Nurenberg Trials - Day 34
Commands: U-20, U-123
Reprinted with permission from Yale University at the following url: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/01-15-46.asp courtesy of Ryan.
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 5
Tuesday, 15 January 1946
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other Counsel for the Defense wish to cross - examine this witness? [Referring to Peter Josef Heisig, interrogated the previous day.]
[There was no response.]
Then, Colonel Phillimore, do you wish to re-examine?
COL. PHILLIMORE: No, My Lord; I have no further questions. THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness can go. [The witness left the stand.]
COL. PHILLIMORE: Before I call my second witness, Karl Heinz Moehle, an affidavit by him is the next document in the document book.
[Karl Heinz Moehle took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: What is your name?
KARL HEINZ MOEHLE (Witness): Karl Heinz Moehle.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath: "I swear by God - the Almighty and Omniscient - that I will speak the pure truth - and will withhold and add nothing."
[The witness repeated the oath in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You can sit down, if you wish.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Karl Heinz Moehle, you held the rank of Korvettenkapitan in the German Navy?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
COL. PHILLIMORE: You served in the German Navy since 1930? MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Will you tell the Tribunal what decorations you hold?
MOEHLE: I received the Submarine War Medal; the Iron Cross, Second Class; the Iron Cross, First Class; the Knight's Cross; the War Service Cross, First and Second Class; and the German Cross in Silver.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Did you swear to an affidavit covering a statement you have made on the 21st of July 1945?
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MOEHLE: Yes, Sir; I made such a statement.
COL. PHILLIMORE: I show you that document and ask you to say whether that is your affidavit.
[Document 382-PS was submitted to the witness.!
MOEHLE: Yes, this is my affidavit.
COL. PHILLIMORE: I put that document in, which is 382-PS, and it becomes Exhibit GB-202.
[Turning to the witness.] In the autumn of 1942 were you head of the 5th U- boat Flotilla?
COL. PHILLIMORE: Were you stationed at Kiel?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
COL. PHILLIMORE: How long did you hold that appointment altogether?
MOEHLE: For 4 years.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Was that from June 1941 until the capitulation?
MOEHLE: That is correct.
COL. PHILLIMORE: What were your duties as commander of that flotilla?
MOEHLE: My main duties as Flotilla Commander consisted of the fitting out of U-boats which were to be sent to the front from home bases, and giving them the orders of the U-boat command.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Had you any special responsibility to U-boat commanders in respect of the orders?
MOEHLE? Yes, Sir; it was my responsibility to see that outgoing U-boats were provided with the new orders of the U-boat command.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Had you any responsibility in explaining the orders?
MOEHLE: The orders of the U-boat command were always very clear and unambiguous. If there were any ambiguities I used to have these ambiguities cleared up myself at the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief of U-boats.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Did you personally see commanders before they went out on patrol?
MOEHLE: Yes, each commander before leaving for an operational cruise went through a so-called commander's briefing.
COL. PHILLIMORE: I will go back, if I may, for two or three questions. Did you personally see commanders before they went out on patrol?
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MOEHLE: Yes, each commander before sailing on a mission went through a briefing session at my office.
COL. PHILLIMORE: And what did that briefing session consist of? Were there any questions on the orders?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir, all experiences of previous patrols and any questions of the ship's equipment were discussed with the commander at that session. Also, the commanders had an opportunity at the briefing to clarify any uncertainties, which might have existed in their minds, by asking questions.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Apart from your briefing sessions, did commanders also go to Admiral Doenitz' headquarters for briefing?
MOEHLE: As far as that was possible it was done, especially from the moment when the Commander-in-Chief of U-boats had transferred his office from Paris to Berlin.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Do you remember an order in the autumn of 1942 dealing with lifeboats?
MOEHLE: Yes. In September 1942 I received a wireless message addressed to all commanders at sea, and it dealt with that question.
COL. PHILLIMORE: I show you this document.
My Lord, that is the exhibit I have already put in as GB-199
THE PRESIDENT: What other number has it?
COL. PHILLIMORE: It is Document D-630.
[Turning to the witness.] Is that the order you are referring to?
MOEHLE: Yes, that is the order.
COL. PHILLIMORE: From the time when you were captured until last Friday had you seen that order?
MOEHLE: No, Sir.
COL. PHILLIMORE: It follows, I think, that the account of the order in your statement was given from recollection?
MOEHLE: Yes, only from recollection.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Now, after you got that order did you go to Admiral Doenitz' headquarters?
MOEHLE: Yes, at my first visit to headquarters after receipt of the order, I personally discussed it with Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch who was a specialist on the staff of the U-boat command.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Will you tell the Tribunal what was said at that meeting?
MOEHLE: At that meeting I asked Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch how the ambiguity contained in that order - or I might
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say, lack of clarity - should be understood. He explained the order by two illustrations.
The first example was that of a U-boat in the outer Bay of Biscay. It was sailing on patrol when it sighted a rubber dinghy carrying survivors of a British plane. The fact that it was on an outgoing mission, that is, being fully equipped, made it impossible to take the crew of the plane on board, although, especially at that time, it appeared especially desirable to bring back specialists in navigation from shotdown aircraft crews to get useful information from them. The commander of the U-boat made a wide circle around this rubber boat and continued on his mission. When he returned from his mission he reported this case to the staff of the Commander-in-Chief of U-boats. The staff officers reproached him, saying that, if he were unable to bring these navigation specialists back with him, the right thing to do would have been to attack that crew, for it was to be expected that, in less than 24 hours at the latest, the dinghy would be rescued by British reconnaissance forces, and they...
COL. PHILLIMORE: I don't quite get what you said would have been the correct action to take. You were saying the correct thing to do would have been...
MOEHLE: The right thing to do would have been to attack the air crew as it was not possible to bring back the crew or these specialists, for it could be expected that that crew would be found and rescued within a short time by British reconnaissance forces, and in given circumstances might again destroy one or two German U-boats.
The second example...
COL. PHILLIMORE: Did he give you any second example?
MOEHLE: Yes, the second example I am going to recount now.
Example 2. During the first month of the U-boat warfare against the United States a great quantity of tonnage - I do not recollect the exact figure - had been sunk in the shallow waters off the American coast. In these sinkings the greater part of the crews were rescued, because of the close proximity of land. That was exceedingly regrettable, as to merchant shipping not only tonnage but also crews belong, and in the meantime these crews were again able to man newly-built ships.
COL. PHILLIMORE: You have told us about the ambiguity of the order. Are you familiar with the way Admiral Doenitz worded his orders?
MOEHLE: I do not quite understand the question.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Are you familiar with the way Admiral Doenitz normally worded his orders?
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MOEHLE: Yes. In my opinion, the order need only have read like this: It is pointed out anew that rescue measures have to be discontinued for reasons of safety for the submarines. This is how, I think, the order should have been worded - if only rescue measures had been forbidden. All...
COL. PHILLIMORE: Are you saying that if it had been intended only to prohibit rescue measures it would have been sufficient to refer to the previous order?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir; that would have been enough.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Was that previous order also marked "top secret"?
MOEHLE: I do not remember that exactly.
COL. PHILLIMORE: What was the propaganda at the time with regard to crews?
MOEHLE: The propaganda at that time was to the effect that the enemy was having great difficulty in finding sufficient crews for his merchant marine and...
THE PRESIDENT: The question as to the propaganda at that time is too general a question for him to answer.
COL. PHILLIMORE: If Your Honor pleases, I don't press it.
[Turning to the witness.] From your knowledge of the way orders were worded, can you tell the Tribunal what you understood this order to mean?
MOEHLE: The order meant, in my own opinion, that although rescue measures remained prohibited, on the other hand it was desirable in the case of sinkings of merchantmen that there should be no survivors.
COL. PHILLIMORE: And was it because you understood this to be the meaning that you went to Admiral Doenitz' headquarters?
MOEHLE: I did not go to the headquarters of the U-boat command on account of this order alone; these visits took place at frequent intervals in order to discuss other questions also and to have the opportunity of keeping constantly in touch with the views and opinions of the U-boat command, as I had to transmit them to the commanders.
COL. PHILLIMORE: How did you brief commanders on this order?
MOEHLE: At these briefing sessions I read the wording of the wireless message to the commanders without making any comment. In a very few instances some commanders asked me about the meaning of the order. In such cases I gave them the two examples that headquarters had given to me. However, I added, '`U-boat
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command cannot give you such an order officially; everybody has to handle this according to his own conscience."
COL. PHILLIMORE: Do you remember an order about rescue ships?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Can you say what the date of that order was?
MOEHLE: I do not remember the exact date, but I think it must have been about the same as the order of September 1942.
COL. PHILLIMORE: May the witness see the Document D-663 which I put in yesterday?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
COL. PHILLIMORE: It is the German copy of the document that I am showing him; the original is being held.
[Document D-663 was submitted to the witness.]
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir; I recognize that order.
COL. PHILLIMORE: You will note that the date on that document is the 7th of October 1943.
MOEHLE: Yes, this order is laid down there in the general Operational Order Atlantic Number 56. According to my recollection, this order was already contained in the previous effective Operational Order Number 54, that is in a wireless message containing practical experiences and instructions. I cannot remember exactly. The date is October 1943.
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Phillimore, is that order in the index here?
COL. PHILLIMORE: Yes, My Lord, that is the Document D-663, which I put in yesterday as Exhibit GB-200. If it is omitted from the index, Your Lordship will remember it is the document which, as I explained yesterday, we just received.
THE PRESIDENT: Where does it come in?
COL. PHILLIMORE: It comes in after D-630.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh yes. Thank you.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Your Lordship will remember the order; it deals with rescue ships attached to convoys, and it was on the last sentence that I relied.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I only wanted to get the words of it.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Yes, Sir. My Lord, also I have the original here now and if it is thought necessary the witness can see it, but he has seen a copy.
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[Turning to the witness.] Do you remember an order about entries in logs?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir. At the time, the exact date I do not remember, it had been ordered that sinkings and other acts which were in contradiction to international conventions should not be entered in the log but should be reported orally after return to the home port.
COL. PHILLIMORE: Would you care to say why it is that you are giving evidence in this case?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir; because when I was taken prisoner it was claimed that I was the author of these orders, and I do not want to have this charge connected with my name.
COL. PHILLIMORE: My Lord, the witness is available for examination by my colleagues and for cross-examination.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any counsel for any defendant wish to ask the witness any questions?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Lieutenant Commander Moehle, since when have you been in the U-boat arm?
MOEHLE: Since the end of 1936.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER Do you know Grossadmiral Doenitz personally?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Since when?
MOEHLE: Since October 1937.
Do you see him here in this room?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Where?
MOEHLE: To the left in the rear.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know Grossadmiral Doenitz as an admiral to whom none of his flotilla chiefs and commanders could speak?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Or was the opposite the case?
MOEHLE: He could be approached by everybody at any time.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Have you yourself been a commander of a U-boat?
MOEHLE: Yes, on nine operations.
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: For how long?
MOEHLE: From the beginning of the war until April 1941.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: How many ships did you sink?
MOEHLE: Twenty ships.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: After sinking ships, did you destroy the rescue equipment or fire at the survivors?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you have an order to do that?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Had the danger passed for a U-boat after the attack on a merchantman?
MOEHLE: No; the danger to the U-boat does not end when the attack is over.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Why not?
MOEHLE: Because in most instances when a ship is sunk, the ship is in a position to send SOS messages and give its position, and thus bring striking forces to attack the U-boat at the last minute.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER Is there a maxim in the U-boat arm that fighting comes before rescuing?
MOEHLE: I never heard of that rule put in that way.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER Prior to the order of September 1942 did you know of any other orders by which rescue work was prohibited if it entailed danger to the U-boat?
MOEHLE: Yes, but I do not know when and where this order was laid down. It had been ordered that, as a matter of principle, the safety of one's own boat takes precedence.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was this ordered only once, or in several instances?
MOEHLE: That I cannot say.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know that the order of September 1942 was given in consequence of an incident in which German U- boats, contrary to orders, had undertaken rescue measures?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: And the U-boats were then attacked by Allied aircraft?
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MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: A minute ago you classified the order of September 1942 as ambiguous, did you not?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: You interpreted it to the commanders in the sense that the order should include the destruction of rescue facilities and of the shipwrecked crew?
MOEHLE: No, not quite; I gave the two examples to the commanders only if they made an inquiry and I passed them on in the same way as I had received them from the Commander-in-Chief Submarine Fleet and they themselves could draw that conclusion from these two examples.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In which sentence of the order do you see a hidden invitation to kill survivors or to destroy the rescue facilities?
MOEHLE: In the sentence...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Just a second, I shall read to you each sentence of the order separately.
MOEHLE: Very well.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I read from the Document D-630:
"1. No attempt of any kind must be made at rescuing members of ships sunk, and this includes picking up persons in the water and putting them in lifeboats, righting capsized lifeboats, and handing over food and water. These are absolutely forbidden."
Do you see it in this sentence?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: "Rescue measures contradict the most primitive demands of warfare that crews and ships should be destroyed."
Do you see that in this sentence?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Does that sentence contain anything as to the destruction of shipwrecked persons?
MOEHLE: No, of crews.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: At the end of the order is the phrase "Be harsh." Did you hear that phrase there for the first time?
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was this phrase used by Commander-in-Chief of U-boats to get the commanders to be severe themselves and to their crews?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you discuss the order with Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you remember that exactly?
MOEHLE: As far as I can rely upon my recollection after such a long time.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Where did that conversation take place?
MOEHLE: At the staff headquarters of the U-boat command, probably in Paris.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER What position did Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch occupy at the time?
MOEHLE: As far as I can remember, he was the man in charge of the Enemy Convoys Department, but I could not say that with any certainty.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was the superior officer of Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch, Commander Hessler?
MOEHLE: Superior officer? I would not say so, because Commander Hessler was on the same level as Kuppisch, a departmental chief.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch's superior Admiral Goth?
MOEHLE: Yes, in his capacity of Chief of Staff.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you speak to Commander Hessler or Admiral Goth or with the Grossadmiral himself with regard to the interpretation to be given to the order of September?
MOEHLE: Whether I spoke to Commander Hessler, I do not remember, but in any case not to Admiral Goth or the Grossadmiral himself.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: You said Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch had told you about the opinion which was prevalent in the staff of the U-boat command.
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: With regard to the attitude towards the aviators in the Bay of Biscay, did he tell you that it was the opinion of the Grossadmiral himself?
MOEHLE: I do not remember that. It is too far back. When explanations were given at staff meetings of the U-boat command and an opinion was expressed by a responsible departmental chief, we flotilla leaders naturally took this to be the official opinion of the Commander-in-Chief of the U-boat arm. Admiral Goth personally or the Commander-in-Chief of the U-boat arm was only approached in cases where the departmental chiefs refused to commit themselves definitely or to assume the responsibility for an answer.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you not get to know that the story of the airmen who had been shot down in the Bay of Biscay was in actual fact just the opposite...
MOEHLE: I do not understand.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I continue: That the commander was reprimanded because he did not bring home these flyers even if it meant breaking off his operation.
MOEHLE: No, I do not know that.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did Lieutenant Commander Kuppisch tell you in connection with that second example you mentioned, that the shipwrecked or their rescue equipment off the American coast should have been destroyed?
MOEHLE: No; he only said it was regrettable that the crews had been rescued.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: And you concluded from that that it was desired to have the shipwrecked killed?
MOEHLE: I did not draw any conclusions at all from that for I passed on these examples without any commentary.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know the standing orders of the U-boat command?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do they contain the guiding principles of U-boat warfare?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Is there any order in the standing orders directing or advising the killing of shipwrecked persons or the destruction of rescue facilities?
MOEHLE: As far as I know, no.
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What grade of secrecy was attached to these standing orders?
MOEHLE: As far as I remember, top secret.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you remember that in Standing Order 511 the following was ordered...
Mr. President, I read from an order which I shall submit in evidence later on. I cannot do it now because I have not yet the original.
"Standing Order of the U-boat Command Number 511; 20 May 1943; taking on board of officers of sunken ships.
"1. As far as accommodation facilities on board permit, captains and chief engineers of sunken ships are to be brought in. The enemy tries to thwart this intention and has issued the following order: (a) masters are not allowed to identify themselves when questioned, but should if possible use sailors selected especially for this purpose; (b) crew has to state that masters and chief engineers remained on board. "If in spite of energetic questioning it is not possible to find the masters or the chief engineers, then other ships' officers should be taken aboard.
"2. Masters and officers of neutral ships, which, according to Standing Order Number 101, can be sunk (for instance, Swedish ships outside Goteborg traffic), are not to be brought in because internment of these officers would violate international law.
"3. In case ship officers cannot be taken prisoner, other white members of the crew should be taken along as far as accommodation facilities and further operations of the craft permit, for the purpose of interrogation for military and propaganda purposes.
"4. In case of the sinking of a single cruising destroyer, corvette, or escort vessel, try at all costs to take prisoners, if that can be done without endangering the boat. Interrogation of the prisoners at transit camps . . . can produce valuable hints as to antisubmarine tactics, devices, and weapons used by the enemy; the same applies to air crews of shot-down planes."
[Turning to the witness.] Do you know that order?
MOEHLE: Yes. The order seems familiar to me.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know the order 513? "Standing Order of U-boat Command; 1 June 1944; taking along of prisoners.
"1. Statements of prisoners are the safest and best source of information regarding enemy tactics, weapons, location
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appliances and methods. Prisoners from planes and destroyers may be of the greatest importance to us; therefore, as far as possible and without endangering the boat, the utmost is to be done to take such prisoners. "2. As prisoners are extremely willing to talk when captured, interrogate them at once on board. It is of special interest to know the manner of locating U-boats by aircraft, whether by radar or by passive location methods; for instance, by ascertaining, through electricity or heat, the location of the boat. Report prisoners taken as soon as possible in order to hand them over to returning boats." Do you know that order?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you not notice and try to clarify a contradiction between these orders concerning the rescue of air crews in every case and the story you passed on about the destruction of air crews?
MOEHLE: No; because in the order of September 1942 it also says that the order about the bringing in of ships' captains and chief engineers remains in force.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you hear of any instance where a U-boat brought in captains and chief engineers but shot the rest of the crew?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you consider it at all possible that such an order can be given - that is, that part of the crew should be rescued and the rest of the crew should be killed?
MOEHLE: No, Sir. One cannot make such an order.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you ever hear of any case where a U-boat commander, on the basis of your briefings, destroyed rescue equipment or killed shipwrecked persons?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was it permitted to attack neutral vessels outside the fixed blockade zones?
MOEHLE: Only in cases where they were not marked as neutrals according to regulations.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was the Commander of the U-boat fleet particularly severe in enforcing this order for the protection of neutral ships?
MOEHLE: As I know of no such cases, I cannot say anything on that subject.
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know that the commanders were threatened with court-martial if they did not obey the orders given for the protection of neutrals?
MOEHLE: Yes; I remember one case which happened in the Caribbean Sea.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you remember an order of 1944 directing that neutral ships be stopped and searched?
MOEHLE: Yes, it was ordered, but I do not remember the date, that particular Spanish and Portuguese ships in the North Atlantic should be stopped and searched.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you pass on that order to the commanders?
MOEHLE: As far as I recollect, this order was given in writing and was contained in one of the official sets of orders. I passed on orders to commanders only when they were not contained in a set of orders.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In passing that order on, did you make an addition as to whether that order should be executed or not?
MOEHLE: Yes, I remember that I said - when that order came by radio and the commanders did not know of it yet - that they should be exceedingly careful, when stopping neutrals, as there was always the danger that also a neutral ship might disclose the
position of the U-boat by radio. Owing to the air superiority of the enemy in the North Atlantic, it would always be safer or better not to be compelled to stop these ships.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Had you orders from the Commander of the U-boat fleet to make this additional remark?
MOEHLE: As far as I remember, one of the departmental chiefs in the U-boat command - I assume it was Commander Hessler - told me or took particular care to point out that any stopping of ships, even neutrals, involved considerable danger to the U-boat.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Because of the air patrol?
MOEHLE: Because of the air patrol.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Your attention has been called to the order concerning the so-called rescue ships.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you remember that?
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FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Were these "rescue ships" recognized under international law as hospital ships, with appropriate markings?
MOEHLE: As far as I know, they were not.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What orders existed that hospital ships should be protected?
MOEHLE: Where these orders were laid down - whether in writing I do not remember - I only know that the Commander of the U-boats fleet frequently reminded the commanders of the absolute inviolability of hospital ships.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you know of any case in which a hospital ship was attacked by a U-boat?
MOEHLE: No; I don't know of such a case.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: If the Commander of the U-boat fleet had been interested in destroying helpless human beings in violation of international law, the destruction of hospital ships would have been an excellent means, don't you think?
MOEHLE: Without any doubt.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other Defense Counsel wish to cross-examine this witness?
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Did you ever save any of the survivors of the vessels that you torpedoed?
MOEHLE: I have not been in a position to do that due to the military situation.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): You mean to say it was dangerous to your boat to do it?
MOEHLE: Not only that. A great number of the ships which I sunk were in a convoy or else there was a rough sea, so that it was impossible to undertake any rescue measures owing to navigation conditions.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): That is all.
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Phillimore, do you want to reexamine?
COL. PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I have about three questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
COL. PHILLIMORE: [Turning to the witness.] When you were a U-boat commander yourself, what was the order with regard to rescue?
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MOEHLE: At the beginning of the war we had been told that the safety of one's own boat was the decisive thing, and that the boat should not be endangered by rescue measures. Whether these orders already existed in writing at the outbreak of the war I do not remember.
COL. PHILLIMORE: When you got this order of the 17th of September 1942, did you take it merely as prohibiting rescue or as going further?
MOEHLE: When I received that order I noticed that it was not entirely clear, as orders of the B. d. U. normally were. One could see an ambiguity in it.
COL. PHILLIMORE: You have not answered my question. Did you take the order to mean that a U-boat commander should merely abstain from rescue measures, or as something further?
MOEHLE: I took the order to mean that something further was implied, only it was not actually ordered but was considered desirable.
COL. PHILLIMORE: The instance you were given about the Bay of Biscay, had you any knowledge of the facts of that incident?
MOEHLE: No, the circumstances of that case are not known to me.
COL. PHILLIMORE: What were the actual words you used when you passed that order on to commanders?
MOEHLE: I told the commanders in so many words: We are now approaching a very delicate and difficult chapter; it is the question of the treatment of lifeboats. The Commander of the U-boat fleet issued the following radio message in September 1942 - I then read the radio message of September 1942 in full. For most of those present the chapter was closed; no commander had any questions to ask. Explanations were not given unless questions were asked. In some few instances the commanders asked, "How should this order be interpreted?" Then as a means of interpretation I gave the two examples which had been related to me at the U-boat command and added, "Officially such a thing cannot be ordered; everybody has to reconcile that with his own conscience."
COL. PHILLIMORE: Do you remember any comment being made by commanding officers after you had read the order?
MOEHLE: Yes, Sir. Several commanders, following the reading of this radio message said, without making any further comment, 'That is very clear, but damned hard.'
COL. PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn for 10 minutes. [A recess was taken.]
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COL. PHILLIMORE: My Lord, I would now put before the Tribunal two cases where that order of the 17th of September 1942 was apparently put into effect. The first case is set out at the next document in the document book, which is D-645. My Lord, I put that document in and it becomes Exhibit GB-203. It is a report of the sinking of a steam trawler, a fishing trawler, the Noreen Mary, which was sunk by U-247 on the 5th of July 1944. The first page of the document contains an extract from the log of the U-boat. The time reference 1943 on the document is followed by an account of the firing of two torpedoes which missed, and then, at 2055 hours, the log reads:
"Surfaced. Fishing Vessels...." bearings given of three ships "Engaged the nearest. She stops after 3 minutes."
Then there is an account of a shot fired as the trawler lay stopped, and then, the final entry:
"Sunk by flak, with shots into her side. Sank by the stern."
The Tribunal will notice there is no mention in the log of any action against the torpedoed or the shipwrecked seamen.
THE PRESIDENT: Why is it entered as 5. 7. 1943?
COL. PHILLIMORE: It is a typing error. I should have pointed it out.
My Lord, the next page of the document is a comment on the action by the U-boat command, and the last line reads:
"Recognized success: Fishing vessel Noreen Mary sunk by flak."
And then there is an affidavit by James MacAlister, who was a deckhand on board the Noreen Mary at the time of the sinking. My Lord, reading the last paragraph on the first page of the affidavit. He has dealt earlier with having seen the torpedo tracks which missed the trawler. The last paragraph reads:
"At 2110 hours, while we were still trawling, the submarine surfaced on our starboard beam, about 50 yards to the northeast of us, and without any warning immediately opened fire on the ship with a machine gun. We were 18 miles west from Cape Wrath, on a northwesterly course, making 3 knots. The weather was fine and clear, sunny, with good visibility. The sea was smooth, with light airs."
My Lord, then there is an account of the firing in the next paragraph, and then, if I might read from the second paragraph on Page 2.
THE PRESIDENT: Why not read the first?
COL. PHILLIMORE: If Your Lordship pleases:
"When the submarine surfaced I saw men climbing out of the conning tower. The skipper thought at first the submarine
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was British, but when she opened fire he immediately slackened the brake to take the weight off gear" that is, the trawl "and increased to full speed, which was about 10 knots. The submarine chased us, firing her machine gun, and with the first rounds killed two or three men, including the skipper, who were on deck and had not had time to take cover. The submarine then started using a heavier gun from her conning. tower, the first shot from which burst the boiler' enveloping everything in steam and stopping the ship.
"By now the crew had taken cover, but in spite of this all but four were killed. The submarine then commenced to circle round ahead of the vessel, and passed down her port side with both guns firing continuously. We were listing slowly to port all the time but did not catch fire.
"The mate and I attempted to release the lifeboat, which was aft, but the mate was killed whilst doing so, so I abandoned the attempt. I then went below into the pantry, which was below the waterline, for shelter: The ship was listing more and more port, until finally at 2210 she rolled right over and sank, and the only four men left alive on board were thrown into the sea. I do not know where the other three men had taken cover during this time, as I did not hear or see them until they were in the water.
"I swam around until I came across the broken bow of our lifeboat, which was upside down, and managed to scramble on top of it. Even now the submarine did not submerge, but deliberately steamed in my direction and when only 60 to 70 yards away fired directly at me with a short burst from the machine gun. As their intention was quite obvious, I fell into the water and remained there until the submarine ceased firing and submerged, after which I climbed back on to the bottom of the boat. The submarine had been firing her guns for a full hour."
My Lord, then the affidavit goes on to describe the deponent and others attempting to rescue themselves and to help each other, and then they were picked up by another trawler.
The last paragraph on that page:
"Whilst on board the Lady Madeleine the second engineer and I had our wounds dressed. I learned later that the second engineer had 48 shrapnel wounds, also a piece of steel wire 21/2 inches long embedded in his body."
And there is a sentence on which I don't rely, and the last sentence:
"I had 14 shrapnel wounds."
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My Lord, and then the last two paragraphs of the affidavit:
"This is my fourth wartime experience, having served in the whalers Sylvester (mined) and New Seville (torpedoed), and the trawler Ocean Tide, which ran ashore.
"As a result of this attack by U-boat, the casualties were six killed... two missing... two injured...."
My Lord, the next document, D-647, I put in as Exhibit GB-204. My Lord, this is an extract from a statement given by the second officer of the ship Antonico, torpedoed, set afire, and sunk, on the 28th of September 1942, on the coast of French Guiana. The Tribunal will observe that the date of the incident is some 11 days after the issue of the order. My Lord, I would read from the words "that the witness saw the dead," slightly more than halfway down on the first page. An account has been given of the attack on the ship, which by then was on fire:
". . . that the witness saw the dead on the deck of the Antonico as he and his crew tried to swing out their lifeboat; that the attack was fulminant, lasting almost 20 minutes; and that the witness already in the lifeboat tried to get away from the side of the Antonico in order to avoid being dragged down by the same Antonico and also because she was the aggressor's target; that the night was dark, and it was thus difficult to see the submarine, but that the fire aboard the Antonico lit up the locality in which she was submerging, facilitating the enemy to see the two lifeboats trying to get away; that the enemy ruthlessly machine- gunned the defenseless sailors in Number 2 lifeboat, in which the witness found himself, and killed the Second Pilot Arnaldo de Andrade de Lima, and wounded three of the crew; that the witness gave orders to his company to throw themselves overboard to save themselves from the bullets: in so doing, they were protected and out of sight behind the lifeboat, which was already filled with water; even so the lifeboat continued to be attacked. At that time the witness and his companions were about 20 meters in distance from the submarine...."
My Lord, I haven't got the U-boat's log in that case, but you may think that, in view of the order with regard to entries in logs, namely that anything compromising should not be put in, it would be no more helpful than in the case of the previous incident.
My Lord, the next Document, D- 646(a), I put in as Exhibit GB-205. It is a monitored account of a talk by a German naval war reporter on the long wave propaganda service from Friesland. The broadcast was in English, and the date is the 11th of March 1943. It is, if I may quote:
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"Santa Lucia, in the West Indies, was an ideal setting for romance, but nowadays it was dangerous to sail in these waters - dangerous for the British and Americans and for all the colored people who were at their beck and call. Recently a U-boat operating in these waters sighted an enemy windjammer. Streams of tracer bullets were poured into the sails and most of the Negro crew leaped overboard. Knowing that this might be a decoy ship, the submarine steamed close, within 20 yards, when hand grenades were hurled into the rigging. The remainder of the Negroes then leaped into the sea. The windjammer sank. There remained only wreckage, lifeboats packed with men, and sailors swimming. The sharks in the distance licked their teeth in expectation. Such was the fate of those who sailed for Britain and America."
My Lord, the next page of the document I don't propose to read. It is an extract from the log of the U-boat believed to have sunk this ship. It was, in fact, the C. S. Flight.
My Lord, I read that because, in my submission, it shows that it was the policy of the enemy at the start to seek to terrorize crews, and it is a part with the order with regard to rescue ships and with the order on the destruction of seamen.
If I might say so, in view of the cross-examination, the Prosecution do not complain of rescue ships being attacked. They are not entitled to protection. The point of the order was that they were to be given priority in attack, and the order, therefore, is closely allied with the order of the 17th of September 1942. In view of the Allied building program, it had become imperative to prevent the ships being manned.
My Lord, I pass to the period after the defendant had succeeded the Defendant Raeder. My Lord, the next document is 2098-PS. It has been referred to but not, I think, put in. I put it in formally as Exhibit GB-206. My Lord, I won't read it. It merely sets out that the Defendant Raeder should have the equivalent rank of a minister of the Reich, and I ask the Tribunal to infer that on succeeding Raeder the Defendant Doenitz would presumably have succeeded to that right.
THE PRESIDENT: This is from 1938 onward?
COL. PHILLIMORE: From 1938 onward.
The next document, D-648, I put in as Exhibit GB-207. It is an affidavit by an official, or rather it is an official report certified by an official of the British Admiralty. The certificate is on the last page, and it sets out the number of meetings, the dates of the meetings and those present, on the occasion of meetings between
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the Defendant Doenitz or his representative with Hitler from the time that he succeeded Raeder until the end. The certificate states: "... I have compiled from them" that is, from captured documents "the attached list of occasions on which Admiral Doenitz attended conferences at Hitler's headquarters. The list of other senior officials who attended the same conferences is added when this information was contained in the captured documents concerned. I certify that the list is a true extract from the collective documents which I have examined, and which are in the possession of the British Admiralty, London."
My Lord, I won't go through the list. I would merely call the Tribunal's attention to the fact that either Admiral Doenitz or his deputy, Konteradmiral Voss, was present at each of these meetings; and that amongst those who were also constantly there were the Defendants Speer, Keitel, Jodl, Ribbentrop, and Goering, and also Himmler or his lieutenants, Fegelein or Kaltenbrunner.
My Lord, the inference which I ask the Tribunal to draw from the document is that from the time that he succeeded Raeder, this defendant was one of the rulers of the Reich and was undoubtedly aware of all decisions, major decisions of policy.
My Lord, I pass to the next document, C-178. That has already been put in as Exhibit Number USA-544. It is an internal memorandum of the naval war staff, written by the division dealing with international law to another division, and the subject is the order with regard to the shooting of Commandos, of the 18th of October 1942, with which the Tribunal are, I think, familiar.
The point of the document is that some doubt appeared to have arisen in some quarters with regard to the understanding of the order, and in the last sentence of the memorandum it is suggested:
"As far as the Navy is concerned, it remains to be seen whether or not this case should be used to make sure, after a conference with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, that all departments concerned have an entirely clear conception regarding the treatment of members of Commando units."
My Lord, whether that conference took place or not I do not know. The document is dated some 11 days after this defendant had taken over from the Defendant Raeder.
But the next document in the book, D-649, which I put in as Exhibit GB-208, is an instance of the Navy in July of that year July 1943 handing over to the SD for shooting Norwegian and British naval personnel whom the Navy decided came under the terms of the order. My Lord, it is an affidavit by a British barrister-at-law who served as judge advocate at the trial of the members of the SD who executed the order.
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Paragraph 1 sets out that the deponent was judge advocate at the trial of 10 members of the SD by a military court held at the law courts, Oslo, Norway, which sat on Thursday, 29 November 1945, and concluded its sitting on Tuesday, 4 December 1945.
My Lord, the next paragraph sets out who convened the court and the names of the prosecuting and defending counsel, and the third paragraph states:
"The accused were charged with committing a war crime, in that they at Ulven, Norway, in or about the month of July 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were concerned in the killing of..."
Then there follow the names of six personnel of the Norwegian Navy, including one officer, and one leading telegraphist of the Royal Navy, prisoners of war. I might read from Paragraph 4:
"There was evidence before the court which was not challenged by the Defense that Motor Torpedo Boat Number 345 set out from Lerwick in the Shetlands on a naval operation for the purpose of making torpedo attacks on German shipping off the Norwegian coast, and for the purpose of laying mines in the same area. The persons mentioned in the charge were all the crew of the torpedo boat."
"The Defence did not challenge that each member of the crew was wearing uniform at the time of capture, and there was abundant evidence from many persons, several of whom were German, that they were wearing uniform at all times after their capture."
"On 27th July 1943, the torpedo boat reached the island of Aspo off the Norwegian coast, north of Bergen. On the following day the whole of the crew were captured and were taken on board a German naval vessel which was under the command of Admiral Von Schrader, the admiral of the west coast. The crew were taken to the Bergenhus where they had arrived by 11 p.m. on 28th July. The crew were there interrogated by Lieutenant H. P. K. W. Fanger, a naval lieutenant of the Reserve, on the orders of Korvettenkapitan Egon Drascher, both of the German Naval Intelligence Service. This interrogation was carried out upon the orders of the staff of the admiral of the west coast. Lieutenant Fanger reported to the officer in charge of the intelligence branch at Bergen that in his opinion all the members of the crew were entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, and that officer in turn
15 Jan. 46 reported both orally and in writing to the Sea Commander Bergen, and in writing to the admiral of the west coast.
"7. The interrogation by the naval intelligence branch was concluded in the early hours of 29th July, and almost immediately all the members of the crew were handed over on the immediate orders of the Sea Commander Bergen, to Obersturmbannfuehrer of the SD Hans Wilhelm Blomberg, who was at that time Kommandeur of the Sicherheitspolizei at Bergen. This followed a meeting between Blomberg and Admiral Von Schrader, at which a copy of the Fuehrer Order of 18 October 1942 was shown to Blomberg. This order dealt with the classes of persons who were to be excluded from the protection of the Geneva Convention and were not to be treated as prisoners of war, but when captured were to be handed over to the SD. Admiral Von Schrader told Blomberg that the crew of this torpedo boat were to be handed over, in accordance with the Fuehrer Order, to the SD.
"9. The SD then conducted their own interrogation...."
THE PRESIDENT: You can summarize the rest, can't you?
COL. PHILLIMORE: If Your Lordship pleases.
My Lord, Paragraph 9 described the interrogation by officials of the SD, and that these officials took the same views as the naval intelligence officers, that the crew were entitled to be treated as prisoners of war; that despite this they were taken out and shot by an execution squad composed of members of the SD. Then there is a description of the disposal of the bodies.
My Lord, the last paragraph is perhaps important in connection with the case against the Defendant Keitel.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, read it.
COL. PHILLIMORE: "11. It appeared from the evidence that in March or April, 1945, an order from the Fuehrer headquarters, signed by Keitel, was transmitted to the German authorities in Norway. The substance of the order was that members of the crew of Commando raids who fell into German captivity were from that date to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war. This order referred specifically to the Fuehrer Order referred to above."
The member of the Tribunal will of course have noted the date; it was time to put their affairs in order.
My Lord, the next document, C-158, I put in as Exhibit GB-209. It consists of two extracts from minutes of conferences on the 19th and 20th of February 1945, conferences between the Defendant
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Doenitz and Hitler. If I might read the first and last sentence from the first paragraph of the first extract:
"The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany should renounce the Geneva Convention."
That is of course the 1929 prisoners-of-war convention. And the last sentence:
"The Fuehrer orders the Commander-in- Chief of the Navy to consider the pros and cons of this step and to state his opinion as soon as possible."
Then the second extract - the Defendant Doenitz states his opinion in the presence of the Defendant Jodl and the representative of the Defendant Ribbentrop. It is the last two sentences on which I rely:
". . . On the contrary, the disadvantages" that is, the dim advantages of renouncing the convention "outweigh the advantages. Even from a general standpoint it appears to the Commander-in- Chief that this measure would bring no advantage. It would be better to carry out the measures considered necessary without warning, and at all costs to save face with the outer world."
My Lord, it is no small matter, that document, when one reflects that it was to that convention that we owe the fact that upwards of 165,000 British and 65,000 to 70,000 American prisoners of war were duly recovered at the end of the war. And to advocate breaching that convention, preferably without saying so, is not a matter to be treated lightly.
My Lord, the next document, C-171, I put in as Exhibit GB-210. It is another extract from the minutes of a meeting between the Defendant Doenitz and Hitler, on the 1st of July 1944. The extract is signed by the defendant:
"Regarding the general strike in Copenhagen, the Fuehrer says that the only weapon to deal with terror is terror. Court- martial proceedings create martyrs. History shows that the names of such men are on everybody's lips, whereas there is silence with regard to the many thousands who have lost their lives in similar circumstances without court-martial proceedings."
My Lord, the next document, C-195, I put in as Exhibit GB-211. It is a memorandum signed by the defendant, dated late in 1944. There is no specific date on the document, but it is late in 1944 - in December, I think, of 1944. The distribution on the third page includes Hitler, Keitel, Jodl, Speer, and the Supreme Command of the Air Force.
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My Lord, if I might read the second paragraph. He is dealing with the review of German shipping losses:
"Furthermore, I propose reinforcing the shipyard working parties by prisoners from the concentration camps, and as a special measure for relieving the present shortage of coppersmiths, especially in U-boat construction, I propose to divert coppersmiths from the reduced construction of locomotives to shipbuilding."
Then he goes on to deal with sabotage, and the last two paragraphs on that page are:
"Since, elsewhere, measures for exacting atonement taken against whole working parties amongst whom sabotage occurred, have proved successful, and, for example, the shipyard sabotage in France was completely suppressed, possibly similar measures for the Scandinavian countries will come under consideration."
THE PRESIDENT: Do you need to read any more than that?
COL. PHILLIMORE: My Lord, no. The last sentence of the document in the next page is Item 2 of the summing-up:
"12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed in the shipyards as additional labour (Security Service agrees to this)" that is the SD.
My Lord, this man was one of the rulers of Germany, and in my submission, that document alone is sufficient to condemn him. It was not for nothing that at these meetings Himmler and his lieutenants, Fegelein and Kaltenbrunner, were present.
My Lord, they were not there to discuss U-boats or the use of battleships. It is clear, in my submission, from this document that this defendant knew all about concentration camps and concentration camp labour, and as one of the rulers of Germany he must bear his full share of that responsibility.
My Lord, I pass to the last document, D-650, which I put in as Exhibit GB- 212.
My Lord, this contains the orders issued by the defendant in April. The document, in my submission, shows the defendant's fanatical adherence to the Nazi creed, and his preparedness even at that stage to continue a hopeless war at the expense of human life and with the certainty of increased destruction and misery to the men, women, and children of his country. I read the last paragraph on the second page:
"I therefore demand of the commanding officers of the Navy: ... that they clearly and unambiguously follow the path of military duty, whatever may happen. I demand of
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them that they stamp out ruthlessly all signs and tendencies among the men which endanger the following of this path." Then he refers to an order.
"I demand from senior commanders that they should take just as ruthless action against any commander who does not do his military duty. If a commander does not think he has the moral strength to occupy his position as a leader in this sense, he must report this immediately. He will then be used as a soldier in this fateful struggle in some position in which he is not burdened with any task as a leader."
And then the last paragraph on that page, from a further order of 19th of April, he gives an example of the type of under- officer who should be promoted.
"An example: In a prison camp of the auxiliary cruiser Cormoran, in Australia, a petty officer acting as camp senior officer, had all communists who made themselves noticeable among the inmates of the camp systematically done away with in such a way that the guards did not notice this. This petty officer is sure of my full recognition for his decision and his execution. After his return, I shall promote him with all means, as he has shown that he is fitted to be a leader."
My Lord, of course the point is not whether the facts were true or not, but the type of order that he was issuing. My Lord, if I might just sum up, the defendant was no plain sailor, playing the part of a service officer, loyally obedient to the orders of the government of the day; he was an extreme Nazi who did his utmost to indoctrinate the Navy and the German people with the Nazi creed. It is no coincidence that it was he who was chosen to succeed Hitler; not Goering, not Ribbentrop, not Goebbels, not Himmler. He played a big part in fashioning the U- boat fleet, one of the most deadly weapons of aggressive war. He helped to plan and execute aggressive war, and we cannot doubt that he knew well that these wars were in deliberate violation of treaties. He was ready to stoop to any ruse where he thought he would not be found out: Breaches of the Geneva Convention or of neutrality, where he might hope to maintain that sinking was due to a mine. He was ready to order, and did order, the murder of helpless survivors of sunken ships, an action only paralleled by that of his Japanese ally.
My Lord, there can be few countries where widows or parents do not mourn for men of the merchant navies whose destruction was due to the callous brutality with which, at the orders of this man, the German U-boats did their work.
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My Lord, my learned friend, Major Elwyn Jones, now deals with the Defendant Raeder.
MAJOR F. ELWYN JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): May it please the Tribunal, it is my duty to present to the Tribunal the evidence against the creator of the Nazi Navy, the Defendant Raeder. The allegations against him are set out in Appendix A of the Indictment at Pages 33 and 34 (Volume I, Page 78), and the Tribunal will see that the Defendant Raeder is charged with promoting and participating in the planning of the Nazi wars of aggression; with executing those plans; and with authorizing, directing, and participating in Nazi War Crimes, particularly war crimes arising out of sea warfare.
At the outset the Tribunal may find it convenient to look at Document 2888-PS, which is already before the Tribunal as Exhibit Number USA-13, which the Tribunal will find at Page 96 of the document book. That is a document which sets out the offices and positions held by the Defendant Raeder. The Tribunal will see that he was born in 1876 And joined the German Navy in 1894. By 1918 he had become commander of the cruiser Koln. In 1928 he became an admiral, chief of naval command, and head of the German Navy. In 1935 he became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. In 1936, on Hitler's 47th birthday, he became general admiral, a creation of Hitler's. In 1937 he received the high Nazi honor of the Golden Badge of Honor of the Nazi Party. In 1938 he became a member of the Secret Cabinet Council. And in 1939 he reached the empyrean of Grossadmiral, a rank created by Hitler, who presented Raeder with a marshal's baton. In 1943 he became Admiral Inspector of the German Navy, which, as the Tribunal will shortly see, was a kind of retirement into oblivion, because from January 1943 on, as the Tribunal has heard, Doenitz was the effective commander of the German Navy.
In these eventful years of Raeder's command of the German Navy from 1928 to 1943 he played a vital role. I would like in the first instance to draw the Tribunal's attention to Raeder's part in building up the German Navy as an instrument of war to implement the Nazis' general plan of aggression.
The Tribunal is by now familiar with the steps by which the small navy permitted to Germany under the Treaty of Versailles was enormously expanded under the guidance of Raeder. I will do no more than to remind the Tribunal of some of the milestones upon Raeder's road to Nazi mastery of the seas, which mercifully he was unable to, attain.
With regard to the story of Germany's secret rearmament in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, I would refer the Court to the
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Document C-156, which is already before the Court as Exhibit Number USA-41 and which the Tribunal will find at Page 26 of the document book. That document, as the Tribunal will remember, was A History of the Fight of the German Navy against Versailles, 1919 to 1935, which was published secretly by the German Admiralty in 1937. The Tribunal will remember that that history shows that before the Nazis came to power the German Admiralty was deceiving not only the governments of other countries, but its own legislature and at one stage its own Government. Their secret measures of rearmament ranged from experimental U- boat and S-boat building to the creation of secret intelligence and finance organizations. I only propose to trouble the Tribunal with a reference to the last paragraph at Page 33 of the document book, which refers to the role of Raeder in this development. It is an extract from Page 75 of this Document C-156, and it reads:
"The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral. .Raeder, had received hereby a far-reaching independence in the building and development of the Navy. This was only hampered insofar as the previous concealment of rearmament had to be continued in consideration of the Versailles Treaty."
As an illustration of Raeder's concealment or rearmament, I would remind the Tribunal of the Document C- 141, Exhibit Number USA-47, which is at Page 22 of the document book. In that document Raeder states that:
"In view of Germany's treaty obligations and the disarmament conference, steps must be taken to prevent the first S-boat half- flotilla which in a few months will comprise new S-boats of the same type - from appearing openly as a formation of torpedo-carrying boats, as it was not intended to count these S-boats against the number of torpedo-carrying boats allowed us."
The next document, C-135, which will be Exhibit Number GB-213, and which is at Page 20 of the document book, is of unusual interest because it suggests that even in 1930 the intention ultimately to attack Poland was already current in German military circles. This document is an extract from the history of war organization and of the scheme for mobilization. The German text of this document is headed "850/38," which suggests that the document was written in the year 1938. The extracts read:
"Since under the Treaty of Versailles all preparations for mobilization were forbidden, these were at first confined to a very small body of collaborators and were at first only of a theoretical nature. Nevertheless, there existed at that time. . .
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an 'Assembling Order,' and 'Instructions for Assembling,' the forerunners of the present-day scheme for mobilization, also an assembling organization and adaptable instructions for assembling which were drawn up for each 'A-year' (covername for mobilization year).
"As stated, the 'Assembling Organization' at that time was to be judged purely theoretically, for they had no positive basis in the form of men and materials. They provided nevertheless a valuable foundation for the establishment of a war organization as our ultimate aim."
"The crises between Germany and Poland, which were becoming increasingly acute, compelled us, instead of making theoretical preparation for war, to prepare in a practical manner for a purely German-Polish conflict.
"The strategic idea of a rapid forcing of the Polish base of Gdynia was made a basis; and the fleet on active service was to be reinforced by the auxiliary forces which would be indispensable to attain this strategic end; and the essential coastal and flak batteries, especially those in Pillau and Swinemuende, were to be taken over. Thus in 1930 the Reinforcement Plan was evolved."
If the Tribunal turns over the page to Paragraph 3, to the second paragraph:
"Hitler had made a clear political request to build up for him in 5 years, that is to say, by the 1st of April 1938, armed forces which he could place in the balance as an instrument of political power."
Now that entry is a pointer to the fact that the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 was a signal to Raeder to go full speed ahead on rearmament. The detailed story of this development has already been told by my American colleague, Mr. Alderman; and I would simply refer the Court in the first place to the Document C-189, Exhibit Number USA-44, which is at Page 66 of the document book. In that document Raeder tells Hitler, in June 1934, that the German Fleet must be developed to oppose England and that therefore from 1936 on the big ships must be armed with big guns to match the British King George class of battleship. It further, in the last paragraph, refers to Hitler's demand that the construction of U-boats should be kept completely secret, especially in view of the Saar plebiscite. In November 1934 Raeder had a further talk with Hitler on the financing of naval rearmament, and on that occasion Hitler
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told him that in case of need he would get Doctor Ley to put 120 to 150 million from the Labor Front at the disposal of the Navy. The reference to that is the Document C-190, Exhibit Number USA-45, at Page 67 of the document book. The Tribunal may think that that proposed fraud upon the German working people was a characteristic Nazi manifestation.
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
MAJOR JONES: If Your Lordship pleases.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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MAJOR JONES: May it please the Tribunal, the next document which I desire to draw to the Tribunal's attention is the Document C-23, Exhibit Number USA-49, at Page 3 of the document book, which states that the true displacement of certain German battleships exceeded by 20 percent the displacement reported to the British. That, I submit, is typical of Raeder's use of deceit.
The next document to which I wish to refer briefly is C-166, Exhibit Number USA-48, Page 36 of the document book. It is another such deceitful document, which orders that auxiliary cruisers, which were being secretly constructed, should be referred to as "transport ships."
Then there is the Document C-29, Exhibit Number USA-46, at Page 8 of the document book, which is signed by Raeder and deals with the support given by the German Navy to the German armament industry, and, I submit, is an illustration of Raeder's concern with the broader aspects of Nazi policy and of the close link between Nazi politicians, German service chiefs, and German armament manufacturers.
THE PRESIDENT: Has that been put in before?
MAJOR JONES: That has been put in before, My Lord, as Exhibit Number USA-46.
A final commentary on the post-1939 naval rearmament is the Document C- 155, at Page 24 of the document book, which is a new document and will be Exhibit GB-214 and is a letter from Raeder to the German Navy, dated 11 June 1940. The original, which is now submitted to the Tribunal, shows the very wide distribution of this letter. There is provision in the distribution list for 467 copies. This letter of Raeder's is a letter both of self-justification and of apology. The extracts read:
"The most outstanding of the numerous subjects of discussion in the Officers Corps are, for the time being, the torpedo positions and the problem whether the naval building program, up to autumn 1939, envisaged the possibility of the outbreak of war as early as 1939, or whether the emphasis ought not to have been laid, from the first, on the construction of U-boats....
"If the opinion is voiced in the Officers Corps that the entire naval building program has been wrongly directed and if, from the first, the emphasis should have been on the U-boat weapon and after its consolidation on the large ships, I must emphasize the following matters:
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"The building up of the fleet was directed according to the political demands, which were decided by the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer hoped, until the last moment, to be able to put off the threatening conflict with England until 1944- 45. At that time the Navy would have had available a fleet with a powerful U-boat superiority and a much more favorable ratio as regards strength in all other types of ships, particularly those designed for warfare on the High Seas.
"The development of events forced the Navy, contrary to the expectation even of the Fuehrer, into a war which it had to accept while still in the initial stage of its rearmament. The result is that those who represent the opinion that the emphasis should have been laid from the start on the building of the U-boat arm appear to be right. I leave undiscussed how far this development, quite apart from difficulties of personnel, training, and dockyards, could have been appreciably improved in any way in view of the political limits of the Anglo- German Naval Treaty. I leave also undiscussed, how the early and necessary creation of an effective air force slowed down the desirable development of the other branches of the forces. I indicate, however, with pride, the admirable and, in spite of the political restraints in the years of the Weimar Republic, far-reaching preparation for U- boat construction, which made the immensely rapid construction of the U-boat arm, both as regards equipment and personnel, possible immediately after the assumption of power...."
There is here, the Tribunal sees, no trace of reluctance in cooperating with the Nazi program. On the contrary, the evidence points to the fact that Raeder welcomed and became one of the pillars of Nazi power. And it will now be my purpose to develop the relationship between Raeder, the Navy, and the Nazi Party.
The Prosecution's submission is that Raeder, more than anyone else, was responsible for securing the unquestioned allegiance of the German Navy to the Nazi movement, an allegiance which Doenitz was to make even more firm and, fanatical.
Raeder's approval of Hitler was shown particularly clearly on the 2d of August 1934, the day of Hindenburg's death, when he and all the men under him swore a new oath of loyalty with considerable ceremony, this time to Adolf Hitler, and no longer to the fatherland. The oath is found in the Document D-481 at Page 101 of the document book. That will be Exhibit GB- 215, and it may be of interest to the Court to see what the new oath was. The last paragraph reads:
"The service oath of the soldiers of the armed forces:
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"'I swear this holy oath by God that I will implicitly obey the Leader of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and that, as a brave soldier, I will be willing to stake my life at any time for this oath."'
The Tribunal will see that for his fatherland Raeder substituted a Fuehrer.
I am not proposing to take the Tribunal's time with reiterating the steps by which the German Navy was progressively drawn into the closest alliance with the Nazi Party. I would remind the Court of facts of history, like the incorporation of the swastika into the ensign under which the German Fleet sailed and the wearing of the swastika on the uniform of naval officers and men, which are facts which speak for themselves.
The Nazis for their part, were not ungrateful for Raeder's obeisance and collaboration. His services in rebuilding the German Navy were widely recognized by Nazi propagandists and by the Nazi press. On his 66th birthday, the chief Party organ, the Volkischer Beobachter, published a special article about him, to which I desire to draw the Tribunal's attention. It is at Page 100 of the document book; it is Document D-448, Exhibit GB-216. It is a valuable summing up of Raeder's contribution to Nazi development:
"It was to Raeder's credit" writes the Volkischer Beobachter "to have already built up by that time a powerful striking force from the numerically small fleet, despite the fetters of Versailles.
"With the assumption of power, National Socialism began the most fruitful period in the reconstruction of the German fleet.
"The Fuehrer openly expressed his recognition of Raeder's faithful services and unstinted co-operation, by appointing him Grossadmiral on the 20th of April 1936."
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think it necessary to read the entire document?
MAJOR JONES: I was going to turn to the last paragraph but one, My Lord, which I think is helpful
"As a soldier and a seaman, the Grossadmiral has proved himself to be the Fuehrer's first and foremost naval collaborator."
This, in my submission, is a summing up of his status and position in Nazi Germany.
I now propose to deal with Raeder's personal part in the Nazi conspiracy. The evidence indicates that Raeder, from the time of
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the Nazi seizure of power, became increasingly involved in responsibility for the general policies of the Nazi State.
Long before he was promoted to General-Admiral in 1936, he had become a member of the very secret Reich Defense Council, joining it when it was founded on the 4th of April 1933. And thus, at an early date, he was involved, both militarily and politically, in the Nazi conspiracy. The relevant document upon that is Document EC-177, Exhibit Number USA-390, at Page 68 of the document book, which I would remind the Tribunal contains the classic Nazi directive: "Matters communicated orally cannot be proven; they can be denied by us in Geneva."
On the 4th of February 1938 Raeder was appointed to be a member of a newly formed secret advisory council for foreign affairs; and the authority for that statement is Document 2031-PS at Page 88 of the document book, which will be Exhibit GB- 217.
Three weeks after this a decree of Hitler's stated that, as well as being equal in rank with a cabinet minister, Raeder was also to take part in the sessions of the Cabinet. That has already been established in Document 2098-PS, which was submitted as Exhibit GB-206.
In my submission, therefore, it is thus clear that Raeder's responsibility for the political decisions of the Nazi State was steadily developed from 1933 to 1938 and that in the course of time he had become a member of all the main political advisory bodies. He was, indeed, very much a member of the inner councils of the conspirators and, I submit, must carry with them the responsibility for the acts that led to the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and the outbreak of war.
As an illustration, I would remind the Tribunal that Raeder was present at two of the key meetings at which Hitler openly declared his intention of attacking neighboring countries. I refer the Tribunal to Document 386-PS, which is Exhibit Number USA-25 and is found at Page 81 of the document book, which the Tribunal will remember is the record of Hitler's conference at the Reich Chancellery on the 5th of November 1937 about matters which were said to be too important to discuss in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet. The document, which Mr. Alderman submitted, establishes conclusively that the Nazis premeditated their Crimes against Peace.
Then there was the other conference of Hitler's on the 23rd of May 1939, the minutes of which are found in the Document L-79, Exhibit Number USA-27, at Page 74 of the document book. That, the Tribunal will. remember, was the conference at which Hitler
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confirmed his intention to make a deliberate attack upon Poland at the first opportunity, well knowing that this must cause widespread war in Europe.
Now, those two were key conferences. At many, many others Raeder was also present to place his knowledge and his professional skill at the service of the Nazi war machine.
His active promotion of the military planning and preparation for the Polish campaign is by now well known to the Tribunal, and I am not proposing to reiterate that evidence again. Once the war did start, however, the Defendant Raeder showed himself to be a master of the most typical of the conspirators' techniques, namely that of deceit on a grand scale. There are few better examples of this allegation than that of his handling of the case of the Athenia.
The Athenia, as the Tribunal will be aware, was a passenger liner which was sunk in the evening of the 3rd of September 1939, when she was outward bound to America, about a hundred lives being lost.
On the 23rd of October 1939 the Nazi Party paper, the Volkischer Beobachter, published in screaming headlines the story, "Churchill Sank the Athenia." I would refer the Court to Document 3260- PS, at Page 97 of the document book, which will be Exhibit GB-218. And I would like the Tribunal to look for a moment at the copy of the Volkischer Beobachter here, and see the scale with which this deliberate lie was perpetrated. I have a photostat of the relevant page of the Volkischer Beobachter for that day. That is the third page and the Tribunal will see on this front page, with the big red underlining, there are the words, "Now We Indict Churchill."
The extract from the Volkischer Beobachter, which is at Page 97 of the document book, reads as follows:
"Churchill Sank the Athenia. The above picture" and the Tribunal will see it is a fine picture of this fine ship `'shows the proud Athenia, the ocean giant, which was sunk by Churchill's crime. One can clearly see the big radio equipment on board the ship. But nowhere was an SOS heard from the ship. Why was the Athenia silent? Because her captain was not allowed to tell the world anything. He very prudently refrained from telling the world that Winston Churchill attempted to sink the ship through the explosion of a time bomb. He knew it well, but he had to keep silent. Nearly 1,500 people would have lost their lives if Churchill's original plan had resulted as the criminal wanted. Yes, he longingly hoped that the 100 Americans or' board the ship would find death in the waves so that the anger of the
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American- people, who were deceived by him, should be directed against Germany, as the presumed author of the deed. It was fortunate that the majority escaped the fate intended for them by Churchill. Our picture on the right shows two wounded passengers. They were rescued by the freighter City of Flint, and as can be seen here, turned over to the American coast guard boat Gibb for further medical treatment. They are an unspoken accusation against the criminal Churchill Both they and the shades of those who lost their lives call him before the tribunal of the world and ask the British people, 'How long will the office, one of the richest in tradition known to Great Britain's history, be held by a murderer?"'
Now, in view of the maliciousness of this Volkischer Beobachter announcement and in fairness to the men of the British Merchant Navy, I think it is proper that I should say, that contrary to the allegation in this Nazi sheet, the Athenia of course made repeated wireless distress signals which were in fact intercepted and answered by His Majesty's ship Electra, in escort, as well as by the Norwegian steamship Knut Nelson and the yacht Southern Cross.
I shall submit evidence to the Tribunal to establish that, in fact, the Athenia was sunk by the German U-boat U-30. So unjustifiable was the torpedoing of the Athenia, however, that the German Navy embarked upon a course of falsification of their records and on other dishonest measures, in the hope of hiding this guilty secret. And for their part, as the Tribunal has seen, the Nazi propagandists indulged in their favorite falsehood of seeking to shift the responsibility to the British.
The captain of the U-30, Oberleutnant Lemp, was later killed in action; but some of the original crew of the U-30 have survived to tell the tale, and they are now prisoners of war. And so that the truth of this episode may be placed beyond a peradventure, I submit to the Tribunal an affidavit by a member of the crew of the U- 30, as to the sinking of the Athenia and as to one aspect of the attempt to conceal the true facts.
I refer to Document C-654, Exhibit GB- 219, at Page 106 of the document book. The affidavit reads:
"I, Adolf Schmidt, Official Number N 1043-33 T. of the German Navy and former member of the crew of the U-30, do solemnly declare that:
"1. I am now confined to Camp No. 133, Lethbridge, Alberta.
"2. That on the first day of war, 3 September 1939, a ship of approximately 10,000 tons was torpedoed in the late hours of the evening by the U-30.
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"3. That after the ship was torpedoed and we surfaced again, approximately half an hour after the explosion, the commandant called me to the tower in order to show me the torpedoed ship.
"4. That I have seen the ship with my very eyes, but that I do not think that the ship could see our U-boat at that time on account of the position of the moon.
"5. That only a few members of the crew had an opportunity to go to the tower in order to see the torpedoed ship.
"6. That apart from myself, Oberleutnant Hinsch was in the tower when I saw the steamer after the attack.
"7. That I observed that the ship was listing.
"8. That no warning shot was fired before the torpedo was launched.
"9. That I myself observed much commotion on board the torpedoed ship.
"10. That I believe that the ship had only one smoke stack.
"11. That in the attack on this steamer one or two torpedoes were fired which did not explode but that I myself heard the explosion of the torpedo which hit the steamer.
"12. That Oberleutnant Lemp waited until darkness before surfacing.
"13. That I was severely wounded by aircraft 14 September 1939.
"14. That Oberleutnant Lemp, shortly before my disembarkation in Reykjavik 19 September 1939, visited me in the forenoon in the petty officers' quarters where I was lying severely wounded.
"15. That Oberleutnant Lemp then had the petty officers' quarters cleared in order to be alone with me.
"16. That Oberleutnant Lemp then showed me a declaration under oath according to which I had to bind myself to mention nothing concerning the incidents of 3 September 1939 on board the U-30.
"17. That this declaration under oath had approximately the following wording:
" 'I, the undersigned, swear hereby that I shall shroud in secrecy all happenings of 3 September 1939 on board the U-30, regardless whether foe or friend, and that I shall erase from my memory all happenings of this day.'
"18. That I have signed this declaration under oath, which was drawn up by the commandant in his own handwriting, with my left hand very illegibly.
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"19. That later on in Iceland when I heard about the sinking of the Athenia the idea came into my mind that the U-30 on the 3 September 1939 might have sunk the Athenia, especially since the captain caused me to sign the abovementioned declaration.
"20. That up to today I have never spoken to anyone concerning these events.
"21. That due to the termination of the war I consider myself freed from my oath."
Doenitz' part in the Athenia episode is described in an affidavit which he has sworn, which is Document D-638, Exhibit GB-220, at Page 102 of the document book. The affidavit was sworn in English, and I invite the Tribunal to look at it and observe the addition in Doenitz' handwriting of four words at the end of the affidavit, the significance of which will be seen in a moment. me Defendant Doenitz states:
"U-30 returned to harbor about mid- September. I met the captain, Oberleutnant Lemp, on the lockside at Wilhelmshaven, as the boat was entering harbor, and he asked permission to speak to me in private. I noticed immediately that he was looking very unhappy and he told me at once that he thought he was responsible for the sinking of the Athenia in the North Channel area. In accordance with my previous instructions he had been keeping a sharp lookout for possible armed merchant cruisers in the approaches to the British Isles, and had torpedoed a ship he afterwards identified as the Athenia from wireless broadcasts, under the impression that she was an armed merchant cruiser on patrol. I had never specified in my instructions any particular type of ship as armed merchant cruiser nor mentioned any names of ships. I dispatched Lemp at once by air to report to the SKL at Berlin; in the meantime, I ordered complete secrecy as a provisional measure. Later in the same day or early on the following day, I received a verbal order from Kapitan zur See Fricke" - who was head of the operations division of the naval war staff "that:
"Firstly, the affair was to be kept a total secret.
"Secondly, the OKM considered that a court-martial was not necessary as they were satisfied that the captain had acted in good faith.
"Thirdly, political explanations would be handled by the OKM.
"I had had no part whatsoever in the political events in which the Fuehrer claimed that no U-boat had sunk the Athenia.
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"After Lemp returned to Wilhelmshaven from Berlin, I interrogated him thoroughly on the sinking and formed the impression that, although he had taken reasonable care, he had still not taken sufficient precaution to establish fully the identity of the ship before attacking. I had previously given very strict orders that all merchant vessels and neutrals were to be treated according to naval prize law before the occurrence of this incident. I accordingly placed him under cabin arrest, as I felt certain that a court-martial would only acquit him and would entail unnecessary publicity" and then Doenitz had added the words "and loss of time."
It is right, I think, that I should add the Doenitz' suggestion that the captain of the U-30 sank the Athenia in mistake for a merchant cruiser must be considered in the light of a document which Colonel Phillimore submitted the Document C- 191, Exhibit GB-193, dated the 22 of September 1939 - in this period, which contained Doenitz' order that "the sinking of a merchant ship must be justified in the War Diary as due to possible confusion with a warship or an auxiliary cruiser."
Now, the U-30 returned to Wilhelmshaven on 27 September 1939. I submit another fraudulent naval document, Document D-659, Page 110 of the document book, which will be Exhibit GB-221, which is an extract from the War Diary of the chief of U-boats, and it is an extract for the 27th of September 1939. The Tribunal will see that it reads:
"U-30 comes in. She had sunk: S. S. Blairlogies; S. S. Fanad Head."
There is no reference at all, of course, to the sinking of the Athenia.
But perhaps the most elaborate forgery in connection with this episode was the forgery of the log book of the U- 30, which was responsible for sinking the Athenia; and I now submit that original log book to the Tribunal as Document D- 662, which will be Exhibit GB-222, and an extract from the first and relevant page of it is found at Page 111 of the document book. I would like the Tribunal to examine the original, if you will be good enough to do so, because the Prosecution's submission is that the first page of that log book is a forgery, but a forgery which shows a curiously un-German carelessness about detail. The Tribunal will see that the first page of the text is a clear substitute for pages that have been removed. The dates in the first column of that page are in Arabic numerals. On the second and more authentic looking page, and throughout the other pages of the log book, they are in Roman numerals.
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The Tribunal will also see that all reference to the action of the sinking of the Athenia on the 3rd of September is omitted. The entries are translated on Page 111 of the document book for the Court's assistance.
The log book shows that the position at 1400 hours, of the U-30 on the 3rd of September, is given as AL 0278, which the Tribunal will notice is one of the very few positions quoted at all upon that page, and which was, in fact, some 200 miles west of the position where the Athenia was sunk. The course due south, which is recorded in the log book, and the speed of 10 knots those entries are obviously designed to suggest that the U-30 was well clear of the Athenia's position on the 3rd of September.
Finally, and most curiously, the Tribunal will observe that Lemp's own signature upon the page dealing with the 3rd of September differs from the other signatures in the text. Page 1 shows Lemp's signature with a Roman "p" as the final letter of his name. On the other signatures, there is a script "p," and the inference submit is that either the signature is a forgery or it was made up by Lemp at some other, and probably considerably later date.
Now, in my submission, the whole of this Athenia story establishes that the German Navy under Raeder embarked upon deliberate fraud. Even before receiving Lemp's reports, the German Admiralty had repeatedly denied the possibility that a German U-boat could be in the area concerned. The charts which showed the disposition of U-boats and the position of sinking of the Athenia, which Colonel Phillimore introduced, have shown the utter dishonesty of these announcements; and my submission upon this matter is this: Raeder, as head of the German Navy, knew all the facts. Censorship and information control in Nazi Germany were so complete that Raeder, as head of the Navy, must have been party to the falsification published in the Volkischer Beobachter, which was a wholly dishonorable attempt by the Nazi conspirators to save their faces with their own people and to uphold the myth of an infallible Fuehrer backed by an impeccable war machine.
The Tribunal has seen that truth mattered little in Nazi propaganda, and it would appear that Raeder's camouflage was not confined to painting his ships or sailing them under the British flag, as he did in attacking Norway and Denmark. With regard. to that last matter - the invasion of Norway and Denmark - I think it is hardly necessary that I should remind the Tribunal of Raeder's leading part in that perfidious Nazi assault, the evidence as to which has already been presented. I think I need only add Raeder's proud comment upon those brutal invasions, which is
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contained in his letter in Document C-155 at Page 25 of the document book, which is already before the Tribunal as Exhibit GB-214. That document, which is a letter of Raeder's to the Navy, part of which I have already read, states: "The operations of the Navy in the occupation of Norway will for all time remain the grand contribution of the Navy to this war."
Now, with the occupation of Norway and of much of Western Europe safely completed, the Tribunal has seen that Hitler turned his eyes towards Russia. Now, in fairness to Raeder, it is right that I should say that Raeder himself was against the attack on Russia and tried his best to dissuade Hitler from embarking upon it. The documents show, however, that Raeder approached the problem with complete cynicism. He did not object to the aggressive war on Russia because of its illegality, its immorality, its inhumanity. His only objection to it was its untimeliness. He wanted to finish England first before going further afield.
The story of Raeder's part in the deliberations upon the war against Russia is told in the Document C-170, at Page 37 of the document book, which has already been submitted as Exhibit Number USA-136. That document consists of extracts from a German compilation of official naval notes by the German naval war staff.
The first entry, at Page 47 of the document book, which bore the date of 26 September 1940, which is at Page 11 of Document C-170, showed that Raeder was advocating to Hitler an aggressive Mediterranean policy in which, of course, the Navy would play a paramount role, as opposed to a continental land policy. The entry reads:
"Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer. Naval Supreme Commander presents his opinion about the situation: The Suez Canal must be captured with German assistance. From Suez, advance through Palestine and Syria; then Turkey in our power. The Russian problem will then assume a different appearance. Russia is fundamentally frightened of Germany. It is questionable whether action against Russia. from the north will then be still necessary."
The next entry at Page 48 of the document book, for the 14th of November:
"Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer. Fuehrer is 'still inclined' to instigate the conflict with Russia. Naval Supreme Commander recommends putting it off until the time after the victory over England, since there is heavy strain on German forces and the end of warfare is not in sight."
Then there is the entry on Page 50 for 27 December 1940:
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"Naval Supreme Commander with the Fuehrer. Naval Supreme Commander emphasizes again that strict concentration of our entire war effort against England as our main enemy is the most urgent need of the hour. On the one hand, England has gained strength by the unfortunate Italian conduct of the war in the eastern Mediterranean and by the increasing American support. On the other hand, however; she can be hit mortally by a strangulation of her ocean traffic which is already taking effect. What is being done for submarine and naval air force construction is much too little. Our entire war potential must work for the conduct of the war against England; thus for the Navy and Air Force, every dispersion of strength prolongs the war and endangers the final success. Naval Supreme Commander voices serious objections against Russia campaign before the defeat of England."
At Page 52 of the document book, on the 18th of February 1941, there is the entry:
"Chief of Naval Operations (SKL) insists on the occupation of Malta even before Barbarossa."
On the next page, on the 23rd of February, there is this interesting entry:
"Instruction from Supreme Command, Armed Forces (OKW) that seizure of Malta 'is contemplated for the fall of 1941 after the execution of Barbarossa~ " which the Tribunal may think is a sublime example of wishful thinking.
The next entry, for the 19th of March 1941, which is at Page 54 of the document book, shows that by March of 1941 Raeder had begun to consider what prospects of naval action the Russian aggression had to offer. There is the entry:
"In case of Barbarossa, Supreme Naval Commander describes the occupation of Murmansk as an urgent request of the Navy; Chief of Supreme Command Armed Forces considers compliance very difficult...."
In the meantime, the entries in this document show that Mussolini, the flunky of Nazism, was crying out for a more active Nazi Mediterranean policy. I refer the Court to Page 57 of the document book, the entry for the 30th of May. The word "Duce" is omitted from the first line, and the entry should read:
"Duce demands urgently decisive offensive Egypt-Suez for fall 1941; 12 divisions needed for that. 'This stroke would be more deadly to the British Empire than the capture of London'; Chief, Naval Operations, agrees completely...."
And then, finally, the entry for the 6th of June, indicating strategic views of Raeder and the German Navy at this stage, reads as follows. It is at Page 58 of the document book:
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"Supreme Naval Commander with the Fuehrer. Memorandum of the Chief, Naval Operations: 'Observation of the strategic situation in the eastern Mediterranean after the Balkan campaign and the occupation of Crete and further conduct of the war."'
A few sentences below:
"The memorandum points with impressive clarity to the decisive aims of the war in the Near East. Their advancement has moved into grasping distance by the successes in the Aegean area and the memorandum emphasizes that the offensive utilization of the present favorable situation must take place with the greatest acceleration and energy, before England has again strengthened her position in the Near East with help from the United States of America. The memorandum realizes the unalterable fact that the campaign against Russia would be opened very shortly; but demands, however, that the undertaking Barbarossa 'which, because of the magnitude of its aims, naturally stands in the foreground of the operational plans of the armed forces leadership,' must under no circumstances 'lead to an abandonment, diminishing, or delay of the conduct of the war in the eastern Mediterranean."'
So that Raeder was, throughout, seeking an active role for his Navy in the Nazi war plans.
Now, once Hitler had decided to attack Russia, Raeder sought a role for his Navy in the campaign against Russia; and the first naval operational plan against Russia was a particularly perfidious one. I refer the Tribunal to the Document C- 170 which I have just been reading from, at Page 59 of the document book. There the Tribunal will see an entry for the 15th of June 1941:
"On the proposal of Chief Naval Operations...use of arms against Russian submarines south of the northern boundary of the land warning area is permitted immediately; ruthless destruction is to be aimed at."
The Defendant Keitel provided a characteristically dishonest pretext for this action in his letter, the Document C-38, which is at Page 11 of the document book and which will be Exhibit GB-223. The Tribunal sees that Keitel's letter is dated the 15th of June 1941: "Subject: Offensive action against enemy submarines in the Baltic Sea. "To: High Command of the Navy - OKM (SKL).
"Offensive action against submarines south of the line Memel-southern tip of land is authorized if the boats cannot be definitely identified as Swedish during the approach by German naval forces.
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"The reason to be given up to B-day is that our naval forces believed to be dealing with penetrating British submarines." Now, that was on the 15th of June 1941, and the Tribunal will remember that the Nazi attack on Russia did not take place until the 22d of June of 1941. In the meantime Raeder was urging Hitler as early as the 18th of March 1941, to enlarge the scope of the world war by inducing Japan to seize Singapore. The relevant document is C-152, Exhibit GB- 122, at Page 23 of the document book. There is just one paragraph which I would like to be permitted to read. The document describes the audience of Raeder with Hitler on the 18th of March and the entries in it, in fact, represent Raeder's own views:
"Japan must take steps to seize Singapore as soon as possible, since the opportunity will never again be as favorable (whole English fleet contained; unpreparedness of U.S.A. for war against Japan; inferiority of U.S. fleet vis-a-vis the Japanese). Japan is indeed making preparations for this action, but according to all declarations made by Japanese officers she will carry it out only if Germany proceeds to land in England. Germany must therefore concentrate all her efforts on spurring Japan to act immediately. If Japan has Singapore all other East Asiatic questions regarding the U.S.A. and England are thereby solved (Guam, Philippines, Borneo, Dutch East Indies).
"Japan wishes, if possible, to avoid war against the U.S.A. She can do so if she determinedly takes Singapore as soon as possible."
The Japanese, of course, as events proved, had different ideas from that.
By the 20th of April 1941, the evidence is that Hitler had agreed with this proposition of Raeder's of inducing the Japanese to take offensive action against Singapore. I refer the Tribunal again to the Document C-170 and to an entry at Page 56 of the document book, for the 20th of April 1941. A few sentences from that read:
"Naval Supreme Commander with Fuehrer. Navy Supreme Commander asks about result of Matsuoka's visit and evaluation of Japanese-Russian pact....Fuehrer has informed Matsuoka 'that Russia will not be touched if she behaves in a friendly manner according to the treaty. Otherwise, he reserves action for himself.' Japan-Russia pact has been concluded in agreement with Germany and is to prevent Japan from advancing against Vladivostok and to cause her to attack Singapore."
Now an interesting commentary upon this document is found in the Document C- 66, at Page 13 of the document book. The
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Document C-66 has already been exhibited as GB-81. I would refer the Court to Paragraph 3 at Page 13 of the document book. At that time the Fuehrer firmly resolved on a surprise attack on Russia, regardless of what was the Russian attitude to Germany. This, according to reports coming in, was frequently changing; and there follows this interesting sentence: "The communication to Matsuoka was designed entirely as a camouflage measure and to ensure surprise."
The Axis partners were not even honest with each other, and this, I submit, is typical of the kind of jungle diplomacy with which Raeder associated himself.
I now, with the Tribunal's permission, turn from the field of diplomacy to the final aspect of the case against Racder, namely, to crimes at sea.
The Prosecution's submission is that Raeder throughout his career showed a complete disregard for any international rule or usage of war which conflicted in the slightest with his intention of carrying through the Nazi program of conquest. I propose to submit to the Tribunal only a few examples of Raeder's flouting of the laws and customs of civilized states.
Raeder has himself summarized his attitude in the most admirable fashion in the Document UK-65, which the Tribunal will find at Page 98 of the document book, and which will be Exhibit GB-224. Now that Document UK-65 is a very long memorandum compiled by Raeder and the German naval war staff on the 15th of
October 1939 - that is to say, only a few weeks after the war started. And it is a memorandum on the subject of the intensification of the war at sea, and I desire to draw the Tribunal's attention to the bottom paragraph at Page 98 of the document book. It is headed, "Possibilities of Future Naval Warfare":
"I. Military requirements for the decisive struggle against Great Britain:
"Our naval strategy will have to employ all the military means at our disposal as expeditiously as possible. Military success can be most confidently expected if we attack British sea communications wherever they are accessible to us, with the greatest ruthlessness; the final aim of such attacks is to cut off all imports into and exports from Britain. We should try to consider the interests of neutrals in so far as this is possible without detriment to military requirements. It is desirable to base all military measures taken on existing international law; however, measures which are considered necessary from a military point of view, provided a decisive success can be expected from them, will have to be carried
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out, even if they are not covered by existing international law. In principle, therefore, any means of warfare which is effective in breaking enemy resistance should be based on some legal conception" - the nature of which is not specified -"even if that entails the creation of a new code of naval warfare.
"The supreme war council... will have to decide what measures of military and legal nature are to be taken. Once it has been decided to conduct economic warfare in its most ruthless form, in fulfillment of military requirements, this decision is to be adhered to under all circumstances. Under no circumstances may such a decision for the most ruthless form of economic warfare, once it has been made, be dropped or released under political pressure from neutral powers; that is what happened in the World War to our own detriment. Every protest by neutral powers must be turned down. Even threats of further countries, particularly of the United States, coming into the war, which can be expected with certainty should the war last a long time, must not lead to a relaxation in the form of economic warfare once embarked upon. The more ruthlessly economic warfare is waged, the earlier will it show results and the sooner will the war come to an end. The economic effect of such military measures on our own war economy must be fully recognized and compensated through immediate reorientation of German war economy and the re-drafting of the respective agreements with neutral states; for"-these are the final words-"for this, strong political and economic pressure must be employed if necessary.
I submit that those comments are most revealing; and the general submission of the Prosecution is that as an active member of the inner council of the Nazi State right up to 1943, Raeder, holding such ideas as these, must share responsibility for the many War Crimes committed by his confederates and their underlings in the course of the war.
But quite apart from this over-all responsibility of Raeder, there are certain crimes which the Prosecution, submits were essentially initiated and passed down the naval chain of command by Raeder himself.
I refer to the Document C-27, at Page 7 of the document book, which will be Exhibit GB-225. Those are minutes of a meeting between Hitler and Raeder on the 30th of December 1939. 1 will read with the Court's approval the second paragraph beginning: "The Chief of the Naval Operations Staff requests that full power be given to the Naval Operations Staff in making any
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intensification suited to the situation and to the means of war. The Fuehrer agrees in principle to the sinking without warning of Greek ships in the American prohibited area and of neutral ships in those sections of the American prohibited area in which the fiction of mine danger can be upheld, e.g., the Bristol Channel."
At this time, of course, as the Tribunal knows, Greek ships were also neutral and I submit that this is yet another demonstration of the fact that Raeder was a man without principle.
This incitement to crime was, in my submission, a typical group effort, because in the Document C-12, which is at Page I of the document book, the Tribunal will see that a directive to the effect of those naval views was issued on the 30th of December 1939 by the OKW, being signed by the Defendant Jodl. And that Document C-12 will be Exhibit GB-226. It is an interesting document. It is dated the 30th of December 1939, and it reads:
"On the 30th of December 1939, according to a report of the Supreme Commander of the Navy, the Fuehrer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces decided that:
"I) Greek merchant ships in the area declared by England and the U.S.A. to be a barred zone are to be treated as enemy vessels.
"2) In the Bristol Channel all shipping may be attacked without warning-where the impression of a mining incident can be created.
"Both measures are authorized to come into effect immediately."
Another example of the callous attitude of the German Navy, when it was under Raeder's command, towards neutral shipping, *is found in an entry in Jodl's diary...
THE PRESIDENT: I think perhaps you should read the pencil note, oughtn't you?
MAJOR JONES: The pencil note on the Document C-12 reads: "Add to 1): Attack must be carried out without being seen. The denial of the sinking of these steamships, in case the expected protests are made, must be possible."
As I was saying, My Lord, another example of the callous attitude of Raeder's Navy towards neutral shipping is found in an entry in Jodl's diary for the 16th of June 1942, at Page 112 of the document book, which is Document 1807-PS, and will be Exhibit GB- 227. This extract from Jodl's Diary is dated the 16th of June 1942 and it reads:
"The Operational Staff of the Navy (SKL) applied on the 29th May for permission to attack the Brazilian sea and air
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forces. The SKL considers that a sudden blow against the Brazilian war ships and merchant ships is expedient at this juncture because defense measures are still incomplete, because there is the possibility of achieving surprise, and because Brazil is actually fighting Germany at sea."
This, the Tribunal will see, was a plan for a kind of Brazilian "Pearl Harbor" because the Tribunal will recollect that war did not in effect break out between Germany and Brazil until the 22d of August 1942.
Raeder himself also caused the Navy to participate in War Crimes ordered by other conspirators, and I shall give one example only of that.
On the 28th of October 1942, as the Document C-179, Exhibit USA-543, at Page 63 of the document book shows, the head of the operations division of the naval war staff promulgated to naval commands Hitler's notorious order of the 18th of October 1942 with regard to the shooting of Commandos which in my submission amounted to denying the protection of the Geneva Convention to captured Commandos.
The Tribunal will remember the document is dated the 28th of October 1942, and it reads: "Enclosed please find a Fuehrer order regarding annihilation of terror and sabotage units.
"This order must not be distributed in writing to officers below the rank of a flotilla leader or a section commander. After verbal notification to subordinate sections such officers must hand this order over to the next higher section which is responsible for its withdrawal and destruction."
What clearer indication could there be than the nature of these instructions as to the naval command's appreciation of the wrongfulness of the murders Hitler ordered?
THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now for 10 minutes? [A recess was taken.]
MAJOR JONES: I have drawn the Tribunal's attention to the circulation of Hitler's order to shoot Commandos. I now draw the Tribunal's attention to an example of the execution of that order by the German Navy during the period when Raeder was its commander.
My learned friend Mr. Roberts has already given the Tribunal an account of a Commando operation of December 1942, which had as its objective an attack on shipping in Bordeaux harbor. The
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Tribunal will recollect that the Wehrmacht account he quoted, Document UK-57, Exhibit GB-164, stated that six of the 10 participants in that commando raid were arrested and that all were shot on the 23 March 1943. In connection with that episode the Prosecution has a further document throwing more light on this Bordeaux incident and showing how much more expeditiously the Navy under Raeder had implemented Hitler's order on this particular occasion. I draw the Court's attention to Document C-176, at Page 61 of the document book, Exhibit GB-228.
That document consists of extracts from the war diary of Admiral Bachmann, who was the German flag officer in charge of western France. The first entry, at Page 61, is dated 10 December 1942 and reads:
"About 1015. Telephone call from personal representative of the Commander of the SD in Paris, SS Obersturmfuehrer Dr. Schmidt,' to flag lieutenant, requesting postponement of the shooting, as interrogation had not been concluded ....
"After consultation with the Chief of Operations Staff, the SD had been directed to get approval direct from headquarters.
"1820. SD, Bordeaux, requested Superior SD Office at Fuehrer's headquarters to postpone the shooting for 3 days. Interrogations continued for the time being."
The next day, 11 December 1942:
"Shooting of two English prisoners was carried out by a unit (strength 1/16 men) attached to the harbor command, Bordeaux, in the presence of an officer of the SD on order of the Fuehrer.''
Then there is a note in green pencil in the margin opposite this entry which reads:
"SD should have done this. Phone flag officer in charge in future cases."
The Tribunal will therefore see from this Document C-176, that the first two gallant men to be shot as a result of the Bordeaux operation were actually put to death by a naval firing party on the 11th of December 1942. They were Sergeant Wallace and Marine Ewart, who had the misfortune to be captured on the 8th of December in the preliminary stages of the operation.
Of interest is the comment of the naval war staff upon this shooting, which is found in Document D-658.
THE PRESIDENT: What do the last two lines in Document C-176 about the operation being "particularly favored" mean?
MAJOR JONES: "The operation was particularly favored by the weather conditions and the dark night"- that presumably, My Lord,
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is a reference to the operation of the marine Commandos in successfully blowing up a number of German ships in Bordeaux harbor. Alternately, I am advised by the naval officer who is assisting me, that it probably is a reference to the conditions prevailing at the time of the shooting of the two men.
THE PRESIDENT: I should have thought so.
MAJOR JONES: I stand corrected by the representative of the British Navy upon my interpretation of the matter.
THE PRESIDENT: Doesn't it indicate that naval men had done it?
MAJOR JONES: The shooting was in fact, as the entry of 11 December shows, carried out by a naval party-by units belonging to the naval officer in charge of Bordeaux.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
MAJOR JONES: I was seeking to draw the Tribunal's attention to the comment of the naval war staff upon that shooting, which is in Document D-658, at Page 109, Exhibit GB-229. It reads:
"The Naval Commander, west France, reports that during the course of the day explosives with magnets to stick on, mapping material dealing with the mouth of the Gironde, aerial photographs of the port installations at Bordeaux, camouflage material, and food and water for several days were found. Attempts to salvage the canoe were unsuccessful. The Naval Commander west France has ordered that both soldiers be shot immediately for attempted sabotage, if their interrogation, which has begun, confirms what has so far been discovered; their execution has, however, been postponed in order to obtain more information.
"According to a Wehrmacht report, both soldiers have meanwhile been shot. The measure would be in accordance with the Fuehrer's special order but is nevertheless something new in international law, since the soldiers were in uniform."
I submit that that last sentence shows very clearly that the Naval High Command under Raeder accepted allegiance to the Nazi conspiracy as of greater importance than any question of moral principle or of professional honor and integrity. This operation of the shooting of those two Commandos was, as I submit, not an act of war, but a murder of two gallant men; and it is upon this somber note that it is my duty to summarize this part of the Prosecution's case against the Defendant Raeder.
The Prosecution's submission is that he was not just a military puppet carrying out political orders. The Tribunal has seen that, before the Nazis came, he had worked actively to rebuild the German Navy behind the back of the Reichstag. When the Nazis seized power, he unreservedly joined forces with them. He was the prime mover in transferring the loyalty of the German Navy to the Nazi Party. He, was as much a member of the inner councils of the Nazis as possibly any other defendant. And he was a member of their main political advisory bodies.
He was well aware of their aggressive designs and I submit he assisted in their realization not only as a military technician, but also as a mendacious politician. And he furthered, as I have submitted, their brutal methods of warfare. And yet of an these conspirators Raeder was one of the first to fall from his high position. It is in fact true that the extension of war beyond the boundaries of Poland came as a disappointment to him. His vision of a Nazi armada mastering the Atlantic reckoned without Ribbentrop's diplomacy and Hitler's ideas of strategy.
I would draw the Tribunal's attention to Document C-161, at Page 35 of the document book, which is an extract, Exhibit GB-230, from a memorandum of Raeder, dated 10 January 1943, just before his retirement, entitled, "The Importance of German Surface Forces for Conducting the War by the Powers Signatory to the Three Power Pact." The material entry reads:
"...it was planned by the leaders of the National Socialist Reich to give the German Navy by 1944-45 such a strength that it would be possible to strike at the British vital arteries in the Atlantic with sufficient ships, fighting power, and range. "In 1939, the war having begun 5 years earlier, the construction of these forces was still in its initial stages... "
The Tribunal will see from that document how completely Raeder was cheated in his ambitious plans by miscalculation as to when his high seas fleet would be required. The Tribunal has seen that Raeder made a great effort to recover some of his lost glory with his attack on an inoffensive Norway. He made many efforts to liven up the war at sea, both at the expense of neutrals and also of the customs and laws of the sea. But his further schemes, however, were disregarded by his fellow conspirators, and in January 1943, Raeder retired, and thereafter he was a leader in name only.
I invite the Court's attention to the Document D-655, at Page 108 of the document book, Exhibit GB-231, which is a record in Raeder's handwriting of his interview with Hitler on the 6th of January 1943, which led to Raeder's retirement. I am only proposing to read the fifth paragraph, in which Raeder records:
" . . . if the Fuehrer was anxious to demonstrate that the parting was of the friendliest character and wished that the name Raeder should continue to -be associated with the Navy, particularly abroad, it would perhaps be possible to make an appointment to the Inspector General, giving appropriate
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publicity in the press, et cetera. But a new Commander-in-Chief of the Navy with full responsibility for this office must be appointed. The position of Inspector General, or whatever it was decided to call it, must be purely nominal.
"The Fuehrer"- the record reads - "accepted this suggestion with alacrity. The Inspector General could perhaps carry out special tasks for him, make tours of inspection, et cetera. The name of Raeder was still to be associated with the Navy. After Commander- in-Chief of the Navy had repeated his request, the Fuehrer definitely agreed to 30th January as his release date. He would like to think over the details."
This was Raeder's twilight, and indeed a very different occasion from the period of his ascendancy in 1939, when on the 12th of March Raeder spoke on the occasion of the German Heroes' Day. I now refer the Court to the final document on Raeder, an account of that speech in March 1939, which is at Page 103 of the document book, in the Document D-653, Exhibit GB-232. The first paragraph reads:
"Throughout Germany celebrations took place on the occasion of Hero Commemoration Day.... These celebrations were combined for the first time with the celebration of the freedom to rearm.... The day's chief event was the traditional ceremony held in the Berlin State Opera House in Unter den Linden."
In the presence of Hitler and representatives of the Party and Armed Forces, General Admiral Raeder made a speech, extracts from which are given below.
I turn to Page 2 of the record, Page 104 of the document book, to about the 15th line.
"National Socialism"-says Raeder-"which originates from the spirit of the German fighting soldier, has been chosen by the German people as its ideology. The German people follow the symbols of its regeneration with as much great love as fanatical passion. The German people has had practical experience of National Socialism and it has not been imposed, as so many helpless critics abroad believe. The Fuehrer has shown his people that in the National Socialist solidarity of the people lies the great and invincible source of strength, whose dynamic power ensures not only peace at home but also enables us to release all the Nation's creative powers." There follow eulogies of Hitler, and a few sentences below: "This is the reason for the clear and unsparing summons to fight Bolshevism and international Jewry, the nation-destroying activities of which our own people have sufficiently suffered. Therefore, the alliance with all like-minded nations
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who, like Germany, are not willing to allow their strength, dedicated to construction and peaceful work at home, to be disrupted by alien ideologies and by parasites of a foreign race." Then a few sentences on:
"If later on we instruct in the technical handling of weapons, this task demands that the young soldier should also be taught National Socialist ideology and the problems of life. This part of the task, which becomes for us both a duty of honor and a demand which cannot be refused, can and will be carried out if we stand shoulder to shoulder and in sincere comradeship to the Party and its organizations ...... The next sentence:
"The Armed Forces and the Party thus became more and more united in attitude and spirit." And then just two sentences on the next page:
"Germany is the protector of all Germans within and beyond our frontiers. The shots fired at Almeria are proof of that."
That refers, of course, to the bombardment of the Spanish town of Almeria, carried out by a German naval squadron on the 31 May 1937 during the course of the Spanish Civil War.
There are further references to the Fuehrer and his leadership, and then a final sentence of the first paragraph of Page 3:
"They all planted into a younger generation the great tradition of death for a holy cause, knowing that with their blood they will lead the way towards the freedom of their' dreams."
My submission is that that speech of Raeder's is the final proof of his deep personal involvement in the Nazi conspiracy. There is the mixture of heroics and fatalism that led millions of Germans to slaughter. There are boasts of violence used on the people of Almeria. There is the lip service to peace by a man who planned conquest. "Armed Forces and the Party have become more and more united in attitude and spirit"-there is the authentic Nazi voice. There is the assertion of racialism. Finally, there is the anti-Semitic gesture, Raeder's contribution to the outlook that produced Belsen. Imbued with these ideas he became an active' participant on both the political and military level in the Nazi conspiracy to wage wars of aggression and to wage them ruthlessly.
MR. RALPH G. ALBRECHT (Associate Trial Counsel for the United States): May it please the Tribunal, the United States will continue with the presentation, showing the individual responsibility of the Defendant Von Schirach. It will be made by Captain Sprecher.
CAPTAIN DREXEL A. SPRECHER (Assistant Trial Counsel for the United States): May it please the Tribunal, it is my responsibility
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to present the individual responsibility of the Defendant Schirach for Crimes against the Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity as they concern directly the Common Plan or Conspiracy.
The Prosecution contends that the Defendant Schirach is guilty of having exercised a leading part in the Nazi conspiracy from 1925 until the Nazi downfall.
The conspiratorial acts and the criminality of the Defendant Schirach may be grouped for purposes of convenience into three principal phases: (1) His early support of the conspirators over the period 1925-1929; (2) his leadership and direction of German youth over the period 1929-1945; (3) his leadership of the Reichsgau Vienna as chief representative of the Nazi Party and the Nazi State in Vienna for the period July 1940 to 1945. The presentation will take up each of these principal phases after a brief listing of all the principal positions which Schirach held.
In presenting first a listing of the positions held by Schirach, it is not intended immediately to describe the functions of each of these positions. Insofar as a description of the functions of any particular position is still felt necessary at this stage of the Trial, it will be given later during the discussion of Schirach's conspiratorial acts as Nazi Youth Leader and as Nazi official in Vienna.
For the consideration of the Tribunal, we have submitted a brief on this subject. The document book contains English translations of 29 documents. Although we feel that we have reduced the number of documents to the minimum, the document book is still large. But Schirach's subversion of German youth is a large subject, even apart from any of his other acts. Most of these documents are from German publications, of which the Tribunal can take judicial notice. Therefore, in most cases, it is intended only to paraphrase these documents, unless the Tribunal in particular instances will indicate that they like fuller treatment.
Before passing to the proof I want to express my appreciation, particularly to Major Hartley Murray, Lieutenant Fred Niebergall at my right, and Mr. Norbert Heilpern for their assistance in research, analysis, translation, and organization of these materials.
Schirach agrees he held the following positions. They are found in two affidavits, an affidavit of certificate and one affidavit of report dated December 1945, which is Document 3302-PS, document book, Page 110.
I want to offer that affidavit as Exhibit Number USA-665. The certificate, which I will rely on for only one point, is Document 2973-PS. It is already in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-14.
Turning first to Document 3302-PS: This affidavit shows that Schirach was a member of the Party from 1925 to 1945; that he was a leader of the National Socialist Student League from 1929 to 1931;
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that he was leader of the, Hitler Youth Organization from 1931 to 1940. In 1931 and 1932 Schirach was Reich Youth Leader on the staff of the SA Supreme Command, where at that time all Nazi youth organizations were centralized. Also, Schirach was Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP from 1931 to 1940.
In 1932 Schirach became an independent Reich Leader (Reichsleiter), in the Party. Upon acquiring this relatively independent position, he no longer remained on the staff of the SA Supreme Command, since Nazi youth affairs thereafter, with the creation of the Reich Youth Leadership, were directly subordinate to Hitler with Schirach at the helm. We had that kind of condition existing in the Party where, under the Leadership Principle, at the pinnacle you had one man, Schirach, and you no longer had the youth affairs underneath the SA. However, within the SA, Schirach retained the rank and the title of a Gruppenfuehrer throughout the period from 1931 to 1941, and in that year, 1941, he was elevated to the rank of an SA Obergruppenfuehrer, a rank which Schirach continued to hold in the SA until the collapse.
Schirach was Reich Leader of Youth Education in the NSDAP from 1932 until the collapse. In other words, from before the Nazis came to state power until the final downfall, this defendant held the high position of a Reichsleiter, a Reich Leader, inside the Party.
Now, in addition to these positions in the Party, Schirach held the following positions in the Nazi State: Reich Youth Leader, 1933 to 1940; Reich governor (Reichsstatthalter) of the Reichsgau Vienna, 1940 to 1945; Reich Defense Commissioner of Vienna, 1940 to 1945.
Now, although Schirach gave up some of his positions with respect to the leadership of German youth in 1940 when he accepted these positions in Vienna, he still continued to hold after that time the Party position of Reich Leader for Youth Education in the NSDAP. Moreover, he was given a very special position: Deputy to the Fuehrer for the Inspection of the Hitler Youth, the organization which he, of course, had led until 1940. He continued in these last two positions until the downfall.
The certificate, Document 2973-PS, the only thing I rely on there in this particular presentation, is to show that Schirach was a member of the Reichstag from 1932 to 1945.
We next take up acts showing that Schirach actively promoted the NSDAP and its affiliated youth organizations before the Nazis seized power. Schirach was an intimate and a servile follower of Hitler from the year 1925. In that year, when he was only 18 years old, Schirach joined the Nazi conspirators by becoming a member of the Party. Upon special request of Hitler, he went to Munich to study Party affairs. He became active in converting students to
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National Socialism. I am paraphrasing there, Your Honors, from Paragraph 2 of Schirach's own affidavit, Document 3302-PS, Exhibit Number USA-665, found at Page 110 of the document book.
Now, this was the start of conspiratorial activities which Schirach thereafter continued for two decades in a spirit of unbending loyalty to Hitler and to the principles of National Socialism. Hitler's early personal attentions to this defendant bore fruit for the conspirators, and we find Schirach's stature in the Party circles rapidly growing through these early years.
In 1929 Schirach was made national leader of the entire National Socialist German Students League. He retained this position for 2 years until 1931. Document 3464-PS, document book, Page 121, is an extract from the 1936 edition of the Party manual, Exhibit Number USA-666, which I would like to offer in evidence. This makes it clear that the purpose of the Nazi Students League was the ideological and political conversion of students in universities and technical schools to National Socialism.
After 1931 Schirach devoted his full time to Party work. Schirach was elected a Nazi member of the Reichstag in 1932, and therefore he played his part in the unparliamentary conduct of the Nazi Reichstag members during the last months of the existence of the Reichstag as an independent instrument of government.
Some of the best evidence concerning Schirach's support of the conspiracy in its early stages comes from Schirach's own words in his book The Hitler Youth. Excerpts, from this book are found in Document Number 1458-PS, document book, Page 1. It is offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-667. Now, since this book, Your Honors, covers many years and many topics, I shall be required to refer to it occasionally later on.
An example of Schirach's servile loyalty to Hitler during the early years is found at Page 17 of this book, Page 12 of your document book. There he writes of his early years of Party activity as follows:
"We were not yet able to account for our conception in detail. We simply believed. And when Hitler's book Mein Kampf was published, it was our bible, which we almost learned by heart in order to answer the questions of the doubters and superior critics. Almost everyone who today is leading youth in a responsible position joined us in those years."
Before 1933 Schirach moved throughout Germany, leading demonstrations, summoning German youth to membership in the Hitler Youth. When the Hitler Youth and the wearing of its uniform were forbidden by law, Schirach continued his activities by illegal means. Of this period he himself writes, at Page 26 of his book on The Hitler Youth, Pages 16 and 17 of your document book, as follows:
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"At this time the HJ (the Hitler Jugend) gained its best human material. Whoever came to us during this illegal time, boy or girl, risked everything .... With pistols in our pockets we drove through the Ruhr district while stones came flying after us. We jumped every time we heard a bell ring, because we lived in constant fear of arrests and expected our houses to be searched."
At Page 27 of the same book, Page 18 of Your Honors! document book, Schirach indicates that in the early intra-Party fight between Hitler and Strasser, Schirach clung steadfastly to the Hitler clique, and then, in discussing Strasser, he exchanged his confidence only with Hitler and the Defendant Streicher. It is hardly necessary to argue that such an intimate of the Fuehrer himself, was advised from the beginning of the general purposes, plans, and methods of the conspiracy.
As an interesting sidelight, I believe a number of those conferences, you will note, took place in Schirach's apartment in Munich, and that Hitler used to come there occasionally.
Schirach was the leading Nazi conspirator in destroying all independent youth organizations and in building the Nazi youth Movement. In connection with this point, the attention of the Tribunal is invited to the brief of the United States Chief of Counsel entitled "The Reshaping of Education, Training of Youth," which was written for the United States Chief of Counsel by Major Hartley Murray, and to the documents cited therein under the section headed "b." "The Nazi conspirators supplemented the school system by training youth through the Hitler Jugend." These documents were offered in evidence in Document Book D in the earlier phase of this Trial. The attention of the Tribunal is also called to the motion picture The Nazi Plan, which was shown before the Tribunal on the 11th of December
, insofar as that film involved the Defendant Schirach and his Hitler Youth organization. Occasions when Schirach's activities are shown in this film are noted in Document Number 3054-PS, the index and the guide to this film, which is already in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-167.
It was the task of Schirach to perpetuate the Nazi regime through generations by poisoning the minds of youth with Nazi ideology and preparing youth for aggressive war. This poisoning will long outlive the defendant. Indeed, one of the principal purposes of this exposure must be to bring to those German youths who survived the Nazi-created catastrophe a true picture of this man whom Nazi propaganda presented as a great youth hero; a man against whom the living breath of free criticism and the truth itself could make no answer before German youth or before the German people, for more than 10 years.
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Again, from Schirach's own hand in his book, The Hitler Youth, we have crystal - clear evidence concerning the methods and the tactics employed by this defendant in his destruction of independent youth organizations and their incorporation into the Hitler Youth. At Page 32, Pages 19 and 20 of Your Honors' document book, Schirach states that in 1933 the new Cabinet ministers were too overburdened to solve the youth question by their own initiative; that therefore he, Schirach, then leader of the Hitler Youth, commissioned one of his confederates to lead 50 members of the Berlin Hitler Youth in a surprise raid on the Reich Committee of German Youth Organizations. This raid resulted in destroying the Reich Committee and its absorption within the Hitler Youth. This raid was closely followed by a second surprise raid of like success upon the Youth Hostels Organization, Page 33, The Hitler Youth, found at Pages 20 and 21 of the document book.
Now, after these successful showings of force and terror, Schirach's star climbed higher. He was appointed Youth Leader of the German Reich in June 1931 in a solemn ceremony before Hitler. Concerning his next steps, Schirach writes at Pages 35 and 36 of his book, Page 22 of the document book, as follows:
"The first thing I did was to dissolve the Greater German League. Since I headed all German youth organizations and I had the right to decide on their leadership, I did not hesitate for a moment to take this step which was for the Hitler Youth the elimination of an unbearable state of affairs."
Schirach accomplished the dissolution and destruction of most youth organizations by orders which he issued and signed as Youth Leader of the German Reich. This is shown by the order contained in Document Number 2229-PS, your document book, Page 65, which is offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-668.
By this one order of Schirach nine youth organizations were dissolved, including the Boy Scout movement.
The Protestant and Catholic youth organizations were the last to be destroyed and absorbed by the Hitler Youth. Schirach accomplished the absorption of the Protestant youth organization by agreement with the Hitler-appointed Reich Bishop Ludwig Miller, Page 38 of The Hitler Youth, Page 24 of the document book. Schirach's objective in forcing all German youth into the Hitler Youth was finally accomplished in December 1936 by the basic law on the Hitler Youth. Document Number 1392-PS is a decree, 1936, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, Page 993, of which, of course, the Tribunal may take judicial notice. This law declared in part, and Your Honors, I read from this because it shows so clearly the nature of
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what was to happen and what was already happening to German youth under Schirach.
THE PRESIDENT: Is it set out in the document book?
CAPT. SPRECHER: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: What page?
CAPT. SPRECHER: It is Document Number 1392-PS. It is at Page 6 of your document book:
"The future of the German nation depends on its youth, and German youth will have to be prepared for its future duties.... All of the German youth in the Reich is organized within the Hitler Youth.... The German youth, besides being reared within the family and school, shall be educated physically, intellectually, and morally in the spirit of National Socialism to serve the people and the community through the Hitler Youth.... The task of educating the German youth through the Hitler Youth is being entrusted to the Reich Leader of German Youth in the NSDAP...."
The first executive order on this basic law concerning the Hitler Youth was issued on the 25th of March 1939. If you refer to Page 40 of your document book, this decree, 1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 709, among other points confirms the exclusive nature of Schirach's responsibility concerning German youth. I will quote only one sentence:
"The Youth Leader of the German Reich is solely competent for all missions of the physical, ideological, and moral education of the entire German youth outside home and school."
THE PRESIDENT: Captain Sprecher, I think you have told us enough now to satisfy us that Von Schirach was in charge of the ideological education of German youth and completely in charge of it.
CAPT. SPRECHER: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: And we don't desire to hear any more of it.
CAPT. SPRECHER: I understand.
In exercising, his far-reaching control over German youth, Schirach naturally relied on the common techniques of the Nazi conspirators, including the Leadership Principle, the nature of which has already been established before this Tribunal. The Tribunal will find a galling glorification and explanation of the Leadership Principle as it was applied to German youth, in Schirach's book, The Hitler Youth, at Page 68, translated at Page 32 of the document book. I won't read from that.
In his affidavit, Document Number 3302-PS, Paragraph 5, Schirach states, "It was my task to educate the youth in the aims,
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ideology, and directives of the NSDAP, and beyond this to direct and to shape them."
Naturally, Schirach established and directed an elaborate propaganda apparatus to accomplish a thorough-going poisoning of the minds of German youth. Document Number 3349-PS, your document book Page 114, is offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA- 666.
This is an excerpt from Pages 452 and 453 of the 1936 edition of the Party manual. This document will show that the Reich Youth Leadership (Reichsjugendfuehrung) of the NSDAP prepared and published numerous periodicals ranging from a daily press service to monthly magazines. This document also shows that the propaganda office of the Hitler Youth maintained, through liaison agents, a political and ideological connection with the propaganda office of the NSDAP and with the Propaganda Ministry, both of which, of course, were headed by the conspirator Goebbels.
Schirach shares with the conspirator Dr. Robert Ley, Reich Organizationsleiter of the NSDAP, the responsibility for the establishment and general administration of the Adolf- Hitler Schools. This is shown by a joint statement of Ley and Schirach in the year 1937, which is found in the document book at Page 100. It is our Document 2653-PS, offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-669. This document shows that these Adolf Hitler Schools were open free of charge to outstanding and proved members of the Young Folk, the junior section of the Hitler Youth organization. It further shows that the object of these schools was the building of youthful leadership for the Nazi Party and the Nazi State apparatus.
Schirach extended his education of German Youth into the field of law and the legal profession even though these fields were principally under the control of the Defendant Frank. Proof is found in Document Number 3459-PS, Page 120 of the document book. This is a one-page extract from an account of the Congress of German Law in 1939. It is offered as Exhibit Number USA-670. This document shows that beyond purely technical education in law it was considered by the conspirators to be the task of the Party to exercise influence upon the ideological conceptions of the Young Law Guardians League. This league was a junior organization of the National Socialist Law Guardians League, a Nazi-controlled organization of lawyers.
Now, at this Congress to which the document refers, an official of the youth law guardians declared that ignorance of the simplest legal principles could best be fought within the Hitler Youth and that, therefore, the legal education program of the Hitler Youth was to receive the broadest support.
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Obergebietsfuehrer Arthur Axmann, the subordinate of Schirach at that time and who in 1940 was to succeed him as leader of the Hitler Youth, was at that time, namely, May 1939, appointed the chairman of a youth legal committee for the establishment of the Youth Law. He was appointed by the Defendant Frank.
THE PRESIDENT: Captain Sprecher, I don't think I made it quite clear that the Tribunal is not really interested in these details - by which the Defendant Von Schirach acquired his power over the German Youth. You have told us sufficient to establish in our minds, so far at any rate, that he managed to get absolute command over the German youth. The only thing that seems to me to be material, at the present stage, is whether or not you can show us any direct evidence that the Defendant Schirach was a party to the aggressive aims of the Reich leaders, or to any War Crimes or to any Crimes against Humanity. Unless you can show us that, your address to us is really not useful to us at this stage.
CAPT. SPRECHER: I plan to take up directly, Your Honor, the question of the militarization of youth. I did want to make one reference at this point to the relation of the Hitler Youth to the League for Germans Abroad, if that is 'satisfactory to Your Honor.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that may bear on the aggressive aims of the Reich leaders.
CAPT. SPRECHER: Schirach extended the influence of the Hitler Youth beyond the borders of Germany by means of co-operation between the Hitler Youth and the League for Germans Abroad, the VDA. This is proved by an agreement made in 1933 between Schirach and leaders of the VDA which is contained in Document L-360(h), document book Page 3. This is offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-671.
Now, Schirach discusses in his book, The Hitler Youth, under the chapter heading, "Work Abroad"-that is Chapter 4 of the book, Pages 34 to 38 of the document book-some of the connections of the Hitler Youth with such Nazi ideas as Lebensraum, colonial policy as an ideological weapon.
I won't read from that, since it also covers to a certain extent ...
THE PRESIDENT: Did it talk about Lebensraum?
CAPT. SPRECHER: It actually used the word Lebensraum. At Page 36 of the document book there is reference made to the Ostraum, space in the East ...
THE PRESIDENT: I thought the document you were dealing with was L-360 on Page 3,
15 Jan. 46
CAPT. SPRECHER: I am sorry. I had gone on from there, to speak about Schirach's book, Document 1458-PS, and I had mentioned that at Pages 34 to 38 of the document book there were references concerning the Nazi ideas. of colonial policy and Lebensraum, and that this book by Schirach indicated that the Hitler Youth was charged with spreading those ideas,
He uses the word "Ostraum" in speaking of space in the East, and he discusses German youth organizations abroad and the German schools in these countries. And then I wish particularly to point out on Page 37 the following sentence:
"It will be taken into consideration concerning this schooling that the guiding line of German population policy which aims at the utilization of the space in the East will not be violated."
Now, the conspirators devoted a great deal of energy to the perpetuation of their scheme of things by selecting and training successors for Nazi leadership, selecting and training and acquiring active Nazis for the rank and file of the NSDAP and its affiliated organizations, including the SA and the SS which are alleged here to be criminal organizations.
A number of orders issued by the Party Chancellery under the heading, "Successor Problems," show the dominant part assumed by Schirach and his Hitler Youth in this field. Our Document Number 3348-PS, "Selections from Volume I of the Decrees, Regulations, and Announcements of the Party Chancellery," already marked in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-41 0, contains some of these orders, which I won't take the time to read. But they are all contained on one page, Page 113, of your document book.
Only Hitler Youth members who distinguished themselves were to be admitted to the Party. Nazi leaders were directed to absorb full-time Hitler Youth leaders into their staffs so as to offer them
practical experience and thus secure necessary successors for the Leadership Corps which is also alleged as a criminal organization. This pivotal and central function of the Hitler Youth in the domination of German life by the Party is also shown at Pages 80 and 81 of the 1938 Party manual, Exhibit Number USA-430, found at Page 74 of the document book.
THE PRESIDENT: That last page, Page 113, does that refer to any of the matters to which I drew your attention? It is simply the organization of the youth; it has nothing to do with any criminal aims.
CAPT. SPRECHER: Your Honor, it certainly is the contention of the Prosecution that any man who took an active part in furnishing for these criminal organizations young members committed a crime.
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THE PRESIDENT: I quite understand that, and that is why I told you that we were satisfied that so far you had shown that he had acquired absolute control over and was the leader of the German youth. The only thing we want to hear about at this stage is whether he was a party to the schemes for aggressive war, to War Crimes, or to Crimes against Humanity. That is what we want to hear, and we don't want to hear anything else.
CAPT. SPRECHER: Your Honors, may I pass, then, to the connection of Hitler Youth to the SS. Document 2396-PS, which is found at Page 69 of the document book and which is offered as Exhibit Number USA-673, has a quotation in it concerning the Streifendienst of the Hitler Youth; the Streifendienst being the patrol service, a type of self-police organization of the Hitler Youth. The quotation which I intend to read will indicate how this organization became the principal supplier of the SS.
Are Your Honors interested in having me read that quotation concerning the Hitler Youth as the main source of the SS?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, perhaps; I haven't read it.
CAPT. SPRECHER: This document is an agreement between Schirach and Himmler. It was concluded in October 1938. It bears, I think, partial quoting:
"Organization of the Streifendienst.
"1. Since the Streifendienst in the Hitler Youth has to perform tasks similar to those which the SS perform for the whole movement, it is organized as a special unit for the purpose of securing recruits for the General SS. However, as much as possible, recruits for the SS Special Troops, for the SS Death's Head Units, and for the officer-candidate schools, should also be taken from these formations."
I am skipping down now to 4a, which is underlined in red in your book:
"The selection of Streifendienst members is made according to the principles of racial selection of the Schutzstaffel. The competent officials of the SS, primarily unit leaders, race authorities, and SS physicians, will be consulted for the admission tests."
Skipping to 5:
"To insure from the beginning a good understanding between Reich Youth Leadership and Reich SS leadership, a liaison officer will be ordered from the Reich Youth Leadership to the SS Main- Office starting I October 1938. The appointment of other leaders to the higher SS sections is a subject for a future agreement."
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Then, going down to what I think is the most striking quotation, Your Honor, 6:
"After the organization is completed, the SS takes its replacement primarily from these Streifendienst members. Admission of youths of German blood who are not members of the Hitler Youth is then possible only after information and advice of the competent Bannfuehrer."
Now, the Bannfuehrer referred to there was the local leader of the Hitler Jugend; and without his consent no one could go into the SS in the future after that agreement was made; which was in October 1938.
Now, the second agreement which Schirach made with Himmler was made in December 1938. It is found in our document book, Number 2567-PS, Page 98. It is offered in evidence as Exhibit Number USA-674. It states that the Farm Service of the Hitler Youth "is, according to education and aim, particularly well suited as a recruiting agency for the SS, General SS, and the armed section of the SS, SS Special Troops, and SS Death's Head battalions."
The agreement concludes by stating that Farm Service members of the Hitler Youth who pass the SS admission tests will be taken over by the SS immediately after leaving the Hitler Youth Farm Service.
I might point out to Your Honors that this meant that after that time any Hitler Youth member who was in the Farm Service was obliged to go into the SS.
And now, to come directly to the point you have been inquiring about, Your Honor:
Throughout the 6 years of Nazi political control over Germany before the launching of aggressive war, Schirach was actively engaged in militarizing German youth. From the beginning, the Hitler Youth was set up along military lines with uniforms, ranks and titles. It was regimented and led in military fashion under the Leadership Principle.
If Your Honors will take any edition whatsoever of the Organization Book, the Party manual, and turn to the tables, beginning with Table 54, and leaf through the book, you will see the very striking insignia of the Hitler Youth and how much it compares to what the normal military insignia were. You will further notice that one of the most prominent insignia is an "S" of the same type that the Nazis used with respect to the SS. You will notice that part of the uniform was a long knife.
THE PRESIDENT: Isn't that all a part of what they are pleased to call the Nazi ideology? I mean, the Fuehrer Principle, military training?
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CAPT. SPRECHER: There is a relation between all of these things, perhaps, and the Leadership Principle, because the Leadership Principle dominated absolutely every aspect of German life. However, Your Honors, I suggest that showing to you, in this graphic means, the similarity between the uniform of the Hitler Youth and military uniforms has some bearing upon the preparation for aggressive wars, about which I am further to speak in just a moment.
Now, Document 2654-PS, found at Page 102 of your document book, is a whole book given over to just this question of the organization and the insignia of the Hitler Youth.
The Tribunal will see how the Hitler Youth was divided into branches or divisions which were very similar to military divisions.
That document is offered as Exhibit Number USA-675. I will refer no further to it.
Now, in a speech in February 1938, when the conspirators had already dropped some of the camouflage which surrounded their earlier military preparations for the wars which we have recently suffered, Hitler discussed the military training of the Hitler Youth in the Volkischer Beobachter of the 21st of February 1938. This is our Document 2454-PS, found at Page 97 of the document book. It is offered as Exhibit Number USA-676.
Hitler there said that thousands of German boys had received specialized training through the Hitler Youth in naval, aviation, and motorized groups and that over 7,000 instructors had trained more than I million Hitler Youth members in rifle shooting. That was February 1938, shortly before the Anschluss. Note the progress of military training- within the Hitler Youth between then and August 1939, just 1 month before the invasion of Poland.
At that time the Defendant Schirach and the Defendant Keitel, as Chief of the. High Command, entered into another one of those informative agreements, which many of these defendants liked to make among themselves. It is Document Number 2398-PS, your document book Page 72. It is offered as Exhibit Number USA-677. It is taken from Das Archiv which, in introducing the actual agreement, 'declared that this agreement was "the result of close co operation" between Schirach and Keitel. The agreement itself states, in part:
"While it is exclusively the task of the Hitler Youth to attend to the training of their units in this direction, it is suitable, in the sense of a uniformed training corresponding to the demands of the Wehrmacht, to support the leadership of the Hitler Youth for their responsible task as trainers and educators in all fields of training for defense by special courses."
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And then, skipping down towards the end, you will note this quotation within the agreement: "A great number of courses are in progress."
Your Honor, if I may take about 5 minutes, I can finish this one section on the aggressive war phase.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
CAPT. SPRECHER: Whereas Hitler, in February 1938, mentioned that 7,000 Hitler Youth leaders were engaged in training German youngsters in rifle shooting, Schirach and Keitel, in their agreement of August 1939, note the following:
"... 30,000 Hitler Youth leaders are already being trained annually in field service. The agreement with the Wehrmacht gives the possibility of roughly doubling that number. The billeting and messing of the Hitler Youth leaders is done, according to the regulations for execution already published, in the barracks, drill grounds, et cetera, of the Wehrmacht, at a daily cost of 25 Pfennig."
Just as Schirach dealt with the head of the SS in obtaining zealous recruits for organized banditry and the commission of atrocities, so also he dealt with the head of the Wehrmacht in furnishing young men as human grist for the mill of aggressive war.
The training of German youths runs through the Nazi conspiracy as an important central thread. It is one of the manifestations of Nazism which has shocked the entire civilized world. The principal responsibility for the planning and execution of the Nazi Youth policy falls upon this defendant.
I wish to take merely one sentence from his own affidavit, Paragraph 5, Document Number 3302-PS, so that there can be no doubt before this Tribunal or before the world, indeed, as to this defendant's own feeling of responsibility: "I feel myself responsible for the policy of the youth movement in the Party and later within the Reich." I underline the phrase "I feel myself responsible."
Your Honor, that is a convenient breaking point before coming to a discussion of Schirach's connection to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 16 January 1946 at 1000 hours.]
Humanitarian Help from U boats to Merchant Sailors (source unknown)
German submarine commanders were willing to go to considerable lengths to protect the lives of shipwrecked mariners. When U 47 attacked the Bosnia on 5 September one of the ships boats overturned. One survivor later recalled his horror as he was picked out of the water only to see a fellow crew man lying on the deck of the submarine apparently being beaten by one of the German submariners. He was surprised when he realised that the submariner was actually trying to save the life of the man who had drowned by giving him artificial respiration. The survivor later commented during his debriefing the German Captain was a smashing feller.
A few days later on 11 September Herbert Schultz commanding U 48, attacked the Firby. Giving bandages and bread to a group of survivors in a lifeboat Schultz promised that he would send a message to Churchill to rescue them Churchill later confirmed in the House of Commons that he had received the message. Such was the extent of the assistance given to shipwreck crews by German submariners that Admiral Döenitz, commanding the U-boat force, drafted order No.154 in late November/early December 1939. The order called on U-boat crews to be harsh and not to attempt the rescue of shipwreck survivors. By the late summer of 1940 Germany had effectively renounced the London submarine protocol and Doenitz's U-boats were operating without official restriction against British shipping.
In practice, however, German submarine crews continued to abide by the custom of the sea, and to help shipwrecked fellow mariners where and when the occasion arose. With many submarine commanders and men drawn to service from North German backgrounds, spending key parts of their training and early career in sail training and surface ships, the German submarine service was thoroughly grounded in German maritime culture. As members of the Kriegsmarine they had a duty to perform to the German State and its navy – as seamen they had another set of duties to perform. The two could be reconciled at the point where an enemy vessel was sunk and its crews status shifted from enemy to fellow seamen in distress. Individual commanders were obliged to negotiate the fine line between between enemy and fellow seamen in distress, and the line between doing the bidding of the Nazi state in the midst of total war and upholding the standards of behaviour of the German navy.
German submarine commanders were willing to go to considerable lengths to protect the lives of shipwrecked mariners. When U 47 attacked the Bosnia on 5 September one of the ships boats overturned. One survivor later recalled his horror as he was picked out of the water only to see a fellow crew man lying on the deck of the submarine apparently being beaten by one of the German submariners. He was surprised when he realised that the submariner was actually trying to save the life of the man who had drowned by giving him artificial respiration. The survivor later commented during his debriefing ‘The German Captain was a smashing feller..’
A few days later on 11 September Herbert Schultz commanding U 48, attacked the Firby. Giving bandages and bread to a group of survivors in a lifeboat Schultz promised that he would send a message to Churchill to rescue them Churchill later confirmed in the House of Commons that he had received the message. Such was the extent of the assistance given to shipwreck crews by German submariners that Admiral Dönitz, commanding the U-boat force, drafted order No.154 in late November/early December 1939. The order called on U-boat crews to be harsh and not to attempt the rescue of shipwreck survivors. By the late summer of 1940 Germany had effectively renounced the London submarine protocol and Doenitz’s U-boats were operating without official restriction against British shipping.
In practice, however, German submarine crews continued to abide by the custom of the sea and to help shipwrecked fellow mariners where and when the occasion arose. With many submarine commanders and men drawn to service from North German backgrounds, spending key parts of their training and early career in sail training and surface ships, the German submarine service was thoroughly grounded in German maritime culture. As members of the Kriegsmarine they had a duty to perform to the German State and its navy, as seamen they had another set of duties to perform. The two could be reconciled at the point where an enemy vessel was sunk and its crews status shifted from enemy to fellow seamen in distress.
Individual commanders were obliged to negotiate the fine line between enemy and fellow seamen in distress, and doing the bidding of the Nazi state in the midst of total war and upholding the standards of behaviour of the German navy.
THE 1942 LACONIA ORDER: THE MURDER OF SHIPWRECKED SURVIVORS AND THE ALLIED PURSUIT OF JUSTICE 1945-46
In 1945-46 three German Naval officers stood trial in relation to a 1942 order issued to German submariners. One of those officers had issued it, one had transmitted it and one had apparently acted upon it. Ambiguously worded, the order could be interpreted as a directive to German U-boat crews to murder the survivors of Allied vessels whose ships had been sunk in combat. In 1946 Großadmiral Karl Dönitz, who had issued the order, denied the interpretation at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) and was acquitted on a related charge. Before a British military tribunal in late 1945 Korvettenkapitän Karl-Heinz Moehle, who had transmitted the order to the 5th Submarine flotilla, accepted the illegal nature of the order and his wrong doing in transmitting it. He was given a jail term of five years. The one man who had seemingly acted upon it, Submarine Kapitänleutnant Heinz Eck, admitted his role in the 1944 murder of survivors from a Greek steamer named the Peleus, but denied flatly that he was acting under anyone’s orders other than his own. Convicted before a British military tribunal in 1945, Eck was given the death sentence along with two other members of the crew. The three trials were separate (two being held before British Military Tribunals and one before the IMT) but there was some linkage between the three. Evidence produced as a result of the trials of Eck and Moehle was significant in the prosecution case against Dönitz at Nuremberg.
The three cases have been the subject of on-going scrutiny by legal practitioners and historians since the 1940s.2 A.P.V. Rogers, for example, has analysed the operation of British Military tribunals from 1945 to 1949 under the Royal Warrant while Hilaire McCoubrey has written about the legitimacy of the defence of superior orders in war crimes trials. This article will examine the three cases in terms of the context of the war waged by the German submarine arm from 1939 to 1945 and shared Anglo-German notions of the custom of the sea. It is only when all three cases are brought together that a coherent picture emerges of the faltering determination of British prosecutors to secure Doenitz.s conviction over the so-called Laconia order.
The Laconia Order
The Laconia order was issued by U-boat headquarters in Lorient in 1942 following an incident in the Atlantic.4 On 12 September 1942 the Royal Mail Steamer Laconia was sunk off the coast of West Africa by U 156 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Werner Hartenstein. The ship was carrying 1,800 Italian prisoners of war, 80 civilians and 428 British and Polish soldiers. Realising the scale of the humanitarian disaster he had initiated Hartenstein summoned other U-boats to assist in the rescue of survivors from the sunken ship. U-boat command in France directed two other U-boats and an Italian submarine to help in the rescue effort (U 506, U 507, Comandante Cappelini). Lifeboats were taken in tow by the U-boats, the wounded were given medical treatment and survivors allowed to congregate on the decks of the U-boats. Red Cross flags were displayed to indicate to any passing Allied aircraft that the submarines were engaged in humanitarian relief. A rendezvous was set up with Vichy French ships. Despite this, on the way to the meeting point an attack on the submarines was launched by an American B-24 bomber. There were a large number of casualties amongst the survivors and one of the U-boats was damaged. The head of the U-boat arm, Admiral Karl Dönitz, was furious that his submariners should have been endangered while engaged on a rescue mission. This resulted in him issuing instructions which immediately became part of the standing orders governing the operation of German submarines at sea. The so called Laconia order was composed of four parts:-
1. Efforts to save survivors of sunken ships, such as the fishing swimming men out of the water and putting them on board lifeboats, the righting of overturned lifeboats, or the handing over of food and water, must stop. Rescue contradicts the most basic demands of the war: the destruction of hostile ships and their crews
2. The orders concerning the bringing-in of skippers and chief engineers stay in effect.
3 Survivors are to be saved only if their statements are important for the boat.
4 Stay firm. Remember that the enemy has no regard for women and children when bombing German cities!
The order has to be understood in terms of the context of the Laconia sinking, but also the wider culture and practice prevailing in the German submarine arm. Contrary to wartime British propaganda, German submariners did not routinely machine gun shipwrecked crews whose vessels had been destroyed. Indeed, the reality was quite the opposite. At the start of the war the German submarine arm had tried to abide by the spirit if not the letter of the 1936 London submarine Protocol governing their operation in time of war. Under the protocol merchant ships were not to be sunk without warning and adequate provision made for their crews. Allowing crews to take to lifeboats and rafts was not considered adequate provision. In effect, observance of the London protocol took away the advantages of the submarine as a weapon of war. Despite this, in the early stages of the war German submariners did try to work within the spirit of the protocol.
Even in 1942, as the war had grown massively in extent and ferocity, U-boat crews continued to give assistance to the survivors of the vessels that they had sunk. If the occasion presented itself, and a surfaced U-boat encountered survivors, they would routinely be asked to identify their ship, voyage details and perhaps cargo. Following that German crews often gave assistance to men facing a struggle to survive. This might involve helping them to right lifeboats, helping transfer men from the water to rafts, giving provisions and medical supplies etc.. In some cases the U-boat crew indicated a course to steer towards safety, or indeed used their wireless to transmit a distress call. The custom of the sea took precedence over the demands of war. In effect in September 1942, Hartenstein, in initiating the Laconia rescue, was acting from the same impulses which governed the behaviour of U-boat crews from 1939-1942. The Laconia incident dramatically underlined the dangers such humanitarian impulses could constitute. With Allied air power becoming an ever greater danger to submarines Admiral Dönitz undoubtedly felt the need to prevent U-boat men engaging in actions which could endanger their vessels.
But there was perhaps a further set of concerns in the mind of Dönitz in September 1942. Whilst his submarines were taking a heavy toll on Allied shipping the entry into the war of the United States threatened to tip the balance, sooner or later, against the German war effort. In particular, while the U-boats were sinking hundreds of thousands of tons of Allied merchant tonnage the ability of American shipyards to replace it was growing still more rapidly. A shipwrecked crew could swiftly find itself back on convoy duty with one of the hundreds of liberty ships being turned out by the American shipyards at an ever increasing rate. One response to this, in force at the time of the Laconia incident, was an order requiring submarine crews on encountering shipwreck crews to attempt to locate the Master and Chief Engineer of the sunken vessel. They would then be taken on-board and returned to Germany as prisoners of war.
The removal of the two most skilled personnel in a ships crew was intended to prevent the speedy turn-around of crews into new ships. In practice, however, U-boat crews found that on enquiring from survivors about the whereabouts of the Master and the Chief Engineer they would usually be informed that they had gone down with the ship. The result was that the prisoner policy was of only a limited success. It was evident that Germany needed something to redress the balance and allow the U-boat arm to wage more effectively its war on Allied commerce.
It was then, within the circumstances of the practice of German submariners, the peculiarities of the Laconia affair, and a tide of war turning firmly against Germany, that the Laconia order was issued by U-boat command. Its ambiguities inviting two clear readings: an instruction not to endanger submarines by engaging in humanitarian relief of shipwrecked crews; or an invitation to follow the logic of total war and to murder survivors in the water and on lifeboats.
Despite the ambiguous nature of the Laconia order, in practice German submariners after September 1942 continued to show a remarkable level of concern for the welfare of the crews whose vessels they had just sunk. For example, on 8 October 1942 the crew of U 125 gave eight gallons of water to a lifeboat from the Glendene. Later that same month men from U 159 provided cigarettes to a group of survivors. In November 1942 the crew of U 172 gave assistance to 19 survivors, taking them on board while their lifeboat was checked over and bailed out.11 The report by the US Coastguard on the post-sinking encounter between the crew of the East Indian and U 181 which sank her on 3 November 1942, revealed that even though the Laconia order was in effect German submariners continued to be courteous and kind to their unfortunate victims: „The sub-commander [Wolfgang Lüth] told me the position and the course back to Cape Town (which was about 370 miles) and offered us water if we wanted it.
As Wolfgang Lüth’s behaviour exemplifies, Royal Navy and US Coastguard records for late 1942 suggest that the practical result of the Laconia order was simply nil. In their encounters with survivors submarine commanders carried on much as they had done before September 1942. The pattern continued into 1943, despite Allied propaganda to the contrary, even as the tide of war turned decisively against the U-boats. On 24 July 1943 survivors from the Fort Chilcotin were alarmed when U 172 surfaced and began firing machine guns. This was communicated by the Fort Chilcotin’s bosun who was taken on board the submarine for questioning. Carl Emmerman, commanding U 172 responded in rather hurt tones that he did not do that sort of thing at the suggestion that he might be about to machine gun survivors. Emmerman explained that his crew had merely been clearing their guns to ensure their readiness in case U 172 was attacked by Allied aircraft.
Despite the overall pattern of U-boat crews continuing to look benevolently on shipwrecked survivors, in 1943 there were some signs that attitudes among German submariners might be changing. The opportunities for contact between submariners and survivors decreased as the Allied anti-submarine effort, especially from the air, became ever more deadly. This had the effect of emphasising a small number of incidents where submarine crews appeared less sympathetic towards shipwreck crews. For example, on 29 May 1943 the Hopetarn was sunk by U 198. Captain Wilson of the Hopetarn was repeatedly punched by one of the submarine’s crew. The U-boat eventually moved away at speed endangering a lifeboat in the process. Early in the following year would come dramatic evidence that the principle of total war was being extended to the war at sea, and that the apparent logic of the Laconia order was being embraced by the commanding officers of some U-boat commanders.
In March 1944 the Greek vessel Peleus was in the South Atlantic en-route from Freetown to Buenos Aires. Her crew was mostly Greek, but it included eight British nationals. On the night of 13 March she was sunk by two torpedoes fired by U 852 under the command of Heinz-Wilhelm Eck. Eck’s orders were to proceed on war patrol to the Indian Ocean. However, the Greek vessel represented too tempting a target for him to pass. Possibly 15 of the 35 man crew of the Peleus survived the sinking. They were left clinging to life rafts and wreckage. The submarine surfaced and two men were taken aboard for interrogation. They were returned to a raft following brief questioning about the name of the ship and details of her voyage. Remarkably, and uniquely in terms of the German submarine service in the Second World War, for the next five hours (until approximately 1am on the following morning) the submarine cruised through the debris field on the surface of the ocean. Machine gun fire and grenades were directed at life rafts and larger pieces of floating wreckage. In the process survivors were killed.
Whether they, or the life rafts, were the primary target of the gunfire and grenades was uncertain. To practical effect they were one and the same. Four men survived the attack, although one was to die later as a result of his wounds. The men were picked up on 20 April. Less than two weeks later, on 2 May U 852 was sunk in the Indian Ocean and her crew made prisoner. Eck was amongst the survivors. With his British captors aware of the Peleus killings and also the existence of the Laconia order a case was assembled against Eck, and some of his subordinates who had taken part in the atrocity. The groundwork was also prepared against Dönitz whose Laconia order had seemingly inspired the murders.
Brought to answer charges before a military tribunal in Hamburg in October 1945, Eck’s defence rested on two points - that he was trying to destroy the visual evidence of a sinking (rather than survivors) and that it was justified in doing so by the extreme danger to his vessel posed by Allied aerial patrols which had accounted for several U-boats in the South Atlantic. In his testimony before the tribunal Eck was remarkably unforthcoming in his answers. Repeatedly the Judge Advocate had to caution Dr. Todsen, counsel for the defence, from asking leading questions of the witness who otherwise did not seek to explain or justify his actions. Eck could not provide satisfactory answers for his course of conduct, or why he had not taken alternative decisions. To spend five hours trying to destroy rafts, which refused to sink because of the buoyant filling they contained, rather than using the hours of darkness to distance his vessel from the site of the sinking, seemed illogical in the extreme. Eck provided no insight into his thoughts at the time:
Q. What speed could this submarine do on the surface?
A. About 5 knots
Q. You remained on the spot where the Peleus was sunk for five hours, did you not?
Q. Those five hours were hours of darkness, were they not?
A. No, the moon came up.
Q. Why did you not take advantage of the opportunity you had to get away as quickly as possible?
A. I did not see any immediate danger on this night.
Q. Why did you not get away?
A. Because I wanted to destroy the rafts.
Q. Would it not have been much safer for you and your boat to clear out as soon as possible?
17 Eck testimony, 18 October 1945, TNA: WO235/5.
Eck’s testimony before the tribunal bears the marks of a man being deliberately unforthcoming in his own defence. Eck was also prepared to lay little false trails for the prosecutor, such as asserting that the moon rising, in an age of radar, made a significant difference to the fact that U 852 had an excellent opportunity to make use of the night time hours in order to slip away. He was also prepared to lie to the court. A type IXD submarine like U-852 had a maximum surface speed of 19.2 knots – not the 5 knots that Eck asserted. Even at a safe and economical surface cruising speed Eck had the opportunity on the night of 13-14 March 1944 to place a considerable distance between him and the surface wreckage of the Peleus.
Four other men, members of Eck’s crew who had carried out the shooting (Leutnant Hoffman, Naval Doctor Pfenning, Leutnant Lenz, and Leading Seaman Schwender), stood trial with Eck. Their defence rested on the fact that they were carrying out the orders of their superior officer, but Eck singularly failed to offer even the slightest reference to the Laconia order. Indeed, while confirming that the Laconia order was on-board ship as part of standing orders, he specifically went out of his way to state repeatedly before and at his trial that he was acting solely on his own authority. Eck’s unilluminating testimony reads very much like that of a man who realises the potential for his words to incriminate others. There is no doubt that in the run up to the trial Eck had been heavily pressured to plead that he was under the superior orders constituted by the Laconia order. He no doubt suspected that given the slightest opportunity Allied prosecutors would use the Peleus case against Grand Admiral Doenitz in the forthcoming Nuremberg trials.
A memorandum emanating from the British Admiralty in November 1945 gives some insight into the pressure that Eck had been placed under:
You will no doubt be aware that the Admiralty have spent a good deal of time and thought on trying to persuade Eck to incriminate Dönitz and, although he had the strongest inducement to plead superior orders [Laconia] for the Peleus incident, he has always refused to do so and, indeed, made an affidavit to the contrary effect at his first interrogation in June 1944. When shown the orders of September 1942, he admitted that he had it on-board, but he continued to deny that it had any connection with his attempt to murder all the survivors from the Peleus.19 Eck was undoubtedly a murderer but he was not about to break the honour code of the German Navy by helping to indict his former commanding officer. Eck’s un-illuminating and damaging testimony before the court seems to have been intended to provide the Allied prosecutors with no material with which to pursue Dönitz. Eck and his four crew men were found guilty of war crimes by the Military Court. Eck, Hoffman and Pfennig were sentenced to death on 20 October 1945, with the two other crewmen being sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Sentence was confirmed by the convener of the court, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, and duly carried out by firing squad on 30 November 1945.
The Moehle Affair
With the facts of the Peleus affair documented, British war crimes investigators were determined to examine the possibility that Eck’s crimes were not an aberration and that the Laconia order of 1942 had constituted an invitation to murder. The suspicion on the part of war crimes investigators was perhaps not surprising when Allied propaganda from 1940 onwards had been ready to portray German submariners as bloodthirsty killers of the sea, and Japanese submariners had routinely carried out atrocities in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. For example, in January 1943 the International Transport Federation had passed a resolution condemning the criminal methods of the seamen of Axis countries in torpedoing merchant ships without warning and with shelling and machine-gunning lifeboats. The idea of survivors being machine-gunned in the water by German submariners was powerful and emotive even though the Admiralty held a considerable weight of testimony from survivors that the instincts of U-boat men were contrary to the propaganda image.
Thus as the end of the war approached Admiralty investigators carefully went back through the files of the Casualty section looking for incidents of U-boat crews firing on survivors.
After the German surrender, releases of men held in German prisoner of war camps sometimes satisfactorily resolved the circumstances surrounding the loss of vessels from which there had previously been no known survivor. The release of men from Japanese prisoner of war camps helped the American authorities resolve a number of cases of ships disappearing without trace. In some cases American survivors emerged from captivity to explain how their ships had been attacked by German submarines or surface ships en-route to Japan. In addition, newly captured U-boat war diaries were scrutinised and former submarine commanders were interrogated about their conduct of the war at sea. Some of those interrogations pointed to a German naval officer named Karl Heinz Moehle who had stressed the significance of the Laconia order to submarine commanders in the 5th U-boat flotilla. He had given verbal orders to the CO’s that when Allied ships were sunk there were to be no survivors. Moehle had joined the Reichsmarine in 1930 and by the outbreak of war in 1939 had been awarded command of his own submarine. By 1941 he had sunk 22 ships totalling 95,416 tons and was highly regarded by his senior officers. He had therefore been given command of the 5th Submarine Flotilla at Kiel, and in March 1943 had been promoted to the rank of Korvettenkapitän.
With Kiel, and the relatively safe waters of the Baltic, the principal training ground for new submarine crews Moehle’s superiors clearly hoped in making the appointment that he would be able to foster the appropriate spirit amongst successive generations of U-boat crews. Moehle spoke to each submarine commanding officer as they prepared to deploy from the Baltic to the operational bases in France and Norway drawing their attention to the Laconia order along with other standing orders. Submarine commanders remembered little doubt in Moehle’s mind as to what they were being encouraged to do by U-boat High Command.
With Eck refusing to incriminate Dönitz, Moehle represented another means to establish the guilt of Doenitz and the German submarine arm over the Laconia order. Arrested at the end of the war, Moehle started by being less than frank with his interrogators. However, he later had a change of heart. Marked Top Secret a letter from the Admiralty to War Office prosecutor Colonel Halse in November 1945 explained that Moehle had only confessed when he decided that the evidence against him was too strong and that he would be best advised to try to save himself by putting the blame on his superior officers. It is hard not to try to read between the lines of a phrase like best advised and not to reach conclusions about the apparent inducement being put before Moehle. It may have been suggested to Moehle (and he may well have believed it), that pleading superior orders represented his best defence from war crimes charges. In the early part of the war superior orders had indeed been recognized in British military law as a legitimate defence from punishment for following orders. However, in April 1942 the Manual of Military Law was amended to remove the defence.29 In 1945 British military law, and international law, simply did not recognise „superior orders as a legitimate defence in respect ofillegal orders. Those who sought to convince Moehle to plead superior orders were either unaware or unconcerned that the defence would not be recognized by a British military court.
In July 1945 Moehle gave a written statement to his interrogators. He fully accepted that he had passed on the Laconia order to submarine commanders. He further accepted that the order constituted an instruction to murder, and that this was the intention of U-boat High Command, however ambiguously the order was worded. He considered that it was „quite impossible that an order of such importance could have been given „without the knowledge. of the head of the submarine service, Admiral Karl Dönitz:
So far as concerns the order itself, it undoubtedly states, and in particular for those who know the manner in which Commander-in-Chief U-Boats is wont to give his orders, that the High Command regard it as desirable that not only ships but also their crews should be regarded as objects of attack, ie. that they should be destroyed; at that time German propaganda was continually stressing the shortage of crews for enemy merchant ships and the consequent difficulties…. Had the point of view of the High Command been otherwise the order would undoubtedly have been expressed in different words. It would then only have stated that for reasons of security rescue measures were to cease and this order would have been passed as a normal secret W/T message. It was perhaps even the intention that this order could be interpreted in two ways and the reason may be that in the first place, it contravenes international laws of warfare and secondly, that it was an order which must give rise to serious conflicts of conscience in commanding officers. In further support of his reading of the Laconia order, Moehle cited an incident when a submarine on patrol had encountered five allied airmen in a raft. Without space to make the men prisoners the submarine had simply left them in the raft and had carried on its patrol. Within Admiral Dönitz’s staff there was criticism of the submarine commander for not destroying the raft, and that five allied airmen had been left potentially to fight another day. To his interrogators Moehle was adamant that there could be no doubt as to the intentions of Dönitz in issuing the Laconia order. He also ventured that in passing on the Laconia order to submarine commanders the reaction of many was to comment . That is quite clear and unequivocal however hard it may be.
Moehle was eventually tried before a British Military Court at the Curio Haus at Hamburg on 15-16 October 1945. He was charged with committing a war crime in that he at Kiel, between September 1942 and May 1945, when senior officer of the 5th U-boat flotilla, in violation of the laws and usages of war, gave orders to Commanding officers of U-boats who were due to leave on war patrols, that they were to destroy ships and their crews.
Moehle.s defence rested on superior orders as a mitigating factor and he maintained the lines of argument set out in his July 1945 written statement. He was duly convicted and sentenced 15 October 1945 to 5 years imprisonment.
While Eck had refused to play the game of the British authorities in building a case against Dönitz over the Laconia order, Moehle was to find himself a key witness for the prosecution. By late 1945 British War Crimes investigators were ready to conclude that their case against Dönitz in respect of the Laconia order was weak. Eck’s trial and testimony had offered little evidence of use against Dönitz. For whatever reason, and despite the heinous nature of his crimes, the submarine commander had doggedly refused to incriminate his former commanding officer. Moehle had been much more forthcoming, and he was ready to give evidence against Dönitz in court. However, and most importantly of all, by late 1945 the Admiralty had concluded its reviews of those cases where it was suspected that German submarines had fired on shipwreck survivors. The results were definitive: The Admiralty have no knowledge of any case, other than that of the Peleus, in which a deliberate attempt was made by a U-boat commander to kill survivors of sunken ships. In support of this those German officers who had been questioned about the Laconia order after the war had insisted that the order was intended only to prevent U-boat commanders from exposing their U-boats to attack, and that the references [in the order] to the need to destroy ships and crews, and to the bombing of German cities, were inserted to overcome the humanitarian scruples of the Commanders.
Resignedly the Admiralty commented such is the evidence. Despite the doubts within the Admiralty with preparations for the Nuremberg trial in full swing there was seemingly no question of dropping the pursuit of Dönitz over the Laconia order.
In May 1946 at Nuremberg Doenitz was indicted on three counts:
Conspiracy; crimes against peace and war crimes.
On the latter count Dönitz was charged with authorizing the sinking of ships in contravention of the 1936 London Submarine Protocol, and the murder of shipwreck survivors under the Laconia order. Throughout Dönitz’s trial both issues were hopelessly intertwined. This made the prosecution’s task doubly difficult. The pious sentiments and impractical nature of the 1936 Submarine Protocol had been evident even before the outbreak of war. This was not recognized by Allied prosecutors who approached violations of International Law, including the laws, rules, and customs of land and naval warfare with the belief that the rules of warfare are well established and generally accepted by the nations.
This was simply not the case with the 1936 London Protocol.
In addition, breaching a treaty that was a dead letter as soon as it was signed was a small issue compared to the holocaust, the horrors of the war on the Eastern front, or with initiating a deliberate policy of murdering shipwreck survivors. Moehle, sticking closely to the lines of his July 1945 statement, and his evidence before the military court, was the star witness for the prosecution. With him would be another submarine officer, Leutnant Heisig, who made an affidavit shortly before the execution of Eck and his fellow submariners seemingly in the hope of preventing their deaths. The affidavit made reference to the Laconia order as an explanation for the actions of the men on U 852.
Following the presentation of the case for the prosecution Dönitz’s defence counsel, German Naval Lawyer Dr. Kranzbühler, carefully picked apart the evidence relating to the Laconia order. After an exploration of the Laconia incident he went straight to the heart of the matter:
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBÜHLER: In the opinion of the Prosecution, Admiral, you used that incident to carry out in practice an idea which you had already cherished for a long time, namely, in the future to kill the shipwrecked. Please state your view on this.
DÖNITZ: Actually, I cannot say anything in the face of such an accusation. The whole question concerned rescue or nonrescue; the entire development leading up to that order speaks clearly against such an accusation. It was a fact that we rescued with devotion and were bombed while doing so; it was also a fact that the U-boat Command and I were faced with a serious decision and we acted in a humane way, which from a military point of view was wrong. I think, therefore, that no more words need be lost in rebuttal of this charge.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBÜHLER: Admiral, I must put to you now the wording of that order from which the Prosecution draws its conclusions. I have read it before; in the second paragraph it says. "Rescue is contrary to the most primitive laws of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews."
What does that sentence mean?
DÖNITZ: That sentence is, of course, in a sense intended to be a justification. Now the Prosecution says I could quite simply have ordered that safety did not permit it, that the predominance of the enemy's air force did not permit it-and as we have seen in the case of the Laconia, I did order that four times. But that reasoning had been worn out. It was a much-played record, if I may use the expression, and I was now anxious to state to the commanders of the submarines a reason which would exclude all discretion and all independent decisions of the commanders.
For again and again I had the experience that, for the reasons mentioned before, a clear sky was judged too favourably by the U-boats and then the submarine was lost; or that a commander, in the role of rescuer, was in time no longer master of his own decisions, as the Laconia case showed; therefore under no circumstances-under no circumstances whatsoever-did I want to repeat the old reason which again would give the U-boat commander the opportunity to say, "Well, at the moment there is no danger of an air attack"; that is, I did not want to give him a chance to act independently, to make his own decision, for instance, to say to himself, "Since the danger of air attack no longer permits." That is just what I did not want. I did not want an argument to arise in the mind of one of the 200 U-boat commanders. Nor did I want to say, "If somebody with great self-sacrifice rescues the enemy and in that process is killed by him, then that is a contradiction of the most elementary laws of warfare." I could have said that too. But I did not want to put it in that way, and therefore I worded the sentence as it now stands.
Kranzbühler also appreciated that it was necessary to discredit the evidence of Moehle and Heisig. Admiral Wagner (appearing as witness for the defence), questioned Heisig’s testimony especially over the timing/intent of the affidavit and its linkage to Heinz Eck and the Peleus case.37 Dönitz dismissed Moehle as the only person who had doubts about the meaning of that order, and the Admiral expressed regret that Moehle did not find occasion to clarify these doubts immediately, either through me, to whom everybody had access at all times, or through the numerous staff officers who were either also partly responsible or participated in the drafting of these orders.
Dönitz suggested that the Peleus case had no bearing on his case since Eck had not pleaded superior orders so therefore he had acted on his own decision, and his aim was not to kill survivors but to remove the wreckage. While Dönitz did not approve of Eck’s actions he went out of his way to express some understanding: I want to say that Kapitänleutnant Eck was faced with a very grave decision. He had to bear responsibility for his boat and his crew, and that responsibility is a serious one in time of war. Kranzbühler pointedly asked Dönitz whether he knew of any case, other than that of the Peleus, where a German U-boat had fired on survivors. Dönitz responded “Not a single one.. Kranzbühler further went on to reveal evidence from the summer of 1943 when Dönitz had been put under pressure by the Foreign Office to do something about the large number of survivors from sinkings (some 87% of crews). Dönitz stated that he wrote to the Foreign Office to explain that „I had already been forced to prohibit rescue because it endangered the submarines, but that other measures were out of the question for me. Admirals Godt and Hessler of the naval staff were called as witnesses to support Dönitz’s testimony.
Most tellingly of all, in dealing with the violation of the 1936 London Submarine Protocol Kranzbühler was able to damage the prosecution’s case over the Laconia order. Kranzbühler produced evidence to demonstrate that the United States Navy had avoided rescuing shipwrecked enemy survivors and had sunk enemy merchant ships without warning. Telford Taylor, later commented that the evidence was devastating to the prosecution case and that if Dönitz ‘deserved to hang’ for the operational practices of the submariners which he commanded then so too did some admirals on the Allied side. Kranzbuehler’s demolition of the charge relating to Germany’s breach of the 1936 London Submarine Protocol cast a long shadow over the charge relating to the Laconia order.
Evidence provided by Admiral Nimitz for the United States Navy demonstrated that the Submarine Protocol had been disregarded by all sides, and that not rescuing survivors (in-line with the defence’s reading of the Laconia order) was a logical extension of operational practices on both sides. Indeed, if Kranzbühler had dug a little deeper he would have found that, in contrast to the campaign in the Atlantic, from the outset of the Pacific war no restrictions had been placed on submarine operations. Kranzbühler had managed to turn the conflation of charges under a count of war crimes to the decisive advantage of his client and former commanding officer.
The Times newspaper recognized that the clash between prosecution and defence over the Laconia order had seen 'the keenest legal battle of the Nuremberg trials'. While Dönitz would be convicted in respect of other charges the tribunal supported his contention „that the evidence does not establish with the certainty required that Dönitz deliberately ordered the killing of shipwrecked survivors.. The tribunal did, however, censure him for issuing ambiguous orders.
Kranzbühler’s defence had demonstrated the realities of the war at sea, but the central flaw in the prosecution case was that as evidence of action on the order it could only show the stupid and brutal bungling of Eck on his first combat mission. That Eck went out of his way to absolve his superior officer of any responsibility for the Peleus murders, despite every encouragement to do the opposite, fatally compromised the prosecution case over the Laconia order. Dönitz’s acquittal on charges relating to the Laconia order raised questions about Moehle’s conviction and that of the two crewmen from U 852 who had been sentenced to terms of imprisonment. With petitions for a pardon, and some internal debates the Judge Advocate General.s Department of the British Army of the Rhine, Moehle was eventually released from prison in November 1949. The following year the sentence of one of Eck’s co-convicted in the Peleus affair would be reduced from 15 years to 10.48 Leading Seaman Schwender was released in 1951, and his fellow crewman Hans Lenz in 1952, despite the fact that he had been sentenced to life imprisonment.49 It would be left to the post-war generation of German historians, in writing the early history of the war at sea, to maintain the line of Dönitz and Kranzbühler at Nuremberg: the German Kriegsmarine had fought a ‘clean war’ Eck had acted on his own authority; and that Moehle had misinterpreted the intentions of the High Command. In his memoirs published in German in 1958, Doenitz expressed his continuing outrage at the charge levelled at him in respect of the Laconia order blaming the prosecution and enemy propaganda for a personal and national slur.
At the end of the Second World War British prosecutors were convinced that the Laconia order was an instruction by the head of the German submarine service to the crews under his command to carry out the murder of shipwrecked survivors. In trying to establish a case against Dönitz over the Laconia order British prosecutors went to considerable, and ethically questionable, lengths in the handling of two defendants before British Military Tribunals. The cases against Eck and Moehle were overshadowed by the looming trial of their commanding officer. In the absence of hard evidence, indeed even circumstantial evidence, that the Peleus affair was part of a wider pattern of atrocity and murder, the prosecution case against Dönitz was flimsy in the extreme. This meant that it was even more important to secure the co-operation of Eck and Moehle. Eck simply refused to take the deal that was seemingly put in front of him: potentially escape the death sentence in exchange for incriminating Dönitz. With the one man actually guilty of ordering the murder of a shipwrecked crew intent on absolving Dönitz of all blame for the Peleus murders, and without evidence to suggest that other incidents of murder had taken place, the prosecution could not demonstrate its interpretation of the meaning of the Laconia order to the satisfaction of the International Military Tribunal.
Whatever Dönitz’s intentions with the Laconia order, a final possibility presents itself - the German submarine arm may not have been the only audience for its ambiguous meanings. On at least one occasion Hitler raised the possibility of ordering the murder of shipwrecked crews. In conversation with Baron Oshima, the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, on 3 January 1942, Hitler raised the idea that he would have to order U-boats to surface and fire on survivors. On 6 September 1942 at dinner Hitler again expressed frustration that U-boat crews routinely assisted survivors following a sinking. He suggested that the Allies would have to be dealt with on the basis of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth including the deliberate targeting of survivors in lifeboats and on rafts. In response to the menacing noises being made by Hitler about the possible changes to the operational orders and practices of the U-boat arm, Dönitz seems to have tried to pre-empt the Fuehrer. In May he reported to Hitler that the development of more effective torpedoes would inevitably kill more seamen whose ships were hit.
54 The following month he instituted the policy of taking prisoner Masters and Chief Engineers. Twelve days after issuing the Laconia order Doenitz reported the matter to Hitler in a meeting in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Hitler clearly approved of the order commenting: „It is very much to our disadvantage if a large percentage of the crews of sunken ships is able to go to sea again in new ships. Strong circumstantial evidence suggests that the Laconia order was Dönitz’s means of avoiding a possible Fuehrer order to murder survivors? With Hitler’s practice of giving verbal orders, Doenitz found himself under pressure to do something about the large numbers of Allied seamen surviving the sinking of their vessels? Instead of an invitation to murder, the Laconia order just might have been Dönitz’s attempt to satisfy a political master while allowing the German submarine arm to wage a war according to the custom of the sea and to the standards of the German Navy.