Hearing Wilhelm Keitel 3

Morning session April 5, part 1


Dr. NELTE: The last question I asked you yesterday concerned the channels through which orders were transmitted in matters concerning prisoners-of-war. You said that orders went from the camp commander to the army district commander and then to the commander of the reserve army or to the OKH, the High Command of the Army. I should now like to have you tell me who was responsible if something happened in a PoW camp which violated the Geneva Convention or was a breach of generally recognized international law. Was that your business? Was the OKW responsible?
KEITEL: The OKW was responsible in the case of incidents which violated general orders, that is, basic instructions issued by the OKW, or in the case of failure to exercise the right to inspect In such circumstances I would say that the OKW was responsible.
Dr. NELTE: How did the OKW exercise its right to inspect camps?
KEITEL: At first, in the early days of the war, through an inspector of the Prisoners-of-war Organization (the Kriegsgefangenenwesen or KGW), which was at the same time the office or departmental chief of the department KGW in the General Office of the Armed Forces. In a certain sense, he exercised a double function. Later on, after 1942 1 believe, it was done by appointing an inspector general who had nothing to do with the correspondence or official work an the ministerial side.
Dr. NELTE: What was the control by the protecting powers and the International Red Cross?
KEITEL: If a protecting power wished to send a delegation to inspect camps, that was arranged by the department or the inspector for the prisoner-of-war matters and he accompanied the delegation. Perhaps I ought to say that, as far as the French were concerned Ambassador Scapini carried out that function personally and that a protecting power did not exist in this form.
Dr. NELTE: Could the representatives of the protecting powers and the Red Cross talk freely to the prisoners-of-war or only in the presence of officers of the German Armed Forces?
KEITEL: I do not know whether the procedure adopted in camps was always in accordance with the basic instructions, which were to render possible a direct exchange of views between prisoners-of-war and visitors from their own countries. As a general rule it was allowed and made possible.
Dr. NELTE: Did you as the chief of the OKW concern yourself personally with the general instructions on prisoner-of-war matters?
KEITEL: Yes. I did concern myself with the general instrutions. Apart from that, my being tied to the Führer and to headquarters naturally made it impossible for me to be in continuous contact with my offices. There were, however, the KGW branch office and the inspector, as well as the Chief of the General Armed Forces Office who was, in any case, responsible to me and dealt with these matters. These three departments had to deal with the routine work and I, myself, was called in when decisions had be made and when the Führer interfered in person, as he frequently did and gave orders of his own.
Dr. NELTE: According to the documents presented here in Court, Soviet prisoners-of-war seem to have received different treatment from the other prisoners. What can you say on that subject?
KEITEL: It is true that in this connection there was a difference in treatment due to the view, frequently stated by the Führer, that the Soviet Union on their part had not observed or ratified the Geneva Convention. It was also due to the part played by "ideological conceptions regarding the conduct of the war." The Führer emphasized that we had a free hand in this field.
Dr. NELTE: I am now going to show you Document EC-388, Exhibit USSR-356. It is dated September 15, 1941.
Part 1 is the minutes of a report by the Foreign Intelligent Department of the OKW. Part 2 is a directive from the OKW dated September 8, 1941, regarding the treatment of Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war. Part 3 is a memorandum on the guarding of Soviet prisoners-of-war, and the last document is a copy of th decree by the Council of People's Commissars regarding the prisoners-of-war matters dated July 1, 1941. (The document was submitted to the defendant.)
KEITEL: Perhaps I can say by way of introduction that the directives were not issued until September, which can be attributed to the fact that at first an order by Hitler existed, saying that Russian prisoners-of-war were not to be brought back to Reichs territory. This order was later on rescinded.
Now, regarding the directive of September 8, 1941, the full text of which I have before me, I should like to say that all these instructions have their origin in the idea that this was a battle of nationalities, for the initial phrase reads, "Bolshevism is the deadly enemy of National Socialist Germany." That, in my opinion, immediately shows the basis on which these instructions were made and the motives and ideas from which they sprang. It is a fact that Hitler, as I explained yesterday, did not consider this a battle between two states to be waged in accordance with the rules of international law but as a conflict between two ideologies. There are also several statements in the document regarding selection from two points of view: selection of people who seem, if I may express it in this way, not dangerous to us and the selection of those who, on account of their political activities and their fanaticism, had to be isolated as representing a particularly dangerous threat to National Socialism.
Turning to the introductory letter, I may say that it has already been presented here by the Prosecutor of the Soviet Union. It is a letter from the Chief of the Intelligente Service of the OKH Admiral Canaris, reminding one of the general order which I have just mentioned and adding a series of remarks in which he formulates and emphasizes his doubts about the decree and his objections to it. About the memorandum which is attached I need not say any more. It is an extract, and also the orders which the Soviet Union issued in their turn, I think on July 1, for the treatment of prisoners-of-war, that is, the directives for the treatment of German prisoners-of-war. I received this on September 15 whereas the other order had been issued about a week earlier and after studying this report from Canaris, I must admit I share his objections. Therefore I took all the papers to Hitler and asked him to cancel the provisions and to make a further statement on the subject. The Führer said that we could not expect that German prisoners-of-war would be treated according to the Geneva Convention or international law on the other side. We had no way of investigating it and he saw no reason to alter the directive he had issued on that account. He refused point-blank, so I returned the file with my marginal notes to Admiral Canaris. The order remained in force.
Dr. NELTE: What was the actual treatment accorded to Soviet prisoners-of-war? Was it in compliance with the instructions issued or was it handled differently in practice?
KEITEL: According to my own personal observations and the reports which have been put before me, the practice was, if I may say so, very much better and more favorable than the very severe instructions first issued, when it had been agreed that the prisoners-of-war were to be transported to Germany. At any rate, I have seen numerous reports stating that labor conditions, particularly in agriculture, but also in war economy, and in particular in the general Institution of war economy such as railways, the building of roads, and so on, were considerably better than might have been expected, considering the severe terms of the instructions.
Dr. NELTE: Mr. President, may I refer on this occasion Document number 6 in the document book?
The PRESIDENT: Which document book?
Dr. NELTE: Document number 6, in Document Book number 1 in my document book, number 6: "Conditions of employment workers from the East, as well as Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war." In this document book I have included from the book I am submitting only those passages which concern the condition of employment for Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war. I am submitting this book in evidente as Exhibit K-6, and beg the Tribunal to admit it in evidence without my having to read from it. The instructions refer expressly to the points which indicate that at a later period Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war were to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention as laid down by the OKW, author of the decree. May I continue?
The PRESIDENT: Yes, very well. You do not wish to read from it?
Dr. NELTE: No, I do not want to.
(Turning to the defendant.] Please, will you explain to me just what relations existed between the police, or rather Himmler, on the one hand and the Prisoners-of-war Organization, the KGW on the other?
KEITEL: May I say, first of all, that there was constant friction between Himmler and the corresponding police services and the departments of the Wehrmacht which worked in this sphere and that this friction never stopped. It was apparent right from the start that Himmler at least desired to have the lead in his own hands and he never ceased trying to obtain influence of one kind or another over prisoner-of-war affairs. The natural circumstance of escapes, recapture by police, searches and inquiries, the complaints about insufficient guarding of prisoners, the insufficier security measures in the camps, the lack of guards and their inefficiency - all these things suited him and he exploited them in talks with Hitler, when he continually accused the Wehrmacl behind its back, if I may use the expression, of every possible shortcoming and failure to carry out their duty. As a result of this Hitler was continually intervening, and in most cases I did not know the reason. He took up the charges and intervened constantly in affairs so that the Wehrmacht departments were kept in what I might term a state of perpetual unrest. In this connection, since I could not investigate matters myself, I was forced to give instructions to my departments in the OKW.
Dr. NELTE: What was the underlying cause and the real purpose which Himmler attempted to achieve?
KEITEL: He wanted not only to gain influence but also, as fast as possible, to have prisoner-of-war affairs under himself as Chief of Police in Germany so that he would reign supreme in the matters, if I may say so.
Dr. NELTE: Did not the question of procuring labor enter into it
KEITEL: Later on that did become apparent, yes. I think shall have to refer to that later but I can say now that one observation at least was made which could not be misinterpreted. The searches and inquiries, made at certain intervals in Germany for escaped persons, made it clear that the majority of these prisoners-of-war did not go back to the camps from which they had escaped so that obviously they had been retained by police departments and probably used for labor under the jurisdiction of Himmler. Naturally the number of escapes increased every year and became more an more extensive. For that, of course, there are quite plausible reasons.
Dr. NELTE: The prisoner-of-war system, of course, is pretty closely connected with the labor problem. Which departments were responsible for the employment of prisoners-of-war?
KEITEL: The departments which dealt with this were the State Labor Offices in the so-called Reichs Labor Allocation Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst or RAD), which had originally been in the hands of the Labor Minister and was later on transferred to the Plenipotentiary for the Allocation of Labor. In practice it worked like this. The RAD applied for workers to the Army district commands which had jurisdiction over the camps. These workers were supplied as far as was possible under the existing general directives.
Dr. NELTE: What did the OKW have to do with the allocation of labor?
KEITEL: In general, of course, they had to supervise it, so that allocation was regulated according to the general basic orders. It was not possible, of course, and the inspector was not in a positio to check on how each individual was employed; after all, the army district commanders and their generals for the KGW were responsible for that and were the appropriate persons. The actual fight, as I might call it, for prisoner-of-war labor did not really start until 1942. Until then, such workers had been employed mainly in agriculture and the German railway system and a number of general institutions, but not in industry. This applies especially to Soviet prisoners-of-war who were, in the main, agricultural workers.
Dr. NELTE: What was the actual cause for these labor requirements?
KEITEL: During the winter of 1941-42 the problem of replacing soldiers who had dropped out arose, particularly in the eastern theatre of war. Considerable numbers of soldiers fit for active service were needed for the front and the armed services. I remember the figures. The army alone needed replacements numbering from 2 to 2.5 million men every year. Assuming that about 1 million of these would come from normal recruiting and abou half a million from rehabilitated men, that is, from sick and wounded men who had recovered, that still left 1.5 million to be replaced every year. These could be withdrawn from the war economy and placed at the disposal of the services, the Armed Forces. From this fact resulted the close correlation between the drawing off of these men from the war economy and their replace¬ment by new workers. This manpower had to be taken from the prisoners-of-war on the one hand and Plenipotentiary Sauckel, whose functions may be summarized as the task of procuring labor, on the other hand. This connection kept bringing me into these matters, too, since I was responsible for the replacements for the entire Wehrmacht - Army, Navy, and Air Force - in other words, for the recruiting system. That is why I was present at discussions between Sauckel and the Führer regarding replacements and how these replacements were to be found.
Dr. NELTE: What can you tell me about the allocation of prisoners-of-war in industry and in the armament industry?
KEITEL: Up to 1942 or thereabouts we had not used prisoners-of-war in any industry even indirectly connected with armaments. This was due to an express prohibition issued by Hitler, which was made by him because he feared attempts at sabotaging machines, production equipment, et cetera. He regarded things of that kind as probable and dangerous. Not until necessity compelled us to use every worker in the same capacity in the home factories did we abandon this principle. It was no longer discussed and naturally prisoners-of-war came to be used after that in the general war production, while my view which I, that is the OKW, expressed in my general orders, was that their use in armament factories was forbidden. I thought that it was not permissible to employ prisoners-of-war in factories which were exclusively making armaments, by which I mean war equipment, weapons, and munitions.
For the sake of completeness, perhaps I should add that an order issued by the Führer at a later date decreed further relaxation of the limitations of the existing orders. I think the Prosecution stated that Minister Speer is supposed to have spoken of so many thousands of prisoners-of-war employed in the war economy. I may say however, that many jobs had to be done in the armament industry which had nothing to do with the actual production of arms and ammunition.
Dr. NELTE: The Prosecution have frequently stated that prisoners-of-war were detained by the police and even placed in concentration camps. Can you give an explanation about that?
KEITEL: I think the explanation of that is that the selection process already mentioned took place in the camps. Furthermore there are documents to show that prisoners-of-war in whose case the disciplinary powers of the commander were not sufficient were singled out and handed over to the Gestapo. Finally, I have already mentioned the subject of prisoners who escaped and were recaptured, a considerable number of whom, if not the majority, did not return to their camps. Instructions on the part of the OKW or the Chief of the KGW ordering the surrender of these prisoners to concentration camps are not known to me and have never been issued. But the fact that, when they were handed over to the police, they frequently did end up in concentration camps has been made known here in various ways, by documents and witnesses. That is my explanation.
Dr. NELTE: The French Prosecution have presented a document which bears the number 1650-PS. This is an order, or, rather, alleged order, from the OKW ordering that escaped prisoners-of-war who are not employed are to be surrendered to the Security Service. After what you have just told us, you will have to give an explanation of that. I am showing you, in addition, Document 1514-PS, an order from the Wehrkreiskommando VI (Area Command), from which you will be able to see the procedure adopted by the OKW in connection with the surrender of prisoners-of-war to the Gestapo.
KEITEL: First of all, I want to discuss Document 1650-PS. To begin with, I have to state that I did not know of that order, that it was never in my hands and that so far I have not been able to find out how it came to be issued.
Dr. NELTE: Wouldn't you like to say, first of all, that the document as such is not a document of the OKW?
KEITEL: I am coming to that.
Dr. NELTE: I am afraid you must start with that in order to clear up the matter.
KEITEL: The document starts like a document which has been confiscated in a police department. It starts with the words, "The OKW has ordered as follows:", after that come the numbers 1 3 and then it goes on to say, "In this connection I order ...", that is the supreme Police Chief of the RSHA, it is signed by Müller, not Kaltenbrunner but Müller. I have certainly not signed this order OKW 1 to 3, and I have not seen it, there is no doubt about that. The fact that technical expressions "Stage 3 b" et cetera, are used proves that in itself. These are terms used by the police and they are unknown to me. I must say, therefore, that I am not sure how this document was drafted. I can't explain it. There are assumptions and possibilities, and I should like to mention them briefly because I have given a great deal of thought to the matter. First, I do not believe that any department of the OKW, that is, the Chief of Prisoners-of-war Organization or the Chief of the General Wehrmacht Office, could have issued this order independently without instructions to do so. I consider that quite impossible, as it was completely contrary to the general tendency. I have no recollection that I have ever received any instructions of this kind from Hitler or that I have passed any such instruction on to anybody eise. I conclude that even this may look like an excuse, there were, of course, other channels which the Führer used without regard to competency. And, if must supply an explanation, such orders could have been given through an adjutant without my knowledge. I emphasize that this is a supposition and that it cannot absolve me from blame.
There is only one thing that I would like to say, and that with reference to the Document 1514-PS. This is a captured order from the Wehrkreiskommando VI, at Münster, dated July 27, 1944 in other words, the summer of 1944. It deals with escaped prisoners-of-war and how they are to be dealt with. It says "Reference," and then it quotes seven different orders from the year 1942 up to the beginning of July 1944. This order deals with the question of escaped prisoners-of-war and ought to have been incorporated in this document, if the military office of Wehrkreis VI had had such an OKW order. That fact is remarkable, and it led me to the conclusion that there never was a written order and that the military authorities in question never received such an order at all. I cannot say more about it since I cannot prove it.
Dr. NELTE: You know that the Prosecution have submitted an order, according to which Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war were to be marked by means of tattooing, so that they could be identified. Would you please make a statement on that?
KEITEL: The facts are as follows: During the summer of 1942 the Führer called the Quartermaster General of the Army to headquarters for a report lasting several hours, at which the Führer asked him to report on conditions in the Eastern rear army territory. I was suddenly called in and told that the Quartermaster General was saying that thousands of Russian prisoners-of-war were escaping every month, that they disappeared among the population, immediately discarded their uniforms, and procured civilian clothes and could no longer be identified. I was ordered to make investigations and to devise some means of identification which would enable them to be identified even after they had put on civilian clothing. Thereupon I sent instructions to Berlin, saying that such an order should be prepared but that investigations should first be made by the international law department of the Foreign Office to find out whether such an order could be given at all; secondly, whether it could be carried out technically.
I should like to say that we were thinking of tattoo marks of the kind found on many seamen and bricklayers in Germany but I heard no more about it. One day I met the Foreign Minister at headquarters and talked to him about the question. Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop knew about the inquiry submitted to the Foreign Office and considered the measure extremely questionable. That was the first news I had about the subject. I gave immediate instructions, whether personally or through the adjutant I can't remember, that the order was not to go out. I had neither seen a draft nor had I signed anything. At any rate I gave an unmistakable order: "The order is in no circumstances to be issued". I received no further detailed Information at the time. I heard nothing more about it and I was convinced that the order had not been issued.
When I was interrogated, I made a statement on those lines. I have now been told by my Defense Counsel that the secretary of the Chief of the Prisoners-of-war Organization volunteered to testify that the order was rescinded and was not to be issued and, further, that she had received those instructions personally. She said in her statement, however, that this did not happen until several days after the order had actually gone out and that that was the only possible explanation of how that order came to be found in the police office as still valid.
Dr. NELTE: Mr. President, I shall submit the affidavit of the witness which has been received at the appropriate time.
(Turning to the defendant.) We now turn to the case of Sagan. The Prosecution originally accused you of giving the order for the killing of 50 Royal Air Force officers who escaped from Stalag Luft III at Sagan. I am no longer clear as to whether the Prosecution still maintains this grave accusation since Reichsmarschall Göring and the witness Westhoff have been interrogated, the latter outside these proceedings. I have the report of Westhoff's interrogation before me and I have also submitted it to you. I should like to ask you now to amplify the statement which the witness Westhoff made during the preliminary proceedings and which he will make shortly in this Court, and to say what you yourself know about this extremely grave incident.
KEITEL: The facts are that one morning it was reported me that the escape had taken place. At the same time I received the information that about 15 of the escaped officers had been apprehended in the vicinity of the camp. I did not intend to report the case at the noon conference on the military situation held at Berchtesgaden, or rather, at the Berghof, as it was highly unpleasant, being the third mass escape in a very short period. As it had happened only 10 or 12 hours before, I hoped that in the course of the day the majority of them would be caught and that in this way the matter might be settled satisfactorily.
While I was making my report Himmler appeared. I think that it was towards the end of my report that he announced the incident in my presence, as he had already started the usual general search for the escaped prisoners. There was an extremely heated discussion, a serious clash between Hitler and myself, since he immediately made the most outrageous accusations against me on account of this incident.
. Things are sometimes incorrectly represented in Westhoff's account, and that is why I am making a detailed statement. During this clash the Führer stated in great excitement, "These prisoners are not to be sent back to the Armed Forces; they are to stay with the police." I immediately objected sharply. I said that this procedure was impossible. The general excitement led Hitler to declare again and with considerable emphasis, "I am ordering you to retain them, Himmler; you are not to give them up."
I put up a fight for the men who had already come back and who should, according to the original order, be brought out again and handed over to the police. I succeeded in doing it but 1 could not do anything more. After that very grave clash ...
Dr. NELTE: Will you tell me, please who was present during that scene?
KEITEL: As far as I remember, Generaloberst Jodl was certainly present, at least for part of the time and heard some of it, though perhaps not every word, since he was in the adjoining room at first. At any rate, Jodl and I returned to our quarters together. We discussed the case and talked about the extremely unpleasant consequences which the whole matter would have. On returning to my quarters I immediately ordered General Von Grävenitz to report to me the following morning.
In this connection I must explain that Reichsmarschall Göring was not present. If I was a little uncertain about that during my interrogation it was because I was told that witnesses had already stated that Göring was present. But right from the beginning I thouhgt it improbable and doubtful. It is also incorrect, therefore, that Göring raised any accusations against me at the time. There has not been a conference in Berlin either. These are mistakes which I think I can explain by saying that Von Grävenitz, who came with Westhoff and saw me for the first time, was present during the report and witnessed a scene of a kind unusual in military life because of the violence of my remarks in connection with the incident.
Do you want me to say anything more about the discussion with Von Grävenitz?
Dr. NELTE: The only thing which interests me in this connection is, whether you repeated to Von Grävenitz the order previously given by Hitler in such a way that both Von Grävenitz and Westhoff, who was also present, might get the Impression that you yourself had issued the order for the shooting of the escaped officers.
KEITEL: According to the record of Westhoff's interrogation which I have seen, I can explain it, I think, as follows: First of I made serious accusations. I myself was extraordinarily excited for I must say that even the order that the prisoners were to retained by the police caused me extreme anxiety regarding their fate. I frankly admit that the possibility of their being shot while trying to escape remained in my subconscious mind. I certainly spoke in extreme agitation at the time and did not weigh my words carefully. And I certainly repeated Hitler's words, which were,"We must set an example," since I was afraid of some further serious encroachments upon the Prisoners-of-war Organization in other ways, apart from this single case of the prisoners not being returned to the Wehrmacht. On reading the interrogation report I saw the statement by Von Grävenitz, or rather, Westhoff, to the effect that he had said, "They will be shot, and most of them must be dead already." I probably said something like, "You will see what disaster this is; perhaps many of them have been shot already."
I did not know, however, that they had already been shot and I must confess that in my presence Hitler never said a word about anybody being shot. He only said, "Himmler, you will keep them, you will not hand them over." I did not find out until several days later that they had been shot. I saw among other papers also an official report from the British Government stating that not until the 31st - the escape took place on the 25th - that not until the 31st were they actually shot.
Therefore Westhoff is also wrong in thinking that orders had already been issued saying that an announcement was to be made in the camp stating that certain people had been shot or would not return and that lists of names were to be posted. That order did not come until later, and I remember it; I remember it because the following incident:
A few days afterwards, I think on or about the 31st, before the situation report, one of the adjutants told me that a report had been received that some had been shot. I requested a discussion alone with Hitler and told him that I had heard that people had been shot by the police. All he said was that he had received it too - naturally, since it was his report. In extreme disgust I told him my opinion of it. At that time he told me that it was to be published in the camp as a warning to the others. Only upon this the announcement in the camp was ordered. In any case, Westhoff's recollection of some of the facts, which he has sworn to, is not quite accurate, even if such expressions as those used by him and explained by me here may have occurred. We shall hear his own account of that.
Dr. NELTE: Did Hitler ever teil you that he had ordered those men to be shot?
KEITEL: No, he never told me that. I never heard it from him. I heard lt very much later, as far as I can remember, from Reichsmarschall Göring, with whom the whole incident was, of course, the subject of discussions and conversations, especially as an Air Force camp was involved.
Dr. NELTE: I should like to say in conclusion: Are you stating under oath, here, that you yourself neither ordered these Royal Air Force officers to be shot, nor did you receive and pass on such an order, nor did you yourself learn who gave the order?
KEITEL: That is correct. I neither received that order nor did I know or hear of it; nor did I pass on such an order. I can repeat this herewith under oath.
Dr. NELTE: We now turn to deportations. What the Prosecution refer to as deportation of workers is the removal of bodily fit citizens of the occupied territories to Germany or other occupied territories for the purpose of using them for "slave labor" on defense work or other tasks connected with warfare. That is the accusation which I have read to you.
The Prosecution have repeatedly coupled your name with these accusations and have said that you, that is, the OKW, had cooperated in supplying workers for the German war economy. You know that in fact the Defendant Sauckel was the Plenipotentiary in that field. I should like to ask you whether workers had been taken from the occupied territories and brought to Germany before Plenipotentiary Sauckel was appointed.
KEITEL: As far as I know, workers came from occupied territories, especially those in the West: Belgium, Holland - I do know about Holland, but certainly France - to Germany. According to what I heard, I understood at the time that it was done by recruiting volunteers. I think I remember that General Von Stülpnagel, the military commander of Paris, told me in Berlin once during a meeting that more than 200,000 had volunteered, but I cannot remember exactly when that was.
Dr. NELTE: Was the OKW the competent authority on these matters?
KEITEL: No, the OKW had nothing to do with it. These questions were handled through the usual channels, the OKH, the military commanders in France, Belgium and Northern France with the competent central authorities of the Reich. A home, the OKW never had anything to do with it.
Dr. NELTE: What about civilian administration in occupied territories?
KEITEL: In occupied territories with civilian administration, the Wehrmacht was excluded from any executive powers in the administration, so that in these territories the Wehrmacht and its services had certainly nothing to do with it. Only in those territories which were still operational areas for the Army were executive powers given to military troops, high commanders, army commanders, cetera. The OKW did not come into the official procedure here either.
Dr. NELTE: According to an interrogation report submitted here the Defendant Sauckel said that you, that is, the OKW, were responsible for giving instructions to the military commanders in occupied territories and that he, Sauckel, was to have their support in his recruiting campaigns for getting the quotas. What can you say about that?
KEITEL: The view held by Plenipotentiary Sauckel can obviously be explained by the fact that he knew neither the official service channels nor the functions of the Wehrmacht, that he saw me at one or two discussions on the furnishing of manpower and, third that he sometimes came to see me when he had made his report and received his orders alone. He had probably been given orders to do so, in Hitler's usual way: "Go and see the Chief of the OKW; he will do the rest". The OKW had no occasion to do anything. The OKW had no right to give orders, but in Sauckel's case I did take over the job of informing the OKH or the technical department in the General Quartermaster's Office. I have never issued orders or instructions of my own to the military commanders or other services in occupied territories. It was not one of the functions of the OKW.
Dr. NELTE: A document has been submitted here according to which Generals Stapf and Nagel had agreed to ask you to exercise pressure or coercion during the recruiting campaigns in the East. That, at any rate, is the assertion by the Prosecution. Do you know of this happening?
KEITEL: I remembered it when the document was presented It was obviously an attempt on the part of Stapf, who had worked with me in the Army for many years, to get the Führer's support or assistance through my mediation. Stapf, who was the director of the Economic Staff East at the time and General Nagel, who was also mentioned in this connection and who was in charge of the Economic Inspectorate Department in the East, had obviously tried to involve me in the matter. According to the document, some pressure had to be applied from higher quarters but I took no steps at all as I had nothing to do with these things.
Dr. NELTE: I am now going to deal with the question of the pillage of art treasures.
The PRESIDENT: Perhaps we might adjourn now.

( A recess was taken.)


A villa hidden deep in the Alps built at the top of the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. This villa was property of Hitler and centre of the ”Alpenfestung”. The villa has an enormous complex of tunnels with a length of nearly 11 km. From the Berghof the Third Reich was ruled by Hitler and his close companions. Eva Braun, Hitler’s companion, spent a lot of time there.
Largest Soviet ground formation. It was attached to a certain area which gave its name to the units involved. For instance the Voronezh front.
German word for leader. During his reign of power Adolf Hitler was Führer of Nazi Germany.
“Geheime Staatspolizei”. Secret state police, the secret police in the Third Reich.
International Red Cross
Name of a complex of co-operating humanitarian organisations which primarily focusses on providing assistance to the sick and wounded military during wartime, to prisoner of war and to civilians during wartime and other conflicts. The role of the Red Cross during World War 2 is somewhat controversial.
National Socialism
A political ideology drawn up by Hitler based on the superiority of the German race, the leader principle and fierce nationalism that was fed by the hard Peace of Versailles. National socialism was anti-democratic and racist. The doctrine was elaborated in Mein Kampf and organised in the NSDAP. From 1933 to 1945 National socialism was the basis of totalitarian Germany.
“Oberkommando des Heeres”. German supreme command of the army.
“Oberkommando der Wehrmacht”. German supreme command of the Armed Forces, Army, Air Force and Navy.
Prisoner of War.
Reichssicherheitshauptamt. The central information and security service of the Third Reich.
Political ideology aiming at slight or no class differences. Means of production are owned by the state. Evolved as a response to capitalism. Karl Marx tried to substantiate socialism scientific.
Soviet Union
Soviet Russia, alternative name for the USSR.
Union of socialistic Soviet republics also called the Soviet Union. Federation of republics during Russia’s communist period from Russia.
German armed military forces, divided in ground forces, air force and navy.

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Arnold Palthe
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