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.


The defendants' dock at the IMT. Front row from left to right: Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel. Bron: Bundesarchiv Image 183-V01732.

Morning session part 2

Dr. NELTE: The French Prosecution have accused you, among other things, of issuing directives regarding the safeguarding and confiscation of objects of art, libraries, et cetera. Were any military orders, directives, or instructions laid down before the campaign in the West or in the East, with regard to objects of art, libraries and their treatment in occupied territories?
KEITEL: No, as far as I know, there was nothing at all about these matters, although thorough provisions had been made for everything else which might happen in the course of a war. I am not aware of any orders which were given with that in mind.
Dr. NELTE: I am going to show you three documents submitted by the French Prosecution, which mention you in connection with Rosenbergs special staff, which has already been mentioned here on various occasions. These are Documents 137-PS, 138-PS, and 140-PS. These are documents from the Chief of the OKW to the ¬Commander-in-Chief of the Army in France and in the Netherlands.
KEITEL: The first two documents, 137-PS and 138-PS, came from headquarters. They were dictated in part by myself and sent to offices of the Army. One says "To the Commander-in-Chief of the Army," the other one "To the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Occupied France" and to the "Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands." They originated partly in answers to queries from various military offices which considered themselves responsible for the safekeeping or guarding of whatever was in the occupied territories and also from offices which obviously were going to collect, inspect, register or otherwise investigate these treasures, libraries, et cetera, and to confiscate them. In one case I was called up on the phone by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, I think, who protested against this, at other times by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. The Führer directed me to instruct military services to acquiesce in this and to state their agreements, as they were directives which he had issued and approved himself. The way which the documents are drawn up shows, in itself, that they did not emanate from an OKW office. My adjutant signed them; I myself dictated them on the Führer's orders and sent them out. These queries may have been made just because no provision had been made and no orders given. I did not know what was to be done with these art treasures, et cetera; but I naturally took the view that the object was to safeguard them. No mention was made of transport, or confiscation, or expropriation and the question did not occur to me; I merely gave these instructions in quite a brief form and did not bother any further about the matter. I took them to be precautionary measures and they did not seem to be unjustified to me.
Dr. NELTE: Then you mean the OKW had no jurisdiction over these affairs?
Dr. NELTE: It was a question of merely transmitting letters to the military authorities to make known Hitler's wishes to assist Rosenberg in his task?
KEITEL: That is correct.
Dr. NELTE: I should like to put a personal question to you in this connection. Have you ever appropriated to yourself any of the art treasures from public or private ownership in the occupied countries, or did any office whatever assign any work of art to you?
KEITEL: No, I never had anything to do with these things.
Dr. NELTE: We now come to the so-called economic exploitation of occupied territories. You are accused of participating, in your official position as Chief of the OKW, in the economic exploitation of the occupied Eastern countries and the Western occupied countries. This question has already been discussed in Reichsmarschall Göring's examination, so I can treat it relatively briefly. It is, however, necessary for you to clarify the extent to which the OKW, and yourself in particular, were connected with these matters, for both the OKW and yourself are mentioned in this connection, as well as the Wirtschaftsrüstungsamt (Economic Armament Office), which was a branch of the OKW. General Thomas of that office prepared a compilation which was produced by the Prosecution. What can you say about this question, if I have Document 1157-PS and USSR-80 shown to you?
KEITEL: 1157-PS deals with "Plan Barbarossa Oldenburg." I would like to say this.
The Wehrwirtschaftsamt (War Economy Office), which even then was no longer known as the Wirtschaftsrüstungsamt carried out under its chief, General Thomas, certain organizational preparations, first for the campaign in the West and later for Operation Barbarossa in the East. They were made by the military economic organization at home, in the Reich, which had teams attached to all Wehrkreiskommandos. As a result, advisers and some personnel with experience in problems of war economy supplies and a few small detachments called Feldwirtschaftskommandos (Field Economic Detachments) were assigned to the Army Command (the A.O.K's).
The personnel attached to the Quartermaster Staffs at the A.O.K were responsible for securing, or causing to be secured, supplies, fuel, and food stuffs found in occupied or conquered territories, as well as other articles suitable for the immediate requirements of the troops. They should then cooperate with the Senior Quarter¬master, who looks after my army supplies and the Intendant in charge of the transport of supplies, in making them available for the fighting troops. Information obtained regarding war economy in the important areas of France and Belgium, as far as such Infor¬mation could be obtained, was kept for later use. The East, as I believe Reichsmarschall Göring has already explained at length, was organized on quite a different basis with a view not only to supply¬ing the troops, but also to exploiting the conquered territories. An organization serving this aim was built up, called Wirtschafts¬organisation Ost-Oldenburg (Economic Organization East-Olden¬burg). Its connection with the OKW lay in the fact that the necessary preparations for organizing and developing panels of experts and technical branch offices had to be discussed with the Ministry of Economics, the Four Year Plan, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. That was the Wirtschaftsorganisation Oldenburg. The OKW and its Chief, that is myself, had no power to give orders or instructions affecting its activities. The organization was created and placed at the disposal of those responsible for putting it in action, giving it instructions and working with it. If General Thomas wrote in his book, which was produced here as a document..
Dr. NELTE: 2353-PS, Exhibit Number USA-35, Page 386. Perhaps you will just read that, so that you can give us a summary.
KEITEL: Yes. This is an excerpt from the book of General Thomas, where he describes in detail his own functions and that of the organization which he directed in the OKW, from its origin until far into the war. He says here
"The functions exercised by the Economic Armament Office. (Wirtschaftsrüstungsamt) while the Eastern campaign was going on consisted mainly of the organizational management of the economic machinery set in motion and in advising the Operational Staff for War Economy East."
Dr. NELTE: You need read only Paragraph 4 for your summary.
KEITEL: The Operational Staff for Military Economy East attached to the Four Year Plan as Barbarossa-Oldenburg, was responsible for the entire economic direction of the whole of the Eastern area. It was responsible for the technical instructions to the State Secretaries in the Operational Staff for Military Economy for the organization of Thomas' Economic Armament Office, and for applying all measures to be taken by the Operational Staff Military Economy East under the direction and command of the Reichsmarshall.
Dr. NELTE: How were conditions in the West?
KEITEL: I described very briefly the small group of experts attached to the High Command quartermaster departments in the West. Later on, as I have already stated, at the beginning of June, the entire economic direction was transferred to the Four Year Plan and the plenipotentiaries for the Four Year Plan, as far as anything passed beyond current supplies intended to cover daily requirements, fuel, et cetera. This was done by a special decree, which has already been mentioned by the Reichsmarschall and which had been issued by the Führer.
Dr. NELTE: That was laid down by General Thomas on page 304 in Document 2353-PS, which we have already mentioned. There is no need for me to read this and I request the Tribunal to allow me to present the defendant's affidavit in Document Book number 2 for the Military Economic Armament Office of the OKW, as Document Keitel-11 in evidence, so that no further questions on the subject may be necessary. I assume that the Prosecution will agree to this procedure.
The PRESIDENT: What number is it in Book 2?
Dr. NELTE: Number 4 in this Document Book Number 2. It is page 27 and following in Document Book 2, submitted to the Court. The document is dated March 29, 1946.
The PRESIDENT: What date did you say it is?
Dr. NELTE: The 29th of March 1946. I do not think there is a date in the document book. I will present the original, which I have here.
The PRESIDENT: How is it described in the document itself. We have a document dated March 4, 1946, "The Economic Armament Office of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht." Is that right?
Dr. NELTE: The document was written on March 4, 1946, but the affidavit was added on March 29, 1946.
The PRESIDENT: But that appears to have been March 8? Is it that document?
Dr. NELTE: The Wirtschaftsrüstungsamt in the OKW. It is possible.
The PRESIDENT: That's here.
Dr. NELTE: In any case, there is no doubt about the identity of the document.
(Turning to the defendant.) Now I come to a topic which is presented again and again before the High Tribunal and which is very difficult because the reason for these questions is not properly understood.
The Charge has been made against you that in your capacity as a member of the government, as the Prosecution contend, you knew, or must have known of the happenings in the concentration camps. I am therefore compelled to ask you what you know about the existence of the concentration camps, how much you knew and what you had to do with them. Did you know of their existence? Did you know that concentration camps existed?
KEITEL: Yes, I knew already before the war that concentration camps existed, but at that time I knew only two of them by name and I supposed and assumed that there were other concentration camps besides the two I knew. I had no further particulars about the existence of concentration camps. As far as internees in such camps were concerned, I knew that they included habitual crim¬inals and political opponents. As Reichsmarschall Göring has said, that was the basis of the Institution.
Dr. NELTE: Did you hear anything about the treatment of internees?
KEITEL: No, I heard nothing precise about it. I assumed that it was a severe form of detention, or one which brought severe measures in its train, under certain specific circumstances. I knew nothing about the conditions found there, especially ill-treatment of internees, tortures, et cetera.
I tried in two cases to free individuals who were in concentration camps. One was Pastor Niemöller, by Intervention of Großadmiral Raeder. With the help of Canaris and at the request Großadmiral Raeder, I tried to get Pastor Niemöller out of the concentration camps. The attempt was unsuccessful. I made a second attempt at the request of a family in my home village in a case where a peasant was in a concentration camp for political reasons and in this case I succeeded. The individual involved was set free. That was in the autumn of 1940. I had a talk with this man and when I asked him what things were like there, he gave me a non-committal reply to the effect that he had been right. He gave me no details. I know of no other cases.
Dr. NELTE: When you talked to this man did you have the impression that anything had happened to him?
KEITEL: Undoubtedly he did not give that impression. I did not see him directly after his release. I saw him later when I was at home. The reason that I talked to him was because he came to thank me. He said nothing about being badly treated or anything like that at all.
Dr. NELTE: It has been stated here that now and again the concentration camps were visited by members of the Wehrmacht by officers - and highranking officers, too. How do you explain that?
KEITEL: I am convinced that these visits took place on Himnler's Invitation. I myself once received a personal Invitation from him to pay a visit to the Dachau camp from Munich. He said he would like to show it to me. I know also that large and small groups of officers and commissions were shown through the camps. I think I need scarcely say how these visits were handled as regards to things that were shown to them. To supplement my statement, I would like to say it was not uncommon to hear such remarks "You'll end up in a concentration camp!" or "All sorts of things go on there." I do know, however, that whenever anyone came me with these rumors and stories and I asked what exactly he knew and where the Information came from, the reply was always: "I really do not know; I just heard it." So that whatever one might think, one never got at the facts and never could get at them.
Dr. NELTE: You heard that medical experiments were made on these internees, and that this was done by agreement with higher quarters. I ask you whether you had knowledge of that, either personally or from the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht?
KEITEL: No, I never heard anything about the medical experiments on internees, which have been described here in detail, either officially or otherwise. Nothing.
Dr. NELTE: I turn now to a group of questions relating to the Prosecution's assertion that you intended to have General Weygand and General Giraud assassinated or, at least, were participating in plans to that end. You know that witness Lahousen, on November 30, 1945 stated that Admiral Canaris had been pressed by you for some time, November - December 1940, to do away with the Chief of the French General Staff, General Weygand. Lahousen added that Canaris told his departmental heads this after a talk with you. Did you discuss the case of General Weygand with Canaris?
KEITEL: That is probably correct, for there were reports at the time that General Weygand was traveling in North Africa, visiting the troops and inspecting the colonial troops. I consider it quite natural that I told Canaris, who was the Chief of Counterintelligence, that it should be possible to determine the object of General Weygand's journey, the places at which he stopped in North Africa and whether any military significance could be attached to this visit, as regards putting colonial troops into action or the introduction of other measures concerning them in North Africa. He is sure to have received instructions to try to get Information through his Intelligence Department as to what was taking place.
Dr. NELTE: I assume, also to keep an eye an him?
Dr. NELTE: Could the Counterintelligence department send members of its staff to North Africa?
KEITEL: I believe that certain channels of information existed via Spanish Morocco; and I know that Canaris maintained intelligence links with Morocco by way of Spain.
Dr. NELTE: My question was meant to find out whether it was officially possible to visit North Africa in agreement with France.
KEITEL: Of course it was possible. After the Armistice, there were Disarmament Commissions in North Africa, as well as in France. We had several Army departments there in connection with checking up the armaments of the North African troops.
Dr. NELTE: What was the point, or was there any point, in wishing General Weygand ill? Was he a declared opponent of the policy Germany wished to carry through? What was the reason?
KEITEL: We had no reason to think that General Weygand might be, shall we say, inconvenient. In view of the connection with Marshal Petain, which was started about the end of September and the beginning of October of that year, and the well-know collaboration policy which reached its height in the winter of 1940-41, it was absurd even to think of doing away with the Marshal's Chief of Staff. An action of this kind would not have fitted into the general policy followed in dealing with the situation in North Africa. We released a large number of officers in the regular French Colonial Army from French prisoner-of-war camps in the winter of 1940-1941 for service with the colonial forces. There were generals among them, I remember General Juin in particular who as we knew at the time, had been Chief of the General Staff in North Africa for many years. At my suggestion he was put at the disposal of the Marshal by Hitler, obviously with the aim of utilizing him in the colonial service. There had not been the slightest motive for wishing General Weygand ill or to think anything of the sort.
Dr. NELTE: Is it correct that conferences even took place with the French General Staff and Laval about cooperating in operations in Africa and the strengthening of West Africa?
KEITEL: Yes. Among the documents of the French Armistice Delegation there ought to be a large number of documents asking for all sorts of concessions in connection with North Africa and more especially Central and West Africa, owing to the fact that during the winter of 1940-41 riots had taken place in French Central Africa against which the French Government wanted to take measures. I believe that in the spring of 1941 a conference lasting several days took place in Paris with the French General Staff, in order to prepare measures in which the German Wehrmacht, which already had troops stationed in Tripoli in the Italian area, would participate.
Dr. NELTE: So there is no apparent motive?
Dr. NELTE: Something must have been said, however, in this conversation with Canaris, which led to this misunderstanding. Can you suggest anything which might have caused this misunderstanding?
KEITEL: It can only be that, according to the very comprehehensive details given by Lahousen in his testimony, I said at a later meeting, "What about Weygand?" That was the phrase Lahouse used; and he might have drawn the conclusion that, perhaps, in that sense of the word, as he represented it, he kept on saying "in that sense of the word" and when asked what that meant, he said: "To kill him." It is due only to that, it can be due only to that. I must say that Canaris was frequently alone with me. Often he brought the chiefs of his departments along. When we discussed matters by ourselves, I thought he was always perfectly frank with me. If he had misunderstood me, there would certainly have been discussions about it, but he never said anything like that.
Dr. NELTE: Is it clear to you that if there had been any idea of putting Weygand out of the way, it would have constituted an act of high political significance?
KEITEL: Yes, of course. In the collaboration of the Führer Adolf Hitler and Marshal Petain an act of that kind would have had the greatest political significance imaginable.
Dr. NELTE: Then you still believe that if it had happened, it would have meant the breaking off of the policy initiated by Hitler?
KEITEL: Certainly one would have had to expect that.
Dr. NELTE: Only with regard to the great importance of General Weygand's personality?
Dr. NELTE: Can you give any other explanation, or any proof that the designs attributed to you, but thanks be to God were not put into practice, had no foundation in fact?
KEITEL: Although it was at a much later date that General Weygand was taken to Germany, and the occupation of the hitherto unoccupied zone of outhern France, I was told by the Führer himself that he had given ordern only for the general to be interned in his own home, without being inconvenienced by guards - an honorable arrest and not the treatment accorded to an ordinary prisoner-of-war. Of course, that was in 1942.
Dr. NELTE: Therefore, you finally and repeatedly deny under oath that you gave any order or expressed yourself in any way which might lead your hearers to conclude that you intended or wished General Weygand to be put out of the way?
KEITEL: Yes. I can expressly reaffirm that.
Dr. NELTE: The witness Lahousen also spoke of Giraud and described the case in much of the same way as that of Weygand. In neither case was he in a position to say from his own first hand knowledge that you had given such an order, but he reported what Canaris had told him and illustrated his testimony by means of later inquiries. I ask you to tell us what you know about the case of Giraud, which created a sensation at the time and also here and to say what part you played in discussions regarding Giraud.
KEITEL: Giraud's successful escape from the fortress of Königstein near Dresden on April 19, 1942 created a sensation and I wa severely reprimanded about the guard of this general's camp, a military fortress. The escape was successful despite all attemps to recapture the general, by police or military action on his way back to France. Canaris had instructions from me to keep a particularly sharp watch on all the places at which he might cross the frontier into France or Alsace-Lorraine, so that we could recapture him. The police were also put on to this job; 8 or 10 days after his escape it was made known that the general had arrived safely back in France. If I issued any orders during this search I probably used the words I gave in the preliminary interrogation: namely, "We must get the general back, dead or alive." I possibly did say something like that. He had escaped and was in France.
Second phase. Efforts, made through the Embassy by Abetz and Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop to induce the general to return to captivity of his own accord, appeared not to be unsuccessful or impossible, as the general had declared himself willing to go the occupied zone to discuss the matter. I was of the opinion that the general might possibly do it on account of the concessionsc hitherto made to Marshal Pétain regarding personal wishes in connection with the release of French generals from captivity. The meeting with General Giraud took place in occupied territory, the staff quarters of a German Army Corps, where the question of his return was discussed. The Military Commander informed by telephone of the general's presence in occupied territory, in the hotel where the German officers were billeted.
The commanding general suggested that if the general would not return voluntarily it would be a very simple matter to apprehend him if he were authorized to do so. I at once refused this categorically for I considered it a breach of faith. The general had come to receive proper treatment and be returned unmolested.
Third phase. The attempt or desire to get the general back somehow into military custody arose from the fact that Canaris told that the general's family was residing in territory occupied by German troops and it was almost certain that the general would try to see his family, even if only after a certain period of time and when the incident had been allowed to drop. He suggested me to make preparations for the recapture of the general if he made a visit of this kind in occupied territory. Canaris said that he himself would initiate these preparations through his Counterintelligente office in Paris and through his other offices. Nothing happened for some time and it was surely quite natural for me to ask on several occasions, no matter who was with Canaris or Lahousen was with him, "What has become of the Giraud affair" or, in the same way, "How is the Giraud case getting on?" The words used by Mr. Lahousen were, "It is very difficult; but we shall do everything we can." That was his answer. Canaris made no reply. That strikes me as significant only now; but at the time did not occur to me.
Third phase: At a later stage… shall I continue?
Dr. NELTE: Fourth phase.
KEITEL: Fourth phase. This began with Hitler's saying to me: "This is all nonsense. We are not getting results. Counterintellgence is not capable of this and cannot handle this matter. I will turn it over to Himmler and Counterintelligence had better keep out of this, for they will never get hold of the general again." Admiral Canaris said at the time that he was counting on having the necessary security measures taken by the French secret state police in case General Giraud went to the occupied zone and a fight might result, as the general was notoriously a spirited soldier; a man of 60 who lowers himself 45 meters over a cliff by mean of a rope - that is how he escaped from Königstein.
Fifth phase. According to Lahousen's explanation in Berlin, Canaris' desire to transfer the matter to the Secret State police which Lahousen said was done as a result of representations from the departmental heads, was because I asked again how matters stood with Giraud and he wanted to get rid of this awkward mission. Canaris came to me and asked if he could pass it on to the RSHA or to the police. I said yes, because the Führer had already told me repeatedly that he wanted to hand it over to Himmler.
Next phase. I wanted to warn Canaris some time later, when Himmler came to see me and confirmed that he had received orders from Hitler to have Giraud and his family watched unobtrusively and that I was to stop Canaris from taking any action in the case. He had been told that Canaris was working along parallel lines. I immediately agreed.
Now we come to the phase which Lahousen has described in length. I had asked about "Gustav" and similar questions. I wanted to direct Canaris to stop all his activities in the matter immediately as Hitler had confirmed the order. What happened in Paris accordinging to Lahousen's detailed reports, that excuses were sought, et cetera, that the matter was thought to be very mysterious, that is, Gustav as an abbreviation for the G in Giraud, all this is fancy rather than fact. I had Canaris summoned to me at once, for he was in Paris and not in Berlin. He had done nothing at all, right from the start. He was thus in a highly uncomfortable position with regard to me for he had lied to me. When he came. I said only, "You will have nothing more to do in this matter; keep clear of it." Then came the next phase: the general's escape without diffi¬culty to North Africa by plane, which was suddenly reported if I remember correctly - before the Invasion of North Africa by Anglo-American troops. That ended the business. No action was ever taken by Counterintelligence whom I had charged to watch him, or by the police and I never even used the words do away with the general. Never!
The final phase of this entire affair may sound like a fairy tale but it is true nevertheless. The general sent a plane from North Africa to southern France near Lyons in February or March 1944 with a liaison officer who reported to the Counterintelligence and asked if the general could return to France and what would happen to him on landing in France. The question was turned over to me. Generaloberst Jodl is my witness that these things actually happened. The chief of the Counterintelligence Office involved in the matter was with me. The answer was: "Exactly the same treament as General Weygand who is already in Germany. There no doubt that the Führer will agree."
Nothing actually did happen, and I heard no more about it. But these things actually happened.
Dr. NELTE: To complete our Information, I must ask you a few questions for the French Prosecution have mentioned that later, in a later phase, the family of General Giraud suffered inconveniences or losses of a rather serious nature. When you were searching for Giraud did you cause any trouble to his family, who were living in occupied France? Did you give any directives which would confine or inconvenience the family in any way?
KEITEL: No. I had only an unobtrusive watch kept on the family's residence in order to receive Information of any visit which he might have planned. But no steps of any kind were ever taken against the family. lt would have been foolish in this case.
Dr. NELTE: Foolish of you?
Dr. NELTE: To make matters quite clear: You had no knowledge of anything having happened later on?
KEITEL: No, none at all.
Dr. NELTE: Well, General Giraud is still alive and I will only ask you, in conclusion, under your oath: Can you confirm that you did not, at any time, give an order or a directive which might be interpreted to mean that General Giraud was to be killed?
KEITEL: No. I never gave such an order, unless the phrase "We must have him back, dead or alive" may be considered of weight in this respect. I never gave orders that the general was to be killed or done away with, or anything of the kind. Never.
Dr. NELTE: I have concluded my direct examination of the Defendant Keitel. May I ask you to permit me to submit in evidence the affidavit, that last one, number 6 in Document Book number 2. I would like to submit that affidavit in evidence. It is on page 51 and following and is Document K ...
The PRESIDENT: Didn't you put that in as K-12 yesterday?
Dr. NELTE: Today I submit Keitel-13.. .
The PRESIDENT: This affidavit that you want to submit now, where is it and what is the date of it?
Dr. NELTE: It is Page 51 and following and it is dated March 9, 1946.
The PRESIDENT: Yes, I see.
Dr. NELTE: This affidavit has also been attested to by Generaloberst Jodl. I ask permission to question him about the affidavit or to show it to him for confirmation when he is called to the ¬witness stand.
The PRESIDENT: Very well.
Mr. DODD (Prosecutor for the U.S.A.): If the Court please, we have looked into the matter of the so-called interrogation of General Von Falkenhorst referred to yesterday by Dr. Nelte. Insofar as we can determine, this paper was never offered in evidence by any member of the Prosecution. It was referred to by M. Dubost - I mean, it was not referred to by him, but it was included in his brief. I did not refer to it and did not offer it in evidence. That is how it came into the hands of Dr. Nelte, but not in evidence.
The PRESIDENT: Does Dr. Nelte want to offer it in evidenc now?
Dr. NELTE: I ask to submit it as Document Number Keitel-19.
The PRESIDENT: Has it got a PS number or another number.
Dr. NELTE: No, Mr. President, it has no other number.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Now, do any of the other Defense Counsel want to ask questions?
Dr. OTTO STAHMER (Counsel for Defendant Göring): Mr. Defendant, as you have corrected your former Statement by answering the question put by your counsel with a statement that Reichsmarschall Göring was not present at the conference in which Hitler gave orders for the airmen who had escaped from the Sagan camp should be held by the police and since you further said that a conference with Reichsmarschall Göring in Berlin did not take place, I have only the following question on this subject: Some weeks after that escape, did you receive a letter from the Quartermaster General of the General Staff of the Luftwaffe informing you that the Luftwaffe wanted to hand over their prison camps to the OKW?
KEITEL: Yes, I received this letter and following an interview with Hitler I declined the offer.
Dr. STAHMER: I have no more questions.
Dr. SEIDL (Counsel for Hans Frank): At the beginning of the war, the Defendant Dr. Frank was a lieutenant of the 9th Infantry Regiment; is that correct?
Dr. SEIDL: Do you remember receiving a letter from Dr. Frank who was then Governor General, in 1942, saying that he wanted to rejoin the Wehrmacht? The purpose of that letter was, of course, that he be relieved of his office as Governor General in this way. Is that correct?
KEITEL: Yes, I received such a letter and handed it to the Führer who merely made a movement with his hands and said: "Out of the question." I informed Frank of that decision through the liaison officer who was temporarily with him at the time.
Dr. SEIDL: That is all.
Dr. DIX (Counsel for Hjalmar Schacht): Your Lordship, it is 3 minutes to one and it will not take me very long, but it might take me beyond 1 o'clock, so I think it might be better to adjourn now. I would then put my questions to the witness after the recess.
The PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn until 2:00 o'clock

(The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.)


Cooperation of the people with the occupying forces, more generally spoken the term for individuals who cooperate with the occupying force is collaborator.
concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.
City in the German state of Bavaria where the Nazis established their first concentration camp.
Four Year Plan
A German economic plan focussing at all sectors of the economy whereby established production goals had to be achieved in four years time.
German word for leader. During his reign of power Adolf Hitler was Führer of Nazi Germany.
Armed incursion.
Highest military rank, Army commander.
“Oberkommando der Wehrmacht”. German supreme command of the Armed Forces, Army, Air Force and Navy.
Reichssicherheitshauptamt. The central information and security service of the Third Reich.
Union of socialistic Soviet republics also called the Soviet Union. Federation of republics during Russia’s communist period from Russia.
Abbreviation of defence department, assault groups of the NSB
German armed military forces, divided in ground forces, air force and navy.

Afternoon session, part 1

Dr. DIX: May it please the Tribunal, this witness is competent and an expert who can give the Tribunal definite figures about armament expenditures of the Reich. However, the witness is certainly not in a position to remember these figures just at the moment. Professor Kraus, my colleague, therefore, during my absence, was kind enough to mark these figures down and to check them in cooperation with the witness. The written deposition was signed by the witness at that time, in order to avoid a misunderstanding. In order to help him recollect these figures I now ask your permission to have submitted to the witness this deposition which he has signed. I have had translations made of this deposition into the three languages in question and I now submit to the Tribunal 8 copies. I also have 4 copies for the four delegations of the Prosecution and German copies for the counsels of the Defendants Keitel, Jodl, Raeder, Dönitz, and the OKW.
May I ask for just one moment so that the witness can read it?
(Turning to the defendant.) Witness, would you please look at the first column only, which bears the heading "Total Expenditure". The second and the third columns show which of those sums we raised through the Reichsbank on the one hand and which we raised from other sources on the other hand. These figures I should like to have certified during the interrogation of Schacht himself because they were the results of Schacht's calculations and the witness here can therefore give no Information about them. May I ask you concerning these armament expenditures of the Reich beginning with the fiscal year of 1935, the fiscal year running from April 1 to March 31. The figures stated herein are 5,000 million for 1935, 7,000 million for 1936, 9,000 million for 1937, 11,000 million for 1938, and 20,500 million for 1939. Are these figures correct?
KEITEL: According to my conviction these figures are correct. May I add that at the beginning of my captivity I also had a opportunity to speak to the Reichs Finance Minister about thes figures and to coordinate our opinions.
Dr. DIX: Now, a question about the armament strength of the Reich on 1 April 1938. Is it correct to say that at that time there existed 24 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, no motorized division, 1 mountain division, 1 cavalry division, and that in addition 10 infantry divisions and 1 armored division were being formed? I wish to add, that of the 3 reserve divisions none had been completed on April 1, 1938 and only 7 to 8 were in the process of being formed and expected to be completed by October 1, 1938.
KEITEL: I consider these figures correct and I have therefore confirmed them in this affidavit.
Dr. DIX: That is as far as the deposition goes. I would like to put two more questions to the witness which have not been discussed with him so that I do not know whether he remembers the figures in question.
I consider it possible that the Tribunal would be interested the proportion of strength between the Reich on the one hand and Czechoslovakia on the other hand, at the time of Hitler's march into Czechoslovakia; that is the relation of strength (a) concerning the armed might and (b) concerning the civilian population.
KEITEL: I do not remember the accurate figures about that. In the preliminary interrogation I have been questioned about it and I believe the figures will be correct if I say that in the fall of 1938 going by military units, that is, divisions.. .
Dr. DIX: I mean now the time when Hitler marched into Czechoslovakia, in the spring of 1939.
KEITEL: That was in the same year of mobilization, that is to say at that time, as far as figures are concerned, there were fewer divisions than Czechoslovakia had at her disposal. In the fall of 1938 the number of formations, that is, divisions, was probably equal. In the spring of 1939, when we marched in, the strenght which was used then was less than that which stood ready in the fall of 1938. Accurate figures, if they are important to this Tribunal you could get rather from General Jodl.
Dr. DIX: As to the number of divisions which Czechoslovak had at her disposal in March 1939, could you not teil us anything about that?
KEITEL: No, I do not know that exactly.
Dr. DIX: Then I shall possibly ask General Jodl about that later.
The PRESIDENT: Perhaps you will actually offer this document in evidence when the Defendant Schacht gives evidence. Is that what you intend to do?
Dr. DIX: I am going to submit it in evidence and it will be included in my document book. It is not necessary to keep it now because I have to take it up again when Schacht will be examined and you will find it then in the document book. However, I woul like to suggest that the copy which I have given to the witness should become a part of the record, because my questions have referred to this document. For this reason it might be useful to make this copy part of the record.
The PRESIDENT: If you want to make it a part of the record it had better be given a number now. It had better be S-1 had it not?
Dr. DIX: Yes. Your Lordship, may I suggest Schacht-1?
Dr. STAHMER (Representing Dr. Robert Servatius, Counsel for Defendant Sauckel and the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party) Witness, on January 4, 1944, a conference allegedly took place between the Führer and Sauckel about the procuring of manpower. Were you present at this conference?
Dr. STAHMER: Did Sauckel on this occasion state that he could not fill, to the extent demanded, the manpower demands of those who asked for it?
KEITEL: Yes, he discussed it thoroughly and also gave the reasons for it.
Dr. STAHMER: What reasons did he give?
KEITEL: He pointed out the great difficulties encountered in the areas from which he was supposed to draft or recruit manpower; the strong activity of guerillas and partisans in these areas, the great obstacies in obtaining sufficient police forces for protecting the action, and similar reasons. I do not remember any details.
Flottenrichter Dr. OTTO KRANZBÜHLER (Counsel for Defendant Karl Dönitz): Field Marshal, were you the leader of the German delegation which signed the capitulation with which the war in Europe was terminated?
Dr. KRANZBÜHLER: When and where did that take place?
KEITEL: In Berlin on May 8, that is to say during the night from May 8 to 9, 1945.
Dr. KRANZBÜHLER: Were you asked for full powers which would authorize you to negotiate about the capitulation?
KEITEL: Yes. I took the full powers with me to Berlin. They had been signed by Großadmiral Dönitz in his capacity as Chief of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht and it stated in a few words that he had authorized and ordered me to conduct the negotiations and to sign the capitulation.
Dr. KRANZBÜHLER: Were these full powers examined and acknowledged by the Allies?
KEITEL: In the course of the afternoon of May 8, I was asked to present the full powers. Obviously they were examined and several hours later they were returned to me by a high ranking officer of the Red Army who said that I had to show them again when signing.
Dr. KRANZBÜHLER: Did you show them again?
KEITEL: I did have my credentials at hand during the actual capitulation and handed them over to become part of the record.
PROFESSOR Dr. HERMANN JAHRREISS (Counsel for Defendant Jodl): Witness, during your testimony you have explained the organization of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht. This organization was based on a decree of the Führer and Reichskanzler of February 4, 1938. In that decree the OKW was designated as the military staff of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. So, in that aspect you were the Chief of Staff. Now, the Prosecution have repeatedly named Jodl as your Chief of Staff. Is that correct?
KEITEL: No, Generaloberst Jodl never was my Chief of Staff, he was the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff and one of the departmental chiefs of the Armed Forces High Command as I have already stated, although he was the first among equals.
Dr. JAHRREISS: That is to say, the Chief of several collateral coordinated offices?
KEITEL: Yes; I never had a Chief of Staff.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Mention was made here about the discussion between Hitler and Schuschnigg at the Obersalzberg on February 12, 1938. Do you remember that? A diary entry by Jodl referring to this conversation has been submitted to the Tribunal. Was Jodl present at this conference?
KEITEL: No, he was not present and his knowledge is derived from the conference which I described before and which I held with him and Canaris about the news to be disseminated as to certain military preparations during the days following the Schuschnigg conference; it is therefore an Impression gained by General Jodl a result of the description made to him.
Dr. JAHRREISS: In the course of the preparations to make the German - Czechoslovakian question acute, that is, the Sudeten question, the plan to stage an incident played a great role. Did you ever give an order to the department Abwehr II (Counterintelligence) under Canaris, to stage such an incident in Czechoslovakia on the border?
KEITEL: No, such orders were never given to the Abwehr, anyway, not by myself.
Dr. JAHRREISS: After Munich, that is in Octaber 1938, Field Marshal, the then Chief of National Defense, Defendant Jodl, left this position and was transferred to Vienna. Who was his successcor
KEITEL: Jodl was transferred to active service. He became chief of an artillery division in Vienna and his successor was Warlimont, at that time Colonel Warlimont.
Dr. JAHRREISS: That is to say his successor .. .
Dr. JAHRREISS: If I understood you correctly, that is to say Jodl was not only sent on leave but he definitely left his office?
KEITEL: Jodl had definitely left the High Command of the Armed Forees and was personnel officer of a division; Warlimont was not his representative but successor in Jodl's position.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Now, the Prosecution has said that on occasion of that famous conference of May 23, 1938 - no, 1939 Warlimont was present as deputy designate for Jodl. What had Jodl to do with that conference?
KEITEL: Nothing at all, he was at that time a front line officer and commander in Vienna.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Why did you choose Jodl to be chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff?
KEITEL: That was in consequence of our cooperation from 1935 to 1938. My opinion was that I could not find a better man for that position.
Dr. JAHRREISS: How did Jodl picture his military career, once his command as artillery commander in Vienna or Brünn had ended?
KEITEL: I knew about his passion and his desire to become commander of a mountain division. He has frequently told me about it.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Well, would there have been any chance to get such a command?
KEITEL: Yes, I tried to use my influence with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and I remember that during the summer of 1939, I wrote him that his wish to become the commander of mountain division in Reichenhall - I do not remember the number - would come true. I was glad to be able to give him that information.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Was it up to you to make the decision or was it up to the OKH?
KEITEL: I had made a request to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and he had made the decision.
Dr. JAHRREISS: And if I understand correctly, you yourself notified Jodl?
KEITEL: I wrote him a letter because I knew that it would make him very happy.
Dr. JAHRREISS: May I ask, Field Marshal, did you correspond regularly with Jodl?
KEITEL: No; I believe that was the only letter which I wrote to him during that year.
Dr. JAHRREISS: I ask that for a definite reason: Jodl leaves the OKW. He knows that if the necessity arises he will become chief of the future so-called Armed Forces Operations Staff, that is to say a rather important position. He goes on active service, as you say. One should think that then he would not only receive a private letter once from you but would be kept informed by you regularly.
KEITEL: That was certainly not done by me and, according to my personal opinion, every General Staff officer who goes an active service is very happy if he is not bothered with such things any longer.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Yes, but fate does not grant us everything which would make us happy. It could be that somebody received the official order, for instance to keep this gentleman informed.
KEITEL: I certainly did not do it. I do not believe that happened, but I do not know for sure whether or not somebody tried to do it.
Dr. JAHRREISS: During the period when Jodl was in Vienna and Brünn, that is, away from Berlin, was he repeatedly in Berlin in order to get Information?
KEITEL: I did not see him and he did not come to see me. I believe it is very unlikely because if such were the case he would have visited me.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Then I have to understand from what you say that when he came to Berlin shortly before the beginning of the war in response to a telegram, he first had to be informed as to what was going on?
KEITEL: Yes, and that was the first thing done between him and myself.
Dr. JAHRREISS: You informed him?
Dr. JAHRREISS: Another thing, Field Marshal. You remember perhaps, the somewhat stormy morning in the Reichskanzlei after the Simovic Putsch, that was March 27, 1941, was it not?
KEITEL: Yes, Yugoslavia.
Dr. JAHRREISS: If one reflects on the politics and the history of the wars of the last 200 years in Europe, one asks was there nobody at that conference in the Reichskanzlei who might have suggested that instead of attacking immediately, it would be better to march to the borders of a state whose attitude was completely uncertain and then clarify the situation by an ultimatum?
KEITEL: Yes, during all these pros and cons under turbulent conditions in that morning session, Jodl himself, to my knowledge brought that point up in the debate. Proposal: To march and to send an ultimatum; that is about the way it was.
Dr. JAHRREISS: If I am correctly informed, you were in the East in October 1941 for the purpose of an inspection or a visit to Army Group North; is that correct?
KEITEL: Yes, in the autumn of 1941 I frequently went by plane to Army Group North in order to get Information for the Führer.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Was Field Marshal Von Leeb the commander of Army Group North?
KEITEL: Yes, he was.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Did Von Leeb teil you about particular worries which he had at that time?
KEITEL: I think it was my last or the next to the last visit to Von Leeb where the questions of capitulation, that is to say, the question of the population of Leningrad, played an important role which worried him very much at that time because there were certain indications that the population was streaming out of the city and infiltrating into his area. I remember that at that time he asked me to make the suggestion to the Führer that, as he could not take over and feed 1 million civilians within the area of his army group, a sluice, so to speak, should be made towards the east, that is, the Russian zone, so that the population could flow out in that direction. I reported that to the Führer at that time.
Dr. JAHRREISS: Well, did the population turn in any other direction?
KEITEL: Yes, especially to the south into the southern forest. According to Von Leeb a certain pressure exerted by the population to get through the German lines made itself felt at the time.
Dr. JAHRREISS: And that would have impeded your operations?
Dr. JAHRREISS: Field Marshal, you are aware, I suppose, since it has been mentioned this morning, of the order issued by the Führer and supreme commander about the Commandos, dated October 18, 1942, that is Document Number 498-PS which has been submitted here. It had been announced publicly beforehand that an order of that kind would be issued. Do you know that?
KEITEL: Yes; the item in question was included in one of the daily communiques of the Wehrmacht.
Dr. JAHRREISS: We are dealing with the Wehrmacht communique of October 7, 1942, which, below the usual report, states with reference to what has happened, "The High Command of the Armed Forces therefore considers itself obliged to issue the following orders." The first item is of no interest here, and then, at the second item appears the following sentence:
"In the future all terror and Sabotage Commandos of the British and their accomplices who do not behave like soldiers, but rather like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops and will be killed in combat without mercy wherever they appear."
Field Marshal, who drafted this wording?
KEITEL: The Führer personally. I was present when he dictated and corrected it.
Dr. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for the General Staff and OKW): Witness, I should like to continue at the point which was last mentioned by Professor Jahrreiss. The order about Commandos, Document Number 498-PS, was discussed. In this order on Commandos, under Number VI, Hitler threatened that all commanders would be court-martialed if they did not carry out the order. Do you know what considerations prompted Hitler to include this particular passage in the order?
KEITEL: Yes, they are actually quite clear I should think; the purpose was to put emphasis on the demand that this order should actually be carried out, since it was definitely considered by the Generals and those who were to carry it out, as a very grave order; and for that reason compliance was to be enforced by the threat of punishment.
Dr. LATERNSER: Now, I should like to ask you several questions concerning the nature of the so-called groups of the General Staff and the OKW. What do you understand to be the German General Staff?
KEITEL: By the General Staff I understand those officers who are especially trained to be assistants to the higher leadership.
The PRESIDENT: The defendant has already spent a very long time in explaining the differences between the OKW and the staff of the various commands, and the Prosecution have defined specifically and quite clearly what the group is, which they are asking the Court to declare as criminal and therefore, I do not see what relevance any further evidence on the subject can have. What are you trying to show by asking him now about what he understands by the General Staff?
Dr. LATERNSER: This question was purely preparatory. I intended to connect this question with another one and, by the answe to the second question, I wanted to prove that under the alleged group, a group has been accused under a wrong name.
The PRESIDENT: I do not see how it matters if it is a wrong name if the group is specified. But, anyhow, the defendant has already told us what he understands by the General Staff. Will you put your second question?
Dr. LATERNSER: Witness, if the higher military leaders considered collectively to form one group which is designated General Staff and OKW, do you consider this designation to be correct or misleading?
KEITEL: According to our German military concepts this designation is misleading, because to us the General Staff always means a body of assistants, whereas the commanders of armies and army groups and the commanding generals represent the leadership corps.
Dr. LATERNSER: The military hierarchy has been discussed sufficiently in this Trial. I want to know only the following from you: Was the relation of these echelons to each other that of military superiors and subordinates or did there exist an additional organization involving these ranks which went beyond purely professior military duties?
KEITEL: No, the General Staff, that is to say, the General Staff officers as assistants to the leaders, could be recognized by their uniforms as such. The leaders or so-called commanders themselves had no relation to each other through any interoffice channels or through any other organizations of any kind.
Dr. LATERNSER: Yesterday the affidavit made by Generaloberst Halder was put to you. I would like to discuss now the last sentence of that affidavit; I shall read it to you: "That was the actual General Staff and the highest leadership of the Armed Forces." Is the statement in that sentence correct or incorrect?
KEITEL: I understand it this way, Halder wanted to say that those few officers who had General Staff positions were the ones who did the real work in the General Staff of the Army, while the rest of the far more than 100 General Staff officers in the OK had nothing to do with these matters. That is what I think he wanted to say, a small group which was concerned with the problems.
Dr. LATERNSER: Do you know of a single incident where Hitler ever consulted a military leader on a political matter?
KEITEL: No, that did not happen.
Dr. LATERNSER: I assume that you were present at most of the conferences with Hitler when the situation was discussed. Could you tell me anything about protests made, with or without success, by any commander who had come from the front and who happened to be present?
KEITEL: As a rule front commanders who were present were silent listeners at the general discussion of the situation and afterwards, according to circumstances, such commanders used to make a special report to Hitler about their respective areas. Then there was also an opportunity, as I believe was already mentioned by Kesselring, to discuss these things personally and to advance opinions. But otherwise nobody had anything to say in these matters.
Dr. LATERNSER: Witness, were you ever present when particularly emphatic objections were raised, by any commander, to Hitler?
KEITEL: During the discussion of the situation?
Dr. LATERNSER: No, I mean, whatever the occasion may have been.
KEITEL: I was not, of course, present at every conference which Hitler had with high ranking commanders in his quarters, but I do not know of any such incidents. I have related in detail those cases which played a role in this war, namely the opposition of the Generals in the West, before the beginning of the war, and I understood your question to mean whether I knew of any cases beyond that.
KEITEL: I have related all that and must emphasize once more that the Commander-in-Chief of the Army at that time went to the limit of anything which could be justified from the military viewpoint.
Dr. LATERNSER: What was the attitude of Hitler toward the General Staff of the Army?
KEITEL: It was not a good one. One may say that he held prejudice against the General Staff and thought the General Staff was arrogant. I believe that is sufficient.
The PRESIDENT: We have heard all this once, if not more than once.
Dr. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I do not believe that this witness has been asked about that. As far as I remember, this particular witness has not been asked about these points.
The PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks he has been asked about it.
Dr. LATERNSER: I would have paid special attention to this point and would have crossed off this question already if one of my colleagues had put it before.
(To the defendant.] Would Hitler, in case an application for resignation was tendered by one or more front commanders, have been willing to take back an order which he had once given ...
The PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, nearly every officer who has come and given evidente to this Court has spoken about that subject, certainly many of them.
Dr. LATERNSER: Mr. President, does your objection refer to the question I have put now?
The PRESIDENT: Nearly all the officers who have been examined in this Court have told us it was impossible to resign. That is what you are asking about, isn't it?
Dr. LATERNSER: Yes. I will be glad to forego that question, I can assume that the Tribunal accepts those facts which I wanted to prove, as true.
The PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks it is cumulative; whether they accept its truth or not, is a different question.
Dr. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I should like to say something also to this question. I do not believe that it can be considered cumulative, since as has already been pointed out by my colleague Dr. Dix, the same question when put to two different witnesses in each case is a different question, because the subjective answer of the individual witness to this particular point is desired. But I will forego that question.
The PRESIDENT: Is there any other question you want to ask.
Dr. LATERNSER: Yes, I have a few more questions.
(Turning to the defendant.) Witness, to what extent was the headquarters of the Führer protected against attacks during the war?
KEITEL: There was a special guard detachment of the Army and also I believe one company of the Waffen-SS. Very thorough security measures had been taken with every kind of safety device such as fences, obstacles, and similar things. It was very well secured agains any surprise attack.
Dr. LATERNSER: Were there several zones?
KEITEL: Yes, there was an inner zone and an outer zone and several areas which were fenced in separately.
Dr. LATERNSER: Yes. You have already stated that the commanders of the army groups and armies in the East did not have any authority outside their area of operation. Was there a tendency to keep that operational area as small as possible, or as large as possible?
KEITEL: Originally the tendency definitely was to have large areas of operation in order to assure the greatest possible freedom of movement in the rear of the armies and army groups. The Führer was the first who, by drastic means, caused the limitation of these zones to make them as small as possible.
Dr. LATERNSER: For what reasons?
KEITEL: As he said, in order to free military officers from administrative measures and get them out of the extended space they had sought for their equipment and to concentrate them into narrowly limited areas.
Dr. LATERNSER: You mentioned during your interrogation units of the Waffen-SS which were assigned to the Army for operational, that is, for combat purposes. I am particularly interested in getting that point clear because, as far as I see, there still prevails some confusion. Did the forces of the SD have anything to do with the units of the Waffen-SS which were subordinate to army units for the purpose of operational assignments?
KEITEL: No, the formations of the Waffen-SS within divisions were incorporated as such into the armies and had nothing to with anything else. They were in that case purely army forces.
Dr. LATERNSER: Was it possible for a commander to punish an SS man for any offense?
KEITEL: If the man was caught in the act I believe no commander would have hesitated but apart from that, the last resort for disciplinary measures and jurisdiction was Reichsführer-SS Himmler and not the commander of the army.
Dr. LATERNSER: Did the executives of the Einsatzgruppen of the SD have to report to the commanders of the armies upon what they did an Himmler's orders?
KEITEL: This question has been dealt with here in great detail by the witness Ohlendorf, and I am not informed about the connections which existed between the commanders and the Einsatzgruppen and commands. I was not involved and took no part in it.
Dr. LATERNSER: I wanted to know from you whether the Einsatzgruppen of the SD, according to your knowledge of the regulations, were obliged to report to the military commanders in whose rear areas they operated.
KEITEL: I do not believe so; I do not know the orders which were in force in this respect; I have not seen them.
Dr. LATERNSER: Do you know whether the higher military commanders at any time were informed of the intention of Hitler or Himmler to kill the Jews?
KEITEL: According to my opinion, that was not the case, since I personally was not informed either.
Dr. LATERNSER: Now, I have only one more question on the subject of the prisoners-of-war. It had already become known during the war that the conditions relating to the food supply for Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war during the first period of the Eastern campaign were miserable. What was the reason for these conditions which prevailed during that first period?
KEITEL: I can base my statement only on what the Commander-in-Chief of the Army said during the situation report conferences. As I recall, he repeatedly reported that it was clearly a problem of large masses which required extraordinary efforts of organization to provide food supply, housing and security.
Dr. LATERNSER: Now, these conditions were without doubt actually chaotic during a certain period of time. I am thinking of a particular reason which existed and in order to refresh your memory, Witness, I would like to mention the following:
The Army had already prepared camps in the homeland for the future prisoners-of-war, because it was planned in the beginning that these prisoners should be transferred to the homeland. In spite of these preparations, however, as has been stated here, this was stopped by a sudden order from Hitler which prohibited the transit of these Russian prisoners into the homeland.
KEITEL: I explained that this morning and I said that during a certain period until September, the transfer of Soviet Russian prisoners-of-war into the Reich was prohibited and only after that the transfer into the home camps was made possible in order to utilize the manpower.
Dr. LATERNSER: And the deficiencies which appeared during this first period could not be remedied by the means at the disposal of the troops?
KEITEL: That I do not know. I am not informed about that. Only the OKH, which had the exclusive responsibility, would know that.
Dr. LATERNSER: I have only a few more questions about the position of the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff. When was that position set up?
KEITEL: I believe in 1942.
Dr. LATERNSER: 1942. What was the rank connected with this position?
KEITEL: It could be a Colonel or a General.
Dr. LATERNSER: What I mean is whether it was about the same as the position of a commander of a division?
KEITEL: Well, I would say it was equal to the position of the commander of a brigade or a division, a section chief.
Dr. LATERNSER: How many section chiefs were there in the OKW?
KEITEL: I could not say that at present from memory. By way of estimate I had eight department chiefs, each of which had one, two, three or four sections. Therefore there would have been about 30 or 35 section chiefs.
Dr. LATERNSER: The Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff was one of the 8 or of the 30 section chiefs?
KEITEL: No, I would not like to say that definitely. We had among the department chiefs so-called department group chiefs, who combined several small sections. That was about his position.
Dr. LATERNSER: What were the official duties connected with that position?
KEITEL: Naturally the supervision and direction of all the work of that part of the Armed Forces Operations Staff which was attached to the Führer's headquarters. It was his task to direct the work in accordance with the directives given by Jodl, the Chief the Armed Forces Operations Staff.
Dr. LATERNSER: Was the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff responsible for the strategic planning to a particularly high degree, as is maintained by the Prosecution?
KEITEL: He was, of course, not responsible for that in that capacity, but as a matter of fact he belonged to the small group of high ranking and outstanding General Staff officers who were concerned with these things, as Halder has pointed out.
Dr. LATERNSER: Now, I have one last question. Was, therefore the position of the Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces Operation Staff, not equal in importance to the other positions which are included in this group or alleged group of the General Staff and the OKW?
KEITEL: I said chief of a group of departments in the Armed Forces Operations Staff and co-worker in the small group of those who had to deal with operational and strategical questions, but subordinate to General Jodl and director of the work supervisor in the Arbeitsstab.
Dr. LATERNSER: Field Marshal, I believe that the question which I have put to you was not completely answered. I have asked you whether the importance of that position was equal to or even approached equality with that of the other offices which are included in the group of the General Staff and the OKW.
KEITEL: No, certainly not, because in the group of the General Staff and the OKW there were the commanders-in-chief, the supreme commanders, and the chiefs of the General Staff. He certainly did not belong to those.
` Dr. LATERNSER: Thank you.
HERR LUDWIG BABEL (Counsel for SS): Witness, you have said in your Affidavit Keitel-12 that the SS, at the beginning of the war, became the champions and standard bearers of a policy of conquest and force. In order to exclude any misunderstanding I should like to clarify the following: What did you mean by SS in this case?
KEITEL: I can say to that, that what has been read here by my counsel was a short summary of a much longer affidavit. If you read the latter you would find for yourself the answer to your question. To state it in a more precise way: It concerned the Reichs SS leadership under Himmler and under those functionaries within his sphere of command, police and SS, who appeared and were active in the occupied territories. The concept of the so-called general SS in the homeland had nothing to do with that. I hope that makes it clear.
HERR BABEL: Yes, thank you.
Dr. FRIEDRICH BERGOLD (Counsel for Defendant Bormann): Witness, the prosecution in their trial brief have charged the Defendant Bormann also with his activity in the so-called Volkssturm In that connection, I would like to put a few questions to you.
Was an offensive or defensive activity planned for the Volkssturm as it was formed by decree of the Führer of October 18, 1944?
KEITEL: To that I can only say that Reichsleiter Bormann refused to give the military authorities any advice, any cooperation and any Information on the Volkssturm.
Dr. BERGOLD: You mean to say that you were not at all informed of the purpose of the Volkssturm?
KEITEL: Only that I saw it as the last levy of men to defend their own homesteads.
Dr. BERGOLD: That means that, within the framework of the Wehrmacht, the Volkssturm was not designed for any offensive purpose? KEITEL: No, but all services of the Wehrmacht which encountered the Volkssturm units in their areas, either incorporated them or sent them home.
Dr. BERGOLD: Did I understand you correctly that you wanted to say that that Institution, the Volkssturm, was a product of Bormann's brain or, did it originate with Hitler?
KEITEL: I do not know that, perhaps from both.
Dr. BERGOLD: Hitler did not tell you about it, either?
KEITEL: No, he spoke only about the Volkssturm and similar things, but military authorities had nothing to do with it.
Dr. BERGOLD: Did Bormann report any other military matters to the Führer besides the odd things about the Volkssturm?
KEITEL: He has often accused the Wehrmacht of all sorts oi things. I can conclude that only from what I was told, and assume that it originated with Bormann. I do not know it.
Dr. BERGOLD: Thank you.
Dr. HORN (Counsel for Defendant Von Ribbentrop): Is it correct that the Defendant Von Ribbentrop after his return from Moscow in August 1939, on account of the changed foreign political situation - the guarantee pact between England and Poland had been ratified - advised Hitler to stop the military measures which had been set in motion?
KEITEL: I had the Impression at that time that the orders given to me by Hitler were based upon a conversation between him and his foreign minister. I was not present at that conversation.
Dr. HORN: Is it correct that Von Ribbentrop, just like the other ministers with portfolio, was as a rule not informed about the strategic plans?
KEITEL: I can say only for myself and for the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, that we were not authorized to do it and that we never did it. If the Reichsaußenminister was informed about such questions, that Information could have come only from Hitler himself. I doubt that he made an exception here.
Dr. HORN: The Prosecution have submitted a letter of April 3, 1940, concerning the impending occupation of Denmark and Norway which you sent to the then Reichsaußenminister. In that letter you informed him of the impending occupation and requested him to take the necessary political steps. Had you already instructed Von Ribbentrop before that date about the intended occupation of Norway and Denmark?
KEITEL: No, I would not have been allowed to do that, according to the way in which the Führer worked with us. That letter was a unusual method of giving Information about this, by the Führer order, to the Reichsaußenminister who knew nothing about these things. I was ordered to write it to him.
Dr. HORN: In connection with the testimony by General Lahousen, I want to ask you one question. At the time of the Polish campaign, was there a directive or an order by Hitler to exterminate the Jews in the Polish Ukraine?
KEITEL: I cannot recall any such things. I know only that during the occupation of Poland - that is after the occupation - the problem of the Polish Jews played a part. In that connection I also put a question once to Hitler to which, I believe, he answered that that area was well suited for settling the Jews there. I do not know or remember anything else.
Dr. HORN: At the time of the Polish campaign, was there a plan to instigate a revolt in the Polish Ukraine in the rear of the Poles?
KEITEL: I cannot answer that question, although I have heard such things said here by Lahousen. I do not know or remember anything about it.
Dr. HORN: Thank you.
HERR GEORG BÖHM (Counsel for the SA): Field Marshal, you were Chief of the OKW and thereby also the Chief of the KGW that is, the Prisoners-of-war Organization. Did you ever issue orders or have orders issued on the basis of which members of the SA, units of the SA were detailed to guard prisoners-of-war or prisoner-of-war camps, or were to be used for that purpose?
KEITEL: I cannot remember that any such directive had been issued by the OKW. I believe that it certainly was not the case.
HERR BÖHM: In that respect, was a report ever made to you that any such guard duty was performed?
KEITEL: I cannot remember but I do not mean to deny that some units of the army in some particular place may have used men temporarily to assist in guard duty, which I would not know.
HERR BÖHM: Thank you.
The PRESIDENT: Perhaps we had better adjourn now for 10 minutes.

(A recess was taken.)


Consisted mostly of two or more regiments. Could operate independently or as part of a division. Sometimes they were part of a corps instead of a division. In theory a brigade consisted of 5,000 to 7,000 men.
Agreement between fighting parties concerning the surrender of a country or an army.
Originally the designation for mounted troops. During World War 2 the term was used for armoured units. Main tasks are reconnaissance, attack and support of infantry.
Military unit, usually consisting of one upto four regiments and usually making up a corps. In theory a division consists of 10,000 to 20,000 men.
“Taskforces of Deployment Squads”. Special units composed of various SS and police services under supervision of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). Einsatzgruppen were deployed during the invasion of Poland in 1939 and during operation Barbarossa in 1941. In 1939 these units were ordered to eliminate the Polish intelligentsia. In the Soviet Union they were deployed to execute various political and racial enemies of the Third Reich, like Jews, gypsies and communists. The “Holocaust by bullets” in the Soviet Union was the horrendous first act of the eventual “final solution”.
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.
Foot soldiers of a given army.
Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.
Highest military rank, Army commander.
To make an army ready for war, actually the transition from a state of peace to a state of war. The Dutch army was mobilized on the 29 August 1939.
Abbreviation of a national socialist.
Attack on a smaller or larger scale.
“Oberkommando des Heeres”. German supreme command of the army.
“Oberkommando der Wehrmacht”. German supreme command of the Armed Forces, Army, Air Force and Navy.
Coup, often involving the use of violence.
Red Army
Army of the Soviet Union.
Multiple meanings. Used by the Americans to indicate air force units that had bombers.
Name of Military section of the SS.
German armed military forces, divided in ground forces, air force and navy.

Afternoon session, part 2

The PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will sit in open session tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. At 12:30 it will take the supplementai applications for witnesses and documents, and after that, at a quarter to 1 it will adjourn into a closed session.
Gen. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): Defendant Keitel, I would like you to teil me exactly when you received your first commission as an officer?
KEITEL: On August 18, 1902.
Gen. RUDENKO: What military training did you receive?
KEITEL: I came into the army as an officer candidate. Starting as a simple private I advanced through the various ranks of private first class, corporal and ensign to lieutenant.
Gen. RUDENKO: I asked you about your military training.
KEITEL: I was an army officer until 1909 and then for almost 6 years regimental adjutant, then during the World War I, battery commander and then after the spring of 1915 I served on the General Staff.
Gen. RUDENKO: You were evidently not given a correct translation. Did you pass the Staff College or any other college, that is to say, did you receive preliminary training?
KEITEL: I never attended the War Academy. Twice I participated in so-called Great General Staff trips as regimental adjutant and in the summer of 1914 I was detailed to the Great General Staff and returned to my regiment later when the war broke out in 1914.
Gen. RUDENKO: What military training and military rank did Hitler possess?
KEITEL: Only a few years ago I found out from Hitler himself that after the end of World War 1, he had been a lieutenant in a Bavarian infantry regiment. During the war he was a private, then private first class and maybe corporal during the last period.
Gen. RUDENKO: Should we not, therefore, conclude that you with your thorough military training and great experience, could have had an opportunity of influencing Hitler very considerably in solving questions of a strategic and military nature, as well as other matters pertaining to the Armed Forces?
KEITEL: No. I have to declare in that respect that, to a degree which is almost incomprehensible to the layman and the professional officer, Hitler had studied general staff publications, military literature, essays on tactics, operations, and strategy and that he had a knowledge in the military fields which can only be called amazing. May I give an example of that which can be confirmed by the other officers of the Wehrmacht. Hitler was so well informed concerning organization, armament, leadership and equipment of all armies and what is more remarkable, of all navies of the globe that it was impossible to prove any error on his part and I have to add that also during the war, while I was at his headquarters and in his close proximity, Hitler studied at night all the big general staff books by Von Moltke, Von Schlieffen, and Clausewitz and from them acquired his vast knowledge by himself. Therefore we had the Impression: Only a genius can do that.
Gen. RUDENKO: You will not deny that by reason of your military training and experience you were Hitler's adviser in a number of highly important matters?
KEITEL: I belonged to his closest military entourage and heard a lot from him but I pointed out yesterday to the question of my counsel that even in the simple, every-day questions concerning organization and equipment of the Wehrmacht, I must admit openly that I was the pupil and not the master.
Gen. RUDENKO: From what date do you consider that your cooperation with Hitler began?
KEITEL: Exactly from the day when I was called into that position, February 4, 1938.
Gen. RUDENKO: That means that you were working with Hitler during the entire period of preparation for and realization of aggressive warfare?
KEITEL: Yes. I have already given all the necessary explanations as to how, after I entered my new position in the beginning of February, events followed in quick succession, often in a very surprising manner.
Gen. RUDENKO: Who, besides you, among the military leaders of the OKW and the OKH had the rank of Reichsminister?
KEITEL: The rank of Reichsminister was given to the the commanders-in-chief of the sections of the Armed Forces, and among these the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, Reichsmarschall Göring, was also Reichsminister of Aviation; I likewise received, as I said yesterday, the rank but not the authority and title of a minister.
Gen. RUDENKO: Who, besides you, among the military collaborators of the OKH and the OKW, signedd decrees together with Hitler and the other Reichsministers?
KEITEL: In the ministerial sector of the Reichsregierung there was the method of the signatures of the Führer and Reichskanzler and the Ministers immediately involved and, finally of the Chief of the Reichskanzlei. This did not hold good for the military sector, for according to the traditions of the German Army and the Wehrmacht the signatures were given by the principal experts who had worked on the matter, by the Chief of Staff or by whoever had given or at least drafted the order and an initial was added in the margin.
Gen. RUDENKO: Yesterday you said that you signed such decrees together with other Ministers of the Reich.
KEITEL: Yes, yesterday I mentioned individual decrees and also gave the reasons why I signed them, and that in so doing I was not Reichsminister and did not receive the function of a minister in office.
Gen. RUDENKO: What organization exercised the function of the War Ministry from February 1938 onwards?
KEITEL: Until the last days of January, or the first days of February, it was the former Reich, Minister for War, Von Blomberg. Beginning with 4 February there was neither a Minister for War nor a War Ministry.
Gen. RUDENKO: That is precisely why I asked you what government organization had replaced the War Ministry and exercised its function, since I knew that this Ministry did not exist.
KEITEL: I, myself, with the Wehrmachtsamt, the former Staff of the War Ministry, whose chief I was, carried on the work a distributed it, as I described in detail yesterday, that is, I transferred all command functions to the commanders-in-chief of the branches of the Wehrmacht. But this was not an order of mine but an order of Hitler's.
Gen. RUDENKO: From the diagram you have submitted to the Tribunal it would appear that the OKW was the central, coordinating, and supreme military authority of the Reich and that it was directly under Hitler's control. Would this conclusion be correct?
KEITEL: Yes, that was the military staff of Hitler.
Gen. RUDENKO: Who, in the OKW, directly supervised the drafting of military and strategic plans? I am referring specifically to the plans for the attack on Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, Holland, France, Norway, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.
KEITEL: I believe that yesterday I stated that very precisely, saying that the operational and strategic planning, after an order had been given by Hitler, was prepared and then submitted to Hitler by the commanders-in-chief of the branches of the Wehrmacht; that is to say, for the Army, by the High Command the Army and the General Staff of the Army and then further decisions were made with respect to it.
Gen. RUDENKO: With regard to Yugoslavia I should like ask you the following question: Do you admit that a directive, issued under your signature, for the preliminary partition of Yugoslav is per se a document of great political and international importance providing for the actual abolition of Yugoslavia as a sovereign state?
KEITEL: I did nothing more or less than to write down a decree by the Führer and forward it to those offices which were interested and concerned. I did not have any personal or political influence whatsoever in these questions.
Gen. RUDENKO: Under your own signature?
KEITEL: As to the signatures which I have given, I made a complete explanation yesterday, as to how they came about and what their significance is.
Gen. RUDENKO: Yes, we did talk about it, we did hear about it and I shall ask some more questions on the subject later on. I should now like to determine with greater precision your own position in the question of Yugoslavia. Do you agree that you, with the direct participation of the OKW, organized acts of provocation in order to find a reason for aggression against Yugoslav and a justification for this aggression in the eyes of the world?
KEITEL: This morning, in response to questions of the counsel of other defendants, I answered clearly that I did not participate in any preparation of an incident and that Hitler did not wish either that any military office should ever participate in the discussion, preparation, deliberation, or the execution of incidents. I use "incident" here in the sense of provocation.
Gen. RUDENKO: Undoubtedly. What part did the OKW take to insure the arming of the Freikorps in the Sudetenland?
KEITEL: Which Freikorps, General? I do not know to which Freikorps you refer.
Gen. RUDENKO: The Freikorps of the Sudetenland.
KEITEL: I am not informed as to whether any military office did any gun-running, if I may say so, or secretly sent arms there. I have no knowledge concerning that. An order to that effect was not given, or at any rate did not pass through my hands. I cannot remember that.
Gen. RUDENKO: By whom and for what reason was the order issued to occupy Ostrau in Moravia and Witkovitz by German troops on March 14,1939, in the afternoon, while President Hacha was still on his way to Berlin for negotiations with Hitler?
KEITEL: The order was eventually released and decided by the Führer. There had been preparations to occupy by a coup de main that area where the well-known big and modern steel works were located near Mährisch Ostrau - I cannot remember the name now - before the date of the march into Czechoslovakia as originally set. As a justification for that decision, Hitler had told me that it was done in order to prevent the Poles from making a surprise attack from the north and thereby perhaps taking possession of the most modern rolling mill in the world. This he gave as reason and the operation, that is, the occupation, actually took place in the late hours of March 14.
Gen. RUDENKO: Yes, but during the same time, President Hacha was on his way to Berlin to negotiate which Hitler?
KEITEL: Yes, that is correct.
Gen. RUDENKO: This is treachery!
KEITEL: I do not believe that I need to add my judgement to the facts. It is true that the occupation was carried out on that evening. I have given the reasons and President Hacha learned about it only after he arrived in Berlin. Now I remember the name. The rolling mill was Witkovitz.
Gen. RUDENKO: I have a few more questions to ask you in connection with the aggression against the Soviet Union. You testi¬fied to the Tribunal yesterday on the subject. You explained your position with regard to the attack on the Soviet Union. But you informed the Tribunal that the orders for preparing Plan Barbarossa were given at the beginning of December 1940. Is that right?
Gen. RUDENKO) Do you definitely remember and confirm this?
KEITEL: I do not know of, or do not remember, any specific order by the High Command of the Wehrmacht which called for the drawing up of this plan called Barbarossa any earlier than I explained yesterday; however, that some order had been issued probably in September, concerning transport and railway facilities and similar matters. I cannot recall whether I signed that order but yesterday I mentioned such a preparatory order to improve transport conditions from the West to the East.
Gen. RUDENKO: In September?
KEITEL: It may have been in September or October, but cannot commit myself as to the exact time.
Gen. RUDENKO: I wish to know the exact time.
KEITEL: More accurate infarmation may probably be obtained at a later stage from General Jodl, who ought to know it better.
Gen. RUDENKO: Of course we shall ask him about it during the course of his interrogation. I should like you to recollect the following briefly: Did you first learn of Hitler's schemes to attack the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940?
KEITEL: No. In the summer of 1940 this conversation - which is mentioned in Jodl's diary I believe that is what you are reffering to, you mean the conversation from Jodl's diary - I was not present at this obviously very casual and brief conversation and did not hear it. My recollections concerning that period also justify my belief that I was not present, because I was on the move almost every day by airplane and was not present at the discussions of the situation at that time.
Gen. RUDENKO: And when did your conversation with Von Ribbentrop take place?
KEITEL: That may have been during the last days of August: I believe, it was in the beginning of September, but I cannot give the exact date any more. I reconstructed the date by the fact that I did not return to Berchtesgaden until August 10 and that I wrote the memorandum which I mentioned yesterday at a later date.
Gen. RUDENKO: And so you assure the Tribunal that you first heard about Hitler's schemes to attack the Soviet Union from the conversation with Von Ribbentrop?
KEITEL: No, no. After having been absent from Berchtesgad for about two weeks, partly on leave and partly on duty in Berlin, I returned to headquarters at Berchtesgaden and then, on one of the subsequent days, probably during the middle of August, I heard for the first time ideas of that kind from Hitler. That was the basis for my deliberation and my memorandum.
Gen. RUDENKO: In that case, have I put my question correctly in asking whether you learned of Hitler's schemes in the summer of 1940?
KEITEL: Yes. The middle of August, after all, is still summer.
Gen. RUDENKO: August is still summer, we will not quible about that. Further, I should like to remind you of the evidence of the witness Paulus, which he gave here before the Tribunal on February 11 of this year. Paulus, as you will remember informed the Tribunal that when he entered the OKH on September 3, 1940, he found among other plans an unfinished preliminary operational draft of a plan for attacking the Soviet Union, known under the name of Barbarossa. Do you remember that part of Paulus' testimony?
KEITEL: I remember it only insofar as he stated that it was a study or a draft for a maneuver, and that he found a document on the occasion of his transfer to the OKH, to the General Staff of the Army. This is not known to me and it could not be known to me because the documents, files, and other reports of the General Staff of the Army were never at my disposal and I never had an opportunity to look at them.
Gen. RUDENKO: I wish to establish one fact. Do you deny that the OKH, in September 1940, was elaborating plans in connection with Plan Barbarossa?
KEITEL: If we go by the testimony of Field Marshal Paulus then I could not say that it is not true, since I cannot know whether it actually was true. I can neither deny nor affirm it.
Gen. RUDENKO: All right. You informed the Tribunal that you were opposed to the war with the Soviet Union.
Gen. RUDENKO: You also stated that you went to Hitler with the suggestion that he should change his plans with regard to the Soviet Union. Is that correct?
KEITEL: Yes, not only to change them, but to drop this plan and not to wage war against the Soviet Union. That was the content of my memorandum.
Gen. RUDENKO: That is precisely what I asked you. I would like to ask you now about a conference, evidently known to you which was held 3 weeks after Germany had attacked the Sovielt Union, the conference of July 16, 1941. Do you remember that conference, which dealt with the tasks for the conduct of the war against the Soviet Union?
KEITEL: No, at the moment I do not know what you mean. I do not know.
Gen. RUDENKO: I do not intend to submit that document to you at this particular minute. You may remember that I submitted it to the Defendant Göring, when the question of the dismemberment and of the annexation of the Soviet Union arose. Do you remember?
KEITEL: That is a document which I know. I believe it is marked on top "BO-FU," and during my interrogation here I have identified it as a memorandum from Reichsleiter Bormann.
Gen. RUDENKO: That is correct.
KEITEL: I made that statement. At that time I also testified that I was called in only during the second part of the conference and that I had not been present during the first part of it. I also testified that it was not the minutes but a free summary made by Reichsleiter Bormann, dictated by him.
Gen. RUDENKO: But you do remember that even then, on July 16, the question was already being advanced about the annexation by Germany of the Crimea, the Baltic States, the regions of the Volga, the Ukraine, Byelorussia and other territories?
KEITEL: No, I believe that it was discussed at the first part of the conference. I can remember the conference, from that stage on where questions of personnel were discussed, that is, certain personalities who were to be appointed. That I remembered. I have seen the document here for the first time and did not know of it before and I did not attend the first half of the conference.
Gen. RUDENKO: In that case may I put the question differently: What were the final aims pursued by Hitler and his entourage at that time, against the Soviet Union?
KEITEL: According to the explanations which Hitler had give me, I saw the more profound reasons for this war in the fact that he was convinced that a war would break out some way or other within the next years between the Greater Slav Empire of Communism and the German Reich of National Socialism. The reasons which were given to me were something like this: If I believe, rather if I am convinced that such a conflict between these two nations will take place, then it would be better now than later. That is how I can put it. But I do not remember, at least not at the moment, the questions which are in this document about the dismemberment of several areas. Perhaps they were constructions of fantasy.
Gen. RUDENKO: And you teil the Tribunal under oath you did not know of the Hitlerite plans to seize and colonize territories of the Soviet Union?
KEITEL: That has not been expressed in that form. It is true that I believed that the Baltic provinces should be made dependents of the Reich, and that the Ukraine should come into a closer connection from the point of view of food supply or economy, but concise plans for conquest are not known to me and if they were ever touched upon I never considered them to be serious problems. That is the way I looked at it at that time. I must not explain how see it today, but only how I saw it at that time.
Gen. RUDENKO: Did you know that at this conference of July 16, Hitler announced the necessity of razing the city of Leningrad to the ground?
KEITEL: I do not believe that during that conference - I have read that document here again. That it is contained in the document I cannot remember now. But I have had this document here in my hands; I have read it in the presence of the American Prosecutor; and if it is stated therein, then the question of whether not I have heard it depends entirely on the moment at which I am called to that conference.
Gen. RUDENKO: I do not intend to hand you the document now because it has already been submitted several times. But in the minutes previously quoted to the Defendant Göring, who read them himself, it is said: "The Leningrad region is claimed by the Finns. The Führer wants to raze Leningrad to the ground and then cede it to the Finns."
KEITEL: I can only say that it is necessary to establish from what moment on I attended that conference. Whatever was said before that moment I did not hear and I can indicate that only if I am given the document or if one reads the record of my prliminary interrogation. That is what I told the interrogating officer at that time.
Gen. RUDENKO: Very well. We shall give you the minutes of the conference of July 16 immediately. While the passages required are being found, I shall ask you a few more questions and by that time the passages will have been found.
With regard to the destruction of Leningrad, did you not know about it from other documents?
KEITEL: I have been asked about that by the Russian Delegation and the General who is present here in this courtroom. He has called my attention to a document.
Gen. RUDENKO: That was during the preliminary investigation. That is quite right.
KEITEL: I know the document which came from the Navy, from an admiral, as well as a second document which contained a short directive, I believe on the order of Jodl, concerning Leningrad. I have been interrogated regarding both documents. As to that I state only that neither through artillery operations during the siege, nor by operations of the Air Force, could the extent of destruction be compared with that of other places we know about. It did not materialize, we did not carry it out. It never came to a systematic shelling of Leningrad, as far as I know. Consequently, only that can be stated which I said at that time under oath to the gentlemen of the Soviet Delegation.
Gen. RUDENKO: According to your knowledge was Lening never shelled?
KEITEL: Certainly artillery was also used in the Leningrad area but it never went so far as to constitute shelling for the purpose of destruction. That would have occurred, General, if it had come to an attack on Leningrad.
Gen. RUDENKO: Look at this document, and I shall then ask you a few supplementary questions. (the document was submitted to the defendant.)
KEITEL: lt is very simple. My entry is exactly after the moment after this remark had been made. I told the American interrogator at the time that I just heard the discussion about the appointment of Gauleiter Lohse when I entered the room. The preceding remarks I did not hear.
Gen. RUDENKO: Have you acquainted yourself with the minutes of the report on the conference of July 16, that deal with Leningrad?
KEITEL: Yes, that is where I entered.
Gen. RUDENKO: You saw that there was such an entry in the minutes of the meeting. You arrived at the conference just as they had finished talking about Leningrad?
KEITEL: Yes. I entered the room when they were talking about the qualifications of Gauleiter Lohse, whether or not he was suitable for an administrative office. These were the first words which I heard. A debate was going an about that subject just when I entered.
Gen. RUDENKO: It states there quite clearly "Raze the city Leningrad to the ground."
KEITEL: Yes, I have read that here.
Gen. RUDENKO: The same is stated in the decree, is it not?
KEITEL: Yes; but there is no direct connection with me. Do you mean the order of the Navy, the order which was found, with the Navy?
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you know that there were two decrees, issued by the naval command and the other by the OKW, signed Jodl? You do know that, do you not?
KEITEL: Yes, I have seen both these decrees here. They were submitted by the Russian Delegation.
Gen. RUDENKO: And you know that the decree signed by Defendant Jodl also refers to the destruction of the city of Moscow.
KEITEL: That I do not remember exactly, any more since only Leningrad was referred to at that time, when I glanced at it. But if it is stated there, I will not doubt it at all.
Gen. RUDENKO: I am asking you: Did the OKW issue decrees for the purpose of having them obeyed?
KEITEL: The order or communication of the Navy is first of all no OKW order and how it originated is not known to me. The short order of the OKW, signed "By order of Jodl," was not drafted in my presence, as I already stated yesterday. I would have signed it but I was absent and therefore do not know either to which reasons or discussions this order was due.
Gen. RUDENKO: You have not replied to my question. I am asking you: The directives issued by the OKW were given out to be obeyed? Can you reply to me briefly?
KEITEL: This is a directive but not an order, because an order can be given only by the office of the local command of the army. It was therefore a directive, an aim, an Intention.
Gen. RUDENKO: And are directives from the OKW not meant to be carried out?
KEITEL: Certainly they are meant to be carried out.
Gen. RUDENKO: As to your statement that no one shelled Leningrad, it does not even call for further denial, since it is well-known fact.
KEITEL: May I at least say that I did not issue that order. That is why I do not know anything about it.
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you know that before the beginning of the war against the Soviet Union the Defendant Göring issued a so-called Green Folder containing directives on the economic matters in the territories of the U.S.S.R. intended for occupation?
KEITEL: Yes, that is known to me.
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you affirm that in your directive of June 16, 1941 you instructed all the German troops to obey these directives implicitly?
KEITEL: Yes, there is a directive which makes known to units of the Army the organizations which are assigned for important tasks and what their responsibilities are, and that all the military commands of the Army must act in compliance therewith. That I passed on; it was not my order, I passed it on.
Gen. RUDENKO: Was it your own order or were you merely obeying the Führer's instructions?
KEITEL: I merely passed on the orders received from the Führer and I could not give any orders at all to Reichsmarschall Göring in that respect.
Gen. RUDENKO: You did not issue an order to Field Marschall Göring, but addressed your order to the troops?
KEITEL: I could not give him any orders either. I could only communicate the will of the Führer to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and he had to pass it on to his army groups.
Gen. RUDENKO: You did not disagree with this will of the Führer?
KEITEL: I did not raise any objection, since this did not concern a duty of the OKW. I followed the order and passed it on.
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you admit that this order gave you instructions for the immediate and complete economic exploitation of the occupied regions of the Soviet Union in the interest of German war economy?
KEITEL: I did not give such an order containing the aims a tasks which were to be carried out by the organization Economic Staff Oldenburg, since I had nothing to do with that. I only passed the contents of the Green Folder - it is known what this name stands for - to the High Command of the Army for appropriate action.
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you admit that the directives contained in Görings Green Folder were aimed at the plunder of the material wealth of the Soviet Union and all her citizens?
KEITEL: No. In my opinion nothing was said about destruction in the Green Folder. Instead of destruction one ought to say, to make good use of surplus, especially in the field of the food supply and the utilization of raw materials for the entire war economy of Germany, but not the destruction of them.
Gen. RUDENKO: Please repeat what you have said.
KEITEL: I said that in the Green Folder there were principles for the utilization of present and future reserves which were considered surplus, but never for their destruction. To let the Soviet population starve at the same time on account of this, that was not the case. I have seen these things on the spot and therefore I am qualified to speak about them.
Gen. RUDENKO: You do not consider that plunder?
KEITEL: The quibble about words, whether booty, or exploitation of reserves found during the war, or looting, or the like, is a matter of concepts which I believe need not be defined here. Everyone uses his own expressions in this respect.
Gen. RUDENKO: Very well, do not let us argue about it. I have one last question to ask you with regard to the attack on the Soviet Union. Do you agree that the methods of warfare adopted by the German Army in the East stood in striking contrast with the simplest concept of military honor of an army and the exigencies of war?
KEITEL: No, I cannot admit that in this form. I would rather say, the fact that the brutalizing - I have used this term - before that the brutalizing of the war against the Soviet Union and which occurred in the East, is not to be attributed to instigation by the German Army but to circumstances which I have stated in an affidavit submitted by my counsel to the Tribunal. I would furthermore like to ask the Russian Prosecutor to read it so that he can see my opinion about it.
Gen. RUDENKO: Very well. To conclude the question of aggression and to pass on to the question of atrocities, I have to ask you the following question, and I trust you will impart to the Tribunal the Information you possess in your capacity as Hitler's closest advisor on the conduct of the war.
My question is the following: What tasks did the High Command of the Armed Forces entrust to the German Army in case Germany fought to the finish a victorious war against the Soviet Union?
KEITEL: I do not know what you mean by that. Which demands were put to the military leadership in case the war would be success? May I ask you to put this question differently. I did not understand it.
Gen. RUDENKO: I have in mind tasks for the further conduct of the war after a successful conclusion of the Eastern campaign.
KEITEL: Then could have occurred what actually did occur later, that is, the landing of the British and American forces in France in Denmark, or in Germany, et cetera. There were various possibilities of warfare which might occur and which could not be anticipated at all.
Gen. RUDENKO: I am not asking this question in general. You are evidently acquainted with a document entitled, "Manual of Naval Warfare", which had already been drafted on August 8, 1941 and contained plans for the subsequent conduct of the war after the conclusion of the Eastern campaign. I refer here to the drafting of plans for an attack on Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Do you know that document?
KEITEL: It has not been submitted to me so far. It is a surprise at the moment, and I cannot recall it.
Gen. RUDENKO: You do not know this document?
This document, Your Honors, is Number S-57; it was submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit Number USSR-336. I shall show it to you in a minute. Please hand this document to the defendant. (The document was submitted to the defendant) KEITEL: I see this document for the first time, at any rate here during the proceedings. It begins with the sentence, "A draft of directives concerning further plans after the end of the Eastern campaign" was submitted to the Naval Operations Staff. This order or directive of the Navy I have never seen nor could I have seen it. It is a draft of directives which could come only from the High Command of the Wehrmacht. In the Armed Forces Operations Staff there were officers from the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force and it is quite possible that ideas which took the shape of drafts of directives were made known at the time to the officers of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff. I cannot remember any such draft of directives of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, but perhaps GeneraloOberst Jodl may possibly be in a position to give Information about that. I cannot remember it.
Gen. RUDENKO: You do not remember it? I shall not examine you about it closely but you see that the document plans the seizure of Gibraltar with the active participation of Spain. In addition it provides for an attack on Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and so forth. And you say that you know nothing of this document?
KEITEL: I shall be glad to, give Information about that. An attack to seize Gibraltar, the entrance to the Mediterranean straits had already been planned for the preceding winter but had not been carried out, that is, during the winter of 1939-40. It was nothing new and the other topics which have been mentioned were those which developed ideas based on the situation existing north of the Caucasus as a result of the operations. I do not at all mean to say that these ideas were not given any thought, but I do not remember it and I did not read every document or paper of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff when it was in the drafting stage.
Gen. RUDENKO: If you consider as mere scraps of paper docu¬ments concerning the seizure of foreign countries, then what docu¬ments do you consider as important?
KEITEL: I can state only the following, which is true and sinctere. In wartime one makes many plans and considers various possibilities which are not and cannot be carried out in the face of the hard facts of reality; and therefore it is not permissible to regard such papers afterwards from an historical point of view, representing throughout the will and Intention of the operation, and strategic war leadership.
Gen. RUDENKO: I agree with you that from a historical point of view this document is at present of no importance whatsoeve but taken in conjunction with the plan of the German General Staff at a time when this staff thought it was going to defeat the Soviet Union, the document does acquire a very different meaning. However, I shall not examine you any further about this document, for the time being.
I now pass on to the subject of atrocities and of your attitude towards these crimes. Your counsel, Dr. Nelte, has already handed you the principal documents of the Prosecution on the subject of atrocities. I do not therefore intend either to submit them again or to enter into any detailed argument on the subject. I shall merely examine you on the basic principles of these document which were submitted by your counsel when he interrogated you.
I shall first of all refer to a document entitled, "Directive for the Introduction of Military Jurisdiction in Region Barbarossa and on the Adoption of Special Military Measures." Do you remember that document? It was drawn up on May 13, 1941 more than a month before the outbreak of war against the Soviet Union. Do you remember that in that document, drawn up before the war, instructions were given that suspect elements should immediately be brought before an officer and that he would decide whether they were to be shot? Do you remember that directive? Did you sign the document?
KEITEL: Yes, I have never denied that. But I have given the necessary explanations as to how the document came into being and who was its originator.
The PRESIDENT: What is the number of the document?
Gen. RUDENKO: Document C-50, dated May 13, 1941.
The PRESIDENT: Very well.
Gen. RUDENKO (To the defendant.): Although you declare that you have already elucidated the matter to your counsel, I am never¬theless obliged to put this question to you in a slightly different form. Did you consider that an officer had a right to shoot people without trial or investigation?
KEITEL: In the German Army there have always been courts-¬martial for our own soldiers as well as for our enemies, which could always be set up, consisting of one officer and one or two soldiers, all three of whom would act as judges. That is what we call court-martial (Standgericht); the only requisite is always that an officer must preside at this court. But as a matter of principle I have to repeat the statement which I have made yesterday ..
Gen. RUDENKO: One moment! Please reply to this question Did not this document do away with judicial proceedings in the case of so-called suspects, at the same time leaving to an officer of the German Army the right to shoot them? Is that correct?
KEITEL: In the case of German soldiers it was correct and was permitted. There is a military tribunal with judicial officers and there is a court-martial which consists -of soldiers. These have the right to pass and to execute an appropriate sentence against any soldier of the German Army in court-martial proceedings.
The PRESIDENT: You are not answering the question. The question is, what right does this document give, not what the orders in the German Army are.
Gen. RUDENKO: Can you reply to the following question? Did this document do away with judicial proceedings and did it give the German officer the right to shoot suspects, as stated herein?
KEITEL: That was an order which was given to me by Hitler. He had given me that order and I put my name under it. What that means, I explained in detail yesterday.
Gen. RUDENKO: You, a Field Marshal, signed that decree. You considered that the decree was irregular; you understood what the consequences of that decree were likely to be. Then why did you sign it?
KEITEL: I cannot say any more than that I put my name to it and I thereby, personally, assumed in my position a degree of responsibility.
Gen. RUDENKO: And one more question. This decree was dated May 13, 1941, almost a month before the outbreak of war. So you had planned the murder of human beings beforehand?
KEITEL: That I do not understand. It is correct that this order was issued about 4 weeks before the beginning of the campaign Barbarossa, and another 4 weeks earlier it had been communicated to the generals in a statement by Hitler. They knew that weeks before.
Gen. RUDENKO: Do you know how this decree was actually applied?
KEITEL: I have also told my opinion to the interrogating general of the Soviet Army in the preliminary interrogations; whether generals discussed this order with me has not been mentioned, but I wish to point out that it says specifically here that the higher commanders have the right to suspend this order concerning court jurisdiction as soon as their area is pacified. I have given the same answer to every general who has asked me about the reasons for this order and its effect. I said that it provides that they were allowed to suspend this order as soon as they considered their areas to be pacified. That is an individual subjective question for discretion of the commanders and it is provided therein.
Gen. RUDENKO: And now for the final question in connection with this order or directive. This order actually assured German soldiers and officers impunity for arbitrary actions and action of lawlessness?
KEITEL: Within certain limits, within certain limits! The limit was strictly defined in the oral order to the generals, namely, application of severest disciplinary measures among their own troops.
Gen. RUDENKO: I think, Defendant Keitel, that you have seen these "certain limits" in the documents submitted to the Tribunal and in the documentary films.
I shall now ask you the following question: On May 12, 1941 the question of the treatment of captured Russian political Kommissars and military prisoners was under consideration. Do you remember that document?
KEITEL: At the moment I cannot recall which one you mean. It is not clear to me what you are referring to at the moment.
Gen. RUDENKO: I refer to the document dated May 12, 1941 which established that the political leaders of the Red Army should not be recognized as prisoners-of-war but should be destroyed
KEITEL: I have seen only notes on it. I do not recall the document at present but I know the facts. I cannot recall the document at the moment. May I see it please?
Gen. RUDENKO: If you please. (The document was handed to the defendant.)
The PRESIDENT: What number is it?
Gen. RUDENKO: Number 884-PS. It is a document dated May 12, 1941 and entitled "Treatment of Political and Military Russian Functionaries."
KEITEL: It is not an order but a memorandum on a report the Department of National Defense, with the remark that decisions by the Führer are still required. The memorandum probably refers to a suggested order, I remember this now; I saw it at the time and the result of the report is not +mentioned but merely a suggestion which was put down for the ruling. As far as I know, the ruling was taken on those lines then communicated to the High Command of the Army as having been approved by the Führer or having been attended to, or discussed, or agreed upon, directly between the Führer and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
Gen. RUDENKO: What do you mean when you speak of "regulation"? We have learned so many expressions from German Army terminology, such as "regulation," "special treatment," "execution" but they all translated into vulgar parlance, meaning one thing, one thing only - murder. What are you thinking of when you say "regulation"?
KEITEL: I did not say "regulation." I do not know which word was understood to mean regulation. I said that, in the sense of the memorandum, according to my recollection, directives had been issued by Hitler to the Army at that time, that is, an approval the suggestion which has been made in the memorandum.
Gen. RUDENKO: In that case you do not deny that as far back as May, more than a month before the outbreak of war, the document had already been drafted which provided for the annihilation of Russian political Kommissars and military personnel? You do not deny this?
KEITEL: No, that I do not deny. That was the result of the directives which had been communicated and which had be worked out here in writing by the generals.
The PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.
(The Tribunal adjourned until April 6, 1946 at 10:00 hours.)

Also read: Hearing Keitel 4, Hearing Keitel 5, Final statement Keitel, Verdict Keitel.


Political ideology originating from the work of Karl Marx “Das Kapital” written in 1848 as a reaction to the so-called class struggle between the proletariat (labourers) and the bourgeoisie. According to Marx the proletariat would take over power from the well-to-do classes though a revolution. The communist movement aspires an ideal situation where the means of production and the means of consumption are common property of all citizens. This should end poverty and inequality (communis = common).
German paramilitary units established directly after the Great War by former front soldiers. These groups were often named after their commander. Freikorps formed the basis of the eventual SA or Sturmabteilung.
German word for leader. During his reign of power Adolf Hitler was Führer of Nazi Germany.
Leader and representative of the NSDAP of a Gau.
Foot soldiers of a given army.
Highest military rank, Army commander.
military authority
Dutch military body with special authority on non-military issues (1944 – 1946).
An object filled with explosives, equipped with detonator which is activated by either remote control or by colliding with the targeted object. Mines are intended to destroy of damage vehicles, aircrafts or vessels, or to injure, kill or otherwise putting staff out of action. It is also possible to deny enemy access of a specific area by laying mines.
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.
Red Army
Army of the Soviet Union.
Part of a division. A division divided into a number of regiments. In the army traditionally the name of the major organised unit of one type of weapon.
Indication for shooting targets with grenades. Both from artillery and armoured artillery.
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.
Art of warfare, the way in which war should be conducted in general.
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.


International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1947