses. But the evidence must not be read, the purpose of the rule being merely to assist recollection in giving evidence.
[Turning to Dr. Stahmer.]
Yes, Dr. Stahmer.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether people turned to the Reich Marshal with the request that their relatives should be freed from concentration camps or to help them in their difficulties with the Gestapo?
BODENSCHATZ: The Chief of Staff is the person who can answer that question. I myself only heard that such requests were made to the Reich Marshal.
DR. STAHMER: Did you not have to deal with such requests in the military section?
BODENSCHATZ: In the military section I had to deal with the requests which were concerned with the Luftwaffe. But they were only requests regarding the arrests of German citizens who stated that they had not been given the reason for their arrest. We also received communications regarding detention, grievances, and also regarding arrests of Jews. Requests of this kind came to me only from Luftwaffe sources or from my immediate circle of acquaintances.
DR. STAHMER: How were such requests treated?
BODENSCHATZ: Such requests were always treated as follows:
Most of the requests, which came from the broad masses of the people, were submitted to the Reich Marshal through the Staff. Those requests that came from the Luftwaffe were presented through my office, and requests that came from the Reich Marshal’s relatives or friends, they themselves presented. The Reich Marshal did not refuse his help in these cases. In individual cases he asked the Führer personally for a decision.
In all the cases that I dealt with help could be given.
DR. STAHMER: Did many Jews turn to Göring with requests for help?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, Jews, and particularly Jews of mixed blood applied to Reich Marshal Göring.
DR. STAHMER: How were these requests handled?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal did not deny his help and he gave instructions whenever possible that help should be given.
DR. STAHMER: What was Göring’s general attitude to human society?
BODENSCHATZ: In his feelings, thoughts, and actions, as far as human society was concerned, he was a benefactor to all in need. He was always ready to help those who were in need, for instance sick people, wounded, the relatives of those who had been killed in the war and of prisoners of war.
Care for the working classes was particularly important to him. Here is an example of this: The introduction of miners’ compensation. Every miner who had completed 25 years of steady work was to receive over 20,000 marks. This is one of his most important social works.
DR. STAHMER: Did you know of the conditions in the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: I had no knowledge of the conditions in the concentration camps.
DR. STAHMER: Were the concentration camps spoken of at the Führer’s headquarters during discussions with the Führer, or on any other occasion?
BODENSCHATZ: In the Führer’s headquarters I never heard the Führer speak about the concentration camps. He never discussed them in our circle.
DR. STAHMER: Was the question of the annihilation of the Jews discussed there?
BODENSCHATZ: No, it was not; not in his discussions with me, at any rate.
DR. STAHMER: Not even in discussions on the war situation?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I cannot remember him ever discussing the annihilation of the Jews in my presence during discussions on the war situation.
DR. STAHMER: Did anyone else there mention anything?
DR. STAHMER: Not Himmler?
BODENSCHATZ: He never discussed the subject with Himmler. I have only heard since being in prison that Himmler’s reply to people who spoke to him on this matter was, “What you have heard is not true; it is incorrect.” I personally did not discuss this question with Himmler.
DR. STAHMER: Did you know how many concentration camps there were?
BODENSCHATZ: Everyone knew that the camps existed, but I was not aware that so many existed. It was only after the war that I learned the names of Mauthausen and Buchenwald from the newspaper. I only know of the camp of Dachau because I happen to come from Bavaria.
DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear of the atrocities either?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I never heard of the atrocities. The very first time I heard was last year, when I reported to the Reich Marshal—to be exact it was the middle of March 1945—when I reported my departure on sick leave. The Reich Marshal told me during lunch that very many Jews must have perished there and that we should have to pay dearly for it. That was the first time that I heard of crimes against the Jews.
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions. I can now turn the witness over to the other Defense Counsel and to the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions of this witness?
DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and High Command of the German Armed Forces): I have only a few questions to ask this witness.
[Turning to the witness.]
Witness, in your capacity as liaison officer of the Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe at the Führer’s headquarters you took part, as you have already mentioned, in the discussions on the war situation. Did you also take part in discussions on the war situation when front-line commanders were making their reports to Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: I personally did not take part in such discussions. At two discussions, however, I was in the adjoining room, once when Field Marshal Von Kleist was there for a conference, and the second time was when the leader of the Crimea Army came to make a report after the evacuation of the Crimea. I was, as I said, not actually present at those conferences, but I heard, in the adjoining room, that there were some differences of opinion between Hitler and the commander in question as they were raising their voices. That is all I can say.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you hear enough to follow the trend of this discussion?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I could not follow the trend nor the substance of these discussions.
DR. LATERNSER: In that case I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defense Counsel wish to ask any questions?
[There was no response.]
Then does the Prosecution wish to ask any questions?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: May it please the Tribunal.
[Turning to the witness.] You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: I beg your pardon. Could you please repeat the question. I did not understand it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You are at the present time a prisoner of war of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: At the present time I am a prisoner of war of the United States.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have been interrogated on a number of occasions by representatives of the United States?
BODENSCHATZ: I was interrogated several times by representatives of the United States.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have also had a number of consultations with Dr. Stahmer who has just examined you?
BODENSCHATZ: I have had several discussions with Dr. Stahmer who has just addressed questions to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Those questions were addressed to you some time ago and you prepared your answers in writing?
BODENSCHATZ: Those questions were submitted to me beforehand and I was able to prepare my answers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Coming to the subject of the concentration camps and the activities of your department in releasing persons from them—as I understand, a large number of applications came to the Göring office for release from concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: I stated before that the requests for release from concentration camps did not come to my department but to the Staff office. I received only the requests and complaints in which people begged for help because they had been arrested, among them Jews who were to be arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And were those applications that did come to you numerous?
BODENSCHATZ: My sector covered only the Luftwaffe. There were perhaps 10 to 20 such applications.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those applications were from persons who were threatened with imprisonment, or had been imprisoned, or both?
BODENSCHATZ: Partly from people who were threatened with arrest and partly from people who had already been arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in each case, as I understand you, you intervened to help them.
BODENSCHATZ: On the instructions of the Reich Marshal, I helped in all cases that were submitted to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you know of any other cases that came to the Staff in which help was not given to the imprisoned persons?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything about that. I only heard from Dr. Gritzbach, Chief of Staff, that requests that came to him also were settled in a humane way.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, were the persons that you intervened for innocent of crime or were you helping out those who were guilty of crime?
BODENSCHATZ: Those I helped were innocent people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So it came to your notice that innocent people were being put in concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: Could you please repeat that question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your notice that innocent people then were being put in concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: Had not been put into concentration camps, but were destined for them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said you intervened for some who had been arrested.
BODENSCHATZ: Yes; they were not taken to concentration camps. I will give you a practical example. A comrade of mine, from the Richthofen Squadron, a Jew by the name of Luther, was arrested by the Gestapo, that is to say, he was not taken to a concentration camp, but first was simply arrested by the Gestapo. His lawyer informed me. I informed the Reich Marshal of this case, and the Reich Marshal instructed me to have this man freed from his temporary custody by the Gestapo in Hamburg. He was not yet in a concentration camp. So far as I know this case happened in 1943.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he charged with when he was arrested?
BODENSCHATZ: He was arrested because he was a Jew, and he had been told that he had committed an offense against decency in that he had been with an Aryan woman in a hotel.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you make any inquiries as to whether the charge was true?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not have to make such inquiries because I had no difficulty in obtaining his release. When I called up, he was released and thereafter stayed under the protection of Hermann Göring.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did you call up to get his release?
BODENSCHATZ: The chief of the Gestapo office in Hamburg. I do not know the name. I did not make the call myself but had it done by my assistant, Ministerialrat Dr. Böttger.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that the Gestapo would release persons upon the request of Hermann Göring?
BODENSCHATZ: Not from Hermann Göring’s office, but the Reich Marshal gave instructions that it should be carried out, and it was carried out.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I thought you said your assistant called up. Did Göring also call the Gestapo himself?
BODENSCHATZ: No, he did not call himself, not in this case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that even though this man may have been guilty of the charge, if he belonged to the Luftwaffe he was released, on the word of the Reich Marshal?
BODENSCHATZ: He was not a member of the Luftwaffe, he was a civilian. He had previously been one of our comrades in the Richthofen Squadron. He was not in the Wehrmacht during the war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your instructions were to release all persons who were Jews or who were from the Luftwaffe? Were those your instructions from Göring?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal told me, again and again, that in such cases I should act humanely, and I did so in every case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How did you find out that Jews were arrested against whom there were no charges?
BODENSCHATZ: In one case, in the case of the two Ballin families in Munich, these were two elderly married couples, more than 70 years old. These two couples were to be arrested, and I was informed of this. I told the Reich Marshal about it, and he told me that these two couples should be taken to a foreign country. That was the case of the two Ballin couples who, in 1923, when Hermann Göring was seriously wounded in front of the Feldherrnhalle, and was taking refuge in a house, received him and gave him help. These two families were to be arrested.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: For what?
BODENSCHATZ: They were to be arrested because there was a general order that Jews should be taken to collection camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew of that order?
BODENSCHATZ: 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 evacuation was to take place. I had never read the order myself nor even heard of it, because I had nothing to do with it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It came to your attention that Jews were being thrown into concentration camps merely because they were Jews?
BODENSCHATZ: In this case I am not speaking of concentration camps, but it was ordered that people were to be brought to collection camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not concentration camps, but special camps? Where were they going from there?
BODENSCHATZ: That I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where was this special camp that you speak of?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they were to be taken. I was told they were to be taken away.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But neither you nor Göring had any suspicion that if they were taken to concentration camps any harm would come to them, did you?
BODENSCHATZ: I knew nothing about what took place in the concentration camps.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now did you not hear about the concentration camps, and was not the purpose of your saving these people from going to them, that the people who went there were mistreated?
BODENSCHATZ: I must reiterate that I freed people from their first arrest by the Gestapo that were not yet in the concentration camp.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What would the Gestapo take them into custody for, if not the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: What purpose the Gestapo was pursuing with these arrests I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you intervened to save them from the Gestapo without even finding out whether the Gestapo had cause for arresting them?
BODENSCHATZ: If the Gestapo arrested any one, then they must have had something against him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But you made no inquiry into that, did you?
BODENSCHATZ: 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.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Forced labor?
BODENSCHATZ: It was just ordinary work. I knew, for instance, that in Lodz the people worked in the textile industry.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where were they kept while they were doing that work?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say, for I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were in a camp, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot tell you all that, for I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You would not know about that?
BODENSCHATZ: I have no idea.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What is the difference between a work camp and a concentration camp? You have drawn that distinction.
BODENSCHATZ: A work camp is a camp in which people were housed without their being in any way ill-treated.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And a concentration camp is where they are ill-treated? Is that your testimony?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. I can only tell you that now because in the meantime I discovered it through the press and through my imprisonment. At that time I did not know it. I learned it from the newspapers. I was a prisoner of war in England for quite a while, and I read about it in the English press.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 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 away?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know where they went from there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever inquire?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I never inquired.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were adjutant to the Number 2 man in Germany, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you never ventured to ask him about the concentration camps?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not speak to him on that subject.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The only instruction you had was to get everybody out that you could.
BODENSCHATZ: Where a request or a complaint was made, I followed those cases down, and in those cases I assisted.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You knew that Hermann Göring was a close co-worker with Himmler, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: 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 Göring, but these were private conversations just between the two.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 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?
BODENSCHATZ: No, that I did not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not know that?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not know that Reich Marshal Göring recommended Kaltenbrunner for his office. My activity was confined simply to the military sector. I was military adjutant to the Reich Marshal. I had nothing to do with these matters.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you have anything to do with the procedure of making full Aryans out of half-Jews?
BODENSCHATZ: 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 Reich Marshal gave instructions that these officers should not be dismissed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was done about it?
BODENSCHATZ: In these cases the chief of the personnel office was instructed not to dismiss these officers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in some cases some kind of an order was made, was it not, that they were full Aryans, notwithstanding Jewish parentage?
BODENSCHATZ: At the moment I can remember no such case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You spoke of the requests for help from Göring coming from broad masses of the people, and those requests were submitted to his staff. Is that right?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was the head of that staff?
BODENSCHATZ: At the head of that staff stood the Chief of Staff, Dr. Gritzbach.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many assistants did he have?
BODENSCHATZ: There were three sections, a press section, with Dr. Gerner in charge of that, and the private secretariat—there were three sections.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And which of these sections handled the peoples’ requests for relief from arrest?
BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Gritzbach and Dr. Gerner were concerned with that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom did they talk about these matters, do you know?
BODENSCHATZ: These gentlemen, as well as myself, submitted these matters to the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So that he was kept fully informed of what you did and of what they did?
BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal was kept fully informed of these applications to you and to the other sections?
BODENSCHATZ: He was informed by me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 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?
BODENSCHATZ: As regards requests addressed to my office or to me personally he never refused assistance and actually help was always given.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And never inquired into the guilt or innocence of the person he was helping?
BODENSCHATZ: They were innocent; that was clearly established.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were present on the 20th of July at the bomb explosion, as I understand from your direct testimony?
BODENSCHATZ: On 20 July I was present at that meeting and stood very near the bomb.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where was Hermann Göring on that day?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring was in his headquarters on that day, about 70 kilometers from the Führer’s headquarters.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Only 70 kilometers away; is that right? And at what time were you instructed to represent him at that meeting?
BODENSCHATZ: 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 orders to represent Göring, to represent him in the Führer’s headquarters. I was merely in the Führer’s headquarters to inform him of what went on there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You represented him to listen, but not to talk; is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I did not say very much during those years. I was simply a listener and had to inform him as to what took place at the conference; what would interest him in his capacity as Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How far in advance of that meeting were you instructed to attend?
BODENSCHATZ: At this meeting? On 20 July? On 19 July I was on a special commission, sent to the Münster Camp to take part in the review of an Italian division. On 20 July, at noon, I came by air to the Führer’s 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 15 minutes the attempted assassination took place.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who sent you with the message? Whose message was it that you were delivering?
BODENSCHATZ: I was commissioned at that time by Reich Marshal Göring to attend the review of the Italian division at the Münster Camp and to tell Field Marshal Graziani that the men in that 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 Führer’s headquarters by air. It had been proposed that I should go by Mussolini’s special train which was in Münster, and on the night of 19 to 20 . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Answer my question, Witness. Just answer the question, please, and you will save us a great deal of time. Whose messages were you carrying to the Führer?
BODENSCHATZ: I brought the message that Graziani was not disposed to hand over these soldiers of the Italian division.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And before you started for the Führer’s headquarters you communicated with Göring about it, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: Before my departure, when I flew to Münster Camp—that was a few days before—I spoke to him and when I returned, before reporting to the Führer, I telephoned Hermann Göring in his headquarters and gave him the same message.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he instruct you to go to the Führer’s headquarters at that time and give the message to the Führer?
BODENSCHATZ: This trip from Münster Camp I made on my own initiative because it was important for Adolf Hitler to know of this information before Mussolini, who was expected to arrive at the Führer’s headquarters at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on 20 July. . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: As I understand you, Göring wanted a peaceful outcome of the negotiations at Munich?
BODENSCHATZ: He said that to me several times.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was highly pleased with the outcome that was achieved there?
BODENSCHATZ: He was very pleased. I emphasized that before when I said that when he came from the conference room, he said spontaneously, “That means peace.”
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you say that Göring wanted peace with Poland, he also wanted that same kind of a peace, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Regarding peace with Poland, I did not speak to him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he send someone or induce Hitler to take someone to Munich in order to countercheck Ribbentrop?
BODENSCHATZ: All I know personally on this subject is this: Here, in imprisonment, Captain Wiedemann told me that Hermann Göring had expressed the wish that Von Neurath should be taken, and Wiedemann told me that Hitler had granted that wish.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you were interrogated by the United States about this subject before Wiedemann got here, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Before Wiedemann was brought here.
BODENSCHATZ: I was not interrogated on this subject—the Munich Agreement and Von Neurath.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you interrogated on the 6th of November 1945, and did you not then say that Göring 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?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember at the moment. If that is in the record then it must be so.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting as to which you have—oh, by the way, after Munich you know that Göring gave his word of honor to the Czechs that there would be no further aggression against them, do you not?
BODENSCHATZ: Please repeat the question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that after Munich, when Göring was pleased with the outcome, he gave his word of honor that there would be no further aggression against the Czechs. Do you know that?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I did not know that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This meeting that took place in London, I mean the meeting that took place when the Englishmen were present . . .
BODENSCHATZ: In Husum, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was the Swedish person who was present?
BODENSCHATZ: Herr Dahlerus was the Swede who was present.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who were the English who were present?
BODENSCHATZ: There were six to eight English economic experts. The names I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And at that time—by the way, have you fixed the time of that? What was the date?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say precisely. It was the beginning of August.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it not 7 August?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Mr. Dahlerus there?
BODENSCHATZ: The question as to whether Dahlerus was there—I cannot remember one hundred percent whether he was there. I know only that when I spoke to my lawyer he said that Dahlerus was there, but I cannot swear one hundred percent that he was there. I assumed he was, since the Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer told me that he was there. That was the reason why I said previously that Hermann Göring and Dahlerus were present at that meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the subject under discussion was the Polish relations with the German Reich?
BODENSCHATZ: Polish relations were not discussed, but relations between England and Germany. There was no talk of relations with Poland.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Göring wanted the English gentlemen to see that England did not attack Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not express it quite that way. He said, as I have already stated, the English gentlemen should, when they returned home, work in the same way that he was working—for peace, and to make their influence felt in important circles.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, was that not said in connection with the Polish negotiations that were then going on?
BODENSCHATZ: With the Polish negotiations? I cannot remember that any mention was made of Polish negotiations.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you with Hermann Göring when the Polish war broke out?
BODENSCHATZ: When the Polish war broke out I was in Berlin.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you still in your office under Hermann Göring’s command?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was at that time under Hermann Göring’s command.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first begin preparing for a movement of your forces in the direction of Poland?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot make any definite statement on that subject; that was a matter for the General Staff. I know only that during the period before the outbreak of war the Chief of the General Staff several times visited the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Hermann Göring, and that such matters were discussed. I, myself, was not informed as to how many forces were to be used in the Polish campaign.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were you present at the conference in which Hermann Göring stated that he, right after Munich, had orders to multiply the Air Force by five?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot recall having been present at any such discussion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that the Air Force was greatly enlarged after Munich?
BODENSCHATZ: No, I do not know that. The Air Force was augmented according to plan. In this connection I can say for certain that the German Air Force, at the beginning of the Polish campaign, as regards leadership, planning, or material, was not equal to its task.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, would you like to adjourn now or would you like to go on in order to finish?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This would be a convenient time. I am sure we cannot finish before lunch hour.
THE PRESIDENT: You would like to adjourn now?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
THE PRESIDENT: We will have no open session tomorrow.
GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): I want to say a few words with respect to the statement of Defense Counsel Stahmer. When speaking about the document concerning the German atrocities at Katyn, Defense Counsel Stahmer stated that it was not in his possession. I do not want to speak about the nature of this document. I want to report to the Tribunal that on 13 February this document, as Exhibit USSR-54—30 copies of it, all in the German language—was given to the Document Room for the purposes of the Defense. We did not think that we had to present the document to each Defense Counsel separately. We considered that if the document were given to the Document Room, the Defense would take the necessary steps concerning it. That is all I wish to say on this matter.
DR. LATERNSER: There must be a misunderstanding about the number of this document. It was submitted at that time in open session by the Russian Prosecutor as Exhibit Number USSR-64. USSR-64 has not been distributed. I have not received it, and upon request at Information Room of the Defense, upon two requests, I have not been able to obtain it.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we will inquire into the matter.
[The witness Bodenschatz took the stand.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Previous to the spring of 1943, as I understand you, Hermann Göring was a man of great influence in the councils of the Reich?
BODENSCHATZ: Before the year 1943—that is, until the year 1943—Hermann Göring always had access to the Führer, and his influence was important.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, it was the most important in Germany outside of the Führer himself, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Within the Reich he had great influence, very great influence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Air power was his special mission and his special pride, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: As an old airman, he was very proud to be able to build up and lead the Air Force.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He had more confidence in air power as a weapon of war than most of the other men of his time, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: At any rate he was convinced that his Air Force was very good. But I have to repeat what I said before, that at the beginning of the war, in the year 1939, that stage had not been reached by the Air Force. I repeat that at that time the Air Force was; as far as leadership, training, and material were concerned, not ready for war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But ever since you first went with Hermann Göring you had been rapidly building up the Air Force, had you not?
BODENSCHATZ: The building up of the Air Force went relatively fast.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you first went with Göring—I have forgotten what year you said that was.
BODENSCHATZ: I came to Hermann Göring in April 1933. At that time there was no Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, but only a Reich Commissariat for Aviation. But even at that time, the beginning of the building up of the Air Force—the first beginnings—started. It was only after 1935, however, when freedom from armament restriction was declared, that it was speeded up.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the building up of the Air Force was very largely in bombers, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: It was not mainly bombers; it was mixed, both fighters and bombers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring also had charge of the Four Year Plan?
BODENSCHATZ: He was commissioned by the Führer to carry out the Four Year Plan.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He also held several other offices, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring, besides being Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, was put in charge of the Four Year Plan. Before that, at the beginning of the seizure of power, he was Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister of Prussia, President of the Reichstag and Reichsforstmeister.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I notice that you use here, as you have used in your interrogations by the United States, the expression “seizure of power.” That was the common expression used in your group, was it not, to describe the coming to power of Adolf Hitler?
BODENSCHATZ: It cannot be used in this sense. At that time it was completely legal because the National Socialist Party was then the strongest party, and the strongest party nominated the Reich Chancellor, and the strongest party had, as such, the greatest influence. It must not be interpreted to mean that they usurped the power, but that they had the most influential and prominent position among the parties, that is, by the completely legal means of election.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You want to change the word “seizure”?
BODENSCHATZ: I have to change that. It is only an expression which was common usage in the press at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring got along without any open break with Hitler until 1945, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Until the year 1945 there was no open break. The arrest was only quite at the end, as I have said before.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the arrest was the first open break that had occurred between them, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, the first big break between the two which was apparent to the public. But since the year 1943, as I have said before, there was already a gradual estrangement in the attitude of the two men.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But that was kept from the public, was it not, kept from the German people?
BODENSCHATZ: It was not so visible to the public. It was a development which took place gradually from the spring of 1943 to 1945—first to a small extent, and then the tension became greater and greater.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When the arrest was made it was made by the SS, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: I only heard that. It was said that in Obersalzberg a unit of SS had arrived which arrested Hermann Göring in his small house and confined him there. As to that, perhaps the witness who is going to testify later, Colonel Brauchitsch, who was present at this arrest and who was arrested himself, can give more details.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were not arrested by the SS?
BODENSCHATZ: At that time . . . since 20 July 1944, when I was seriously injured, I had been in the hospital. I was close to Berchtesgaden, at Bad Reichenhall, convalescing.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whenever there were conferences which you attended, was it not the custom, at the conclusion of Hitler’s address to the group, for Göring as the ranking man present, to assure the Führer on behalf of himself and his fellow officers of their support of his plans?
BODENSCHATZ: Of course I was not present at all conferences. I only took the part of listener. At these discussions, or shall we say conferences, in which I took part, it happened from time to time that the Reich Marshal made a remark at the end and gave assurance that the will of the Führer would be carried out. But at the moment I cannot remember specifically any such conference.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You cannot remember any conference at which he did not do it either, can you?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. It was not always done; on the contrary, he did not do it as a rule. In the Reichstag Hermann Göring always made a concluding speech, after a session had ended, expressing his confidence in Adolf Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he not do that at every meeting of officers at which the Führer was present?
BODENSCHATZ: May I ask you to repeat the question? I have not quite understood it. I beg you to excuse me, but I would like to mention that owing to my injury I have lost 60 percent of my hearing, and therefore I beg you to excuse me if I ask for repetitions. Please, repeat your question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Quite all right, Sir. Do you know of any conference between Hitler and his High Command at which Göring did not close the meeting, as the ranking officer present, by making assurances of support to Hitler’s plans?
BODENSCHATZ: Some of the conferences I attended were concluded by a declaration of that nature. There were, however, many conferences—in fact most of the conferences—when nothing further was said at the end. When the Führer had finished his speech, the meeting was ended.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In 1943, when Göring began to lose influence with Hitler, it was a very embarrassing time for Göring, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring suffered from this fact. He often told me that he would suffer very much on that account.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: From the fact that the Führer was losing confidence in him?
BODENSCHATZ: What was that?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was suffering from the fact that the Führer was losing confidence in him? Was that what was causing his suffering?
BODENSCHATZ: That may have been part of the reason, but differences of opinion arose about the Luftwaffe.
MR. JUSTICE. JACKSON: Now, in the spring of 1943 it was apparent to you and apparent to him that the war was lost for Germany, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say that. The Reich Marshal did not tell me in 1943 that the war was lost, but that there were great difficulties, that it would become very dangerous; but that the war was definitely lost—I cannot remember that the Reich Marshal at that time, in the spring of 1943, made a statement to me of that kind, or a similar one.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Reich Marshal had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that it would not be possible for them to be bombed, as Warsaw, Rotterdam, and other cities were bombed?
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, he did not give the assurance in those words. Before the war, when our Air Force was growing—I mean at the beginning of the war, when the great successes in Poland and in France were manifest—he said to the German people that the Air Force would do its job and do everything to spare the country from heavy air raids. At the time that was justified. It was not clearly foreseen then that matters would develop differently later.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then he had given his assurance to the German people, had he not, that the Luftwaffe would be able to keep enemy bombers away from Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that he gave an official assurance to the German people in the form of a decree or a big speech. At times it was said that the German Air Force, after the successes in Poland and France, was at its peak. I do not know of any official statement whereby it was made known to the German people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At all events, it became apparent in the spring of 1943 that any such assurance, if it had been given, was misleading?
BODENSCHATZ: In the year 1943 the conditions were entirely different, owing to the fact that the British and American Air Forces came into the picture in such large and overwhelming numbers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was also true that the air defenses of Germany were proving entirely inadequate to cope with the situation; is that not a fact?
BODENSCHATZ: The air defense of Germany was very difficult, as the entire defense did not depend on the air crews alone, but it was also a radio-technical war, and in this radio-technical war, it must be admitted frankly, the enemy was essentially better than we were. Therefore it was not only a war in the air, but if was also a radio war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It had become apparent that Germany could not cope with it—is that not a fact?—by 1943.
BODENSCHATZ: In the year 1943 it was not yet a hundred percent clear. There were fluctuations, low and high points. Efforts were made to increase the fighter strength at the expense of the bombers. It was not one hundred percent obvious that the enemy air force could not be opposed successfully. That became obvious only after the middle of 1944.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Führer lost confidence in Göring as the bombing of German cities progressed, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, indeed, from the moment the British Air Force started with their large-scale attacks on German cities, particularly when the first heavy British air attack on Cologne took place. From that moment it was obvious that differences of opinion, at first not too serious, were arising between the two men.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Hitler accused Göring, did he not, of misleading him as to the strength of the air defenses of Germany?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know that the Führer ever accused the Reich Marshal of any offense in this respect. Discussions between Adolf Hitler and the Reich Marshal were, in spite of all tension, always very moderate. The criticism is said to have become more vehement only later, in 1944 and the beginning of 1945. But I was not present, because I had been off duty since 20 July 1944.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I asked you a question. I did not intend to imply that the Führer accused him of an intentional misstatement, but he had misled him or he had misunderstood the strength of Germany’s air defenses. Was that not generally understood in your circle?
BODENSCHATZ: There could be no question of misleading. The reports which the Air Force made to the Führer were always correct. The weaknesses of the Air Force were also reported to the Führer.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were the efforts that were made by Göring, which you refer to as tremendous efforts, to recapture his influence with the Führer?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal, whenever there were conferences, asked through me that he might participate. The Reich Marshal came more frequently than usual to the Führer’s headquarters, and he also said to me, “I will try everything to regain the right contact with the Führer.” He said that personally to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he was particularly careful after the spring of 1944 not to do anything that would offend the Führer?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot say anything more about the year 1944, because then I was no longer active. I had no further contact.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, this bombing of German cities had become very troublesome from the point of view of the German people’s criticism of the government, had it not, in 1944?
BODENSCHATZ: The German people suffered terribly under these bombing attacks, and I can only say one thing—that Adolf Hitler suffered most from them. When at night the bombing of a German city was reported, he was really deeply moved, and likewise the Reich Marshal, because the horror of such a bombing was indescribable. I have experienced a few such bombings in Berlin myself, and whoever has lived through that, will never forget it as long as he lives.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And this was all becoming very embarrassing to Hitler and to the Reich Marshal, was it not, to explain to the German people why this was going on?
BODENSCHATZ: That did not have to be explained, because the German people felt it. No explanation was given. It was only said that all possible measures would be taken to master this peril.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew at that time, and the Reich Marshal knew, that no measures could be taken that would prevent it?
BODENSCHATZ: No, no, no. I emphasized before that it was a radio-technical war, and there were moments when, in the defense, we could counter the measures of the enemy while constantly discovering a new means to hit him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you made the announcement to the German people that all means would be taken, you had then no means at your disposal, that you knew of, to use, did you, to prevent the bombing of the German cities?
BODENSCHATZ: Oh yes, indeed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were they, and why were they not used?
BODENSCHATZ: There were, for example, the following means: The most important areas were protected by anti-aircraft guns. Then there were radio-technical means, jamming transmitters, which would have made it possible, and which partly did make it possible, to jam the radio sets in the enemy aircraft.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The movement to satisfy the German people under the bombing attacks was a matter of great concern to the Reich Marshal, was it not?
BODENSCHATZ: The Reich Marshal was very anxious that the population should be informed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And see that the population was satisfied, was he not?
BODENSCHATZ: It is easy to say “satisfied.” He could only assure the German people that he would do everything in his power to master these attacks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, have you seen the Reich Marshal and Hitler when the reports came in of the bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam and of Coventry?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember whether I was present when the reports came.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never saw any such reactions on their part on those bombings, I take it?
BODENSCHATZ: I only know that Warsaw was a fortress which was held by the Polish Army in very great strength, provided with excellent pieces of artillery, that the forts were manned, and that two or three times Adolf Hitler announced that civilians should be evacuated from the city. That was rejected. Only the foreign embassies were evacuated, while an officer with a flag of truce entered. The Polish Army was in the city defending it stubbornly in a very dense circle of forts. The outer forts were very strongly manned, and from the inner town heavy artillery was firing towards the outskirts. The fortress of Warsaw was therefore attacked, and also by the Luftwaffe, but only after Hitler’s ultimatum had been rejected.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was Coventry a fortified city?
BODENSCHATZ: Coventry was no fortress. Coventry, however, was a city which housed the key industry of the enemy air force, in which the aircraft engines were built, a city in which, as far as I know, many factories were situated and many parts of these aircraft engines were manufactured. In any case, the Luftwaffe had at that time received orders to bomb only the industrial targets. If the city also suffered, it is understandable, considering the means of navigation at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were interrogated in November of 1945, were you not, by Colonel Williams?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I was interrogated.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Colonel Williams asked you about certain fictitious incidents along the German-Polish border late in August of 1939, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, he asked me about that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And would you care to tell the Tribunal what you know about the fictitious incidents along the Polish border?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know anything positive. I was asked by Colonel Williams whether I knew in advance about the incident of the Gleiwitz broadcasting section. I told him I knew nothing about it. It was only that the incidents on the Polish border were very similar to those which happened on the Czech border. It may have been presumed—that was only my opinion—that they were perhaps deliberate. But I had no positive proof that anything had been staged on our part.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you tell him on the 6th of November 1945, as follows:
“I heard about it, but I personally at that time had the feeling that all these provocations that had taken place had originated from our side, from the German side. As I said, I had no real proofs of that, but I always had that feeling.”
Did you not say that?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And that you had talked with people about this, from whom you got that feeling. Is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that very well now. I only know that the reports in the press gave me that suspicion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You were asked, were you not, this question and gave this answer:
“Question: But you are of the opinion that what appeared in the press and these incidents that were reported were not true, but done merely to cause an incident as an excuse for an invasion?”
And did you not make this answer:
“I had that feeling. I cannot prove it, but I definitely know I had a feeling that the whole thing was being engineered by us.”
Did you not make that answer to that question?
BODENSCHATZ: The minutes will show it. If it is in the minutes, I said it. At the moment I cannot remember the exact words.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not deny the fact, however?
BODENSCHATZ: I had that feeling, but it was a purely subjective opinion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But it was your opinion?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now then, I ask you whether you were not interrogated about the Führer’s desire to make war on Poland, and whether you did not give this answer:
“Gentlemen, this question is very hard to answer, but I can state under my oath that the Führer actually wanted the war against Poland. I can prove that he actually wanted a war of aggression against Poland by the circle surrounding the Führer and the remarks that were made. I was present during the night when Hitler gave Henderson his conditions that he wanted Danzig, and I concluded from all the conferences that the Führer had with the Ambassador—I had the impression that the Führer did not really want the Poles to accept those conditions.”
And I ask you if you made those answers to Colonel Williams?
BODENSCHATZ: I can make the following answer to that:
I was not present at the conference. If I said that, I did not express myself correctly. I was not at the conference that the Führer had with Henderson, but I was standing in the anterooms with the other adjutants, and outside in the anteroom one could hear the various groups, some saying one thing, some another. From these conversations I gather that the conditions which Henderson received for the Poles in the evening were such, and that the time limit for answering these questions—which was noon of the next day—was so short, that one could conclude there was a certain intention behind it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, that is the impression that you received from being in the anteroom and talking with the people who were about Hitler that night?
BODENSCHATZ: There were adjutants, the Reich Press Chief, and the gentlemen who were waiting in the anteroom without taking part in the conference.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask you, in order to make this very clear, one more question about your interrogation on that subject. Were you not asked this question:
“Then we can summarize your testimony this morning by saying that you knew in 1938, several months before Germany attacked Poland, that Hitler fully intended to attack Poland and wage an aggressive war against her; is that right?”
And did you not make this answer:
“I can only say this with certainty that from the night when he told Henderson that he wanted Danzig and the Corridor, from that moment, I was sure Hitler intended to wage an aggressive war.”
Were you asked that question, and did you make that answer?
BODENSCHATZ: If it is in the minutes, I said it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, if it were not in the minutes, it would still be your testimony now, would it not? It is a fact, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: My definition is precisely this: From the handing over of Adolf Hitler’s demands to Henderson and from the short time that Henderson was granted, I conclude that there was a certain intention. That is how I should like to define it precisely now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that you be shown Document Number L-79, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-27. You have seen that before, witness?
BODENSCHATZ: A copy of this document was shown to me by Colonel Williams, and I told him that I myself could not remember having been present. But if my name is on the minutes, then I was there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But your name is on the document, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Then I was there. I cannot remember the subject of this conference. I told Colonel Williams that that must have been discussed because Colonel Schmundt, whose handwriting I know—I was shown a copy—I told him that Colonel Schmundt was a man who was very conscientious in making his notes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all in his handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: That is it as I see it here.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is signed by Colonel Schmundt?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is signed by Colonel Schmundt—Lieutenant Colonel Schmundt. The corrections are not in his handwriting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But the body of the document is his handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is his own handwriting. I know it; yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when you were asked about that by Colonel Williams, you took time to read it, and then you said, did you not: “I think that the thoughts are right as they are expressed here; these are the thoughts that the Führer usually voiced to us in a small circle.” You made that statement?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I did say that, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you said: “I cannot remember whether these things were expressed on that day. However, it is possible that the thoughts which are put down here are the thoughts of Adolf Hitler.” You said that to Colonel Williams, did you not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, I said that to Colonel Williams.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all I care to ask about that, Sir.
I now ask to have shown to you the original exhibit, Document Number 798-PS, Exhibit USA-29 in evidence.
BODENSCHATZ: As far as I know, a copy of this speech by the Führer was also shown to me by Colonel Williams.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is right. You said, did you not, that you did not recall whether you were present but that the thoughts that were expressed . . .
BODENSCHATZ: The thoughts expressed there are correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They are correct. That is all about that.
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, but I must say one more thing. I tried to speak to Colonel Williams again and could not reach him. Probably I attended this meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will take that statement now and excuse you from looking for Colonel Williams.
I ask to have shown to you Document 3474-PS, United States exhibit in evidence, Number USA-580. Is that your handwriting?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is my handwriting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And signed by you?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it is a note of a conference of the 2d day of December 1936, is it not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You prepared this memorandum for your files; is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to whom I gave this.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it says the notes for the files on that discussion; is that correct?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, that is a note for the files.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was present at that conference; is that correct?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. He must have conducted it. It states here, “Present: Generaloberst Göring.”
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In fact, the note says he conducted it does it not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, there were also present Milch, Kesselring, and all of the others who are named in the list at the head of the note.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you then recorded that Göring told—oh, by the way, all of those men were men connected with the Armed Forces of Germany, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: Those were all men from the Air Force, the leading men at the time. General Milch was concerned with armament; Lieutenant General Kesselring was, I believe, Chief of Staff; they were all officers who were in leading positions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: All concerned with the Air Force you say. And this meeting was held on the 2d of December 1936. Are we correct about that?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Göring opened the conference by saying: “The press all over the world is excited about the landing of 5,000 German volunteers in Spain. Great Britain protests officially and takes up the matter with France.” Refreshing your recollection, that is what occurred, is it not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then Göring said, “The general situation is very serious,” and that he took full responsibility, did he not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes. The general situation was very serious. England was rearming intensively, and a state of readiness was desired.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, he next said, did he not, “Silence until 1941 is desirable. However, we cannot know whether there will be implications before. We are already in a state of war. It is only that no shot is being fired so far.” Did he say that?
BODENSCHATZ: That is recorded in these minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he also said, did he not, that “beginning 1 January 1937, all factories for aircraft production shall run as if mobilization had been ordered.”
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, it is there in the text, is it not?
BODENSCHATZ: Yes, it is contained here in the minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you have testified that Göring had no prior knowledge of the action taken against the Jews on the night of November 9th and 10th of 1938.
BODENSCHATZ: I gathered that from the fact that on the next day he came to me and was very dismayed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: He was informed about them the next day?
BODENSCHATZ: The next day that was in the press, in the newspapers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said that he complained about the people who instigated them?
BODENSCHATZ: That I was told by Captain Wiedemann, who was here with me in captivity. He told me that a few days later Hermann Göring came to the Führer with proof and complained about what had occurred.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Whom did he complain about?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not tell me that. Wiedemann told me that Göring complained about Heydrich and Goebbels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I did not get that answer.
BODENSCHATZ: Wiedemann told me—this I did not learn myself from Hermann Göring, but Wiedemann told me he had complained about the instigators, and that the instigators were Heydrich and Goebbels.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Heydrich and Goebbels were both officials in Hitler’s regime, were they not?
BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Goebbels was Reich Minister of Propaganda, and Heydrich was Chief of the Gestapo.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So, immediately following these pogroms Göring knew and complained to Hitler that they had been incited by officials of the Nazi regime?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the details as to what he said there. Captain Wiedemann knows about that and can testify to it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring was then at the height of his influence, both with the Führer and with the country, was he not?
BODENSCHATZ: He had at that time the greatest influence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I understand you to say that he immediately called a meeting of Gauleiter?
BODENSCHATZ: The meeting of Gauleiter was a few weeks later. I heard about it from the former Gauleiter of Styria, Dr. Uiberreither, who is imprisoned here with me. This Gauleiter Uiberreither took part in that meeting.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did he wait before he called the meeting?
BODENSCHATZ: Dr. Uiberreither told me that it was a few weeks afterwards.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, did you know about his holding a meeting on the 12th of November 1938 at his offices in the Reich Ministry for Aviation?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And do you remember that he had present at that meeting Heydrich, Goebbels, and many others? Is that the meeting to which you refer?
BODENSCHATZ: In this case it might be necessary to ask Dr. Uiberreither who was at that meeting. He told me that Dr. Goebbels was present as well as the Gauleiter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was the custom of Göring to keep minutes of the meetings that he conducted?
BODENSCHATZ: Hermann Göring always had stenographers present, and these stenographers took minutes of such meetings.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you want us to understand that Göring was shocked and offended by what had happened to the Jews on the nights of the 9th and the 10th of November 1938?
BODENSCHATZ: He did not agree with it because, as I mentioned previously, he said it would be a great wrong; it would be unreasonable economically, and it would harm our prestige abroad. I was told by Dr. Uiberreither that Göring had spoken in these terms to the Gauleiter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it known to you that on November the 12th, 2 days after those pogroms, Göring promulgated the order fining all of the Jews a billion Reichsmark, confiscated their insurance, and passed a new decree excluding them from economic life? Did you know about that?
BODENSCHATZ: I have heard of it, but I personally had nothing to do with the idea and with this decree, as I was only the military adjutant.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: These decrees were promulgated 2 days after this pogrom that you say he complained about, is that right?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know the connection.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. M. G. GRIFFITH-JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, I have only one matter which I want to make clear.
You have referred to a meeting which took place in Schleswig-Holstein in July or August of 1939, at which Göring met a number of Englishmen, and you described those Englishmen, the first time you mentioned them, as members of the government, and the second time you mentioned them—I think you mentioned them as economic specialists?
BODENSCHATZ: So far as I know now, they were English leading men in economics, not members of the government.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am obliged to you. Would it be correct to say that they were leading industrial and business gentlemen with no connection with the government whatsoever?
BODENSCHATZ: I do not know to what degree these gentlemen were influential. At any rate, Hermann Göring asked at the end that the gentlemen should exert their influence on the authorities in England in the interests of peace.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you know that that conference between Göring and those gentlemen took place at the instigation of Dahlerus?
BODENSCHATZ: Dahlerus is said to have brought about this meeting, but I first learned of that in a conversation with Defense Counsel Dr. Stahmer, who discussed the matter with me. Doctor Stahmer said he knew that Mr. Dahlerus had asked these gentlemen to come to Germany. It is only on the basis of this information that I assume Dahlerus asked these gentlemen to come.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And do you know that it was the object of Mr. Dahlerus that leading German and English personalities should meet, in order that they should understand one another’s points of view?
BODENSCHATZ: Mr. Dahlerus later . . . he was again in Berlin after that meeting. On that occasion I met him in Berlin, and in conversations with him there I gained the impression that he was greatly interested in peace being maintained between Germany and England, and that he, assisted by Reich Marshal Göring, tried to establish this connection with influential British circles.
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: One last question to you. Do you know that, in arranging that meeting and throughout the course of the negotiations thereafter, Dahlerus stressed the British point of view to Göring and in particular tried to impress Göring with the fact that the English were losing their patience with the policy of aggression being pursued by the German Government?
BODENSCHATZ: I cannot remember having discussed with Dahlerus this line of thought which you mention now.
THE PRESIDENT: Any other questions to ask?
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: No.
DR. STAHMER: I have only one more question.
[Turning to the witness.] In the minutes of 2 December 1936, which were shown to you before and which you have before you, there is one paragraph which has not been read entirely. In my opinion it is very important for the interpretation and for the purpose and meaning of that meeting.
It says there:
“The general situation is very serious. Russia wants war. England is rearming strongly. Therefore, the order is: ‘From today on, highest degree of readiness, no consideration for financial difficulties. Generaloberst assumes full responsibility.’ ”
Was this order, “highest degree of readiness from today on,” issued merely because Russia, as it says here, wants war and England is rearming strongly? Was that the motive?
BODENSCHATZ: What do you mean?
DR. STAHMER: Was the gravity of the general situation the motive for the order, “highest degree of readiness from today on”?
BODENSCHATZ: At any rate, there was no intention of attack involved, but a measure for defense.
DR. STAHMER: If it says here “Generaloberst assumes full responsibility,” could that be understood to refer to the words “no consideration for financial difficulties” which would be a permissible literal interpretation?
BODENSCHATZ: That refers to financial difficulties, because the Reich Marshal had frequent controversies on that point with the Reich Finance Minister because the Luftwaffe had slightly exceeded its budget.
DR. STAHMER: Thank you. I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STAHMER: I should like to call as the next witness General Field Marshal Milch.
[The witness Milch took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
ERHARD MILCH (Witness): Erhard Milch.
THE PRESIDENT: Repeat this oath after me: I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that I will speak the pure truth—and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
DR. STAHMER: Witness, did you take part in the first World War?
DR. STAHMER: In what position?
MILCH: First I was an artillery officer and at the end a captain in the Air Corps.
DR. STAHMER: When did you leave the Army after the end of the first World War?
MILCH: In the spring of 1920.
DR. STAHMER: What were your activities after you left the Army?
MILCH: I went into civil aviation.
DR. STAHMER: When did you join the Wehrmacht again?
DR. STAHMER: Did you go straight into the Air Force?
DR. STAHMER: What position did you have when the second World War began?
MILCH: I was General and Inspector General of the Air Force.
DR. STAHMER: When did the military construction of the Luftwaffe start?
DR. STAHMER: To what extent?
MILCH: A defensive air force was built up.
DR. STAHMER: Can you give us more details about that?
MILCH: In the year 1933 Germany had left the League of Nations and consequently also the Disarmament Conference. Hitler attempted to discuss with the individual nations whether or not disarmament should continue. These attempts to disarm failed, and Germany began to rearm. It was questionable whether the other nations would approve of that. Consequently Germany considered that it was imperative to have military strength in the air also, and to achieve that, the Air Force was itself to create an air power which would be sufficient for the defense of Germany. This is shown by the fact that principally fighters and anti-aircraft artillery were provided.
Likewise, the organization of the German Air Force was constructed for defense. It consisted at that time of four “air districts” (Luftkreise), which one can picture as a kind of cross over Germany. There was a Northeast section, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Moreover the strength of the Air Force, as it was organized, was not planned for an aggressive war or for a large-scale war. Besides fighter planes there were also bombers, but we always called these bomber formations the Risiko Luftwaffe (Risk Air Force), that is to say, their function was to prevent, if possible, any of Germany’s neighbors from entering a war against Germany.
DR. STAHMER: What were the relations of the German Air Force with the air forces of foreign countries during the period beginning with the year 1935?
MILCH: During the first years after 1935 Germany had no air force worth mentioning. There were only the first units and the first larger schools that were established. Also during these years, our industry was built up. Before the rearmament started, our industry had been on a very small scale. I happen to know that the number of workers in the entire German air force industry at the time of the seizure of power by the National Socialists was about 3,000 to 3,300 men—constructors, business men, technicians, and workers.
The first contacts with foreign countries in the field of aviation started in 1937. This was when, in January 1937, an English commission led by Air Vice Marshal Courtney and three other high-ranking officers—Courtney was the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the British Air Force—came to Germany. I myself accompanied this commission and acted as guide during the entire time. We complied with every request of these gentlemen as to what they wanted to see. Those were the first units which were established. We especially showed our training units, in which all new forms and models were first tried out, the industries, the schools, and anything else about which the gentlemen wanted to know. At the end of our conference the English vice marshal suggested that we should start a mutual German-English exchange of plans. I asked for the approval of my commander-in-chief and it was granted. At the time we forwarded to the British the plans of the German Air Force for 1937, 1938, and, I believe, 1939, and, on the other hand, we also received from the British the corresponding figures. We agreed that in the future also, should changes in plans occur or new units be established, an exchange of data should again take place. The visit was animated by a spirit of comradeship and was the beginning of further contacts.
In May of the same year, 1937, I was invited to Belgium with some other gentlemen, as representative of my commander-in-chief, to visit the air force there. Then in July . . .
DR. STAHMER: What happened on this visit to Belgium? Can you give me more details about that?
MILCH: It was a very cordial reception. I made the acquaintance of the Minister of War, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister, and also of His Majesty the King, besides the officers of the air force, who, of course, were of main interest to me. The discussion was friendly on both sides, and the Belgians assured us of their personal feelings of friendship for Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Was there also an exchange of data?
MILCH: No. Not in the same way; but later in Germany we also showed the Belgians everything, when the Chief of the Air Force, General Duvier, returned our visit. Then there was a big international meeting in the summer, in July 1937, on the occasion of the aviation meeting in Zurich, which was held every five years. At this meeting we purposely showed our latest models of fighters, bombers, and Stukas, also our new engines which had just been produced, and anything else that would be of international interest. There were large French, Italian, Czech, and Belgian delegations present, besides the German one; and a commission of British officers also attended to see the material displayed by us, but did not take part in the contests as representatives of Great Britain. We showed our material to the French, the British, and to the other nations, in a spirit of comradeship. There was, for instance, the Messerschmitt Fighter 109 with the improvements of the time, more or less as it was flown until the end of the war; the newest Dornier bomber type; the newest Stuka by Junkers; also the Daimler-Benz 600 and 601 engines, and also of Junkers . . .
THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that this amount of detail is of any interest to the Tribunal.
DR. STAHMER: Witness, please, no details; make it short.
MILCH: Yes. Then in October 1937, there was an invitation to France from the French Government to inspect their air force also. The inspection is said to have been made in a very friendly spirit. Shortly after that, about one week later, a visit at the invitation of England took place in return for Air Vice Marshal Courtney’s visit. Here, also, factories, organizations, schools and the War Academy were shown; also, as regards industry, the “shadow factories” were shown, that is, industries which produce peacetime goods in time of peace, and switch over to building aircraft and aircraft engines in time of war. There were also reciprocal visits with Sweden. I think I can conclude with that.
DR. STAHMER: Did you take part in a discussion with the Führer on 23 May 1939?
DR. STAHMER: In what way did that happen?
MILCH: I was suddenly ordered to come on the morning of that day, because the Reich Marshal was not there.
DR. STAHMER: Do you remember the course of this conversation?
MILCH: The Führer made a long speech to the three commanders-in-chief of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and their chiefs of staff. Several other persons were also present. The gist of it was that Hitler declared he had decided to solve in one way or another the question of a corridor across the Corridor to East Prussia, and in connection with that he discussed the possibility of complications which, in consequence, might arise in the West. It was only a speech, not a discussion or a conversation.
DR. STAHMER: Was anything else discussed or presented by him, any further details?
MILCH: Yes, it was just the question whether the West—probably he was thinking primarily of France—would keep quiet or whether it would interfere.
DR. STAHMER: Was anything said of the possibility of an attack on Poland or, as I remember, was only the solution of this Corridor problem mentioned?
MILCH: Actually, I understood him to say that he would solve this problem in any case, so his first thought was probably of negotiations, but if these negotiations did not produce results, then a military solution would probably have to be considered.
DR. STAHMER: Were there any further discussions about that?
MILCH: No, it was expressly ordered that any discussion by the participants, even among themselves, was forbidden. I, for instance, was forbidden to inform the Reich Marshal, who was not there. Hitler declared that he himself would inform Göring. I remember that at that time there was also issued the famous order which has been mentioned previously, and which as Führer Order Number 1 had to be displayed in every one of our offices, to the effect that nobody should tell anybody anything he need not know; that nothing should ever be told sooner than was necessary; and that only just as much should be told as was necessary for the other person to know.
DR. STAHMER: Then you did not inform the Reich Marshal about this conference?
MILCH: No; I was forbidden to do so.
DR. STAHMER: When did he find out about it?
MILCH: I do not know.
DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the then Field Marshal Göring towards war?
MILCH: I was always under the impression—this already became apparent at the time of the occupation of the Rhineland—that he was worried lest Hitler’s policy might lead to war. In my opinion, he was against war.
DR. STAHMER: When did you find out for the first time that Hitler had planned some operation against Russia?
MILCH: As far as I remember, that was in the spring of 1941. May I correct myself once more? I want to look in my notebook. On 13 January the Reich Marshal told me that Hitler expected an attack against Germany on the part of Russia; then for some time I did not hear anything further and the Reich Marshal did not mention either what his opinion was. At any rate, during the weeks and months following I did not hear any more about it. It is true, however, that at that time I was very seldom in Berlin and not at all at headquarters, but on inspection tours, et cetera. When I returned—and I do not remember whether it was in March or April—one of my subordinates made a report to me on a question of clothing, and he put the question to me whether winter clothing had to be provided in case of war against Russia. I was very surprised at this question. I had not been previously informed. I could only tell him that if it came to war with Russia we should then need clothing for several winters, and I told him what kind of winter clothing I would suggest.
DR. STAHMER: Did you speak a second time to Field Marshal Göring about this war?
DR. STAHMER: When was that?
MILCH: On 22 May, on one of my tours, I again came into contact with the Commander-in-Chief for the first time after a long interval. It was in Veldenstein where Göring was at the time. There I discussed the question with him and I told him that, in my opinion, it would be a great historical task for him to prevent this war since it could only end with the annihilation of Germany. I reminded him that we should not voluntarily burden ourselves with a two-front war, et cetera. The Reich Marshal told me that he also had brought forward all these arguments, but that it was absolutely impossible to dissuade Hitler from this war. My offer to try to speak to Hitler once more was declared by the Reich Marshal to be absolutely hopeless. We had to resign ourselves; nothing could be done about it. From these words it was quite clear that he was against this war, and that under no circumstances did he want this war but that also for him, in his position, there was no possibility of dissuading Hitler from this project.
DR. STAHMER: Did it also appear from what he said that he had told Hitler of his misgivings?
MILCH: Yes, it was quite clear to me, that he had also spoken about the question of a two-front war, and he told me that he had also laid before Hitler the arguments I had brought forward; but he told me that it was hopeless. I would like to say something more about the 23rd of May. After this discussion, and owing to the fact that the German Air Force had hardly any reserves of bombs available, I proposed that bombs should be manufactured. Previously Hitler had considered this unnecessary and superfluous for the time being. The shortage of iron came into the question. After this conference, being under the impression that complications might arise, I pointed out that the Air Force with its bomber fleet was not ready for action. My proposal was again rejected by Hitler after 23 May. He would let me know in time if and when we needed bombs. When we pointed out that the manufacture of bombs would take several weeks, even months, he declared that there would be plenty of time for that later. From that I came to the conclusion and you know I was not allowed to discuss it with anybody—that Hitler’s words on 23 May were not meant as seriously as they had sounded to me.
DR. STAHMER: When was this last conversation concerning the refusal to manufacture bombs?
MILCH: That was about—I spoke once in that connection, after May when the situation was known. But later, during the latter part of summer, I again brought it to his attention. Again it was rejected. The order to manufacture bombs was not given by Hitler until 12 October 1939, although we had pointed out that deficiency before. Hitler said, if I remember correctly, “My attempts to make peace with the West after the campaign against Poland have failed. The war continues. Now we can and must manufacture the bombs.”
DR. STAHMER: Did Hitler ever tell you that it was his serious desire to live in peace with the West?
MILCH: Yes. I did not go into the details of my visits. When I came back from France, I was with Hitler for two hours on the Obersalzberg, to report to him about the visit to France. Likewise, after the visit in England about two weeks later, I had to make a report to Hitler which lasted several hours. He was very interested, and after the second report, that is to say, after the English visit, he declared, “I wish to carry on my policy in such and such a way, but you can all rest assured that I will always rely on England. I shall try to co-operate with England at all times.” This conversation took place on 2 November.
DR. STAHMER: What year?
MILCH: The year 1937, the 2d of November.
DR. STAHMER: You mentioned two conversations?
MILCH: Yes, the first was the report about the visit to France and the second about the visit to England. Hitler, who did not know foreign countries at all, was extremely interested to hear from a soldier something about his reception, the country, armaments, and so forth.
DR. STAHMER: What were the relations between Reich Marshal Göring and Himmler?
MILCH: It was not always clear to me. I had the impression that there was always some rivalry on the part of Himmler. The mutual relationship, however, must always have been very correct and very courteous on the surface; how they really stood, I could not say.
DR. STAHMER: In May of 1942, there was an exchange of correspondence between you and the SS-Obergruppenführer Wolff?
MILCH: Yes, Sir.
DR. STAHMER: In particular, about medical experiments on inmates of the Dachau Camp. Could you tell us anything about that?
MILCH: I was interrogated about that question here in Nuremberg, and what I no longer remembered of the matter was recalled by two letters—a letter from Wolff, who was adjutant to Himmler at the time, and another letter from Himmler to me and the answer which I had given, were submitted to me. They concerned the experiments with air-pressure chambers and chilling. These letters were addressed to me only because Himmler did not know the official channels of the Luftwaffe. The letters were delivered to the Medical Inspection department, which was not subordinate to me. The Medical Inspection department also wrote the answer and submitted it to me. I modified the answer a little and had it mailed. I have not read a report sent by Himmler in this connection. He also offered a film. I did not see the film. The Medical Inspector, whom I asked what it was all about, told me that the Air Force was fully informed about both problems, and that the experiments with air-pressure chambers had been carried out by our young doctors who had volunteered for that purpose. Likewise, in the question of chilling there was nothing of interest to the Air Force. We both agreed to his suggestion that we did not want to have anything to do with the matter. I asked him what these experiments were made for. He told me that criminals were subjected to these experiments. I asked him in what way. He said, in the same way as our young doctors had subjected themselves to these experiments. Then we wrote him a letter which was quite polite—one could not write differently to these people—but completely repudiating the experiments. We would have nothing to do with them. In Himmler’s letter I had been asked to make a report to the Reich Marshal also about that question.
I had the impression that by these experiments the SS wanted to make themselves important in Hitler’s eyes. These were the words also used by the chief of the medical department to me. During a long report on quite different questions I mentioned this matter briefly to the Reich Marshal, because I had to expect that one day he would be approached by Himmler, and perhaps would not know anything about the whole question. The Reich Marshal asked me, when I told him about such and such experiments, “What does this mean?” I gave him the reply which I had been given by the Medical Inspector. I told him that we did not want to have anything to do with them, and that we repudiated them. He said he was exactly of the same opinion, but I should be very careful not to provoke the SD or treat them badly. What the experiments were about I do not know, neither do I know what was done to the people; I do not know it even now.
DR. STAHMER: Did the Reich Marshal know?
MILCH: No, certainly not.
DR. STAHMER: Did Dr. Rascher leave you soon after that to join the SS?
MILCH: I could not say. I do not know Dr. Rascher, and had nothing to do with the question of transfer. Rascher was not subordinate to me any more than was the chief of the medical department or the personnel office.
DR. STAHMER: Do you know whether Reich Marshal Göring gave orders to the troops under his command, saying that sabotage troops should be annihilated, or that captured enemy terror-fliers should be turned over to the SD without judicial procedure?
MILCH: No, I did not know anything about that.
DR. STAHMER: Did you never hear anything of that kind?
DR. STAHMER: What was the attitude of the Reich Marshal towards captured airmen in general?
MILCH: I sometimes used to speak to the Reich Marshal about that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I wish to interpose an objection. I think we have been very liberal. I think we have been very liberal in allowing all kinds of statements, but it does seem to me that this passes anything that is suitable as evidence. This witness has indicated that he has no knowledge of the subject; he did not know the orders which are in evidence, and he assumes to state the attitude of the Reich Marshal. I have no objection to his making any statement of any facts from which this Tribunal may be informed of the attitude of the Reich Marshal, but I think that for one witness to state the state of mind of another person without any facts whatever passes the bounds of what we can possibly let go here into evidence. It does not help to solve the problem and I respectfully object to the question and answer as not constituting credible and relevant evidence on any subject before the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, I think you should confine yourself to any facts and observations of the Defendant Göring. As the witness had just said that he never heard of any action against the terror-fliers at all, I do not see how he could give evidence as to the attitude of the Defendant Göring about it.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. President; I should like to formulate my question as follows: Did Reich Marshal Göring discuss with the witness as to how enemy airmen who had been shot down should be treated?
DR. STAHMER: That is, I suppose, a fact, is it not?
MILCH: This was not discussed with me.
DR. STAHMER: I have one more question. Did he speak to you about the fact that he was opposed to any cruelty in the treatment of the enemy?
MILCH: That was just what I wanted to say before. He said that to me before the war, remembering the first World War.
DR. STAHMER: And what did he say about it?
MILCH: That once they have been shot down, they are our comrades; that was the gist of it.
DR. STAHMER: I have no more questions to put to the witness. I place him at the disposal of the Defense or the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of you wish to ask this witness any questions?
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, as you know, the Prosecution have grouped together a certain circle of people consisting of the highest ranking military leaders in order to declare this circle criminal. You probably know this circle?
DR. LATERNSER: Was there such a grouping of equivalent offices within the German Armed Forces?
MILCH: I did not understand the question.
DR. LATERNSER: Was there ever a grouping of offices within the German Armed Forces like the one that has now been created in order to form that group?
MILCH: Yes. I believe that ever since an army existed there have also been high-ranking leaders who were grouped under their commander-in-chief.
DR. LATERNSER: Were the holders of these offices occupied with the elaboration of technical military problems on Hitler’s orders, or did they work out subjects on their own initiative which were submitted to Hitler for execution?
MILCH: No. The military leaders acted only upon the orders of their superiors, that is, the generals of the Air Force on the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, who got his orders from the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht—that was Hitler, and before him, Hindenburg.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether this alleged group of the General Staff and the OKW, as they are now combined, ever met collectively?
MILCH: Before the attack on Poland only the Army and Navy commanders who were assigned for action there were called together by Hitler. Likewise, those who were to go into action in the West in the spring of 1940 were called together by Hitler. The same thing happened again, as far as I know, before the attack on Russia.
DR. LATERNSER: Were you sometimes present at such conferences?
MILCH: At some of them, yes.
DR. LATERNSER: Could you describe the course of any such conference? Particularly I attach value to the point as to whether the higher military commanders had an opportunity to make counter-suggestions during these conferences?
MILCH: I remember the conference with Hitler which took place on the Obersalzberg before the Polish campaign. It was on 22 August. The commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the commanders of the armies attended. Hitler stood in front, behind a large desk, and the generals sat in chairs next to or behind each other. He made a speech giving the reasons, the political situation, as he usually did, and his intention. During this conference any reply or discussion on the part of the generals was impossible. Whether there was a subsequent conference dealing with the details I do not know. I know only of this speech of Hitler’s. Then, before the attack on Russia, there was a different procedure. We sat around a very large table, and the respective commanders of the army groups and armies had to demonstrate on the map their intentions and the methods of executing the orders which they had received, whereupon Hitler agreed in general or, perhaps, in certain cases, said he would prefer greater strength here and less strength there: his objections, however, were only very slight.
DR. LATERNSER: That means these conferences were more in the nature of a briefing?
MILCH: Definitely, briefing.
DR. LATERNSER: Can you tell me whether any member of the group “General Staff” or of the so-called group “General Staff and OKW” ever made suggestions to deviate from the international law then in force?
MILCH: Not that I know of.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know whether members of this alleged group frequently met with politicians or high Party members?
MILCH: In my opinion, no. I mean that, of course, for the majority of these gentlemen. It goes without saying that the commanders-in-chief of the Armed Forces, or the Chief of the OKW, must frequently have held conferences with politicians also. But the average commanders of the army groups, fleet, or army had no opportunity to do so.
DR. LATERNSER: Did the members of this so-called group, those who belonged to the Army, Navy, or Air Force, have discussions among themselves?
MILCH: If they were assigned to collaborate in a common task, for example, if the commander-in-chief of an army or an army group had a naval commander-in-chief working with him, there were naturally discussions of that kind. But with a neighboring commander-in-chief the relationship was certainly not close, and with a more remote neighbor it did not exist at all.
DR. LATERNSER: That means such discussions took place only with regard to the execution of a common task?
MILCH: Yes, for that purpose.
DR. LATERNSER: Within the Air Force, is it true that this circle of people included those officers who had held the position of Chief of Staff of the Air Force or commander of the Air Force or of an air fleet during a certain period? I have a list here of those generals of the Air Force who belonged to that group, and I should like to ask you, with regard to a few of them, what rank and position these generals had when the war started. What was the rank of General Korten at the outbreak of war?
MILCH: I believe either colonel or lieutenant colonel, but I am not quite sure.
DR. LATERNSER: Do you know what position he held?
MILCH: I believe he was Chief of Staff of the Munich Air Fleet.
DR. LATERNSER: Then, from August to October 1944 General Kreipe was Chief of Staff of the Air Force. What was this officer when the war started?
MILCH: I presume major or lieutenant colonel.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. Do you know what position he had?
MILCH: No, at the moment I could not say exactly. It may be that he was chief of staff of an air corps.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. And what rank did he have at the time as Chief of Staff of an air corps?
MILCH: From major to colonel; that depends.
DR. LATERNSER: General Koller also was Chief of Staff of the Air Force for a short time. What was this officer when the war started?
MILCH: I believe lieutenant colonel.
DR. LATERNSER: Then I have only a few more names. Do you know what rank and position Dessloch had at the outbreak of war?
MILCH: I do not remember exactly; perhaps major general or colonel. I do not know exactly.
DR. LATERNSER: And General Pflugbeil?
MILCH: The same.
DR. LATERNSER: General Seidel?
MILCH: Seidel, I believe, was already Major General at the outbreak of war.
DR. LATERNSER: And what position did he have at that time?
MILCH: He was Quartermaster General in the General Staff.
DR. LATERNSER: What rank did that position have compared with commander, commander-in-chief, divisional commander. . . ?
MILCH: Corps commander is about the same as a quartermaster general.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. I have a few more questions concerning the Air Force itself and the highest military leaders. From your testimony it is to be concluded that in 1939 the Air Force was not fully prepared for war. As to this point, could you state the reasons for this unpreparedness of the Air Force for war?
MILCH: During the few years between 1935 and 1939—I gave the figures for industry before—it would have been impossible for any soldier in any country to build an air force equal to the tasks with which we were faced from 1939 on. That is impossible. It is not possible to create the units nor to establish the schools and furnish them with adequate teaching staffs; nor is it possible to develop the planes which are necessary, and then to build them by mass production. Nor is it possible in that short period to train or produce air crews sufficiently qualified to meet the high technical standards necessarily demanded for modern aircraft. Likewise, it is impossible in such a short time to produce ground crews which are technically highly qualified and to put them at the disposal of the Air Force and also of the aviation industry. At the same time also. . . .
THE PRESIDENT: He said that it is impossible. It should not be necessary to go into this detail on this subject.
DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few more specific questions.
[Turning to the witness.] Did the Air Force expect resistance against the invasion of Austria?
MILCH: No. We knew definitely that there would be no resistance. We did not take any arms with us.
DR. LATERNSER: How was the reception there?
MILCH: So friendly that it could not be more so in our own country.
DR. LATERNSER: Were you, as Field Marshal, informed in advance that war was to be declared against the United States?
DR. LATERNSER: In this Trial there are serious accusations against German soldiers and their leaders on account of cruelties committed. Was not every soldier sufficiently informed and instructed about the regulations of international law?
MILCH: Yes. Each soldier had a pay book. On the first page of the pay book were pasted ten commandments for the soldier. They included all these questions.
DR. LATERNSER: Can you give me examples of points contained in this memorandum?
MILCH: Yes. For instance, that no soldier—no prisoner, should be shot; that looting was not permitted. By the way, I have my pay book here. Treatment of prisoners of war; Red Cross; civilian population inviolable; attitude of soldier when himself prisoner of war and, in conclusion, the threat of punishment for offenses.
DR. LATERNSER: If it became known that soldiers had committed offenses or outrages against the civilian population, did the commanders concerned, so far as you know, interfere with the severity necessary?
MILCH: I know of some cases, I knew of some cases, where that was definitely the case, even the death penalty being imposed.
DR. LATERNSER: So the commanders always strove under all circumstances to maintain the discipline of the troops?
MILCH: Yes. I can give a notable example. A general of the Air Force had appropriated jewelry which belonged to a foreign lady. He was sentenced to death and executed. I think it was in 1943 or 1944.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, in particular during the critical days of 1939 you were in close official contact with Defendant Göring. Did you ever hear through him about a large-scale plan for waging an extensive war?
DR. LATERNSER: In your opinion, did the other high military leaders hear or would they have heard more about it?
MILCH: No. All measures taken by Hitler—beginning with the occupation of the Rhineland—came very suddenly, as a rule after only a few hours’ preparation. That applies to Austria; that also applies to Czechoslovakia and to Prague. The only time that we were told anything beforehand was the affair with Poland, which I mentioned before, where we had a conference on 23 May.
DR. LATERNSER: In all other cases, therefore, it was rather a surprise to the high military leaders?
MILCH: Yes, a complete surprise.
DR. LATERNSER: Now I have one more question: What was the possibility of resignation for high military leaders during the war?
MILCH: That has been told several times. I have also experienced it myself—one was not permitted to hand in one’s resignation. It was said if there was a reason for anyone to leave, he would be informed by his superiors. In an authoritarian state the subordinate, the citizen has no right to resign on his own initiative, whether he be a soldier or a civilian.
DR. LATERNSER: I have no more questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until Monday morning.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 11 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]
Monday, 11 March 1946
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, had you finished your examination?
DR. LATERNSER: I have only a few more questions to ask the witness.
[The witness Milch resumed the stand.]
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, I should like to refer again, very briefly, to the extent of the unpreparedness of the Luftwaffe for war in 1939. While on this subject I should like to ask whether the collaboration of the Luftwaffe with the OKW, the Army, and the Navy had been secured in 1939?
MILCH: In my opinion, the Luftwaffe was not prepared for a major war in 1939. No mutual agreements of any kind existed with the other branches of the Armed Forces. At any rate, I knew of no such agreements.
DR. LATERNSER: Had such agreements with other branches of the Armed Forces existed, would you have known about them?
MILCH: I imagine so, since at that time I certainly would have been involved in these matters.
DR. LATERNSER: What was the co-ordination like between the more important departments of the Luftwaffe?
MILCH: From 1937, it was rather loose. The General Staff, the technical branch and the personnel office were detached; they worked independently and more or less on their own.
DR. LATERNSER: Witness, you have just mentioned the General Staff. What do you understand by the German “General Staff of the Luftwaffe”?
MILCH: General Staff means in German leaders’ assistants; in other words, junior officers who had been given specialized training, and who acted as assistants to troop commanders, from divisional commanders upwards.
DR. LATERNSER: Of whom did the General Staff of the Luftwaffe consist?
MILCH: It consisted of the officers in the administrative sections of the General Staff, from the Chief of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe himself downwards, and also of officers who had been assigned as staff officers to divisions and corps in the field and to air fleets.
DR. LATERNSER: What time limits were set for the formation of new units of the Luftwaffe?
MILCH: The formation of larger units had not yet been ordered, although they had been discussed quite a long time before the outbreak of war. It was intended to create a larger Air Force later, but, as far as I can remember, the plans envisaged were scheduled for completion in 6 or 8 years.
DR. LATERNSER: In what year would the plans have been completed?
MILCH: I should think about 1944-1946.
THE PRESIDENT: Not only is there some technical fault—we are getting two translations at once—but both the witness and the defense counsel are going too fast.
DR. LATERNSER: Did an organization exist already in 1939 for day- and night-fighter planes?
MILCH: No, it did not exist at that time.
DR. LATERNSER: Did an organization exist for bomb warfare?
MILCH: Not to the extent necessary for a war of aggression.
DR. LATERNSER: What progress had been made at that time in the building of airfields?
MILCH: Airfields had been built with runways up to 1,000 meters, but these were only suitable for fighter planes and not for loaded heavier bombers.
DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Luftwaffe Signal Corps network?
MILCH: The operational network, that is, the cable network for operations, did not exist at that time; it had to be improvised and built up later on during the war.
DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Aircraft Observer Corps?
MILCH: This also had not yet been organized. Reverting to the question of bombers, the most I can add is that originally, in the early years, models of 4-engine bombers, which would also have been suitable for night use, were put into production. Although technically perfect, these bombers were abandoned—I believe in 1937. It was thought that the big expense entailed by such heavy bombers should be avoided, since, at that time, nobody was thinking of war. This was at the time when Field Marshal Kesselring was Chief of the General Staff, and the question was submitted for decision to the Reich Marshal, who agreed to the discontinuance of these large bombers.
DR. LATERNSER: When was that?
MILCH: One moment, I will just look it up. On 29 April 1937 the Reich Marshal, acting on the recommendations of the Chief of the General Staff, stopped the production of these long-distance bombers. Therefore, in 1939, there were no night bombers which could in any way compare with English machines of the Lancaster type, et cetera.
DR. LATERNSER: What was the position of the Luftwaffe crews?
MILCH: We had just sufficient personnel replacements for a comparatively small Luftwaffe at that time. The lack of personnel replacement was the greatest handicap of all in building up the Luftwaffe. The whole question of time limits, and so on, depended on the training of personnel. It was the personnel question which regulated the pace. It was possible to build planes more rapidly, but it was not possible to expedite the training of the crews. And, as I said on Friday, this was the main consideration when dealing with the question of time limits. Pilots and technical personnel are of no use unless thoroughly trained. It is much worse to have half-trained personnel than no personnel at all.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, I do not want to interrupt your cross-examination but we have been sitting here for nearly 20 minutes now, and all I have got from it is that the Luftwaffe was not ready for war in 1939. It seems to me too much is being taken up with detail.
DR. LATERNSER: I have one more question on this matter. Were there any reserves of aluminum, magnesium, and rubber; and did any means exist for producing these materials?
MILCH: Not in sufficient quantities.
DR. LATERNSER: And now—one last question. Witness, during your testimony on Friday, you mentioned “Basic Order Number 1.” You also gave us the contents of this order. In this connection I would like to ask: Was this order strictly observed, or not?
MILCH: Yes, very strictly.
DR. LATERNSER: I have no further questions to ask the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other of the defendants’ counsel want to ask the witness any questions?
DR. HANS FLÄCHSNER (Counsel for Defendant Speer): I request permission to ask the witness a few questions.
[Turning to the witness.] Witness, do you remember when Hitler demanded the construction of bomb-proof aircraft factories in caves or concrete shelters?
MILCH: As far as I remember it was when the British started the heavy raids in 1943.
DR. FLÄCHSNER; Do you remember a conference on the Obersalzberg at the beginning of April 1944, and what you told Hitler at the time about the difficulties in the building industry, and the orders issued by Hitler on that occasion?
MILCH: Yes. On that occasion Hitler ordered very solid structures to be built. I believe he demanded six large bomb-proof factories, each with 600,000 square meters floor space. Later on, Speer, who had been absent from the April meeting through illness, raised objections to these orders. He considered this construction work to be on far too large a scale and that it was too late to undertake it. Later he obtained permission for all factories which by June 1944 were not in a sufficiently advanced stage of construction—that is, which could not start working by the beginning of 1945—to be discontinued immediately.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: I am above all interested in the question of labor. At this discussion on the Obersalzberg, did the Führer allocate the requisite labor for the construction of the factories demanded by him?
MILCH: Yes. I think I remember rightly that, in answer to the objection raised by one of the gentlemen present, he said that he himself would see that the labor was made available.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you said that Herr Speer was opposed to these constructions. What happened then? Speer was not present at that meeting?
MILCH: No, he was ill at the time.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Can you tell us briefly what happened?
MILCH: During Speer’s illness, requests reached the Führer from other quarters that Speer should be relieved of construction work. Difficulties arose owing to the fact that whereas in theory Speer still remained in charge of building, in practice the work was nearly all taken out of his hands. He was no longer able to have any say in construction work, since it had been decided that the construction department of the Todt Organization should receive orders direct from Hitler. Thus, Speer was excluded more and more from this sphere of activity. A great deal was said at that time about large-scale constructions, but very little work was actually done on them.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did Hitler give a written order to Herr Dorsch, and did he have it shown to Speer? Do you know anything about it?
MILCH: As far as I can remember, such a written order was given and it was also sent to Speer. I have a vague recollection that Speer once showed me such an order.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: One last question on this matter. In this way, Dorsch, who had been directly commissioned by the Führer, took over the responsibility for these buildings and the necessary manpower?
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you were a member of the Central Planning Board. Can you tell me if the Central Planning Board was authorized to make decisions on the use of foreign or German labor and its allocation?
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did the Central Planning Board ever make decisions of this kind?
MILCH: The Central Planning Board had been set up for the distribution of raw materials only; but a certain control over transportation devolved upon it. However, the matter of transportation was independent of any activity concerning allocation of raw material. It had no say in the allocation of labor. If the Central Planning Board attempted to obtain some influence as to the allocation of workers, it was because it was at the same time responsible for armaments, and therefore best able to judge the existing requirements. But here, too, considerable difficulties were encountered, and this branch of the Central Planning Board’s work had to be dropped.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: So no decision was ever reached? We have records before us which show that labor problems were sometimes discussed by the Central Planning Board.
MILCH: Yes, very frequently, as the armament offices which were represented on the Central Planning Board were greatly concerned with labor problems; but these discussions mostly concerned food supplies and extra rations for the workers.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: And now—one last question on the subject. Did the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor in any way look upon the Central Planning Board as authoritative, that is, as the final arbiter in the total plan for the utilization of manpower?
MILCH: No, he could not do that, as he himself represented that authority.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Were there any reserves of German workers in 1943 or 1944, and did Speer request the utilization of this German manpower instead of foreign labor?
MILCH: Yes, again and again Speer made strong representations that any German labor still available, even if difficult to mobilize, should be brought in and put to work. This reserve consisted mostly of female labor, women of professional circles and social stations who in wartime had nothing to do apart from domestic work.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, you have already told us that the Defendant Speer was a sick man in 1944. Could you tell us approximately when his illness began and when it ended?
MILCH: His illness started in February, and I think it lasted until about June.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you. Do you know anything about this long illness being exploited in order to undermine severely his influence and authority? Can you tell me who was primarily interested in doing that?
MILCH: His influence was undermined in the above-mentioned building projects. It is very difficult for me to name here the individuals who probably hoped to succeed him.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Did matters improve, or did they become worse after 20 July?
MILCH: Actually, as time went on they became worse. Speer’s position became more difficult than ever, as the whole of Speer’s views differed more and more from Hitler’s official opinion.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you. Now, may I remind you of something else? In February 1945, by a Hitler order, the Defendant Speer was entrusted with the distribution of motor vehicles; and you, if I am correctly informed, were appointed as his representative. Can you tell me what the transport situation was like at that time, and to what extent the armaments output depended on the transport situation?
MILCH: In those days, the transport situation was so deplorable, owing to the American daylight raids, that the transport system was no longer able to carry even the most essential commodities and armament materials. Our great forge, the Ruhr district, was particularly hard hit, as well as the transport system carrying products from the Ruhr to the finishing industries in Central Germany, Berlin, and Saxony. If very stringent measures had not been taken and extraordinary powers granted, total collapse, due solely to transport difficulties, would have become only a matter of hours. That was the situation at that time.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Could Speer, in his position, be expected to give preferential treatment to armaments when available transport was allocated? What did he actually do?
MILCH: No; Speer, like myself, saw quite clearly that the whole armament question could no longer influence the situation at that stage. Therefore, acting on his own initiative, he gave priority to the movement of food supplies for the population. The most urgent job was to remove the foodstuffs from the German territory in danger of being lost to the enemy.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Were these measures only taken to safeguard the current food supply, or were they long-term measures?
MILCH: The intention was to move all available and transportable food to a place of safety.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, motor transport was a particularly difficult problem at the time. Was the number of trucks and the quantity of fuel to drive them cut down when transport was allocated to the armaments industry; and what orders regarding trucks did Speer issue in mid-February? Do you know?
MILCH: I know that trucks were always in such short supply in the armament industry that not even essential orders could be filled. All kinds of alternative transport had to be found, such as electric trains, a great number of horse carts, and other vehicles. But, as far as my knowledge goes, here too, Speer used this means of transport for the benefit of the German population in order to maintain some sort of food distributing organization.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Fuel was, at that time, one of the most serious bottlenecks, was it not?
MILCH: It was, in fact, the most serious bottleneck of all.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, do you happen to know that after February 1945 Speer granted priority to repair work on nitrogen factories producing fertilizers for agriculture, which meant that repairs to fuel producing plants had to take second place?
MILCH: Yes, I do know, because Speer discussed with me in great detail the emergency measures to be taken, now that we were faced with imminent and inevitable collapse. He was of the opinion that first and foremost everything that was still possible should be done to help the German people to get through the very hard times which would follow the collapse. These first measures dealt with food supplies, salvage of food supplies, and transport for distribution.
Secondly, he sought to avoid the destruction of the German factories still in our possession, which was in direct opposition to Hitler’s “scorched earth” tactics.
Thirdly, he discussed the switch-over from war to peacetime production of such factories as might still be standing. First of all, he had in mind agricultural machinery and spare parts, and banked upon the assumption that, if once the orders were placed, they would be carried out in spite of the upheaval—for instance, even if some German factories passed into enemy hands, or when, the fighting having ceased, the government armament contracts would automatically fizzle out.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Witness, we have now connected up an entire series of questions and I am most grateful to you. I should, however, like to ask you one more question: Could you give us any further details about the prevention of destruction?
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Flächsner, will you explain to me why this evidence that you are calling now is relevant and to what charge it is relevant?
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Mr. President, the Defendant Speer is charged with participating in the conspiracy and in the common plan for waging aggressive warfare until 7 May 1945. If I can now prove that his activities, at least for some time before that date, were incompatible with such common plan, then this item of evidence would be relevant to the question whether this charge of the Indictment is justified or not.
THE PRESIDENT: All the evidence that you have been giving for the last 15 minutes was related to 1943 and 1944, and was related to conferences with reference to the erection of factories for the production of bombers and the fact that—as far as I have understood it—the fact that Speer was engaged more on attempting to feed the German people than on building armament factories. What that has to do with it, I have not any idea.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: The first point referred to Document 1584-PS, which the Prosecution submitted as incriminating my client. The document says that, at a conference on the Obersalzberg, the construction of certain factories was ordered, and that 100,000 Hungarian Jews were employed on this construction. The purpose of the interrogation of this witness was to establish that the Defendant Speer could not be held responsible for this construction, since Hitler had given the order for this work directly to somebody else, and to eliminate this particular point submitted by the Prosecution in support of their charge. That was the purpose of the first question. The purpose of the second question, concerning the avoidance of destruction and the safeguarding of agricultural produce and the food supply of the German people, is connected with the accusation of participating in a conspiracy for the execution of a common plan; whereas all the activities, just confirmed by the witness, were to serve an entirely different aim and had just the opposite effect to the common plan alleged by the Prosecution. They did not serve the war effort but were directed towards peacetime economy.
THE PRESIDENT: There is no charge against Speer on the ground that he attempted to feed the German people during the war. The Prosecution have not laid that against him as a charge.
DE. FLÄCHSNER: Mr. President, I never said that the Prosecution had raised this charge against him. There must have been a mistake in the transmission.
[Turning to the witness.] One last question, Witness. Can you tell us to what extent Speer informed the Führer at a later date of the results of the heavy air raids on Hamburg and on other cities?
MILCH: He gave the Führer the fullest information and repeatedly drew his attention to the difficulties.
DR. FLÄCHSNER: Thank you.
DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (Counsel for Defendant Sauckel): Witness, did the Central Planning Board also concern itself with labor problems?
DR. SERVATIUS: Were the manpower requirements established?
MILCH: They were established by the industries and reported through the labor exchanges. We also submitted figures on the shortages of manpower in the armament industry.
DR. SERVATIUS: May I interrupt you? What did you do, once the requirements were established? And what was the purpose of establishing them?
MILCH: They showed the shortages in manpower caused by the continual calling up of the workers for war service.
DR. SERVATIUS: Was this not done in order to bring in more workers?
MILCH: The request for more workers came from the factories. We supported the factories in their negotiations with Sauckel by telling him that such and such an industry had applied for so and so many workers. We also told him which of their figures were too high according to our calculations.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did the figures represent the total sum of the workers needed?
MILCH: No. It was a general figure according to the statistics supplied by Sauckel’s labor exchanges.
DR. SERVATIUS: Who fixed the requirements, Sauckel or the applicants for labor?
MILCH: The factories did.
DR. SERVATIUS: What was the Central Planning Board’s task in connection with labor problems?
MILCH: The Central Planning Board dealt with the distribution of raw materials. It also had to see that raw materials were made available . . .
DR. SERVATIUS: My question concerns the workers and not raw materials.
MILCH: Please wait until I have finished what I want to say. You will then understand what I mean. The raw materials had to be produced and their production called for workers. For instance, in the mining industry and the aluminum factories . . .
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, may I interrupt you? It is clear that workers are essential for production; but what I want to know is who made the request for labor, and who finally decided as to the numbers of workers required?
MILCH: The factories made the request and Sauckel decided on the figures. He placed at their disposal as many workers as he could get, but the numbers were always below the figure requested.
DR. SERVATIUS: In this connection did he have a free hand, or did the Führer make the decisions?
MILCH: As far as I know, the Führer intervened very frequently and Sauckel was often summoned to confer with Hitler.
DR. SERVATIUS: Were there not discussions at the Führer’s headquarters on all essential programs, especially those involving manpower?
MILCH: No, not all programs; but occasionally these matters were discussed. However, the discussions with the Führer about labor problems were mostly very brief. He did not wish to discuss the wider issues of this matter.
DR. SERVATIUS: What had the Four Year Plan to do with the matter?
MILCH: The Four Year Plan, as far as I know, also dealt with these problems. But I rather think that in this respect it served as an auxiliary organization for Hitler, who did not wish to discuss these matters in detail.
DR. SERVATIUS: Do you know that according to decrees Sauckel had to subordinate himself to the Four Year Plan, that is, to Göring, and that he had to receive orders from him?
MILCH: I do not exactly know how matters stood.
DR. SERVATIUS: One more question. How did the workers, the foreign workers, behave? Were they willing and hard working?
MILCH: The majority were excellent workers.
DR. SERVATIUS: How do you account for that?
MILCH: In the first years these workers were pleased to be able to get work and food. We treated them well, as far as I can judge, and their rations were larger than those of the German population. They received extra rations on the same scale as the German workers for heavy and very heavy physical work, also for overtime. The French and Russian workers worked exceptionally well. I occasionally heard complaints about the Dutch workers.
DR. SERVATIUS: Are you familiar with Sauckel’s regulations concerning the welfare of the foreign workers?
MILCH: I remember that on one occasion Sauckel spoke to us on this subject at the headquarters of the Central Planning Board.
DR. SERVATIUS: Did he show a humane or a severe attitude?
MILCH: His intentions were entirely humane. Sauckel had been set a very difficult task by Hitler. As far as I know, he had been a workingman himself and, as a seaman, had worked very hard in his time; consequently, he was kindly disposed towards workers.
DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions to ask the witness.
PROFESSOR DR. HERMANN JAHRREISS (Counsel for Defendant Jodl): Witness, did you take part in the 1937 Wehrmacht maneuvers?
MILCH: In Mecklenburg, I believe.
DR. JAHRREISS: Yes, that is so. Do you remember if any foreign officers were present as guests?
MILCH: Yes. I know that a large British military mission was present and a general, who later was appointed Governor of Gibraltar.
DR. JAHRREISS: General Ironside?
MILCH: Yes, Ironside. I spoke to him personally and also welcomed some of the gentlemen of his staff. There were also Italian officers and officers from many other countries; at the moment I cannot say exactly what countries—I have forgotten.
DR. JAHRREISS: Was there by any chance a French military mission as well?
MILCH: I think, so, but I cannot say for certain—I cannot remember so far back. But I did speak to General Ironside.
DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, do you know if at that time these foreign officers were also shown the most up-to-date German armament equipment?
DR. JAHRREISS: Was all the equipment demonstrated in action?
MILCH: Everything was demonstrated in action, with the exception of a new plane not yet in use; but even this was shown.
DR. JAHRREISS: Do you know if we, that is, Germany, also allowed foreign powers to inspect our air raid precautions equipment?
MILCH: Yes, on many occasions. A Mr. Fraser came to see me from England, together with Lord Trenchard. Mr. Fraser was interested in air raid precautions equipment, and was immediately shown the latest developments.
DR. JAHRREISS: When was that, please?
MILCH: I think it was in 1937 or 1938, but I will see if I can find the date. [Referring to his notes.] It was on 1 July 1937.
DR. JAHRREISS: Do you remember if anybody else came from England at a later date?
MILCH: It was later followed by a personal interchange between our services and the British. I myself, having brought them together, took no further part in the matter.
DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you. One more question. Do you remember the conflict which arose over the reoccupation of the Rhineland?
DR. JAHRREISS: You also know how great was the excitement it caused.
DR. JAHRREISS: Did the Luftwaffe also take part in the reoccupation of the Rhineland—to be precise, on the left bank of the Rhine?
MILCH: I cannot, at the moment, answer this question. The reoccupation of the Rhineland was so sudden that I was taken unawares while on leave. When I returned, the occupation was well under way. I know that Düsseldorf had been occupied and that the Luftwaffe had taken part. I myself went there a few days later.
DR. JAHRREISS: But that is on the right bank of the Rhine?
MILCH: That is on the right bank.
DR. JAHRREISS: Then you know nothing about the left bank of the Rhine?
MILCH: No, I cannot say anything about it at the moment. I do not believe there was an airfield there; anyhow, I cannot remember exactly.
DR. JAHRREISS: You say that the reoccupation of the Rhineland was very sudden. But had nothing been arranged beforehand by the Luftwaffe to provide for such an event?
MILCH: The decision was made when I was on leave and everything we had was naturally used for this purpose, but we did not have very much.
DR. JAHRREISS: Quite so, but let us get it quite clear. Was the Luftwaffe told to be ready for the first time while you were on leave?
MILCH: Yes, definitely; otherwise I would not have gone on leave.
DR. JAHRREISS: What was the earliest date on which the Luftwaffe was given the alert before the reoccupation?
MILCH: It might have been a matter of 14, 15, or 16 days. That would be the maximum.
DR. JAHRREISS: Witness, on Friday you made a statement about the part played by the Luftwaffe in the military operations for the completion of the Anschluss policy in March 1938. On what day did the preparations begin?
MILCH: The preparations began less than 48 hours beforehand. That I know exactly.
DR. JAHRREISS: And when did you first learn that military preparations were to be made for the solution of this problem?
MILCH: About 36 hours before the march into Austria.
DR. JAHRREISS: Thank you.
DR. KURT KAUFFMANN (Counsel for Defendant Kaltenbrunner): Witness, am I right in assuming that you were never in a position to issue orders to, that is, never had anything to do officially with either the Gestapo or with the concentration camps?
MILCH: No, I never had anything to do with them.
DR. KAUFFMANN: When did you first hear of the establishment of these camps?
MILCH: Through the general announcements in 1933 that concentration camps, or rather that one concentration camp had been established.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you, during the years which followed, receive more detailed information concerning further establishments of this kind?
MILCH: Until the war ended I had heard of Dachau and Oranienburg only. I knew nothing at all about any other concentration camps. At my own request and in the company of some high-ranking officers of the Luftwaffe, I inspected Dachau in 1935. I saw no other concentration camps, nor did I know anything about what happened in them.
DR. KAUFFMANN: During your inspection, what impression did you get of the establishment itself and the treatment of the internees, et cetera?
MILCH: At that time there was so much talk about these camps, also in Germany in our officers’ circles, that I decided to judge for myself. Himmler gave his immediate consent to my request. At that time, I believe, Dachau was the only concentration camp in existence. There I found a very mixed assortment of inmates. One group consisted of major criminals, all habitual offenders; other groups consisted of people who repeatedly committed the same offense which were not crimes, but only offenses. There was another group of persons who had participated in the Röhm Putsch. One of the men I recognized as having seen before. He had been a high-ranking SA leader and was now an internee. The camp, run on military lines, was clean and properly organized. They had their own slaughterhouse and their own bakery. We insisted on having the food of the internees served to us. The food was good and one of the camp leaders explained that they fed the inmates very well as they were engaged on heavy work. All the inmates whom we approached explained the reason for their internment. For instance, one man told us that he had committed forgery 20 times; another, that he had committed assault and other offenses 18 times. There were many cases of this kind. I cannot, of course, say if we were shown everything in this large establishment.
DR. KAUFFMANN: You have just mentioned that the question had been discussed in military circles, among the officers. Later, when you returned, did you convey your impressions of Dachau to anyone?
MILCH: I scarcely mentioned them to anybody, only if my more intimate comrades broached the subject. As I have said before, I did not go alone; there were several other gentlemen with me and, no doubt, they too must have had occasion to discuss this subject in smaller circles.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Unheard of acts of cruelty were perpetrated in the concentration camps. Did you come to hear of them and, if so, when did you first hear of them?
MILCH: On the day on which I was captured it was revealed to me for the first time when internees from an auxiliary camp in the vicinity were led past the place where I was captured. This was the first time I saw it for myself. The rest I learned in captivity from the various documents which we were shown.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Then it was completely unknown to you that more than 200 concentration camps existed in Germany and in the occupied territories.
MILCH: It was completely unknown to me. I have already mentioned the two camps whose existence was known to me.
DR. KAUFFMANN: It could be held against you that it must have been impossible not to know of these facts. Can you explain to us why it was not possible for you to obtain better information regarding existing conditions?
MILCH: Because the people who knew about these conditions did not talk about them, and presumably were not allowed to talk about them. I understand this to be so from a document in the Indictment against the General Staff, in which Himmler—also erroneously considered as one of the high-ranking military leaders—had issued an order to this effect. This document dealt with some conference or other of high-ranking police leaders under Himmler, in 1943, I believe.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I right in saying that any attempt to disclose conditions prevalent in the concentration camps was impossible unless the person in question was ready to risk his life?
MILCH: In the first place the large number of concentration camps was unknown to everybody, as it was unknown to me. Secondly, nobody knew what went on there. This knowledge was apparently confined to a very small circle of people who were in [on] the secret. Further, the SD was very much feared by the entire population, not only by the lower classes. If anybody tried to gain access to these secrets he did so at the peril of his life. And again, how could the Germans know anything about these things, since they never saw them or heard about them? Nothing was said about them in the German press, no announcements were made on the German radio, and those who listened to foreign broadcasts exposed themselves to the heaviest penalties, generally it meant death. You could never be alone. You could depend upon it that if you yourself contravened that law, others would overhear and then denounce you. I know that in Germany a large number of people were condemned to death for listening to foreign broadcasts.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Did it ever come to your knowledge that there had been mass deportations of Jews to the Eastern territories? When did you first hear about it?
MILCH: I cannot give the exact date. Once, in some way or other, I can no longer remember how, the information did reach me that Jews had been settled in special ghetto towns in the East. I think it must have been in 1944 or thereabout, but I cannot guarantee that this date is exact.
DR. KAUFFMANN: You have just mentioned ghettos. Did you know that these mass deportations were, in effect, a preliminary step to mass extermination?
MILCH: No, we were never told.
DR. KAUFFMANN: May I ask you further if, in this connection, you had any idea about the existence of the Auschwitz extermination camp?
MILCH: No. I first heard of the name much later. I read it in the press after I was captured.
DR. KAUFFMANN: So-called Einsatzkommandos were employed in the East, where they carried out large-scale exterminations, also of Jews. Did you know that these Einsatzkommandos had been created by order of Adolf Hitler?
MILCH: No. The first I heard of these Einsatzkommandos was here in prison in Nuremberg.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Did you know that a special campaign was launched for the extermination of Jewish citizens in the southeastern provinces of the Reich, which, according to the statement of the leader concerned, named Eichmann, caused the death of from 4 to 5 million Jews?
MILCH: No, I know nothing at all about it. This is the first time I have heard the name Eichmann mentioned.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I correct in stating that in Germany, under the regime of an absolute leader, any opposition to a supreme order would most probably have meant death?
MILCH: That has been proved in many hundreds of cases.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Am I also correct in stating that the peril would have been equally deadly even if the order had been opposed on legal and moral grounds?
MILCH: I believe that here, too, one would have had to be prepared to pay the penalty, and not only one’s own, but the family’s as well.
DR. KAUFFMANN: Thank you. I have no more questions to ask.
DR. WALTER SIEMERS (Counsel for Defendant Raeder): Witness, I have only a short question to ask you. You told us, on Saturday or on Friday, that in 1937 you had discussions with an English mission. This mission was headed by Air Vice Marshal Courtney. I should like to know from you if, in the course of these discussions, it was agreed that the competent German and British authorities should exchange information concerning the establishment plans for their respective Air Forces?
MILCH: Your surmise is correct.
DR. SIEMERS: How was the agreement made?
MILCH: The agreement was drawn up in writing.
DR. SIEMERS: Had the British and German Air Forces establishment plans for each year?
MILCH: No. The plans covered several years.
DR. SIEMERS: How many years ahead were covered by the 1937 plan?
MILCH: I cannot tell you from memory. At that time it may possibly have covered 2 or 3 years.
DR. SIEMERS: That would have been from 1938 till 1940?
MILCH: Possibly 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940. I cannot say for certain. I have forgotten.
DR. SIEMERS: Had this plan a technical name? Was it called “Establishment Plan,” or did it have some other name?
MILCH: I cannot remember now. We generally referred to it as the projected establishment plan.
DR. SIEMERS: On the English side, were the plans also drawn up to cover a definite period—say 3 years?
MILCH: I believe the periods covered were very much the same. The system was more or less the same.
DR. SIEMERS: I thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution now wish to cross-examine? Mr. Justice Jackson, I am sorry to have called you up. Perhaps it would be convenient to adjourn for 10 minutes now.
[A recess was taken.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Witness, you are a prisoner of war of the United States at the present time?
MILCH: No, I am not a prisoner of war of the United States. I was an English prisoner of war, and since I have been here I have been declared an internee. I do not know what that means. At any rate, it is not correct to apply it to a prisoner-of-war officer taken by the enemy during action before the end of hostilities.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have been allowed to confer with counsel both while this Trial was in progress and . . .
MILCH: I have been able to confer with some of the Counsel for the Defense, not with all of them. I assume that the other Defense Counsel did not desire it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you will save a great deal of time if you will answer my questions as briefly as possible and with “yes” or “no” where possible. You have been allowed to prepare, keep, and bring to the Court notes after your consultations with counsel?
MILCH: The notes which I had with me were made by me before I conferred with defendants’ counsel.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have made none of the notes since your consultations with counsel?
MILCH: I made one note for myself about one consultation. It was merely about a date which had been mentioned to me and which otherwise I could not have remembered.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you occupied a very high position in the German Air Force?
MILCH: I was Inspector General.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You frequently attended conferences on behalf of Göring?
MILCH: On behalf of Göring, very rarely.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You deny that you attended conferences on behalf of Göring frequently?
MILCH: No. I do not deny it at all, but I was called upon to attend some of these conferences by virtue of my own office. I rarely had occasion to represent Göring as he usually attended these conferences himself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You had a very large part in building up the Luftwaffe, did you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were honored for that, were you not, in 1941, by the Hitler regime?
MILCH: 1941—no; I believe, Mr. Justice Jackson, you mean 1940.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 1940—well, perhaps I am wrong.
MILCH: You mean the promotion to Field Marshal, don’t you?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was your promotion to Field Marshal?
MILCH: On 19 July 1940.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you not receive a gift from the Hitler regime in recognition of your services?
MILCH: In 1942, on the occasion of my fiftieth birthday, I received a recognition.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the recognition was in the form of cash, wasn’t it?
MILCH: Yes, it was a cash recognition, with which I could buy myself an estate.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what did it consist of?
MILCH: The sum amounted to 250,000 marks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And now you come here to testify, as I understand your testimony, that the regime of which you were a part put Germany into a war for which it was in no way prepared. Do I understand you correctly?
MILCH: It is correct insofar as Germany in 1939 entered into a war for which she was not prepared as far as the Air Force was concerned.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did the head of the Air Force ever give any warning of that fact to the German people?
MILCH: That I am unable to say. I do not believe he could do that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not know that he ever did do it, do you?
MILCH: I cannot remember that he ever gave such a warning to the people publicly. I assume that the warning was given to his superior military officer.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what officer would be above him?
MILCH: That would be the Führer, Adolf Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Führer, yes.
MILCH: As a soldier, the Reich Marshal could not address himself to the public.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, can you point to any time at any meeting of the High Command, or at any other meeting that the Führer called, when Reich Marshal Göring, in the presence of any of these people, raised the question that Germany was not prepared for war?
MILCH: I cannot remember such a conference, because such conferences were held only between the two people concerned. The Reich Marshal never strongly opposed the Führer in public, or before any large group of his officers, because Hitler would not have tolerated such opposition.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you know of any occasion when any one of the defendants in the box ever took a public position against going to war?
MILCH: Publicly, no; I cannot remember any occasion. But I rather think that also to the gentlemen who now stand accused the whole question of the war came as a great surprise.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You would like to believe that?
MILCH: I do believe it, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do believe it. How long did it take the German Armed Forces to conquer Poland?
MILCH: To conquer Poland—18 days, I believe.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Eighteen days. How long did it take to drive England off the Continent, including the disaster of Dunkirk?
MILCH: I believe 6 weeks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did it take to overrun Holland and Belgium?
MILCH: A few days.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long did it take to overrun France and take Paris?
MILCH: Two months in all.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And how long did it take to overrun Denmark and take possession of Norway?
MILCH: Also a short time. Denmark took a very short time, because Denmark gave in immediately, and Norway gave in in a few weeks.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you testify, and you want this Tribunal to understand you, as an officer, as saying that there was no preparation known to the officers in advance of those movements? Is that your testimony as an officer?
MILCH: Pardon me, I did not understand you just now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified that those were all surprise movements to the officers of the Luftwaffe. You were surprised at every one of them, you said.
MILCH: I said, surprised by the outbreak of war, because at first it was a question of Poland only. The other actions came very much later and there was more time to prepare for this war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well now, relative to Poland, you do not deny that Germany was well prepared for a war with Poland, or do you?
MILCH: The might of Germany, as compared with Poland, was powerful enough. What I meant to imply when speaking of preparedness for war in my testimony, was a degree of preparedness for entering a world war. For that Germany was not prepared in 1939.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But she was prepared for the campaign that she initiated, was she not?
MILCH: I would not say that; I would say that of course she had armaments, in the same way as every other nation with armed forces. Our armed forces were made ready against Poland and, to our own surprise, proved sufficiently powerful to crush Poland in a very short time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Would you question or deny that, relative to the other powers on the Continent of Europe, Germany was the best prepared for war on the first day of September 1939?
MILCH: I believe that, taking it all round, the British Air Force at that time was stronger than the German.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I asked you in reference to the Continental powers. Do you question that Germany was far better prepared for war than any of her immediate neighbors?
MILCH: I am convinced that France and Poland, according to their respective strength, were just as well prepared for war as Germany. They had the advantage of a longer time in which to arm, whereas Germany could only begin to arm 5 years before the outbreak of the war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first meet Hermann Göring?
MILCH: I believe in the year 1928.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What was he then? What position did he hold?
MILCH: He was then a member of the Reichstag.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what were you doing? What was your business?
MILCH: I was then Director of the German Lufthansa, a civil aviation concern.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you have some discussions with Hermann Göring at about that time as to the use of an Air Force if the Nazi Party came to power?
MILCH: At that very early time, no.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you first discuss that with Göring?
MILCH: I believe Göring spoke to me on this subject in 1932, when a plan was formed to take over the government in 1932. It was believed already at that time that the other parties would form a government together with the National Socialists. On that occasion, I think, Göring did speak of the possibility of Germany being freed from armament restrictions, given a government at the helm which included the National Socialists.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Following that you became a member of the Nazi Party, did you not?
MILCH: I joined the Party only after 1933. When I again became an officer my membership lapsed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You waited until after they had seized the power?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Do you recall a conversation that you had with Hermann Göring on the 28th of January 1933?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And where did that take place?
MILCH: In my own residence.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did he call upon you?
MILCH: I had guests in my house that evening, and he suddenly arrived because he wanted to talk to me very urgently.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And will you relate to the Tribunal the conversation that you had with Göring at that time?
MILCH: He told me that an agreement had now been reached with the other parties in question for the formation of a coalition government with the National Socialists. Reich President Von Hindenburg had agreed to the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in this government.
He asked me whether I would be ready to offer my collaboration in an Air Ministry to be set up. I proposed two other persons instead of myself, explaining that I did not wish to leave the Lufthansa. Göring rejected them and insisted that I place myself at his disposal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you agree to do so?
MILCH: I asked for his permission to think the matter over, and I made my consent dependent on whether Hitler would insist.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, what did Hitler do?
MILCH: I accepted on the 30th, after Hitler had told me once again that he considered my technical knowledge and ability in the field of aviation to be indispensable.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So, on the day that the Nazi Party came to power, you took over the task of building a Nazi air force, did you not?
MILCH: No, not an air force. The immediate problem was the linking up of all the various branches of aviation which existed at that time. For instance, there was one civil aviation transport company, or there might have been two. There were the aviation industries, the training schools for civilian pilots, the meteorological service, and I believe there were several research institutes. That, I think, covers the entire field of aviation of that time—but it had nothing to do with an air force.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Perhaps, I will say, you took over the task of making Germany predominant in the air?
MILCH: No, I cannot agree with that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Put it in your own way. Tell us what you did; what your object was in taking over this new task.
MILCH: My first task was to develop the various branches in order to build up a large air transport system.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You then made visits to France and England, and on your return reported to Hitler personally, did you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you returned from England, did you warn Hitler against the activities of Ribbentrop?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you tell Hitler about the activities of Ribbentrop in England?
MILCH: That I had gained the impression in England that Von Ribbentrop was not persona grata.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, when you were interrogated before, didn’t you state after your capture that you told Hitler that if he did not get rid of Ribbentrop soon he was going to have trouble with England? Is that not what you told Hitler in substance?
MILCH: I cannot now remember the exact words.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But is that not the sense of it?
MILCH: I was of the opinion that another man should be sent to England to bring about mutual understanding as to policy, in accordance with the wish so often expressed by Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Before you talked with Hitler about that, you had discussed it with Göring, had you not?
MILCH: With whom?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring.
MILCH: About the journey? Or about what?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: About Ribbentrop.
MILCH: No, I did not discuss him with the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There came a time when some engineers were sent to Russia, were they not, to inspect the air construction there, factories, facilities, and that sort of thing?
MILCH: Yes, that is correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This was a group of engineers, and you had something to do with sending them there, did you not?
MILCH: No, I had nothing to do with that group. At that time technical research was not under my control.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Under whose orders were they?
MILCH: Under General Udet, who, in turn, was under the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And when they came back, you learned that they had reported that Russia had greater capacity for building airplane engines than all six of the German factories, did you not?
MILCH: Yes, that is correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What order did Göring give about that information being made available even to the Führer?
MILCH: Göring did not believe the information at that time. I know that from the words of General Udet.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is it not a fact that you stated to the interrogators before that Göring called these experts defeatists, forbade them to repeat that information to anybody, and threatened them with the concentration camp if they repeated that information? Did you say that or didn’t you?
MILCH: I never said it in that form.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, use your own words and tell us just what Göring said on that subject.
MILCH: At a considerably later date, when the question of American armament figures came up, the Reich Marshal said to me, “Now, you too are going to turn defeatist and believe these large figures.” I told him then that I did indeed believe these figures; but that had nothing to do with the Russian matter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were those Russian figures ever reported to Hitler, to the Reichstag or in any way made public to the German people?
MILCH: The Russian figures? That I cannot say. I had nothing to do with the matter. The American figures were undoubtedly submitted to Hitler, but Hitler did not believe them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You testified on Friday, I believe, that you knew that the commencement of the war with Russia would mean the annihilation of Germany. I remind you of that, and that is correct, is it not?
MILCH: Not the destruction—the defeat. I think I said annihilation or defeat.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You went to Reich Marshal Göring to protest against the entrance into the Russian war, is that right?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did Göring agree with you that it would end in the defeat of Germany?
MILCH: No, he did not agree. He had to be extremely cautious in his statements in deference to his relations with Hitler. I told him the cause for Germany’s difficulties and he nodded. His words gave me the impression that he had already put the same arguments to Hitler, and that he had been unsuccessful.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In other words, he agreed with you that it would end with the defeat of Germany, but did not want it said to Hitler, is that right?
MILCH: No, I would not go as far as that. When I said that this meant the defeat of Germany, I was voicing the conclusion reached by me. He merely agreed that this war should be avoided at all costs and that it would prove a misfortune for Germany. That was the way he put it; he did not use the word “defeat” in this connection.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Was it mentioned by you?
MILCH: I mentioned that to open a second front against so strong an enemy would mean the defeat of Germany.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did he disagree with you about that? Did he take issue with you about that?
MILCH: No, he did not argue about it, he only declared himself opposed to taking on anything else, as he considered it impossible to do so; what we thought would not make the slightest difference and it would only give Hitler the impression that we in the Luftwaffe were defeatists.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you did not attempt any further to convey the information, from which you thought Germany would be defeated if she entered into war with Russia, to Hitler or to any other officer of the High Command?
MILCH: It was impossible for me to do so. I could not act against the order of my superior officer.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Of the Reich Marshal?
MILCH: Yes, of the Reich Marshal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, so far as you know, after his talk with you he never conveyed the information to Hitler that it was your opinion that the war would end in disaster?
MILCH: I had the impression that he had previously discussed the subject with Hitler but without any degree of success, because with Hitler that was impossible.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, but you had been abroad for Hitler and reported to him and he apparently had confidence in you, and I am asking you if Hermann Göring ever reported to Hitler that you, from your information, felt that it was a disaster to go into that war?
MILCH: My trips were not made at Hitler’s order. They were made in response to invitations from foreign governments to the Luftwaffe and at the order of the Reich Marshal. It was only because I was aware of the importance of these trips and because I incidentally heard political statements—in spite of my reluctance at the time, since they did not concern me as a soldier—that I thought it my duty to report personally to Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did Göring direct you to do that?
MILCH: To go to Hitler? Yes, Göring told Hitler about it and Hitler ordered me to report to him. I myself did not say, “I am now going to see Hitler,” but I received an order to that effect from Hitler himself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did not send you to Hitler until he knew what you were going to report?
MILCH: No, he himself had . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he did know?
MILCH: He himself had no cognizance of the subject. He had no time to receive me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Göring had no time to receive you?
MILCH: No. Göring at that time had many other matters on hand and he did not want to hear about these things.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So he left that to Hitler, who was not busy, I take it. Is that true?
MILCH: Hitler was interested in the matter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you told us in interrogations that Göring was not very industrious. Is that correct?
MILCH: I should be very reluctant to answer that question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Very well, I withdraw it. It was not a kindly question to begin with. When you found that Germany was going into a war which you, an informed officer, considered a disaster, did you resign?
MILCH: Resign? What from?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Resign your commission as an officer or take any other steps to protest?
MILCH: No, that was absolutely impossible. There was an order which ruled it impossible.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who gave that order?
MILCH: Hitler himself.
MR, JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you said you had experienced this yourself.
MILCH: Not only in my own case. The order applied generally.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said on Friday that you experienced it yourself, that you could not resign.
MILCH: No; one could not resign.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you try it at any time?
MILCH: I frequently applied for my discharge in peacetime. My resignation, however, was not accepted, the reason given being that I had no right to ask for it, but that I would be told by higher authorities when I had to go. During the war I never applied for my discharge, because as a soldier in wartime I could not apply for it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not have some talk with Göring at one time about retiring from your position, in which he not only forbade you to leave, but also told you there would be no use in feigning ill health?
MILCH: Yes. There was no possibility of giving this as the reason unless one was really ill. When retiring from a high position it had been customary in the past to plead ill health. Now this was no longer possible.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did suggest to you in that discussion one way out, did he not?
MILCH: No, he did not suggest a way out, but I did.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you suggest? What talk did you have about suicide? Did Göring tell you that the only way you could get out was to commit suicide?
MILCH: That would have been the only possible way out.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, did Göring tell you that?
MILCH: No, I said that; not he.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And he did not disagree with you, I take it.
MILCH: No. He did not care if I did or not.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you have the regulations with you, which you say were printed for the information of every soldier, about international law and regulations. You have them with you this morning?
MILCH: I have them with me; the regulations are contained in my service book, the same as for every soldier.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You gave us a little information about that, but I would like you to get that out and give us exactly the text of those instructions or regulations, which you say reflect international law as you understood it.
MILCH: Do you want me to read it out now? The quotation . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Not too fast.
“Ten Commandments for the Conduct of the German Soldier in War.
“1. The German soldier fights chivalrously for the victory of his people. Cruelty and needless destruction are unworthy of him.
“2. The fighter must wear a uniform, or else he must be provided with insignia visible from a good distance. Fighting in civilian clothes without such insignia is prohibited.
“3. No enemy once he has surrendered shall be killed, not even a partisan or a spy. The courts will administer the just punishment.
“4. Prisoners of war must not be maltreated or insulted. Weapons, plans and notes are to be taken from them. Apart from these, none of their possessions may be taken from them.
“5. Dum-dum bullets are prohibited. Bullets may not be transformed into dum-dum bullets.
“6. The Red Cross is inviolable. Wounded enemies must be treated humanely. Medical orderlies and chaplains must not be hindered in the performance of their medical and spiritual functions.
“7. The civilian population is inviolable. The soldier must not plunder or wantonly destroy. Historical monuments and buildings dedicated to religious service, art, science, or charity must be treated with special care. Personal services and services in kind shall only be required of the civilian population against compensation, and if ordered by the superior officer.
“8. Neutral territory must not be militarily involved by trespassing, by planes flying over it, or by gunfire.
“9. If a German soldier is captured, he must state his name and rank when questioned. Under no circumstances may he say to what unit he belongs, or speak about military, political, or economic conditions on the German side, neither may he allow himself to be induced to do so by threats or promises.
“10. Any contravention of these orders while on active service is punishable. Breaches by the enemy of the rules listed under 1 to 8 are to be reported. Reprisals are permissible only by order of the higher commanders.”
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now that, as you understand it, is the military law conforming with international law, which was promulgated for the governance of the troops in the field?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you understood, and it was generally understood in the German Army, that that was international law, was it not?
MILCH: Every soldier could not help knowing that these were the German regulations because they were pasted on the first sheet of the pay book, issued to every soldier, and which he had to carry on him. The common soldier, of course, did not know that they represented international law.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The higher commanders, like yourself did, didn’t they?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That represented your understanding and interpretation of your duties and obligations as honorable men in combat?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, did you participate in the activities of Hermann Göring in collecting the art treasures of France and other occupied territories?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you participate in the removal of the civilian population for forced labor?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know that was done, do you not?
MILCH: I did not know that the workers who came from foreign countries had been deported; we were told that they had been recruited on a voluntary basis. In the case of France, I know that up to a certain date the French had wanted to come, but after that date they no longer wanted to come, and that the French Government itself had issued directives to deal with this.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Aside from that, then, you did not know anything about involuntary or forced labor in Germany? Is that your testimony?
MILCH: No. I only knew that . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Tell us what you did know about it and what you did about it.
MILCH: I knew that those people had been recruited and that they had come voluntarily. I knew that many of them were very satisfied, but as time went on and the German military situation deteriorated, discontent began to set in among these foreign workers, although, according to the information which reached my ears, only a small group was affected. I would add that in a general way, we ascribed this ill feeling to the fact that the food for these people was not everything they could wish; consequently, sundry organizations, with Speer’s ministry at the head, made efforts to improve their living conditions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have not yet answered my question. Did you know that forced labor was being brought from occupied territories and compelled to work in German industry? Did you know it? Answer that “yes” or “no.”
MILCH: I knew that only in the end Frenchmen were forced by their own French Government to come.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that prisoners of war were forced to work in the airplane industry, and were actually forced to man guns? Did you know that?
MILCH: I did hear about it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you heard about it from your fellow officers, did you not?
MILCH: At the moment I cannot say from whom I heard it. I believe there was a group which I think was called “Volunteers.” As far as I know it was recruited on a voluntary basis from among those prisoners of war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And did you learn about—even if you did not participate in it—the plan for the collection of art treasures from the occupied countries?
MILCH: No. I knew nothing of this plan as it then existed. I first heard about it here in Nuremberg through some of the witnesses.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now I want to ask you some questions about certain exhibits; I refer to Document Number 343-PS, Exhibit USA-463. I will ask to have that exhibit shown to you.
[Document 343-PS was submitted to the witness.]
MILCH: These letters are signed by me and they are also written on my stationery. They must have been drafted by the Medical Inspection department. As I said a few days ago, I no longer remember the contents. I should only like to say that the answers were drafted in such a way as not to lead us, the Air Force, into any difficulties with Herr Himmler. For instance, I never read the statements made by Dr. Rascher and Dr. Romberg. They were read by the Medical Inspectorate. In this connection I acted, so to speak, as postman between the SS and our Medical Inspection department.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When you testified, on interrogation, you had no recollection of these letters; but on Friday you testified that you made some alterations in one of them before it went out. Do you want to tell us what that alteration was?
MILCH: Yes, some of these letters were submitted to me during my interrogation and it was then that I first remembered it. The changes which I made were merely a matter of courtesy in style, in view of Herr Himmler’s extreme susceptibility. I do not think that either of these two letters contains the alteration; that, I believe, was in another letter.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It was the other letter in which there was a change, Number 1607?
MILCH: I believe so, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, in your examination, your interrogation, you gave a reason why these were brought to you for signature instead of being signed by the bureau chiefs. Do you remember what that reason was?
MILCH: Yes. I had the impression that the Medical Inspector did not wish to address his refusal to Himmler because he was afraid; whereas Himmler had written to me because he always wrote only either to the Reich Marshal or to me, as he was unacquainted with the organization of the Luftwaffe in this particular sphere, for the Medical Inspector was not subordinate to me.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I understand from your interrogation that you gave as the reason why these letters were brought to you for signature, that your office was in fear of Himmler and did not want to take the responsibility of writing a letter to him, is that right?
MILCH: Not my office, but I think the Medical Inspection department did not wish to place themselves in an awkward position as concerns Himmler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I think you also said that the officials of that department were afraid of the SS.
MILCH: That is what I wished to express.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were they engaged in any illegal conduct or any activity against the government?
MILCH: I did not understand that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Were those people who were afraid . . .
MILCH: Who? The Medical Inspection department? No.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were responsible officials doing their duty, as far as you know, is that right?
MILCH: Yes, Mr. Justice; but one must bear in mind the things which had come to pass during the war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is exactly what I want you to think about and tell about. Why were these people, who were performing their duties in a government office, afraid of Himmler or afraid of the SS? Explain that situation to us.
MILCH: Not afraid of the SS as such, but of the secret police. It was not easy for any of us. We were all convinced that we were being constantly watched, no matter how high our rank. There was probably not a single person concerning whom a dossier was not kept, and many people were subsequently brought to trial as a result of these records. The ensuing difficulties did not affect only these people or other people or me personally; they included everybody right up to the Reich Marshal, who also was affected by them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: So you mean that from the Reich Marshal right down to the humblest citizen, there was fear of Heinrich Himmler and his organization?
MILCH: Well, the degree of fear may have varied. It was perhaps not so great among those in the highest and in the lowest positions. But things were far more difficult in the intermediate grades, since it was quite clear that the intermediate grades criticized everything that occurred and these criticisms were not tolerated by the authorities at the top.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I take it, from your testimony, that the reputation of the Gestapo was pretty well understood in Germany.
MILCH: Particularly so in the later war years. I could not say how far this feeling was justified, but at all events the feeling was there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I think you also testified that some high military authorities did resign. I call your attention to your testimony in your interrogation by us about Von Fritsch and Beck. They resigned, didn’t they?
MILCH: No, they did not resign. They were removed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: They were thrown out, is that it?
MILCH: Yes. They were told they were no longer needed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understood you to testify in your interrogation that even the generals did not dare utter an opinion after those two left.
MILCH: No, I never put it like that. I cannot remember what I said. I should be grateful if I could see the minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I have them. I will ask you if you were not asked these questions and gave these answers:
“Question: From your knowledge of discussions in army circles among the Air Force and the General Staff people whom you knew, could you form any opinion as to their attitude for the beginning of war? Would they share your view?”
The minutes show that you answered:
“All officers agreed with me unanimously. All the higher officers agreed with me. A long time ago, in 1937, I talked to Field Marshal Von Blomberg about the danger of a war because of the careless policy of our statesmen. At that time we feared that England or France would not tolerate that policy in the long run. On the 1st of November 1937, I had a long discussion with Von Blomberg about this matter, and he was of the same opinion.”
MILCH: Yes, I remember.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is true? You were then asked this question:
“Is it true that after General Fritsch and General Beck left their offices, the positions in the Army were subordinated to the political personalities?”
MILCH: No, they had always been subordinate. The Army was always changed in this respect. The head of the State was at the same time the Supreme Commander.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At the time you were interrogated, your answer was this:
“Yes, because Hitler took over personally the Supreme Command of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. That was the position that was held by Von Blomberg before. Blomberg was in a position to resist Hitler, and he had done so very often, and Hitler respected him and listened to his advice. Blomberg was the only elderly soldier who was clever enough to reconcile military and political questions. This resistance . . .”
MILCH: Yes, that was my conviction.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: [Continuing.] “. . .This resistance could not be kept up by the men around Hitler later on. They were too weak for that. That is probably why he chose them.”
Is that true?
MILCH: That is my opinion.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: [Continuing.] “Question: Did the generals with whom you associated not feel, even before 1939, that the course of action which was being taken by Hitler would be likely to result in a war?
“Answer: Those who were able to think in foreign political terms, yes; but they had to be very cautious about it, because they could not utter any opinion; they dared not utter any opinion.”
Is that right?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And of what were the high generals in command of the Army afraid, that they did not utter an opinion?
MILCH: The generals would not have had a chance to report anything to Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who would have done anything about it? There were many generals and only one Hitler. Who was going to carry out any orders against them?
MILCH: It was just not possible. Hitler was so powerful that he just turned down other people’s objections or else refused to listen to them at all.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Hitler had the SS, didn’t he, and Himmler and Kaltenbrunner?
MILCH: Yes, he had them as well. In addition he had the entire Wehrmacht who had sworn an oath of allegiance to him.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you said in your interrogation that after the 5th of March 1943, Hitler was no longer normal. Did you make that statement?
MILCH: I said that, in my opinion, the Hitler of the later years was not the Hitler of the early period from 1933 until the outbreak of war, and that after the campaign against France a change came over him. I formed this opinion, which was a purely private one, because what he did afterwards was diametrically opposed to what he had previously taught; and that I could not consider normal.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you want us to understand that Göring continued to act as second man in the Reich and to take the orders from an abnormal man from that period on? Is that your story?
MILCH: The abnormality was not such that one could say, “this man is out of his senses,” or, “this man is insane”; it would not have to reach that stage. It often happens that abnormalities are such that they escape both the public and the nearest associates. I believe that a doctor would be better able to give information on that subject. I talked to medical men about it at the time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And it was their opinion that he was abnormal?
MILCH: That there was a possibility of abnormality was admitted by a doctor whom I knew well, personally.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: A doctor of repute in Germany?
MILCH: No, he is not very well known. He never told anybody else. It would not have been wise to do so.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If he had, he would have been put in a concentration camp, I suppose?
MILCH: Or worse.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And if you had expressed your opinion that he was abnormal, you probably would have been put there also, would you not?
MILCH: I would have been shot immediately.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON; So you never dared to tell your superior, Göring, your opinion about Hitler?
MILCH: I only once had an opportunity of stating my views about the war to Hitler. That was the only time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You informed Göring of your opinion?
MILCH: I talked to Göring. What I have just mentioned was a conversation I had with Hitler.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you do not—I think you misunderstood me—you do not mean that you informed Hitler that you considered him abnormal; I am sure you do not mean that.
MILCH: No, I did not tell Göring that either.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is what I said. You knew, did you not, that Göring, who was your immediate superior, was issuing the anti-Jewish decrees of the Reich Government?
MILCH: No, I did not know that. As far as I know, they emanated from a different office, from . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Didn’t you know that the decrees which excluded Jews and half-Jews from holding posts were issued by Göring?
MILCH: No, I did not know that. As far as I know, these regulations emanated from the Ministry of the Interior, which also would have been the proper department to deal with them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: As a matter of fact, did you not have to take certain proceedings to avoid the effect of those decrees yourself?
MILCH: No. I know what you mean. That was a question that had been cleared long ago.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How long before that was it cleared?
MILCH: As far as I know, in 1933.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: 1933, just after the Nazis came to power?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And at that time Göring had you—we will have no misunderstanding about this—Göring made you what you call a full Aryan; was that it?
MILCH: I do not think he made me one; I was one.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, he had it established, let us say?
MILCH: He had helped me in clearing up this question, which was not clear.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is, your mother’s husband was a Jew; is that correct?
MILCH: It was not said so.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You had to demonstrate that none of your ancestry was Jewish; is that correct?
MILCH: Yes; everybody had to do that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And in your case that involved your father, your alleged father; is that correct?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you certainly were informed from the very beginning of the attitude of the Nazi Party to Jews, were you not?
MILCH: No, I was not informed. Everybody had to submit his papers, and the certificate of one of my grandparents could not be found.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you were never required to do that under the Weimar Republic?
MILCH: No, there was no such question at that time.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that this whole question was raised by the Nazi Party, of which you became a member in 1933; in other words at about the time this happened. Is that right?
MILCH: I had applied for membership earlier, before this question came up.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did you apply for membership?
MILCH: I do not know exactly—I think in March or April.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you had to clear up this question before you could become a member; wasn’t that the point?
MILCH: That had been cleared up in the meantime. I cannot say exactly when.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In 1933 you became aware of the concentration camp, the first one?
MILCH: Yes, I believe in 1933 there was a public announcement about it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And later, as I understand you, you heard so many rumors about concentration camps, that you thought the matter ought to be investigated; that you ought to go there and see?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When was it that these rumors became so persistent that you thought the matter should be investigated?
MILCH: That must have been at the end of 1934 and in the spring of 1935, because, if I remember correctly, I was in Dachau in the spring of 1935.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those rumors persisted throughout the entire period until the collapse of Germany, didn’t they?
MILCH: Those rumors which led me to ask to visit Dachau were really only current in the circle of the higher officers, who passed them on to me. I had little contact with other circles; I cannot say to what extent the thing was generally discussed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, among the higher officers with whom you associated, the rumor went about that these concentration camps were the scene of atrocities as early as 1935. I understood you to say that; am I correct?
MILCH: No, not exactly. I said there . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, now you tell us what it was that you went to investigate.
MILCH: I was quite unable to conduct any investigation; all I could do was to see for myself—in order to dispel the many rumors—whether it was true that many people were shut up there who should not have been there at all, innocent people who were brought there for political reasons only. At that time there was much talk about many members of the so-called “Reaction” having been sent there. Some officers were very concerned about this, and I told them that I would go and see for myself to try to gain a personal insight.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not need to go to Dachau to find that out, did you? You could have asked Göring; didn’t you know that?
MILCH: To go where?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever ask Göring who were these people who were sent there?
MILCH: No. I did not talk to Göring about that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not know that Göring publicly said that political enemies of the regime were going to be sent there; that was what they were founded for; did you know that?
MILCH: I cannot say I ever heard that that had actually been said, but that was what I surmised at the time, and I wanted to see for myself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you found nobody there except criminals?
MILCH: All that I was shown were people who had committed crimes or rather serious offenses. The only political prisoners I saw were people who had taken part in the Röhm Putsch. Whether there were others, I am unable to say, because I cannot swear that I saw the entire camp. But we saw all we asked to see. We said, “Now I would like to see this, or that,” and the guide took us there.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: By whose authority did you get into the concentration camp for an examination?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who asked Himmler if you could go?
MILCH: I do not understand.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did Göring know that you were making the trip?
MILCH: I do not think so. I did not make a special trip. I had some business in southern Germany in my military capacity, and I set aside one morning for this purpose.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There were people in the concentration camp who had to do with the Röhm Putsch, as you call it?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many were there who had to do with that?
MILCH: I cannot say exactly. As far as I remember now, I should say that altogether I saw about four or five hundred people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Four to five hundred people; and how many were killed?
MILCH: Well, I could not be too sure about this figure, there might easily have been 700. I estimate it at around that figure.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: How many people were killed in the Röhm Putsch?
MILCH: I can only give the figure which Hitler publicly stated in the Reichstag; I cannot say from memory. I may be right if I said the number ranged between 100 and 200.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now why were you so concerned about the concentration camps? Did you have any official responsibility for them?
MILCH: No, I had no responsibility whatsoever; but there was so much talk about them at the time that I decided I would find out for myself. I knew how many questions would be asked me, and I would not be able to answer them, so I said I would go there and see for myself.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, Germany had ordinary prisons for criminal prisoners, had she not?
MILCH: Of course.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And those prisons had sufficed for a good many years to take care of the criminal population, had they not?
MILCH: I could not say what their purpose was.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And the concentration camp was something new that came in after 1933?
MILCH: Yes. It is true I never heard of anything like that in Germany before.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you see any Jews in the concentration camp when you inspected it?
MILCH: Yes; there was one hut which contained Jews, but they all were under heavy sentences for economic misdemeanors and crimes, such as forging documents, and so on. We passed right through, and each one told us, without even being asked, what his sentence was and the reason for it, and not one of them told us that he was there for political reasons. The only political prisoners were the SA men.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You could not find a single prisoner there who claimed he was innocent of a crime?
MILCH: No; everyone with whom we spoke related his case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who accompanied you on that trip?
MILCH: As far as I remember, General Weber, who at that time was Chief of the General Staff. I believe also General Udet and several other gentlemen. But at the moment I do not remember who they were.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who showed you through the concentration camp? Who guided you?
MILCH: I cannot recollect his name. It was one of the officials of the SD. I assume it was the commander of the camp himself, but I do not know his name.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And who was running the concentration camp? What organization was in charge of it?
MILCH: I could not say, but I presume it was one of Himmler’s offices.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have said that the march into the Rhineland was a great surprise to you?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Where were you on your leave when this occurred?
MILCH: I was on winter leave in the mountains, abroad.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In Norway?
MILCH: No, no.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: In which country?
MILCH: I was in the Alps; I believe it was Southern Tyrol, which, at that time, was Italy.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you not hear of a meeting the minutes of which are in evidence here as Exhibit GB-160 (Document Number EC-405), concerning the Reich Defense Council meeting held on the 26th of June 1935, some nine months before the occupation of the Rhineland?
MILCH: I cannot say whether I was present. I can no longer remember.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There were, according to the evidence, 24 members of the Wehrmacht and five members of the Luftwaffe present, as well as 24 State and Party officials. Were you one of those present at that conference at which this discussion took place?
MILCH: May I ask again for the date?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 26th of June 1935.
MILCH: I cannot remember. I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you ever learn of that meeting?
MILCH: At the moment I really cannot remember. What is supposed to have been said at that meeting?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That the preparations for the occupation of the Rhineland were to be kept secret, and the plan was made to invade the Rhineland. Did you never learn of that meeting?
MILCH: I cannot remember that. I do not think I was present.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If your Honors please, the usual time for adjournment is here. I intend to take up a different subject involving some documents. It might be a convenient time to adjourn.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I want to ask you some questions regarding your duties and activities on the Central Planning Board. You were a member of the Central Planning Board, were you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And what was the period of your membership?
MILCH: From the beginning—I believe that was in the year 1941 or 1942—until the end.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Members of that Board, in addition to yourself, were the Defendant Speer?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The Defendant Funk?
MILCH: Yes, but only later.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: When did he come on the Board?
MILCH: At the moment when a large part of the civil production was turned over to the Speer Ministry, the Ministry for Armament.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Körner? Körner was a member of the Board?
MILCH: Körner? Yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Who was Dr. Sauer?
MILCH: Sauer was an official in the Speer Ministry, but he did not belong to the Central Planning Board.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: But he did keep some of the minutes, did he not?
MILCH: No; I think he did not keep them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Sauckel frequently attended the meetings, did he not?
MILCH: Not frequently, but occasionally.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were the functions of the Central Planning Board?
MILCH: The distribution of raw materials to the various groups which held quotas, such as the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and for civilian requirements for various branches such as industry, mining, industrial and private building, et cetera.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And labor?
MILCH: Pardon me, labor? We did not have to distribute that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It had nothing to do with labor? Do I understand you correctly?
MILCH: We could make suggestions, but not the distribution.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You mean by that, not the distribution amongst different industries which were competing to obtain labor?
MILCH: That was a point which concerned Armaments more than the Central Planning Board.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you know that Speer turned over to the United States all of his personal papers and records, including the minutes of this Central Planning Board?
MILCH: I did not know that; I hear it now.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I will ask that the minutes, volumes of minutes which constitute U.S. Document R-124, offered in evidence as French Exhibit Number RF-30, be made available for examination by the witness in the original German; I shall ask you some questions about it.
[Document R-124 was submitted to the witness.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: If you will point out to the witness Page 1059, Line 22.
This, Witness, purports to be the minutes of Conference Number 21 of the Central Planning Board, held on the 30th of October 1942 at the Reich Ministry of Armament and Munitions, and the minutes show you to have been present. Do you recall being there at that meeting?
MILCH: In that one sentence, I cannot see it, but I can well assume it. Yes. I see here in the minutes that my name is frequently mentioned.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention—Page 1059, Line 22−to the following entry and ask you if this refreshes your recollection about the functions of that Board:
“Speer: The question of slackers is another point to be dealt with. Ley has ascertained that the number of people reporting sick decreased to one-fourth or one-fifth where there are factory doctors and the workers are examined by them. SS and Police could go ahead with the job and put those known as slackers into undertakings run by concentration camps. There is no other choice. Let it happen a few times, and the news will go round.”
Were you not concerned with the discussion of the labor situation in that conference, and does that not refresh your recollection as to the dealing with the labor question?
MILCH: I do recall that the question of slackers as a whole was discussed. It was rather a question of slackers, workers, people, who while not normally employed in peacetime, as a result of the total mobilization of manpower, were compelled to work during the war. Among these people, who did not belong to the ranks of the workers, I repeat that there were some slackers who upset the good spirit of the workers. It was those people we had in mind.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Those were to be sent to concentration camps, as you know?
MILCH: Yes, I was told that. But no decision was arrived at. Moreover, it was not for us to send anybody to a concentration camp.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, was it not said that there was nothing to be said against the SS taking them over? You knew that the SS was running the concentration camps, did you not?
MILCH: Yes, of course.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And, therefore, you knew that turning them over to the SS and sending them to the concentration camps was a means of forcing them to produce more goods, was it not?
MILCH: Yes, of course, these people should be forced to do so. They were Germans who refused to do their duty to their country.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did this apply only to Germans?
MILCH: As far as I know this applied to Germans only. By slackers—they were also called casual workers—was meant only those people who went from place to place, who practically every week changed their job and who were reported to us mainly by the representatives of our own workers. Our own workers complained that these people availed themselves of all privileges as to food, et cetera, while they did not do anything, that they always gave up their jobs soon, and that every establishment was glad to get rid of them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And got rid of them by sending them to the concentration camps under the SS?
MILCH: They had to be taught, and we were told that if these people had their additional—not their basic—rations made dependent on their output, as was the case in the concentration camps, they would very quickly learn.
I do, however, remember that it was proposed to limit this treatment to 2 or 3 months, after which they would be brought back, and if they had learned their lesson they would be given full freedom again.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, did you have anything to do on the Central Planning Board with the work of prisoners of war?
MILCH: No; I do not think so.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, I ask that you be shown the 22d conference of the Central Planning Board minutes of the meeting held on the 2d of November 1942, Page 1042, at Line 24, which quotes you. The English translation is on Page 27.
I ask you to refresh your recollection by reading this paragraph.
“Milch: I think that agriculture must get its labor quota. Assuming that we had given agriculture 100,000 more workers, we would now have 100,000 more people who would be decently fed, whereas, the human material we are now receiving, particularly the prisoners of war, are not sufficiently fit for work.”
Did you make that statement?
MILCH: I cannot remember details. But I suppose I did. I do not know if I have seen these minutes; but I know that we dealt with the question that agriculture, if possible, should get its workers because the food problem was so very important, and the farms could feed their people over and above the rations which the civilian population received. This proposal to put these people on the land was quite in accordance with my views, but these were merely suggestions by the Central Planning Board. I know Sauckel was present at that meeting. We also made suggestions to the armament representatives as to how their problems could be solved.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you made recommendations to the Reich Marshal, did you not?
MILCH: I cannot remember having done so, I do not know.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You never did?
MILCH: I do not know, I cannot remember.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Then you knew the Reich Marshal’s wishes in reference to the utilization of prisoners of war, did you not?
MILCH: That prisoners of war were also working was known to me. Especially on the land many prisoners of war were put to work.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Did you attend a meeting between the Führer and Minister Speer?
MILCH: On which date?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 5th of March 1944.
MILCH: The 4th of March?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: The 5th of March 1944.
MILCH: On the 5th of March, yes, I attended a meeting with the Führer. At that time there was a question of creating a “fighter” staff, that is, a general effort by the entire armament industry to produce as many fighter planes as possible.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, now I will ask that you be shown Speer’s memorandum of that meeting with the Führer at which General Bodenschatz and Colonel Von Below were also present. Were they not?
The English translation is on Page 35; the German on Page 139.
I call your attention to this paragraph:
“I told the Führer of the Reich Marshal’s wish to utilize the producing capacity of prisoners of war further by placing the Stalag under the SS, with the exception of the English and Americans? The Führer approves this proposal and has asked Colonel Von Below to take the necessary steps.”
I ask you how the SS could increase the production of the prisoners of war; what steps you expected to be taken?
Now, just answer my question. What steps did you expect the SS to take to increase the production of the prisoners of war?
MILCH: I cannot remember now. At any rate at that time we did not know what was being done by the SS—about their methods as we now know them.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This was in March of 1944.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, you have no knowledge of the methods by which the SS would be able to speed up production by prisoners of war. That is the way you want that to stand?
MILCH: No, that is not the way I want it to stand. I have to think this point over for a moment. I believe the point was whether or not prisoners of war should be made available. It was not a question of prisoners of war working for the SS, but of their being made available for work. That, I take it was the point.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Put at the disposal of the SS, you mean?
Well, let us go on to the 33d Conference by the Central Planning Board, held on the 16th of February 1943, at which Speer and Sauckel among others appear to have been present. The English translation is on Page 28; the German, Pages 2276 to 2307. There was at this meeting, to summarize, considerable discussion of the labor situation, first a report from Schreiber, and then Timm gave a general account of the labor situation, and I call your attention to your contribution on Page 2298 at the top.
MILCH: Yes, I have just read it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It is as follows:
“Milch: We have demanded that in the anti-aircraft artillery a certain percentage of personnel should consist of Russians. Fifty thousand in all should be brought in. Thirty thousand are already employed as gunners. This is an amusing thing, that Russians must work the guns . . .”
What was amusing about making the Russian prisoners of war work the guns?
MILCH: The words “We have demanded,” do not mean the Central Planning Board, but that Hitler made this demand.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: “We” means Hitler?
MILCH: Yes, the German Government. And I myself find it strange that prisoners of war should be made to shoot at planes of their allies. We did not like it because it meant that these men could no longer work for us. We were opposed to their being used in the anti-aircraft artillery.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You said: “This is an amusing thing that the Russians must work the guns.”
What was amusing about it?
MILCH: What is meant by amusing? . . . peculiar, strange, I cannot say, however, whether this word was actually used. I have not seen the minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I call your attention to the rest of your contribution.
“. . . 20,000 are still needed. Yesterday I received a letter from the Army High Command, stating: We cannot release any more men, we have not enough ourselves. Thus there is no prospect for us.”
Whom does “for us” refer to, if not to your industry requirements?
MILCH: I consider these minutes incorrect, it has never been discussed in this manner, it must be wrong. I cannot accept the minutes as they stand. To clarify this matter I may say that the proposal was to take people out of the armament industry and put them into anti-aircraft defense. We who were concerned with armament did not want to release these men and were opposed to it. That was the idea of the whole thing, and the OKH declared that they did not have enough people.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I understand the sense of this to be that you applied for certain workmen for the armament industry and that the Army High Command refused to give you the men, saying that they are already employed making guns and on other work. Now, is that the sense of that, or is it not?
MILCH: No, not quite.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, just tell me what the sense of it is.
MILCH: As far as I remember, the armament industry was to release 50,000 Russian prisoners of war to the Air Force for anti-aircraft defense, and the armament industry could not spare these people.
THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid we must adjourn due to some technical difficulty.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, it may be convenient to you to know that we are going to rise at 4:30 today.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I hope to have finished before.
[Turning to the witness.] I will ask to have your attention called to Page 2297, in the English translation about Page 28, to your contribution, which reads as follows:
“Milch: There is of course a front also somewhere in the East. This front will be held for a certain time. The only useful thing the Russians will find in an area evacuated by us, is people. The question is whether the people should not generally be taken back as far as 100 kilometers behind the front line. The whole civilian population goes 100 kilometers behind the front.”
Do you find that?
MILCH: Yes, I have found it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And I understood you this morning to state that it was a rule promulgated in your book that the civilian population should not be interfered with.
MILCH: From the last paragraph, according to which people were no longer to be employed on digging trenches, it appears that these people were last employed on this work. I cannot say what kind of people these were, only that they were already employed somewhere.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew that. You knew that they were being used for that kind of work?
MILCH: So it says here. I do not remember it any more. It has been recorded in the minutes, provided they are correct.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you knew they were being used, the civilian population was being forced to dig trenches for your troops.
MILCH: Today I cannot remember any more, but at that time it was discussed according to the minutes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, I will ask to have your attention called to the minutes of Conference Number 11 of the Central Planning Board, held on 22d of July 1942; German, Page 3062; English translation, 38.
First let me call your attention to the fact that at that meeting it appears that among those present were Speer, yourself, Körner. Did Körner represent the Reich Marshal?
MILCH: Yes, for the Four Year Plan; he was the representative for the Four Year Plan.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: At all meetings of this Board, Körner represented the Reich Marshal did he not?
MILCH: Yes. He represented him as regards the Four Year Plan.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Sauckel was present, and representatives from the Iron Association, the Coal Association, and the Ministry for Armament and Munitions.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: There was considerable discussion of the labor problem, and the requirements of those industries. On Page 3062 I call your attention to this entry:
“General Field Marshal Milch undertakes to accelerate the procuring of the Russian prisoners of war from the camps.”
I ask you what measures you expected to take to accelerate procuring prisoners of war from the camps.
MILCH: As I was a soldier I undertook to submit this question to the OKW, which was in charge of prisoners of war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not personally deal with the prisoners of war, but you undertook to obtain them from the OKW?
MILCH: The government had put these prisoners of war at our disposal for work. The transfer was very slow, and as we had to deal with the OKW in this matter, I was asked and I undertook to request the OKW to speed up the transfer.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now let us turn to Conference Number 36, dated 22d of April 1943; the English translation, Page 13; German, 2125. There again I call your attention to the fact that Speer, yourself, Sauckel, and Körner were among those present. There again you discussed the labor problem, did you not?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Körner reported as follows:
“On 1 April agriculture was still in need of about 600,000 workers. To cover this, labor from the East, mainly women, should be brought in. This labor must be supplied before we take other workers away from agriculture. We are now approaching a very busy season in work on the land which requires many workers,”—and considerably more, which I will not take the time to quote.
I call your attention to Page 2128, your contribution to that discussion, which reads as follows:
“If you do what I proposed and what has also been agreed to by Timm, no harm can be done. It should definitely be done. Moreover, I am also of the opinion that in any circumstances we have to bring in workers for coal mining. The bulk of the labor we are going to receive from the East, will be women. The women from the East are, however, accustomed to agricultural work, particularly to the kind of work which will have to be done during the next few weeks, that is, hoeing and planting of root crops, et cetera. We can use women quite well for this. Only one thing has to be kept in mind—agriculture must get the women before the men are taken away. It would be wrong to take men away and to leave the farmers without labor for 4 to 6 weeks. If the women come after that, it will be too late.”
I ask you how many women were transported to agriculture as a result of this conference?
MILCH: As a result of this conference none at all, as only suggestions were put forward by us for an arrangement between industry and agriculture to procure the necessary labor for the former. Without the necessary labor in the coal-mining industry the war could not be carried on. Therefore labor had to be found, and in this respect a suggestion was made for an exchange, namely, to replace men engaged in agriculture by women, who, of course, could not be put to work in the mines.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: To whom did you make these suggestions? You say they were not decisions but just suggestions.
MILCH: No. The suggestions were made to representatives of the Ministry of Labor or to the Office for the Allocation of Labor. I see Timm is mentioned. He was one of the higher officials in this ministry.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And Sauckel?
MILCH: I do not know whether Sauckel attended that conference. I see only Timm’s name.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It appears from the minutes that he was there; but whether he was or not, you made suggestions to Sauckel as to the needs for labor, did you not, and called upon him to supply them?
MILCH: Yes; it was necessary to get workers for coal mining. New workers could not be found, thus there was no alternative but to make an exchange.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: We understand you. You will save a great deal of our time if you will just answer the questions.
Now I call your attention to Conference Number 54 of the Central Planning Board, held on 1 March 1944; English translation Page 1, German Page 1762. At this conference I remind you that it appears that Sauckel, Milch, Schreiber, and Körner were among those present. It was held at the Air Ministry and you discussed the desirability of draining off young men from France so that they would not be available to act as partisans in case there was an invasion by the Allies of French territory.
Do you recall such a meeting?
MILCH: I cannot remember details. In the course of other interrogations here in Nuremberg and in England I already stated that it is impossible to remember in detail all these matters, which were heaped upon us, especially as my memory has suffered through heavy blows on the head received at the time of my capture.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It will help you if you will refer to Page 1799, opposite the name “Milch” and read the entry, as follows:
“Milch: If landings take place in France and more or less succeed, we will have in France a partisan uprising, such as we never had in the Balkans or in the East, not because the people are particularly able to carry it through, but because we allow them to do so by failing to deal with them in the right manner. Four entire age groups have grown up in France, men between 18 and 23, that is, of an age when young people, for patriotic reasons or because they have been stirred up, are prepared to do anything to satisfy personal hatred—and it is only natural that they do hate us. These young men should have been registered according to age groups and brought to us, as they constitute the greatest danger in the event of a landing.
“I am firmly convinced, and have said so several times, that if and when the invasion starts, acts of sabotage to railways, works, and supply bases will be a daily occurrence. The Wehrmacht, however, will then no longer be able to deal with this internal situation, as it will have to fight at the front and will have in its rear a very dangerous enemy who will threaten supplies, et cetera. If severe executive measures had been taken, all would have been as quiet as the grave behind the front at a time when things were about to happen. I have drawn attention to this several times, but I am afraid nothing is being done. When we have to start shooting these people, it will already be too late. We shall no longer have the men to polish off the partisans.”
You then go on to state that you think the Army should handle the executive action required in rounding up these people. Does that refresh your recollection?
MILCH: Yes, that was roughly what I meant to say, but I cannot say whether I used these very words. In this life and death struggle of our country we had to make sure that we were not suddenly stabbed in the back by a secret army, as unfortunately happened later on.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And you proposed to eliminate the population behind the lines insofar as they might constitute a menace to your operations in this invasion?
MILCH: No, it was proposed to send these people at the right time to work in Germany, as had been promised by the French Government. That was my view. It was necessary that these people should come to work in Germany, as the French Government had promised in its agreement with the German Government, instead of allowing these people to join the Maquis and commit sabotage, which would necessitate shootings as a countermeasure.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not confine your use of forced labor to your enemies; it was also applied against your own allies, was it not? For example turn to Page 1814, and did you not contribute to this discussion?
“Milch: Would not the S-factories”—that is, protected factories—“be better protected if we handle the whole problem of feeding the Italians and tell them: ‘You will get your food only if you work in S-factories or come to Germany.’ ”
MILCH: That was after a part of Italy had broken away, and it applied to Italian soldiers who had declared themselves against Mussolini. These people remained behind the front, did not want to work, and committed sabotage against the German Armed Forces. Thus it was proposed to say to these people, “You will have your food and everything else provided, but you will have to work somewhere, either in Italy in the iron ore mines, or in Germany.”
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I think you said in your direct examination, or perhaps earlier in your cross-examination, that you did not know about any forced labor from occupied territory, you had no knowledge of that. Is that still your statement?
MILCH: I did not quite understand that. Forced labor?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Forced labor, yes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You did not know about it?
MILCH: These people were prisoners of war, Italians, who were at our disposal for work according to an agreement with the Italian Government which we had recognized. Mussolini had expressly put these men at our disposal for this purpose.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Excuse me for interrupting you, but let us not bother with Mussolini here. I ask you whether you still stand by the statement you made earlier, as I recall it, that you did not know of any forced labor brought in from the occupied countries to Germany. Is that your statement, or is it not?
MILCH: Insofar as they were free workers and free people, I still maintain this. My point is that these were people who had been placed at our disposal, and, Mr. Justice, as far as we are concerned, at the time this was said there was still an Italian Government, though this fact is forgotten today; but at that time it still existed.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I ask that your attention be brought to Page 1827 of the minutes of this meeting at which you were present, and where the discussion you just admitted took place; and I call your attention to the line opposite the name “Sauckel,” from which it appears that Sauckel then reported: “Out of the 5 million foreign workers who arrived in Germany, not even 200,000 came voluntarily.”
MILCH: No, I cannot remember that at all.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You do not have any recollection of that? All right.
MILCH: No, I have no recollection of that.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will go on then to Conference Number 23 of the Central Planning Board, held the 3rd of November 1942. It is the English translation, Page 27. The German text is on Page 1024, in which it appears that you were present at and participated in the discussion, and I call your attention to Page 1024, Line 10, to these entries of the stenographic minutes:
“Speer: Well, under the pretext of industry we could deceive the French into believing that we would release all prisoners of war who are rollers and smelters if they give us the names.
“Rohland: We have installed our own office in Paris. I see, you mean the French should give the names of the smelters who are prisoners of war in Germany?
“Milch: I would simply say, you get two men in exchange for one.
“Speer: The French firms know exactly which prisoners of war are smelters. Unofficially, you should create the impression that they would be released. They give us the names and then we get them out. Have a try.
“Rohland: That is an idea.”
Now, your contribution was to want two men in place of one; is that right?
MILCH: Yes; that is to say, two people from another trade for one of these particular skilled workers. In what straits we were, you can see from . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That was your entire objective?
MILCH: The entire purpose was to get these people and to give them others in exchange.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, let us take up Conference Number 53 of the Planning Board, held the 16th of February 1944; English translation, Page 26, and the German from Page 1851 on. You will find yourself included among those who were present and it was at the Reich Air Ministry that it was held. I first call your attention to the entry on Page 1863, the words opposite “Milch”:
“The armament industry employs foreign workers in large numbers; according to the latest figures, 40%. The latest allocations from the Plenipotentiary General for the Allocation of Labor are mostly foreigners and we had to give up many German workers in the recruitment drive. Particularly the aircraft industry, which is a young industry, employs a great many young men who should be called up. This will, however, be very difficult, as those working for experimental stations cannot be touched. In mass production, the foreign workers preponderate and in some instances represent 95 percent and even more; 88 percent of the workers engaged in the production of our newest engines are Russian prisoners of war and the 12 percent are German men and women. On the Ju-52, which are now regarded as transport planes only, and the monthly production of which is from 50 to 60 machines, only six to eight German workers are engaged; the rest are Ukrainian women who have lowered the record of production of skilled workers.”
Do you recall that?
MILCH: Yes, I can remember that distinctly.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And on Page 1873, you come forward with this suggestion:
“Milch: The list of slackers should be handed to Himmler. He will make them work all right. This is of a great general educational importance, and has also a deterrent effect on others who would also like to shirk.”
MILCH: Yes, this applies again to the slackers in agriculture as I mentioned this morning.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Among foreign workers, was it not?
MILCH: No; these were Englishmen, the slackers.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Englishmen are foreigners in Germany, are they not? I do not know what you mean, they were not foreigners. They were Englishmen.
MILCH: Englishmen never worked for us. So they cannot have been Englishmen.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What were they? You say they were all German.
MILCH: What we understood as slackers were those people who were compelled to work during the war, Germans who normally were not regular workers, but were forcibly made to work during the war.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: We will get to that in a minute. First, I want to ask you how Himmler was going to make them work. What did Himmler do, what methods did Himmler use? Why were you making proposals to Himmler in this matter?
MILCH: Because Himmler at a meeting had stated that as regards supplementary rations—the worker in Germany had the same basic rations as the rest of the population, and apart from this he received quite considerable additions which in the case of those doing the heaviest work were several times the normal basic rations. The general routine was that these rations were issued by food offices, irrespective of where and how the individual was working. The suggestion was made by Himmler that these additions should be made dependent upon the output of the workers. This was possible in the case of those workers who came from concentration camps, et cetera, and were under Himmler. This procedure could not be applied to free workers; hence the proposal to bring to reason those who sabotaged work in their own country, by issuing additional rations, as laid down for their type of work, only in proportion to their output.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You know the difference between labor camps and concentration camps, do you not?
MILCH: Yes, of course.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And these people who were doing work in these industries were kept mainly in the work camps, were they not, in which their rations were controlled without Himmler’s hands being in it at all?
MILCH: No; the German workers were not kept in labor camps but they lived at home and, therefore, received their additional rations from the local food offices. I want to stress again that it was the German workers themselves who asked that measures be taken—the factory foremen, who were infuriated to see that people who did not do anything, who let their country down in times of stress, received more rations than ordinary civilians.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You still say that all you are talking about were German and never foreign workers. Now, be clear about that.
MILCH: By slackers I meant German workers; in my opinion, only these were in question.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I ask that your attention be called to Page 1913: This is your contribution at that point:
“Milch: It is therefore quite impossible to utilize every foreigner fully unless we make them do piecework and are in a position to take measures against foreigners who are not doing their bit.”
Do you find that entry?
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: And then you proceed to complain that:
“If a foreman lays his hands on a prisoner of war and boxes his ears, there is at once a terrible row; the man is put in prison, and so on. There are many officials in Germany who consider it their first duty to stand up for other men’s human rights instead of looking after war production. I, too, am for human rights, but if a Frenchman says, ‘You fellows will be hanged and the works manager will be the first to have his head cut off’ and then if the boss says, ‘I’ll give him one for that,’ then he is in for it. Nobody sides with the manager, but only with the ‘poor devil’ who said that to him.”
Did you report that to the meeting?
MILCH: That may well be the case.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What did you suggest?
MILCH: I can remember cases where foreign workers threatened and even assaulted their German foreman, and when he defended himself action was taken against him. I did not think it right.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Now, you provided your own remedy, did you not? In the next line you say:
“I told my engineers, ‘If you do not hit a man like this, then I shall punish you. The more you do in this respect, the more I shall think of you; I shall see to it that nothing happens to you.’ This has not yet gone round. I cannot talk to every works manager individually. But I should like to see some one try to stop me, as I can deal with anyone who tries it.”
Do you find that?
MILCH: I cannot remember the exact words but I stick to the point that it was an impossible situation for a prisoner or foreign worker to be able to say to his German foreman, “We will cut your throat,” and the foreman . . .
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, do you mean to say that if a prisoner of war attempted or threatened to cut his employer’s throat, that German officers would stand up for him as against the employer? You do not mean that, do you?
[There was no response.]
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Well, we will go on:
“If the small works manager”—I am still quoting from you—“does that, he is put into a concentration camp . . .”
Do you find that?
MILCH: Yes, I see it here.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON:
“. . . and runs the risk of having his prisoners of war taken from him.”
Now, I am still quoting you and I want you to find the entry.
“In one case, two Russian officers took off with an airplane but crashed. I ordered that these two men be hanged at once. They were hanged or shot yesterday. I left that to the SS. I wanted them to be hanged in the factory for the others to see.”
Do you find that?
MILCH: I have found it, and I can only say I have never had anybody hanged nor have I even given such an order. I could not possibly have said such a thing. I had nothing to do with this question. Neither do I know of any instance where two Russian officers tried to escape by plane.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Is there anything else you would like to say with reference to that entry?
MILCH: No. I have nothing to say. I do not know anything about it and I also do not believe I ever said it.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: That is all that I have at the present time.
MR. G. D. ROBERTS (Leading Counsel for the United Kingdom): Witness, I have some questions on behalf of the British Delegation. My first point is this: You said on Friday that, beginning in 1935, an air force was built up in Germany for defensive purposes. Do you remember that?
MILCH: Yes; 1935.
MR. ROBERTS: And do you say that it remained on a defensive basis up to December 1939?
MR. ROBERTS: You do. I want you to listen to three pieces of evidence—speeches made by your chief, the Defendant Göring. I am quoting from the shorthand notes of the 8th of January, in the afternoon, on Page 2306. In May 1935, Göring said:
“I intend to create a Luftwaffe which, if the hour should strike, will burst upon the foe like an avenging host. The enemy must feel that he has lost even before he has started fighting.”
Does that sound like a defensive air force?
MILCH: No, that does not sound like it; but one has to distinguish between words and deeds.
MR. ROBERTS: I shall come to the deeds in a moment.
THE PRESIDENT: If there is any more of this laughter, the Court will have to be cleared.
MR. ROBERTS: On the 8th of July 1938 Göring, addressing a number of German aircraft manufacturers, said:
“War with Czechoslovakia is imminent; the German Air Force is already superior to the English Air Force. If Germany wins the war, she will be the greatest power in the world; she will dominate the world markets, and Germany will be a rich nation. To attain this goal risks must be taken.”
Does that sound like a defensive German Air Force? Does it?
MILCH: No, that certainly does not sound like it. I should like to be allowed to say something to that, when you have finished.
MR. ROBERTS: Please limit yourself, if you can, in the interest of time, to answering my question, which is very short. Now may I read you one further piece of evidence; the speech made by Göring on 14 October 1938, that is less than a month after the Munich Pact.
“Hitler has ordered me to organize a gigantic armament program, which would make all previous achievements appear insignificant. I have been ordered to build as rapidly as possible an air force five times as large as the present one.”
Does that sound like an air force for defensive purposes?
MILCH: This air force would have taken many years to build.
MR. ROBERTS: I suggest to you that your evidence on that point was grossly incorrect. I now want to come to my second point. You were present at the conference of chiefs of the services in the Chancellery on 23 May 1939?
MILCH: What was the date please?
MR. ROBERTS: I would like you to see the document, which is L-79. You did see it on Friday, I think.
MILCH: On 23 May, was it not?
MR. ROBERTS: Yes, that is right. I just want to remind you who else was present. There were the Führer, Göring, Raeder, Von Brauchitsch, Keitel, yourself, Halder, General Bodenschatz, Warlimont—was Warlimont the deputy for Jodl?
MILCH: I cannot say for whom he was there.
MR. ROBERTS: Very well—and others; I will not mention the names. Now, Witness, those were leaders of the German Armed Forces?
MILCH: May I say, as far as I can remember Field Marshal Göring was not present. I cannot remember.
MR. ROBERTS: He is down there as being present. You think he was not there?
MILCH: Yes. I cannot remember, but to my recollection I was sent there at the last moment to represent him.
MR. ROBERTS: Well, then, apart from Göring, if he was not there, those were mostly the leaders of the German forces, is that right?
MILCH: Yes. It was the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and the OKW, yes.
MR. ROBERTS: Would you describe them, from your knowledge of them, as men of honor?
MR. ROBERTS: Is it one of the qualities of a man of honor that he keeps his word?
MR. ROBERTS: You knew, of course, did you not, that Germany had pledged her word to respect the neutrality of Belgium, of the Netherlands, and Luxembourg?
MILCH: I suppose so, but I did not know the various agreements.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you not know that less than a month before that meeting, namely on the 28th of April, Hitler in the Reichstag gave an assurance of his respect for the neutrality of a large number of countries, European countries, including the three I have mentioned? Did you not know that as a matter of history?
MILCH: I suppose so, yes.
MR. ROBERTS: We have seen the film, you know, in this Court, of that very occurrence with the Defendant Göring presiding as President of the Reichstag while that assurance was given.
MILCH: I have not seen the film. I do not know the film.
MR. ROBERTS: Yes. It is a German newsreel. Do you remember that at that conference Hitler said these words, which are well known to the Tribunal:
“The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied by the Armed Forces. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored. . . . An effort must be made to deal the enemy a heavy or decisive final blow right at the start. Considerations of right or wrong, or treaties, do not enter into the matter.”
Do you remember those words being said?
MILCH: I cannot remember exactly what the words were. I know that it was a question of the Polish Corridor and Danzig, that in this connection Hitler explained what complications might follow in the West, and what he intended to do about it; but what he said in detail I can no longer remember.
MR. ROBERTS: Was any protest made by any of these honorable men at the breach of Germany’s pledged word?
MILCH: During this meeting it was impossible for anyone present to speak at all. Hitler addressed us from his desk, and after the speech he left the room. A discussion did not take place; he did not allow it.
MR. ROBERTS: You say it is impossible for an honorable man to protect his honor, Witness?
MILCH: I cannot remember Hitler’s actual words shown here.
MR. ROBERTS: Can you give the Tribunal your opinion of it?
MILCH: At this meeting I did not have the impression that Hitler said anything contrary to the obligations entered into. That I cannot remember.
MR. ROBERTS: Are you now saying that those minutes are wrong?
MILCH: No, I cannot say that either. I can only say I have no recollection of the exact words used. Whether the minutes are completely correct I do not know either. As far as I know they were recorded subsequently by one of the adjutants present.
MR. ROBERTS: Because we know that is exactly what Germany did 12 months after, when she broke her pledged word to Belgium, to the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and brought misery and death to millions. You know that now, do you not?
MILCH: That I know, yes; but as soldiers we had nothing to do with the political side. We were not asked about that.
MR. ROBERTS: Do you call the honoring of . . .
DR. RUDOLPH DIX (Counsel for the Defendant Schacht): I do not speak now for the Defendant Schacht, but for the entire Defense. I ask the Tribunal that the witness be questioned about facts, and not about his opinion as to moral standards.
THE PRESIDENT: He is being asked about facts.
MR. ROBERTS: You have just said that you know now—we know, that 12 months later Germany did violate the neutrality of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
MILCH: But we do not know what the reasons were for this, and what other obligations these countries might have entered into. It was not a job of the soldiers to judge this.
MR. ROBERTS: Was it not a job of the soldier to object if he was asked to break his country’s word?
MILCH: I fully agree with you, if a soldier breaks his word in matters which are his province and where he has a say as a soldier. As regards matters quite outside his province, which he cannot judge and about which he knows nothing, he cannot be made responsible and called to account.
MR. ROBERTS: You can only speak for your own knowledge. Are you saying that you did not know that your country was pledged to observe the neutrality of these three small countries?
MILCH: That I have read in the Reichstag speech. But I did not know how the other side had reacted to that promise. It was not known to me, and it could easily be that the other side did not at all want this protection, or this promise, or this guarantee. The soldier could not judge this at all; only the political authorities could know this.
MR. ROBERTS: Well, we perhaps will have to ask that of the soldiers in the High Command, who are now in the dock, when they get in the witness box. But I put it to you it must have been common knowledge in Germany that Hitler was giving guarantees and assurances to all these smaller countries?
MILCH: Hitler proposed and offered many things. He offered limitations of armaments for all countries; he offered not to use bombers; but in these cases also his proposals were not accepted. Therefore the political authorities alone could know what they should and could demand from their soldiers. The only duty of a soldier is to obey.
MR. ROBERTS: Will you please answer my question. That was not an answer at all to my question. We know the facts now, Witness, from the documents, from your own German documents. I want to test your knowledge and your ideas of honor. Did you not think it grossly dishonorable to give a pledge on 28 April, and to make secret resolution to break it on 23 May?
MILCH: You are right, if the situation had not changed in any way, and that I cannot judge.
MR. ROBERTS: You must have your own code of honor, even though you are in the service. You know, of course, that the neutrality of Norway was violated?
MILCH: Yes, according to our knowledge and in our opinion it was violated twice.
MR. ROBERTS: Do you know that on the 12th and 13th of March 1940 Jodl was putting in his diary, “The Führer is still looking for a pretext” to give out to the world for an invasion of Norway? Do you know that?
MILCH: I do not know this diary and this entry.
MR. ROBERTS: You took an active part in the invasion of Norway, did you not?
MILCH: A few days after the invasion started I was in command of the air force up there for a short time.
MR. ROBERTS: You had actually a command in Norway?
DR. JAHRREISS: I think it necessary to clear up a point which apparently concerns a misunderstanding by the interpreter. I have just heard that a diary entry by the Defendant Jodl has been wrongly translated back into German. The German text says “nach einer Begründung,” that is “for a justification.” I also believe the word “justification” is in the English translation. It should not have been interpreted as “Ausrede,” that would be “prétexte” in French and that is something quite different.
MR. ROBERTS: Whatever it reads in the translation, Witness, would you agree that according to the entry in the diary, the Führer was still looking for it, whether it was a reason or an excuse?
Now I want to ask you only one more question on this side of the case.
You know that Belgrade was bombed in, I think, April 1941?
MILCH: I heard about that from the Army report at the time.
MR. ROBERTS: Without any declaration of war, or any warning to the civilian population at all, you heard that?
MILCH: That I do not know, no.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you not discuss it with Göring?
MILCH: The attack on Belgrade? No; I cannot remember.
MR. ROBERTS: Did not even he express regret, shall we say, regarding the large-scale bombing of a large capital without even one hour warning to the civilian population?
MILCH: I do not know. I cannot remember any such conversation.
MR. ROBERTS: That is murder, is it not?
[There was no response.]
MR. ROBERTS: Perhaps you would rather not answer that question?
MILCH: I cannot answer “yes” or “no,” because I know nothing of the circumstances of the attack. I do not know whether war had been declared; I do not know whether a warning had been given. Neither do I know whether Belgrade was a fortress, nor which targets were attacked in Belgrade. I know of so many bombing attacks about which the same questions could be asked in the same manner.
MR. ROBERTS: I asked the question, Witness, because we had the use of the document in front of us, and knew that it was Hitler’s order that Belgrade was to be suddenly destroyed by waves of bombers, without any ultimatum, or any diplomatic arguments, or negotiations at all. Would I put that question if I had not known of the document? Let me turn to something else.
MILCH: May I say I have heard of this document only today because you quoted it.
MR. ROBERTS: I want to put to you now an incident with regard to the Camp Stalag Luft III at Sagan. Do you know about what I am talking?
MILCH: Yes, I know about that now.
MR. ROBERTS: Do you know that on 24 and 25 March 1944 about 80 air force officers, British and Dominion, with some others, escaped from the Stalag Luft III Camp?
MILCH: I know about this from the British interrogation camp in which I was kept, where the whole case was posted up on the wall.
MR. ROBERTS: We will come to that in a moment. Do you know that of those 80, 50 were shot?
MR. ROBERTS: In various parts of Germany and the occupied countries from Danzig to Saarbrücken; you have heard of that?
MILCH: I heard that about 50 were shot, but did not know where.
MR. ROBERTS: Have you heard that quite unusually the bodies were never seen again, but that urns said to contain their ashes were brought back to the camp; you heard of that?
MILCH: I heard of it in the camp where I was kept, from Mr. Anthony Eden’s speech in the House of Commons.
MR. ROBERTS: You heard that although these officers were reported by your Government as having been shot while offering resistance or trying to escape, yet not one was wounded, and all 50 were shot dead.
MILCH: At first I heard only the official report in Germany, that these officers had been shot while resisting or trying to escape. We did not believe this version, and there was a lot of discussion about this without precise knowledge. We were afraid that these men might have been murdered.
MR. ROBERTS: You were afraid that murder had been committed. It does appear likely, does it not?
MILCH: We got that impression, as the various details we heard could not be pieced together.
MR. ROBERTS: It is quite clear that if that was murder, the order for that murder would have to come from a high level, is it not?
MILCH: Certainly. I heard further details about this from the Inspector General for Prisoners of War, General Westhoff, while both of us were in captivity in England.
MR. ROBERTS: Now, I want to ask you, first of all, about the Prisoner-of-War Organization. Was the Prisoner-of-War Organization a department of the OKW?
MILCH: In my opinion, yes.
MR. ROBERTS: Which was called KGW, Kriegsgefangenenwesen?
MILCH: I cannot say anything about its organization, because I do not know. I only knew that there was a chief of the Kriegsgefangenenwesen with the OKW.
MR. ROBERTS: And was the chief of the Kriegsgefangenenwesen at that time Major General Von Graevenitz?
MILCH: Von Graevenitz, yes.
MR. ROBERTS: This was an air force camp? Stalag Luft III was an air force camp?
MILCH: Yes. So it was called, but I understand that all prisoners were under the OKW. That is what I thought. I cannot, however, state this definitely because I did not know much about that organization.
MR. ROBERTS: Was the directorate for supervising the air force camps, or the inspectorate, rather, called Inspectorate Number 17?
MILCH: There was an inspectorate, which as its name indicated had to deal with supervision. What it had to do and what were its tasks, I cannot say. Whether it was just for interrogation, I do not know.
MR. ROBERTS: Was the head of that Major General Grosch?
MILCH: I cannot say, it is possible, I know the name but not whether he held that post.
MR. ROBERTS: And the second in command, Colonel Waelde?
MILCH: Not known to me.
MR. ROBERTS: You were Number 2 in the Air Force at the Air Ministry in March 1944, were you not?
MILCH: There were several Number 2 people at that time. I held the same rank as the chief of the general staff, the chief of the personnel office, and the chief of technical armament, who were independent of me and on the same level. As to seniority, I ranked as second officer in the Air Force.
MR. ROBERTS: Was there a conference in Berlin on the morning of Saturday, the 25th of March, about this escape?
MILCH: I cannot remember.
MR. ROBERTS: Did not Göring speak to you about that conference?
MILCH: I have no recollection.
MR. ROBERTS: Did Göring never tell you that there was a conference between Hitler, Himmler, himself, and Keitel on that Saturday morning?
MILCH: No. I do not know anything about that. I do not remember.
MR. ROBERTS: At which the order for the murder of these recaptured prisoners of war was given?
MILCH: I cannot remember. According to what I heard later, the circumstances were entirely different. I had information about this from the previously mentioned General Westhoff and also from General Bodenschatz.
MR. ROBERTS: General Westhoff we are going to see here as a witness. He has made a statement about the matter saying . . .
MILCH: I beg your pardon. I could not hear you just now. The German is coming through very faintly. I can hear you, but not the German transmission.
MR. ROBERTS: General Westhoff . . .
MR. ROBERTS: . . . has made a statement . . .
MR. ROBERTS: . . . and we are going to see him as a witness.
MR. ROBERTS: So perhaps I had better not put his statement to you, because he is going to give evidence. Perhaps that would be fairer from the point of view of the Defense. But are you suggesting that action against these officers, if they were murdered—to use your words—having escaped from an air force camp, that action could have been taken without the knowledge of Göring?
MILCH: I consider it quite possible in view of the great confusion existing in the highest circles at that time.
MR. ROBERTS: High confusion in March 1944?
MILCH: All through there was terrible confusion.
MR. ROBERTS: But it is quite clear . . .
MILCH: Hitler interfered in all matters, and himself gave orders over the heads of the chiefs of the Wehrmacht.
MR. ROBERTS: But did you never discuss this matter with Göring at all?
MILCH: No. I cannot remember ever speaking to Göring about this question.
MR. ROBERTS: Do you not think this is a matter which reflects shame on the Armed Forces of Germany?
MILCH: Yes; that is a great shame.
MR. ROBERTS: Yet Göring never spoke to you about it at all? Did you ever speak to Keitel?
MILCH: I could not say. During that time I hardly ever saw Göring.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you ever speak to Keitel about it?
MILCH: No, never. I saw even less of Keitel than of Göring.
MR. ROBERTS: Was there not a General Foster or Foerster at the Air Ministry?
MILCH: Yes, there was.
MR. ROBERTS: General Foerster?
MR. ROBERTS: Was he director of operations?
MILCH: No. He was chief of the Luftwehr. As such he had to deal with replacements of personnel and he worked with the departments concerned, with the General Staff, and also the Reich Marshal. During the war he was also in charge of civil aviation, and in that capacity he worked together with me, but during the war it was a very small job . . .
MR. ROBERTS: I was going to ask you, did he ever mention this shooting to you?
MILCH: I have been asked that before, but try as I may I cannot remember. It is possible that in the course of conversation he may have told me that officers had been shot, but whether he did so, and in what way, under what circumstances, I cannot recollect. I did not receive an official report from him; I had no right to ask for one either.
MR. ROBERTS: If Foerster told you, did you ever report it to Göring?
MILCH: I cannot remember a conversation with Foerster about it: I do not think I spoke to him. He did not give me a report either, which I should have had to pass on to Göring. Such a report would have been given by him to Göring direct, through quite different channels and much quicker.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you take any steps to prevent this shooting from being carried out?
MILCH: When I first heard about it it was not clear to me what had actually happened. But even if it had been clear, it was evident from what Westhoff told me that it would unfortunately have been too late.
MR. ROBERTS: Why too late?
MILCH: Because Westhoff was the first officer to have knowledge of it. When he was informed he was told that the order had already been carried out. I may say that General Westhoff made this statement and will confirm it.
MR. ROBERTS: Very well, you never went to Göring at all in the matter, as you say.
MILCH: I do not know anything about it.
MR. ROBERTS: Now I am going to deal further with three short points. With regard to the use of labor for the armament industry, Mr. Justice Jackson has asked you questions on that. Was labor from concentration camps used?
MR. ROBERTS: Would you just look at Document Number 1584-PS: That is shorthand note 1357, 12 December, in the afternoon.
Is that a teletype from Göring to Himmler, dated 14 February 1944? There are various code numbers; then, to Reichsführer SS—that was Himmler, Reichsminister Himmler. Who actually sent that teletype? It is signed by Göring, but he would not be dealing with questions of labor, would he?
MILCH: I could not say, I could not say from whom it originated.
MR. ROBERTS: That was a subject with which you dealt, was it not, the provision of labor for air armament?
MILCH: Only while I had to do with air armament did I send demands for labor to the respective offices. But this telegram did not come from my office.
MR. ROBERTS: If it did not come from your office, whose office did it come from?
MILCH: It deals with various matters, there is first the question of another squadron.
MR. ROBERTS: Please answer the question, whose office did it come from?
MILCH: I cannot say that offhand.
MR. ROBERTS: Very well.
MILCH: I do not know.
MR. ROBERTS: Second sentence: “At the same time I request that a substantial number of concentration camp prisoners be put at my disposal for air armament, as this kind of labor has proved to be very useful.” You had frequently used concentration camp labor, had you?
MILCH: Latterly, yes. May I ask, is the teletype dated the 15th and what is the month?
MR. ROBERTS: Yes, I told you, Witness, 14 February 1944. It is on the top.
MILCH: Yes, I could not read it here.
MR. ROBERTS: No, I quite understand. And did Himmler respond by providing you with 90,000 further concentration camp prisoners? I refer to Document 1584-PS, Number 3, dated 9 March 1944. It is to the “Most Honored Reich Marshal” from Heinrich Himmler. It says: “At present approximately 36,000 prisoners are employed for the Air Force. It is proposed to bring the number up to 90,000.”
Then he refers in the last paragraph: “The transfer of aircraft manufacturing plants underground requires a further 100,000 prisoners.”
Now, those were concentration camp internees, Witness?
MILCH: Yes; I see that from the letter.
MR. ROBERTS: You said you were almost ignorant of the conditions in concentration camps?
MILCH: No; I do not know anything about that.
MR. ROBERTS: You have not seen the films taken when the camps were captured?
MR. ROBERTS: The grim contrast—just wait a moment—the grim contrast between the plump and well-fed guards and civilians and the skeletons of the internees?
MILCH: I have not seen the film, but I saw photographs when I was in England.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you close your eyes deliberately to what was going on in Germany?
MILCH: No, it was not possible for us to see it.
MR. ROBERTS: You, in your position, could not know what was going on?
MILCH: It was absolutely impossible.
MR. ROBERTS: Now then, I just want to deal very shortly with a matter upon which Mr. Justice Jackson touched, but he did not read the letter. That is the question of the experiments for the purpose of Air Force research. I am anxious to refer to as few documents as possible, but I can give the reference.
Do you know that on 15 May 1941, and the reference is shorthand note 1848, Document Number 1602-PS, that Dr. Rascher wrote to Himmler?
MILCH: I did not know him. I think I mentioned that during my interrogation.
MR. ROBERTS: He had very dangerous experiments to make for which no human being would volunteer. Monkeys were not suitable, so he asked for human subjects which Himmler at once provided—said he would be glad to provide human subjects for the experiment. Now, that was in 1941. Did you know that was taking place?
MILCH: No, I did not know anything about that.
MR. ROBERTS: Now, Rascher was . . .
MILCH: I did not know Rascher personally.
MR. ROBERTS: He was a doctor on the staff of the Air Force.
THE PRESIDENT: But, Mr. Roberts, this is not a letter to this witness, is it?
MR. ROBERTS: My Lord, I am leading up to it. The next letter is a letter signed by this witness. That was preliminary. Perhaps I had better come to the letter which he signed now; I am much obliged.
I want to put to you now Document Number 343-PS, and I also want to put to you, if the officer in charge of the documents would be so good, I want to put to you Document Number 607-PS.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has already been cross-examined upon this letter, has he not?
MR. ROBERTS: I did not think the letter was read or was dealt with sufficiently. I believe Your Lordship thinks it was.
THE PRESIDENT: The letter was put to him. I do not know whether it was actually read.
MR. ROBERTS: I shall be guided by the Court entirely. I know the matter was touched upon. I felt perhaps the letter should be read but I may be quite wrong.
THE PRESIDENT: I am told it was not read but the two letters were put to him.
MR. ROBERTS: I agree. If Your Lordship would be good enough to bear with me for a very few minutes I can perhaps deal with the matters I think should be dealt with.
[Turning to the witness.] You will see that on the 20th of May 1942—this is your letter to “Wolffy,” is it not, that is Obergruppenführer Wolff, and that is signed by you is it not?
MILCH: Yes, I signed it. That is the letter which, as I said this morning was submitted to me by the Medical Inspection department and from which it appears that we wanted to dissociate ourselves from the whole business as politely as possible.
MR. ROBERTS: The point of the letter is, if I may summarize it, that you say: “In reference to your telegram of 12 May our Medical Inspection department . . .”
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, if I remember right, when these letters were put to the witness he said he had not read them; that he signed them without reading them.
MR. ROBERTS: Well, My Lord, perhaps I had better leave the matter if Your Lordship thinks I am going over ground which has been trodden too often.
[Turning to the witness.] Are you asking this Tribunal to believe that you signed these two letters to Wolff, who was liaison officer, was he not, between—who was Wolff?
MILCH: No, Wolff was not liaison officer, he was Himmler’s adjutant. He sent a telegram to us, apparently for the attention of the Medical Inspection department. The Medical Inspection department replied via my office because for some reason or other it did not appear expedient to reply direct. I stated in my interrogations that these letters, though signed by me, were not dictated in my office, but that for this reply from the Medical Inspection department my stationery was used as was customary. I had nothing to do either with our high altitude experiments or with the Medical Inspection department, nor was I in any way connected with experiments by the SS.
MR. ROBERTS: Did you know that these pressure chamber experiments were being carried out with human bodies, human souls, provided by Dachau?
MILCH: On whom they were made appears from the letter submitted to me by the Medical Inspection department. In the Air Force we made many experiments with our own medical officers who volunteered for it; and as we did it with our own people we considered it to be our own affair. We, therefore, did not want any experiments by the SS; we were not interested in them. We had for a very long time experimented with our own people. We did not need the SS, who interfered in a matter which did not concern them; and we could never understand why the SS meddled with this matter.
MR. ROBERTS: Did not Himmler write you a letter—the reference is shorthand note 1852—in November 1942, that is Document Number 1617-PS, in which he says: “Dear Milch: . . . both high pressure and cold water experiments have been carried out. . . .” and that he, Himmler, provided asocial persons and criminals from concentration camps? Do you remember that letter?
MILCH: This letter was shown to me but I cannot remember this letter either. I do not know why Himmler wrote to me at all. These letters were always passed on direct by my office, without my seeing them, to the respective offices of the Medical Inspection department and replied to via my office. I was not in a position to do anything in this respect because I did not know what it was all about, nor had I any idea of the medical aspect.
MR. ROBERTS: If you say you know nothing about letters which you signed I cannot carry the matter any further.
Now I want to deal with the last point.
MILCH: During the course of the day I had to sign several hundred letters and I could not know what they dealt with in detail. In this particular case it was a question for a specialist and I merely signed in order to relieve the Medical Inspector of responsibility who, for the reason mentioned this morning, did not want to sign himself.
MR. ROBERTS: Very well, I am leaving that point.
Now then, the last point. You said on Friday that a German general has been executed for looting jewelry. Where did the looting take place?
MILCH: I cannot say that. I seem to recollect that it was in Belgrade. The name of the general is General Wafer, this I still remember.
MR. ROBERTS: It was jewelry looted from Belgrade?
MILCH: That I cannot say. I know only what I said on Friday.
MR. ROBERTS: So the German authorities regarded the death penalty as a suitable one for looting; apparently that is right.
MILCH: I could not hear the question.
MR. ROBERTS: Well, perhaps it was a comment. I will ask you the next question. What was the value of the jewelry which was looted?
MILCH: I can say only that I do not know how it was stolen, or what was stolen, or how valuable it was; but only that it was said to be jewelry which he had appropriated and that he was sentenced to death.
MR. ROBERTS: Did Göring ever speak to you about his art collection he was getting from occupied countries?
MILCH: I do not know anything about that.
MR. ROBERTS: May I read you a piece of evidence, shorthand note 2317, and it is an order of Göring signed on the 5th of November 1940.
“Göring to the Chief of the Military Administration in Paris and to the Einsatzstab Rosenberg:
“To dispose of the art objects brought to the Louvre in the following order of priority:
“First, those art objects . . .”
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Roberts, he has never seen this document and he says he knows nothing about it.
MR. ROBERTS: If your Lordship pleases, if you do not think I should put it to him . . .
[Turning to the witness.] You say Göring never discussed with you his art collection?
MR. ROBERTS: Did you not know that valuable art objects, according to an inventory over 21,000 objects, were taken from the western occupied countries?
MILCH: No; that is not known to me.
MR. ROBERTS: What ought the general who looted the jewelry, perhaps from Belgrade, to have done with it? Given it to the Führer, or given it to Göring?
MILCH: I ask to be excused from answering this question.
GEN. RUDENKO: Will you please tell me when you heard of Hitler’s plan to go to war with the Soviet Union? In January 1941?
MILCH: As I said on Friday, I heard in January from Reich Marshal Göring that Hitler had told him he expected there would be an attack on Russia. Then for several months I heard nothing more about the whole thing, until by chance I found out from a subordinate that war with Russia was imminent and preparations for the clothing of the troops were being made.
GEN. RUDENKO: Did you know about Case Barbarossa?
MILCH: I had heard the name, and I heard the plan expounded at a Führer conference with the commanders of the various army groups and armies 1 or 2 days before the attack.
GEN. RUDENKO: And when did this take place—1, 2 days before the invasion?
MILCH: I will let you know the exact date in a minute.
GEN. RUDENKO: Please do.
MILCH: On 14 June. That is about eight days before the attack which took place on the 22d.
GEN. RUDENKO: And before that, you had neither heard of, nor seen this plan?
MILCH: I say that I had probably heard the name Barbarossa before.
GEN. RUDENKO: And how long before?
MILCH: That I cannot say, because during the months of January, February, March, and also in April I was outside Germany and I did not return until May. I was in Africa, Greece, Yugoslavia, and the West.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am interested in the period when you were in the High Command of the German Air Force. Were you in Germany in December and January?
MILCH: In December 1940.
GEN. RUDENKO: So?
MILCH: Only part of December as during that month I was in France and also in Italy.
GEN. RUDENKO: And where were you in January 1941?
MILCH: I was in the West, and as far as I remember not one day in Germany.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you just told us that in January 1941 you had a talk with Göring about the plan of war against the Soviet Union.
MILCH: Yes, I . . .
GEN. RUDENKO: In January 1941?
MILCH: Yes, on 13 January, but I cannot say now whether I spoke to Göring in France, or whether it was over the telephone, or whether I was in Germany for a day or two. That I cannot say, I did not make a note of it.
GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me; what has a telephone conversation to do with an attack on the Soviet Union?
MILCH: Not an attack on Russia, but an attack by Russia on Germany was mentioned at that time, and we had . . .
GEN. RUDENKO: You mean to say you discussed over the telephone the question of an attack by the Soviet Union on Germany?
MILCH: No, I have not stated anything like that, but I said I do not know whether I received the information on a special line which could not be tapped, or whether the Reich Marshal told me about it in France, or whether on that particular day I was in Germany.
GEN. RUDENKO: And when did you discuss this question with Göring, and when did Göring express his apprehension as to this war against the Soviet Union?
MILCH: That was on 22 May.
GEN. RUDENKO: The 22nd of May 1941?
MILCH: 1941, yes.
GEN. RUDENKO: And where was this question discussed?
MILCH: In Veldenstein near Nuremberg.
GEN. RUDENKO: Did you discuss this question with Göring alone, or was anybody else present at this conversation?
MILCH: At that time only with Göring. We were alone.
GEN. RUDENKO: And you assert that Göring did not wish to go to war with Russia?
MILCH: That was my impression.
GEN. RUDENKO: So. And why did Göring not want this war against the Soviet Union? This was a defensive war, was it not?
MILCH: Göring was opposed to such a war, because he wanted, all of us did . . .
GEN. RUDENKO: He was opposed also to a defensive war?
MILCH: He personally was against any war.
GEN. RUDENKO: That is strange. Maybe you will be able to give me precise reasons why Göring did not wish war against the Soviet Union.
MILCH: Because a war on two fronts, especially a war against Russia, as I saw it, meant losing the war; and I believe that many fighting men and others thought as I did.
GEN. RUDENKO: So you too were opposed to a war against the Soviet Union?
MILCH: Yes, most definitely so.
GEN. RUDENKO: Strange. Your statements are not very consistent. On the one hand, you say that the Soviet Union was going to attack Germany, and on the other hand that German officers did not want a war with the Soviet Union.
MILCH: May I explain again. On 13 January Göring told me that Hitler had the impression that Russia intended to march against Germany. That was not Göring’s opinion, neither was it mine. I assume it was Hitler’s opinion which he had expressed as his own.
GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me. Do I understand that neither you nor Göring thought this opinion of Hitler’s to be correct?
MILCH: I can only speak for myself. I often expressed it as my view that Russia would not go against us. What Göring thought about it I could not say. He did not talk to me about it. You should ask him.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, and now I shall ask you. You mean to say that you personally did not share Hitler’s opinion? And you mean that Göring, too, did not want a war against the Soviet Union?
MILCH: On 22 May, when I spoke to Göring about this matter and urgently requested him to do everything to prevent a war with Russia, he told me that he had used the same arguments with Hitler but that it was impossible to get Hitler to change his mind; he had made his decision and no power on earth could influence him.
GEN. RUDENKO: I see. You mean that Göring was opposed to a war with the Soviet Union, because he thought it impracticable while you were at war with England, and he wanted to prevent war on two fronts?
MILCH: From a purely military point of view, yes; and I believe that if war had been avoided at that time it would not have come about later.
GEN. RUDENKO: And you seriously maintain that it is possible to talk about a preventive war so far ahead, and at the same time to work out Case Barbarossa and all the directives to implement it, as well as gaining allies for the attack on Russia? Do you seriously believe in the preventive character of such a war?
MILCH: I do not understand the meaning of the question.
GEN. RUDENKO: Do you think one could make known that the Soviet Union was going to attack Germany, and at the same time work out an aggressive plan against the Soviet Union, and this as early as December 1940, as appears from the dates of the official documents?
MILCH: As I understand it, Hitler, expecting an attack by Russia—if he really expected it—said that he had to meet a Russian invasion by a preventive war. This, however, has nothing to do with the opinion for which I have been asked here. Speaking for myself, I did not unreservedly hold the view that Russia would invade us. Without being able to judge the situation as a whole, I personally believed that Russia in her own interest, which I tried to visualize, would not do this.
GEN. RUDENKO: I understand. I should like to put a few questions to you with regard to the prisoners of war. The employment of prisoners of war, especially from the Soviet Union, on work in the aircraft industry has already been mentioned here.
GEN. RUDENKO: What is your attitude to employing prisoners of war on work against their own country? What do you think of that?
MILCH: It is, of course, not a nice thing to do; but as far as I know it was also done to our prisoners of war by all the other countries.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am talking of Germany now. You say it is not a nice thing. Is not that a rather mild way of putting it?
MILCH: It depends upon what the others do. All laws of warfare are based on reciprocity, as long as there is any reciprocity.
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like you to answer my question. What was the German High Command’s attitude to this kind of employment? Do you consider that by this employment the regulations of international law were being violated?
MILCH: That is a moot point which even now is not clear to me. I only know that orders were given to employ them, and to use these men, as well as women, in the struggle for our existence.
GEN. RUDENKO: Do you consider this to be a legitimate order?
MILCH: I cannot judge that; that depends upon conditions and, as I said, upon reciprocity.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I ask to have this question and answer stricken from the record. The witness has been asked to give a legal opinion, and it is not for him to do so; since the question is not admissible, the answer too should be stricken.
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko?
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to say I did not realize that the witness did not know whether or not this was a violation of international law. I had every reason to believe that the witness was competent to answer this question, the more so as at the beginning of his statement today, and on Friday, he mentioned the ten rules of the soldier, which he said must not be broken as they were based on international law. I thought, therefore, the witness to be competent to answer the question concerning the use of prisoners of war by the Luftwaffe against their own country. If the Tribunal considers this question to be inadmissible, I will of course withdraw it.
THE PRESIDENT: The question might have been framed differently, as to whether it was not a breach of the rules set out in the soldiers’ pay book. However, as to international law, that is one of the matters which the Tribunal has got to decide, and upon that, of course, we do not wish the evidence of witnesses.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes. I still have two questions to put to this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: We wanted to rise at half-past 4. If it is your intention to ask some more questions, perhaps we had better rise now, or, have you finished?
GEN. RUDENKO: We had better call a recess now, because I may still have a few questions to put to this witness.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 12 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]