From Jodl's IMT testimony: The surprise attack on 22 June 1941 is a historical fact, which took place because the politicians were of the opinion that the Soviet Union had not kept the pact. It [this attack] might [dishonor the name of Germany for centuries to come], if historical research, after exact investigation of Russian documents, delivers clear proof that Russia had no intention of strangling us politically, or of attacking us. In that case, yes; otherwise, no.June 23, 1941: Late in the evening, Hitler arrives for the first time at his Eastern Front military headquarters (Führerhauptquartier), located near the small East Prussian (now Polish) town of Rastenburg, known as the Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze). Between this date and November 20, 1944, Hitler will spend a total of 800 days there. (Kershaw)
From the IMT testimony of Major Herbert Buchs (Jodl's second adjutant): Yes [there were maps on the wall at Führer HQ], and also in East Prussia—particularly the headquarters—the Führer had a topographic map of Germany, as well as a political map of Europe, and there were similar maps in the various other rooms. Neither in the headquarters in East Prussia, nor in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, nor at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, have I ever seen such a map [of the concentration camps]. That is quite out of the question.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The Fuehrer's headquarters was a cross between a cloister and a concentration camp. There were numerous wire fences, and much barbed wire surrounding it. There were outposts on the roads leading to it to safeguard it. In the middle was the so-called Security Ring.
Permanent passes to enter this security ring were not given even to my staff, only to General Warlimont. Every guard had to check on each officer whom he did not know. Apart from reports on the situation, only very little news from the outer world penetrated into this holy of holiest . . . .
Among foreign papers, we studied very carefully the illustrated American and English papers, for they gave us very good information on new weapons. The foreign news itself was received and censored by the headquarters civilian press section. I was given only what was of military interest. Reports concerning internal politics, police, or the present situation were forbidden.
From The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by Robert Payne: Hitler never liked this command post, which had been prepared for him shortly before the invasion of Russia. He disliked it for the same reasons everyone else disliked it. General Jodl called it "a cross between a cloister and a concentration camp," but it was more like a concentration camp than a cloister. Nevertheless, Hitler clung to the place obstinately for months on end. It was his refuge, his home, the one place where he felt perfectly secure. The Russians never discovered his hiding place, and the three Soviet planes shot down by anti-aircraft fire in the outer perimeter were thought to have been seeking another target. The Wolf's Lair was one of the best-kept secret of the war . . . .
Although Hitler found in the forest exactly what he wanted, and was perfectly content to live there for a few weeks, it was no part of his intention to remain there for three and a half years. The decision to remain was forced on him by the nature of the long-drawn-out war with Russia, which absorbed his attention almost to the exclusion of everything else. Month by month, the many roles he had once assumed fell away from him. The orator, the party leader, the lawgiver, the oracle, the chief judge and court of appeal, all these withered away, to be revived at rare intervals, and there was only the commander-in-chief poring over the map and dictating orders that were instantly obeyed.
These orders were issued twice a day—during the war conferences that took place at midday, and again toward midnight. The usual custom was for Colonel-General Jodl to outline the military situation from the reports that had been streaming in from the various fronts, and Hitler would then dictate the measures to be taken, allowing few options to his generals in the field. His decisions were final, not to be questioned, superseding all other decisions, and the words "I order" were constantly repeated.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: It [collaboration with the Fuehrer] took place as follows: Every day I made at least two reports on the situation. Some time ago it was asserted, rather indignantly, that I took part in 119 conferences. I took part in far more than 5,000 conferences. This discussion of the situation, and reporting on the military position, was at the same time an issuing of orders On the basis of the reports on events, the Führer decided immediately what orders were to be given for the next few days.
I worked in this way: When my report was finished, I went into an adjoining room. There, I immediately drew up the teletype messages and orders for the next few days and, while the reports on the situation were still going on, I read these drafts to the Führer for his approval. Warlimont then took them along to my staff where they were sent off . . . .
May I add, to complete the picture it should be said that I did not hear many things which were discussed during these reports on the situation. The same is true of Field Marshal Keitel who worked in a similar manner ... political problems were discussed only to the extent that was necessary for our military measures. Also, on occasions when political and military leaders came together, when the Reich Foreign Minister was present, problems were discussed which lay on the borderline between politics and the conduct of the war. I did not take part in the exclusively political talks with foreign politicians, neutral or allied, or with the Reich Foreign Minister. I did not even take part in the discussions on the organization, armament, and administration of the occupied territories, for the purely military discussions of the situation in which I had to take part often lasted or required as much as 6 or 8 hours a day. I really needed the time I then had left for my own work.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I was not familiar with the idea of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommando, until I came here to Nuremberg. I must say that quite openly, even at the risk of being called a "Parsifal," but it is a fact. I only knew about the Police. The operational territory of the Army was divided into three sectors. The front line was called the fighting zone, and that went back approximately as far as the enemy artillery could fire. In that sector, everything that was anything at all, was in all respects subordinate to the Army. But in that sector there was no Police—except the Secret Field Police, who were, in any case, completely under the jurisdiction of the Army . . . .
[The Secret Field Police were actually a part of the division], they were divisional troops which carried out police work among the troops. Then came the rear area of the armies, which was under the commanding generals of the armies, and behind that were the lines of communication of the Army, which comprised all the supply units and services of the Quartermaster General of the Army. In this main sector—which was by far the largest sector, as it comprised 97 percent of the entire operational area—the entire Police and everything which did not belong to the Army organically was not under the command of the Army, as far as tasks were concerned, but under the Police, under the Reichsführer SS Himmler. Only from the standpoint of servicing the troops—that is, with regard to their supplies or movements during advance or retreat—did the Army, of course, have the right to give orders to the troops regarding their movements and their accommodation. The entire Police received orders about what they were to do from Himmler only. An officer of the Army could never punish a member of the Police or the SS.
I cannot, of course, judge exactly what the commanding generals actually experienced while they were together at the front; but I can say with absolute certainty that I have never seen an order which revealed that these police units had been sent into the operational zone for any other purpose than that of maintaining quiet and order, from the police point of view, and uncovering revolts and partisan activities. I have never seen a report or an order which contained anything other than that . . . .
I consider [the idea that the commanding generals of the armies or army groups would have tolerated those conditions without protest] out of the question, because even in the case of much smaller incidents they raised the most violent protects. Hundreds of documents which have been offered by the Prosecution here show how the troops at the front had objected to measures which they considered inadmissible from a humane point of view, or dangerous to peace and order in the occupied territories.
From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: I took part [in Barbarossa] as the first general staff officer of Field Marshal Von Rundstedt's army group. The official reason [for the attack], given to me at the time by my commander and my chief, was that an attack from Soviet Russia was to be expected shortly, and that this was therefore a preventive measure. It was the uniform impression of the command of the army group—including the commander, the chief, and the operations department under my command—that the reason given for the campaign was the true one. Our own impression at the time was that we had hit on active preparations for an offensive campaign. We had a number of facts that confirmed that impression, according to our ideas. I may state them briefly.
First of all, there was the strength of the troops we encountered which, although I cannot give you figures now, was greater than the figures mentioned in our marching orders. Then there was the extraordinary deployment of troops, so near and like a front, which struck us, with unusual large proportions of armored troops far exceeding anything we had expected, and the deployment of a comparatively strong group opposite the Hungarian border, which we could not explain to ourselves as a defensive force. One point is particularly significant; the fact that, during the first week, we found that captured enemy staffs were equipped with maps [that] covered a large area of German or ex-Austrian territory which, again, did not seem in keeping with purely defensive considerations. In addition we observed a number of smaller things, not very important in themselves.
It is particularly noticeable that the units on the Russian Front were equipped with maps, covering much more than the area which would normally be included in a defensive reconnaissance area, even allowing for the fact that, at the beginning of a campaign, such reconnaissance might go beyond the enemy's frontier.
We encountered an enormous number of these difficulties when we approached the Dnieper ... remote-controlled explosions, or delayed-action explosions, which were carried out, as it seemed, on a very large scale in our fighting zone in the Kiev-Kharkov-Poltava area. They caused us a great deal of trouble, and they forced us to adopt extensive countermeasures at the time.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: [This was not the first time Hitler had made] this decision, if it actually was a decision—and the statements made at this conference—I learned for the first time here in Court. I personally did not take part in the discussion, nor do I know whether the words were said in that way. My remark that the Führer had again taken a decision refers to the verbal order he had given to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army shortly before, perhaps 1 or 2 days earlier. It is quite clear that there was already talk of this and that in the order I am referring to—a letter of the High Command of the Army of 18 September—and in that way the word "again" is to be explained. I was quite unaware of the fact, and I heard of it for the first time here in Court. It was only here in Court that I heard of the conference taking place at all . . . .
Compared with the British and the Soviet Union, we were mere schoolboys in propaganda. You are perhaps aware that propaganda is something quite justifiable and is not limited by any regulations of international law. At one time, in Geneva, there was a long debate about this; and the idea that propaganda should be restricted by international law was rejected. I have already stated that in my preliminary interrogation. In the field of propaganda, I can do whatever I wish. There is no law, either criminal or international, in regard to that. But perhaps you do not know that this propaganda had to be in line with the political directives of the Führer and this was being done here. I am very well acquainted with propaganda, for I studied it for 5 years—yours, too. That is still quite another type of propaganda.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Yes, I remember the order. Certainly [I took part in drafting it], because it is an operational order which supplements a directive. No, it is not at all [a] terrible [order] for it is established by international law that the inhabitants of an occupied territory must follow the orders and instructions of the occupying power, and any uprising, any resistance against the army occupying the country is forbidden; it is, in fact, partisan warfare, and international law does not lay down means of combating partisans. The principle of such warfare is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and this is not even a German principle. It is not a question of the innocent. It expressly states, "to eradicate every inclination to resist." It is a question of those who resist, that is, by partisan warfare. I approve it as a justified measure conforming to international law and directed against a widespread resistance movement which employed unscrupulous methods. Of that we had evidence.July 27, 1941: From an order signed by Keitel:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Unfortunately I cannot tell you [the object of the destruction of that order]; I do not recall this order. I do not believe I ever saw it, at least not before this Trial. I do not know this order; it was shown to me for the first time here in Nuremberg; I had never seen it before. I do not know what it is about, or what order is being rescinded. I have already said that these questions of military legal jurisdiction were dealt with by Field Marshal Keitel, and that he used my Quartermaster Section as a working staff, without my having any part in these matters. I do not know this order. I cannot give you any information about it.July 29, 1940: General Halder records in his diary remarks that were made by Hitler during a military conference:
From the affidavit of General Warlimont: I personally first heard about the plan [Barbarossa] on 29 July 1940 . . . . On that day Generaloberst Jodl arrived by special train in Bad Reichenhall, where also Section 'L' of the Armed Forces Operations Staff was quartered . . . . Besides myself, he also ordered three other senior officers ... Colonel von Lossberg, Lieutenant Colonel Freiherr von Falkenstein of the Luftwaffe, and Captain Junge of the Navy to attend. Jodl stunned us by his announcement of the coming attack, for which we were not at all prepared . . . . Jodl announced that the Fuehrer had decided to prepare for war against Russia. The Führer based his decision on the fact that war with Russia must come sooner or later, and that it would be better to carry this campaign through in the course of this war.
From an interrogation of Wilhelm Keitel: I know nothing whatever about a conference with regard to an attack on the Soviet Union. I heard about it for the first time after I was imprisoned here.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Actually there is no such thing as a conference in these military matters. You have conferences in civil and parliamentary life, but we do not have conferences. I talked to my General Staff officers as often as I pleased. I certainly did not report to him [Keitel] on this very discussion; but that is not in the least important. I am certain that I reported to him what the Führer told me, because that was an important matter; and later, because of this, he wrote a memorandum. Therefore, he must have heard about it-but that is only a supposition, a very likely supposition, which I am voicing here . . . .
[The Soviet prosecutor] asserted that I did not report the preparation for an attack on a neutral country to Field Marshal Keitel. That is an assertion … that I refuted … under oath. We were not concerned with an attack on the Soviet Union at this meeting. We were concerned with the defense against a Soviet attack on the Romanian oil fields . . . .
I was probably the first who learned of the Führer's concern about Russia's political attitude. However, I was not the first who made preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union. To my surprise, I discovered here, through the witness Paulus that, long before we concerned ourselves with any orders of this kind, plans of attack were already worked out in the General Staff of the Army. I cannot tell you with absolute certainty why it was done. Perhaps Generaloberst Halder can tell us about that. I can only express that as a supposition on my part . . . .
First of all, it is not certain what stand Field Marshal Keitel took in the spring of 1941 with regard to this question. Secondly, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force—with due respect to both of these gentlemen—saw the problem as a whole only from the point of view of naval or air strategy, and they saw no danger whatsoever in the Russian Navy or the Russian Air Force. What was taking place on land, of course, was of less interest to them. That explains why the strongest opposition came from the Luftwaffe and the Navy; and only the Army, in this case, was much more inclined to see the tremendous danger with which it was confronted. But in spite of this, every one of us, I myself included, warned the Führer most urgently against this experiment, which should have been undertaken only if there really was no other way out. I will not take it upon myself to judge whether there might perhaps have been a political possibility that was not exhausted; I cannot judge that.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I was present during two conferences that the Führer himself had, with the German artillery commander who was in charge of the artillery before Leningrad. He brought along the exact target chart, and it showed a very carefully worked-out system, according to which, only key plants in Leningrad were marked as necessary targets, so as to cripple the power of resistance of the fortress. They were mostly factories that were still producing munitions. The ammunition for this heavy artillery, only a small portion of which could reach the center of Leningrad, was so scarce that one had to be extremely economical in its use. [The artillery consisted] mostly [of] captured guns from France, and we only had as much ammunition as we had captured.
I myself had the artillery target chart in my brief case for many weeks. Only the armament industry was marked on it. It would have been insane to shoot at anything else. Of course, every artillery man knows that, through dispersion, the shots can fall elsewhere.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: As far as I remember, Kiev was occupied at the end of August. I believe it was on 25 August, or about that date . . . . I was a month off in my calculations, and the taking of Kiev was actually at the end of September. The reports that we received from Leeb came in the first days of October. I made a mistake. I am sorry.
From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: I know about Kharkov indeed, because something happened there, which caused us to adopt certain security measures. In the battles along the west border of Kharkov, which were rather long and serious, a divisional staff with all its main material—I cannot remember its number—was destroyed by a delayed-action explosion of this kind. This caused orders to be issued for the carrying out of special security searches, in all buildings which had to be used for accommodation of staffs and other authorities from that time on.October 3, 1941: Hitler opens up the charitable Winter Aid campaign with a speech at the Sportspalast:
From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: Goebbels was delighted with the speech [above], noting that it would be a great help in his propaganda. Hitler left Berlin at 7 PM, and was back in Wolfsschanze first thing the following morning, to receive the latest reports from the front. The news was good: the German Panzers were overwhelming the Soviet defenses once again. By mid-October, they had captured Orel, and completed another vast encirclement of around 500-600,000 men, at Vyazma and Bryansk, on the highway to Moscow. Jodl reported: 'We have finally, and without exaggeration, won the war!' And Otto Dietrich announced to the press: 'For all military purposes Soviet Russia is done with.' Goebbels, jealous of Dietrich anyway, was furious, and protested to Hitler that his statement was injudicious and might lead to a terrible letdown over the next few days. But Hitler silenced him with the reply that it had been a political chess move, aimed at inducing Japan to enter the war against the Soviet Union.October 7, 1941: From a top secret order of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces signed by Jodl:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: At the beginning of the second paragraph appears the sentence: "The moral justification for this measure is clear to the whole world." I shall now explain that. The first reason was a report from Field Marshal von Leeb, the Commander of Army Group North at Leningrad. He reported that the population of Leningrad had already begun to flock out toward his lines in the south and west. He pointed out that it would be absolutely impossible for him to keep these millions of Leningrad people fed and supplied, if they were to fall into his hands, because the supply situation of the army group was deplorable at that time. That was the first reason.
Shortly beforehand, Kiev had been abandoned by the Russian armies, and hardly had we occupied the city, [than] tremendous explosions occurred, one after another. The major part of the inner city was destroyed by fire; 50,000 people were made homeless; German soldiers were used to fight the flames, and suffered considerable losses, because further large masses of explosives went off during the fire. At first, the local commander at Kiev thought that it was sabotage on the part of the population, until we found a demolition chart, listing 50 or 60 objectives in Kiev, which had already been prepared for destruction, some time before. This chart was in fact correct, as investigation by engineers proved at once. At least 40 more objectives were ready to be blown up, and for most of them, a remote control was to set off the explosion by means of wireless waves. I myself had the original of this demolition chart in my hands . . . .
Then I only need to say in conclusion that the Führer always expected that what had happened in Kiev, in Kharkov, and in Odessa would happen also in Leningrad, and possibly in Moscow. That was the decisive reason why he gave this order—which already had been put into writing—orally to the High Command of the Army. And the order was given added weight, because the Russian radio reported that Leningrad had been undermined, and would be defended to the last man.
The purpose of the order was exclusively that of protecting German troops against such catastrophes as had already occurred; for entire staffs had been blown into the air in Kharkov and Kiev. For this reason, the Führer issued this order, which I in turn, at his express request, put into writing. Therefore the order began with the words, "The Führer has again decided"—that means "once more," "for the second time." . . . .
We did not want these masses of the population. We had had our experiences in Paris. There, it had even been necessary to use the transport space of four divisions, and the whole relief train "Bavaria," which could supply tens of thousands of people, to save the population from starvation. In Leningrad, that would have been quite impossible because, in the first place, the railways had been destroyed; the rails had not yet been adjusted to our gauge, and the supply situation was very difficult. It would have been impossible to help these millions of people in any way; there would have been a real catastrophe. Hence the idea of pressing them back to the east, into the Russian areas; an idea, incidentally, not in conformity with the assertion which has been made here that we wanted to exterminate the Slavs.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: As such, the destruction of an objective by a demolition troop I consider completely admissible under international law; but I do not consider it admissible during such an operation for civilian clothes to be worn under the uniform, and armpit pistols to be carried, which start firing as soon as the arms are raised in the act of surrender. I believe that these cases were quite rare, that at least these people were mixed with those who wore civilian clothes. I have already said that, if a soldier in full uniform only blows up or destroys an objective, I do not consider it an action contrary to international law; and for that reason, I opposed the Commando Order, in this form, almost to the last moment . . . .
I should like to make a brief comment on this document. I have not seen any of these papers before; I am now seeing them for the first time; but they prove, word for word, what I said here the day before yesterday, under oath, that on their own initiative, the members of my staff, as they heard that the Führer had demanded an executive order, began preparatory work for the draft of such an order, with the Legal Department, and with the Foreign Department, but that I did not accept and, did not submit, any order to the Führer.
From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: When the attack on Rostock failed in November 1941, and permission to withdraw his leading units had been refused by the OKH, Field Marshal von Rundstedt sent a report to the OKH, to the army to which we were subordinated, in which he said that if the necessary confidence was not felt in his leadership, he must ask the Führer to nominate a new commander for that army group. I have a painfully accurate recollection of this incident, because I myself drafted the telegram, and the Field Marshal made that addition with his own hand. The telegram was dispatched in the evening, and Hitler's answer, relieving him of his post, arrived in the course of the same night . . . .
The application was granted. But perhaps I may tell you that there were repercussions later with Hitler. A few days afterwards Hitler himself flew to Mariupol, in order to obtain information about the actual situation on the spot. On his homeward flight, he visited Field Marshal von Rundstedt's Poltava headquarters and had a discussion with him. In the course of this discussion, Hitler—I cannot tell you for certain whether I witnessed this scene myself, or whether the Chief Adjutant Oberst Schmundt told me about it immediately afterwards—I repeat, there was a personal discussion, in the course of which, Hitler again reproached the Field Marshal for having put that alternative question, and said to him: "In the future I do not intend to tolerate any such applications to resign. When I have once made a decision, the responsibility is transferred to me. I myself am not in a position to go to my superior, for instance, God Almighty, and to say to him, 'I am not going on with it, because I don't want to take the responsibility."'
We considered, at the time, that that scene was of basic importance, and I may add that, to judge from the orders later given on that point, our impression was correct ... he certainly did not alter his decision. Because, as I know, there were two occasions, I believe, on which orders to that effect were issued, forbidding resignations on the part of a commander, or an officer in a leading position, on grounds of unwillingness to assume responsibility.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I am informed on this subject because several adjutants of the Führer were sent there personally, and they reported to the Führer in my presence. We were mostly concerned with the mass deaths after the last great battle for the Viazma pocket. The Führer’s adjutants described the reason for the mass deaths as follows: The half-famished, encircled, Russian armies had put up fanatical resistance during the last 8 or 10 days. They literally lived on the bark of trees and roots, because they had retreated to impenetrable wooded country; and when they fell into our hands, they were in such a condition that they could hardly move. It was impossible to transport them. The situation as regards supplies was critical, because the railway system had been destroyed, so that it was impossible to take them all away. There were no accommodations nearby. Only immediate, careful hospital treatment could have saved the majority of them. Soon afterwards, the rain started, and then the cold set in, and that is the reason why such a large number of those prisoners—particularly these prisoners of Viazma—died.December 6, 1941: Germans forces are pushed back by a major Russian counter-attack near Moscow. With supply lines badly over-stretched—and temperatures of -34C (-29F) and below making German equipment nearly useless—even Adolf Hitler himself begins to realize that he has horribly underestimated Soviet strength. (Clark)
From Jodl's IMT testimony: During that frightful winter battle, with a temperature of 48 degrees of frost, the commanders at the front reported to the Führer in his headquarters that this battle was exclusively a battle for warm shelter. Those who did not have some sort of heating arrangement—that is to say, a village with serviceable stoves—could not hold out, and would not be able to fight the following day. One could say it was really a fight for stoves. And when, because of this, we were forced to retreat, the Führer then ordered that those fireplaces must be destroyed—not only the houses but also the fireplaces were to be blown up—because in such a critical situation, that alone would prevent the Russians from pursuing. Since, in accordance with the Hague Regulations for Land Warfare, every type of destruction is permissible which is absolutely necessary from the military point of view, I believe that for this type of winter warfare—and it happened only during the winter—that order can be justified.December 7, 1941 Night and Fog Decree:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: The attack [on Pearl Harbor] came as a complete surprise. It was a complete surprise to me, and I had the feeling it was also a surprise for the Führer; for he came, in the middle of the night, to my map room, in order to give the news to Field Marshal Keitel and myself. He was completely surprised . . . .
[Were we not interested in having Japan at war with America], we would have much preferred a new and powerful ally, without a new and powerful enemy.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Hitler was a leader to an exceptional degree. His knowledge and his intellect, his rhetoric, and his will power triumphed in the end in every spiritual conflict over everyone. He combined to an unusual extent logic and clarity of thought, skepticism and excess of imagination, which very frequently foresaw what would happen, but also very often went astray. I really marveled at him when, in the winter of 1941-42, by his faith and his energy, he established the wavering Eastern Front; for at that time, as in 1812, a catastrophe was imminent. His life in the Führer headquarters was nothing but duty and work. The modesty in his mode of life was impressive.February 24, 1942: Hitler speaks to the Reich via radio:
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I heard of the letter [above] here in court for the first time. I knew nothing about these reasons for the mass deaths. In any case they are completely wrong; that I do know, because I can give rough figures from memory as regards the number of Soviet prisoners of war and their whereabouts.
From the Soviet cross-examination of Jodl: Colonel Pokrovsky:You will now be shown Exhibit USSR 151, Page 5 of the German text. You will find there the passage to which I should like to draw your attention.
“At the end of 1941, or the beginning of 1942, I was called to Berlin to attend a conference held by the commanders in charge of prisoners of war in the military districts. The newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Prisoner-of-war Department, Major General von Graevenitz, presided over the conference.
During the conference there was a discussion about the treatment of prisoners of war who, because of their wounds or from exhaustion and illness, were unable to work. At the suggestion of General von Graevenitz, several of the officers present, among them many doctors, declared that such prisoners of war should be concentrated in a camp or in a hospital and poisoned.
Following this discussion, Major General von Graevenitz issued an order to the effect that all prisoners of war who were unable to work should be killed, and that medical personnel should be employed for this purpose."
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I knew nothing about that at all, and I cannot comment on this document. It has nothing to do with me, and I do not know whether what has been said here is true, but General von Graevenitz must certainly know about it. I had no connection whatsoever with prisoners of war. That was another [officer], General Reinecke. General von Graevenitz is no subordinate of mine. I had no interviews of any kind with him. I have seen him perhaps twice in all my life. I was not responsible for prisoners of war, and I was not competent to deal with them.April 13, 1942: Berlin Radio broadcasts a report that German military forces in the Katyn forest near Smolensk had uncovered "a ditch ... 28 meters long and 16 meters wide (92 ft by 52 ft), in which the bodies of 3,000 Polish officers were piled up in 12 layers." The broadcast accuses the Soviets of having carried out the massacre in 1940.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Regarding the finding of these mass graves, I received the first report through my propaganda department, which was informed through its propaganda company attached to the army group. I heard that the Reich Police Criminal Department had been given the task of investigating the whole affair, and I then sent an officer from my propaganda department to the exhumation, to check the findings of the foreign experts. I received a report which, in general, tallies with the report which is contained in the White Book issued, I think, by the Foreign Office. I have never heard anyone raise any doubts as to the facts as they were presented.April 17, 1942: After learning German, and memorizing a map of the surrounding area, General Giraud lowers himself down the cliff of the mountain fortress where he is imprisoned. With shaved moustache, he eventually makes his way back to Vichy France.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: Shortly after the successful flight of Giraud, Field Marshal Keitel told me once in a conversation that he was having Giraud watched by Canaris, so that he would not, as the Führer always feared, go to North Africa and there direct the formation of the Colonial Army against us or, so that he could be arrested in the event that he should rejoin his family in the territory actually occupied. That is what he told me. Several months later, he said to me again, "I have now withdrawn this assignment to Canaris because the Führer has given it to Himmler. If two agencies are concerned with it there will only be difficulties and differences."
The third time I heard about the Giraud case was when Field Marshal Keitel told me that a deputy of Giraud—I believe it was about the end of 1943 or in the spring of 1944—approached the counterintelligence service and said that Giraud, who could not agree with De Gaulle in North Africa, asked whether he might not return to France. I told Field Marshal Keitel then that we absolutely must agree to that immediately, because that was extremely favorable for us politically. That is the only thing I ever heard about the Giraud case. Nothing else.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I remember that there were constant objections from the High Command of the Army which, unfortunately, had to carry out this [Commissar] order, and these went on for a long time. Officers of the General Staff told me confidentially that, for the most part, it was not being carried out. I know of one official application made to the Fuehrer to have this order officially withdrawn. That was done, although I cannot remember when. The High Command of the Army [made that application]. Whether it was the Chief of the General Staff, or the Commander-in-Chief, I cannot say. I know for certain, the order was withdrawn. All the officers to whom I spoke considered, first, that the order should be turned down from the humane point of view and, secondly, that it was wrong from the practical point of view . . . . [It was] General Field Marshal Von Rundstedt [who] applied to have the entire order withdrawn.June 1, 1942: On the occasion of a conference of commanders-in-chief in the region of Army Group South in Poltava, Hitler declares, "If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grosny, then I must end this war."
From the IMT testimony of Hans Bernd Gisevius: Take the Defendant Jodl, for instance. I would like to call your attention to the strange influence which this defendant had and the position he had with regard to controlling access to Hitler.
From Jodl's IMT testimony: I did not have that honor [of knowing or even meeting Gisevius]. I heard the name of this witness for the first time here, and I saw him for the first time here in Court. Obviously, I could give the Führer only an extract of events. In view of his inclination to make emotional decisions, I naturally was particularly cautious in presenting unverified reports made by agents. If the witness meant this by his general term of "key position," he was not wrong. But if he intended it to mean that I kept from the Führer atrocities committed by our own Wehrmacht, or atrocities committed by the SS, then that is absolutely untrue. Besides, how was that witness to know about it?
On the contrary, I immediately reported any news of that kind to the Führer, and no one could have stopped me from doing so. I will give examples: An affidavit by Rittmeister Scheidt was read here. He testified that Obergruppenführer Fegelein told the Chief of the General Staff, Colonel Guderian, and Generaloberst Jodl, of atrocities committed by the SS Brigade Keminski in Warsaw. That is absolutely true. Ten minutes later, I reported this fact to the Führer, and he immediately ordered the dissolution of this brigade. When I heard through the American radio, through my press chief, of the shooting of 120 American prisoners near Malmedy, I immediately, on my own initiative, had an investigation started through the Commander West, so as to report the result to the Führer. When unimaginable horrors committed by an Ustashi company in Croatia came to my knowledge, I reported this to the Fuehrer immediately.
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Caution: As always, excerpts from
trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be
kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of
hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift
responsibility from charges that, should they be found guilty, can possibly
be punishable by death.
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