- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 13 at:
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I call Admiral Doenitz as witness.
[The Defendant Doenitz took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name?
KARL Doenitz (Defendant): Karl Doenitz.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat thin oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The defendant repeated the oath In German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Admiral, since 1910 you have been a professional officer; is that corrects
Doenitz: Since 1910 I have been a professional soldier, and an officer since 1913.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Yes. During the World War, the first World War, were you with the U-boat service?
Doenitz: Yes, from 1916.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Until the end?
Doenitz: Until the end of the war.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: After the first World War, when did you again have contact with the U-boat service?
Doenitz: On 27 September 1935 I became the commanding officer of the U-boat Flotilla Weddigen, the first German U-boat flotilla after 1918. As an introduction to taking up that command, that is, in September 1935, I spent a few days in Turkey, in order to go there in a U-boat and to bridge the gap from 1918.
8 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Thus from 1918 to 1935 you had nothing to do with U-boats?
Doenitz: No, nothing at all.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What was your rank when you went to the U-boat service in 1935?
Doenitz: I was a Fregattenkapitan.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What did the German U-boat service at that time consist of?
Doenitz: The U-boat Flotilla Weddigen, of which I became the commanding officer, consisted of three small boats of 250 tons each, the so-called "Einbaume." Besides, there were six somewhat smaller boats which were in a U-boat school, which was not under my command, for the purpose of training. Then there were afloat and in service perhaps another six of these small boats.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Who informed you of that command as C. O. of the U-boat flotilla?
Doenitz: Admiral Raeder.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did Admiral Raeder on that occasion issue the order that the U-boat arm should be prepared for a specific war?
Doenitz: No. I merely received the order to fill in that gap from 1918, to train the U-boats for the first time in cruising, submersion, and firing.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you prepare the U-boats for war against merchant shipping?
Doenitz: Yes. I instructed the commanders as to how they should behave if they stopped a merchantman and I also issued an appropriate tactical order for each commander.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you mean to say that the preparation for war against merchantmen was a preparation for war according to Prize Regulations?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: That is to say, the preparations were concerned with the stopping of ships on the surface?
Doenitz: The only instruction which I gave concerning the war against merchantmen was an instruction on how the U-boat should behave in the stopping and examining, the establishing of the destination and so on, of a merchantman. Later, I believe in the year 1938, when the draft of the German Prize Regulations came, I passed this on to the flotillas for the instruction of the commanders.
8 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: You developed a new tactic for U-boats which became known under the name "wolf pack tactics." What was there to these pack tactics, and did that mean anything in connection with the warfare against merchantmen according to the Prize Regulations?
Doenitz: The U-boats of all navies had so far operated singly, contrary to all other categories of ships which, by tactical co-operation, tried to get better results. The development of the "wolf pack tactics" was nothing further than breaking with that principle of individual action for each U-boat and attempting to use U-boats exactly in the same manner as other categories of warships, collectively. Such a method of collective action was naturally necessary when a formation was to be attacked, be it a formation of warships, that is, several warships together, or a convoy. These "wolf pack tactics," therefore, have nothing to do with war against merchantmen according to Prize Regulations. They are a tactical measure to fight formations of ships, and, of course, convoys where procedure according to Prize Regulations cannot be followed.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Were you given the mission, or even obliged to prepare for war, against a definite enemy?
Doenitz: I did not receive such a general mission. I had the mission of developing the U-boat service as well as possible, as it is the duty of every front-line officer of all armed forces of all nations, in order to be prepared against all war emergencies. Once, in the year 1937 or 1938, in the mobilization plan of the Navy, my order read that, in case France should try to interrupt the rearmament by an attack on Germany, it would be the task of the German U-boats to attack the transports in the Mediterranean which would leave North Africa for France. I then carried out maneuvers in the North Sea with this task in mind. If you are asking me about a definite aim or line of action, that, so far as I remember, was the only mission which I received in that respect from the Naval Operations Staff. That occurred in the year 1936 or 1937. According to my recollection, that plan had been issued lest the rearmament of Germany, at that time unarmed, might be interrupted by some measure or other.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In the year 1939, then, was the German U-boat service prepared technically and tactically for a naval war against England?
Doenitz: No. The German U-boat service, in the fall of 1939, consisted of about thirty to forty operational boats. That meant that at any time about one-third could be used for operations. In view of the harsh reality the situation seemed much worse later. There was one month, for instance, when we had only two boats
8 May 46
out at sea. With this small number of U-boats it was, of course, only possible to give pinpricks to a great naval power such as England. That we were not prepared for war against England in the Navy, is, in my opinion, best and most clearly to be seen from the fact that the armament of the Navy had to be radically changed at the beginning of the war. It had been the intention to create a homogeneous fleet which, of course, since it was in proportion much smaller than the British fleet, was not capable of waging a war against England. This program for building a homogeneous fleet had to be discontinued when the war with England started; only these large ships which were close to completion were finished. Everything else was abandoned or scrapped. That was necessary in order to free the building capacity for building U-boats. And that, also, explains why the German U-boat war, in this last war, actually only stared in the year 1942, that is to say, when the U-boats which had been ordered for building at the beginning of the war were ready for action. Since peacetime, that is in 1940, the replacement of U-boats hardly covered the losses.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: The Prosecution has repeatedly termed the U-boat arm an aggressive weapon. What do you say to this?
Doenitz: Yes, that is correct. The U-boat has, of course, the assignment of approaching an enemy and attacking him with torpedoes. Therefore, in that respect, the U-boat is an aggressive weapon.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Do you mean to say by that that it is a weapon for an aggressive war?
Doenitz: Aggressive or defensive war is a political decision and, therefore, it has nothing to do with military considerations. I can certainly use a U-boat in a defensive war because, in defensive war also, the enemy's ships must be attacked. Of course, I can use a U-boat in exactly the same way in a politically aggressive war. If one should conclude that the navies which have U-boats are planning an aggressive war, then all nations-for all the navies of these nations had U-boats, in fact many had more than Germany, twice and three times as many-planned aggressive war.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In your capacity as Flag Officer of U-boats, did you yourself have anything to do with the planning of the war as such?
Doenitz: No, nothing at ale My task was to develop U-boats militarily and tactically for action, and to train my officers and men.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Before the beginning of this war did you give any suggestions or make any proposals concerning a war against a definite enemy?
8 May 46
Doenitz: No, in no instance.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you do so after this war had started concerning a new enemy?
Doenitz: No, not in that case either.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: The Prosecution has submitted some documents which contain orders from you to the U-boats and which date from before the beginning of this war. An order for the placing of certain U-boats in the Baltic and west of England, and an order before the Norway action for the disposition of U-boats along the Norwegian coast. I ask you, therefore, when, at what time, were you as Flag Officer of U-boats, or from 1939 on as Commander of U-boats, informed about existing plans?
Doenitz: I received information on plans from the Naval Operations Staff only after these plans had been completed; that is to say, only if I was to participate in some way in the carrying out of a plan, and then only at a time necessary for the prompt execution of my military task.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Let us take the case of the Norway action, Admiral. When did you find out about the intention to occupy Norway, and in what connection did you receive that information?
Doenitz: On 5 March 1940 I was called from Wilhelmshaven, where I had my command, to Berlin, to the Naval Operations Staff, and at that meeting I was instructed on the plan and on my task.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I present you now with an entry from the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff, which I will submit to the Tribunal as Doenitz Exhibit Number 6. It is on Page 8 of Document Book 1.
"5 March 1940: The Flag Officer of U-boats participates in a conference with the Chief of Staff of the Naval Operations Staff in Berlin.
"Object of the conference: Preparation of the occupation of Norway and Denmark by the German Wehrmacht."
Is that the meeting which you have mentioned?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In the case of Norway, or in the previous case of the outbreak of war with Poland, did you have the opportunity to examine whether the tactical instructions which you had to give to your U-boats led or were to lead to the waging of an aggressive war?
Doenitz: No, I had neither the opportunity nor indeed the authority to do that.
I should like to ask what soldier of what
8 May 46
nation, who receives any military task whatsoever, has the right to approach his general staff and ask for examination or justification as to whether an aggressive war can evolve from this task. That would mean that the soldiers...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, the Tribunal has itself to decide as a matter of law whether the war was an aggressive war. It does not want to hear from this witness, who is a professional sailor, what his view is on the question of law.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: MR. PRESIDENT, I believe my question has been misunderstood. I did not ask Admiral Doenitz whether he considered the war an aggressive war or not; but I asked him whether he had the opportunity or the task, as a soldier, of examining whether his orders could become the means for an aggressive war. He, therefore, should state his conception of the task which he had as a soldier, and not of the question of whether it was or was not an aggressive war.
THE PRESIDENT: He can tell us what his task was as a matter of fact, but he is not here to argue the case to us. He can state the facts-what he did.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Does one not also, Mr. President, have to allow a defendant to say what considerations he had or what considerations he did not have? What I mean is that the accusations of the Prosecution arise from this, and the defendant must have the opportunity of stating his position regarding these accusations.
THE PRESIDENT: We want to hear the evidence. You will argue his case on his behalf on the evidence that he gives. He is not here to argue: the law before us. That is not the subject of evidence.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I shall question him on his considerations, Mr. President.
Admiral, in connection with the orders which you issued to the U-boats before the war or in connection with the orders which you issued before the beginning of the Norway action-did you ever have any considerations as to whether it would lead to aggressive war?
Doenitz: I received military orders as a soldier, and my purpose naturally was to carry out these military tasks. Whether the leadership of the State was thereby politically waging an aggressive war or not, or whether they were protective measures, was not for me to decide; it was none of my business.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: As Commander of U-boats, from whom did you receive your orders about the waging of U-boat warfare?
8 May 46
Doenitz: From the Chief of the SKL, the Naval Operations Staff.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Who was that?
Doenitz: Grossadmiral Raeder.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What were the orders which you received at the beginning of the war, that is, the beginning of September 1939, for the conduct of U-boat warfare?
Doenitz: War against merchantmen according to the Prize Regulations, that is to say, according to the London Pact.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What ships, according to that order, could you attack without previous warning?
Doenitz: At that time I could attack without warning all ships which were guarded either by naval vessels or which were under air cover. Furthermore, I was permitted to exercise armed force against any ship which, when stopped, sent radio messages, or resisted the order to stop, or did not obey the order to stop.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Now, there is no doubt that, a few weeks after the beginning of the war, the war against merchantmen was intensified. Did you know whether such an intensification was planned, and if you do, why it was planned?
Doenitz: I knew that the Naval Operations Staff intended, according to events, according to the development of the enemy's tactics, to retaliate blow for blow, as it says or said in the order, by intensified action.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What were the measures of the enemy and, on the other hand, what were your own experiences with the measures taken by the enemy which led to an intensification of action?
Doenitz: Right at the beginning of the war it was our experience that all merchantmen not only took advantage of their radio installations when an attempt was made to stop them, but that they immediately sent messages as soon as they saw any U-boat on the horizon. It was absolutely clear, therefore, that all merchantmen were co-operating in the military intelligence service. Further more, only a few days after the beginning of the war we found out that merchantmen were armed and made use of their weapons.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What orders on the part of Germany resulted from these experiences?
Doenitz: They first brought about the order that merchantmen which sent radio messages on being stopped could be attacked without warning. They also brought about the order that merchantmen whose armament had been recognized beyond doubt, that is, whose
8 May 46
armament one knew from British publication, could be attacked without warning.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: This order concerning attacks on armed merchantmen was issued on 4 October 1939; is that right?
Doenitz: I believe so.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was there a second order, soon after that, according to which all enemy merchantmen could be attacked, and why was that order issued?
Doenitz: I believe that the Naval Operations Staff decided on this order on the basis of the British publication which said that now the arming of merchantmen was completed. In addition, there was a broadcast by the British Admiralty on 1 October to the effect that the merchantmen had been directed to ram German U-boats and furthermore-as stated at the beginning-it was clear beyond doubt that every merchantman was part of the intelligence service of the enemy, and its radio messages at sight of a U-boat determined the use of surface or air forces.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you have reports about that from U-boats, according to which U-boats were actual!, endangered by these tactics of enemy merchantmen and were attacked by enemy surface or air forces?
Doenitz: Yes. I had received quite a number of reports in this connection, and since the German measures were always taken about 4 weeks after it had been recognized that the enemy employed these tactics, I had very serious losses in the meantime-in the period when I still had to keep to the one-sided and, for me, dangerous obligations.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: By these obligations, are you referring to the obligation to wage war against merchantmen according to the Prize Regulations during a period when the enemy's merchant ships had abandoned their peaceful character?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you protest later against the directives of the Naval Operations Staff which led to an intensification of the war on merchantmen, or did you approve these directives?
Doenitz: No, I did not protest against them. On the contrary, I considered them justified, because, as I said before, otherwise I would have had to remain bound to an obligation which was one sided and meant serious losses for me.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Was this intensification of the war against merchantmen by the order to fire on armed
8 May 46
merchantmen, and later the order to attack all enemy merchantmen, based on the free judgment of the Naval Operations Staff, or was it a forced development?
Doenitz: This development, as I have said before, was entirely forced. If merchantmen are armed and make use of their arms, and if they send messages which summon protection, they force the U-boat to submerge and attack without warning.
That same forced development, in the areas which we patrolled, was also the case with the British submarines, and applied in exactly the same way to American and Russian submarines.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: If, on one side, a merchantman sends a message and opens fire, and on the other side the submarine, for that reason, attacks without warning, which side has the advantage of this development, according to your experience? The side of the merchantman or the side of the submarine?
Doenitz: In an ocean area where there is no constant patrolling by the enemy, by naval forces of any kind or by aircraft, as along the coast, the submarine has the advantage. But in all other areas the ship acquires the main attack weapons against a submarine, and the submarine is therefore compelled to treat that ship as a battleship, which means that it is forced to submerge and loses its speed. Therefore, in all ocean areas, with the exception of coastal waters which can be constantly controlled, the advantage of arms lies with the merchantman.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Are you of the opinion that the orders of the Naval Operations Staff actually remained within the limits of what was militarily necessary due to enemy measures, or did these orders go beyond military necessity?
Doenitz: They remained absolutely within the bounds of what was necessary. I have explained already that the resulting steps were always taken gradually and after very careful study by the Naval Operations Staff. This very careful study may also have been motivated by the fact that for political reasons any unnecessary intensification in the West was to be avoided.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Admiral, these orders we have mentioned were based at that time only on German experiences and without an accurate knowledge of the orders which had been issued on the British side Now, I should like to put these orders to you; we now have information on them through a ruling of the Tribunal, and I should like to ask you whether these individual orders coincide with your experiences or whether they are somewhat different. I submit the orders of the British Admiralty as Exhibit Doenitz-67. It is on Page 163 in Document Book 3. As
8 May 46
you know, this is the Handbook of the British Navy of 1938, and I draw your attention to Page 164, to the paragraph on reporting the enemy.
Doenitz: There is no pagination here.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: It is D.M. S. 3-I-55, the paragraph on radio. The heading is `'Reporting the Enemy."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I will read the paragraph to you:
`'As soon as the master of a merchant ship realizes that a ship or aircraft in sight is an enemy, it is his first and most important duty to report the nature and position of the enemy by wireless telegraph. Such a report promptly made may be the means of saving not only the ship herself but many others; for it may give an opportunity for the destruction of her assailant by our warships or aircraft, an opportunity which might not recur."
Then there are more details which I do not wish to read, on the manner and method, when and how these radio signals are to be given. Is this order in accordance with your experience?
Doenitz: Yes. In this order, there is not only a directive to send wireless signals if the ship is stopped by a U-boat-that alone would, according to international law, justify the U-boat in employing armed force against the ship-but beyond that it- is stated that as soon as an enemy ship is in sight this signal is to be transmitted in order that the naval forces may attack in time.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: So this order is in accord with the experiences which our U-boats reported?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I shad draw your attention now to the Paragraph D. M. S. 2-VII, on Page 165, that is the paragraph on opening fire: 'conditions under which fire may be opened."
`'(a) Against enemy acting in accordance with international law.-As the armament is solely for the purpose of self-defense, it must only be used against an enemy who is clearly attempting to capture or sink the merchant ship. On the outbreak of war it should be assumed that the enemy will act in accordance with international law, and fire should therefore not be opened until he has made it plain that he intends to attempt capture. Once it is clear that resistance will be necessary if capture is to be averted, fire should be opened immediately.
8 May 48
"(b) Against enemy acting in defiance of international law.- If, as the war progresses, it unfortunately becomes clear that in defiance of international law the enemy has adopted a policy of attacking merchant ships without warning, it will then be permissible to open fire on an enemy vessel, submarine, or aircraft, even before she has attacked or demanded surrender, if to do so will tend to prevent her gaining a favorable position for attacking." Is this order, that is to say, the order "(a)" and "(b)," in accord with the experiences made?
Doenitz: In practice no difference can be established between "(a)" and "(b)." I should like to draw attention in this connection to D. M. S. 3-III, Page 167, under IV; that is the last paragraph of "(b)" of the number mentioned.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: One moment, do you mean "(b)-V"?
Doenitz: It says here "(b)-IV''. There...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: That is not printed, Mr. President.
Doenitz: "In ships fitted with a defensive armament, open fire to keep the enemy at a distance"-that is (b)-IV-'`if you consider that he is clearly intending to effect a capture and that he is approaching so close as to endanger your chances of escape."
That means therefore that as soon as the ship sights a U-boat, which during war must be assumed to be there for a reason to effect a capture-the ship will, in its own defense, open fire as soon as it comes within range; that is when the submarine has come within range of its guns. The ship, in using its guns for an offensive action, can act in no other way.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Admiral, did the armed enemy vessels act then in the manner which you have described; that is, did they really fire, as soon as a submarine came within range?
Doenitz: Yes. As early as-according to my recollection, the first report came from a U-boat about that on 6 September 1939.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: With this order, however, we find a further supplement under AMS I-118, dated 13 June 1940, on Page 165, and here we read:
"With reference to D.M.S. Part 1, Article 53, it is now considered clear that in submarine and aerial operations the enemy has adopted a policy of attacking merchant ships without warning. Subparagraph (b) of this article should therefore be regarded as being in force."
8 May 46
That means, then, that the order which we read before, `'(b)" was to be considered in effect only from 13 June 1940. Do you mean to say that actually before that, from the very beginning, you acted according to the order "(b)"?
Doenitz: I have already stated that between an offensive and defensive use of armament on the part of a ship against a submarine, there is practically no difference at all, that it is a purely theoretical differentiation. But even if one did differentiate between them, then beyond doubt the Reuter report-I believe dated 9 September-which said incorrectly that we were conducting unlimited submarine warfare was designated to inform ships' captains that now case "(b)" was valid.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I put to you now a directive on the handling of depth charges on merchant ships. It is on Page 168, the reference list. The heading is "Reference List (D)," the date is "14 September 1939." I read:
'`The following instructions have been sent out to all W.P.S.'s: It has now been decided to fit a single depth charge chute, with hand release gear and supplied with 3 charges, in all armed merchant vessels of 12 knots or over." Then there are more details and at the end a remark about the training of the crews in the use of depth charges. The distribution list shows numerous naval officers.
Did you experience this use of depth charges by merchant vessels and were such depth charge attacks by merchant ships observed?
Doenitz: Yes, repeatedly.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Speaking of a ship with a speed of 12 knots or more, can one say that a depth charge attack against a U-boat is a defensive measure?
Doenitz: No. Each depth charge attack against a submarine is definitely and absolutely an offensive action; for the submarine submerges and is harmless under water, while the surface vessel which wants to carry out the depth charge attack approaches as closely as possible to the position where it assumes the U-boat to be, in order to drop the depth charge as accurately as possible on top of the U-boat. A destroyer, that is, a warship, does not attack a submarine in any different way.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: You are therefore basing the manner in which you attacked enemy ships on these tactics employed by enemy merchantmen. However, neutral ships also suffered, and the Prosecution charges the German U-boat command expressly with this. What do you have to say to that?
8 May 46
Doenitz: Neutral merchantmen, according to the political orders, the orders of the Naval Operations Staff, were only attacked without warning when they were found in operational zones which had been definitely designated as such, or naturally only when they did not act as neutrals should, but like ships which were participating in the war.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: The Prosecution has offered a document in evidence, according to which, in certain ocean areas, attack without warning against neutrals was authorized, beginning January 1940. I am referring to Prosecution Document GB-194. I will read to you the sentence which the Prosecution is holding against you.
THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us where it is?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: It is in the British document book, Page 30, Mr.
President. In the document book of the Prosecution, Page 30. [Turning to the defendant.] I will read you the sentence which is held against you:
"In the Bristol Channel, attack without warning has been authorized against all ships where it is possible to claim that mine hits have taken place." This order is dated 1 January 1940. Can you tell me whether at that time neutrals had already actually been warned against using this shipping lane?
Doenitz: Yes. Germany had sent a note to the neutrals on 24 November 1939, warning them against using these lanes and advising neutrals to use the methods of the United States, whereby American ships-in order to avoid any incidents-had been forbidden to enter the waters around England.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I wig hand you the note of which you speak, and I will at the same time submit it to the Tribunal as Exhibit Doenitz-73, to be found on Page 206 of the document book. It is in Document Book 4, Page 206. This is an excerpt from the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff, dated 24 November 1939. It has the following text:
"To the Missions, according to enclosed list.
"Supplement to wire release of 22 October.
"Please inform the Government there of the following:
"Since the warning issued on (date to be inserted here) regarding the use of English and French ships, the following two new facts are to be recorded:
8 May 46
"a) The United States has forbidden its ships to sail in a definitely defined area.
"b) Numerous enemy merchant ships have been armed. It is known that these armed ships have instructions to use their weapons aggressively and to ram U-boats. "These two new facts give the Reich Government occasion to renew and emphasize its warning, that in view of the increasingly frequent engagements, waged with all means of modern war technique, in waters around the British Isles and in the vicinity of the French coast, the safety of neutral ships in this area can no longer be taken for granted.
"Therefore the German Government urgently recommends the choice of the route south and east of the German proclaimed danger zone, when crossing the North Sea.
"In order to maintain peaceful shipping for neutral states and in order to avoid loss of life and property for the neutrals, the Reich Government furthermore feels obliged to recommend urgently legislative measures following the pattern of the U.S. Government, which in apprehension of the dangers of modern warfare, forbade its ships to sail in an exactly defined area, in which, according to the words of the President of the United States, the traffic of American ships may seem imperiled by belligerent action.
"The Reich Government must point out that it rejects any responsibility for consequences brought about by disregarding recommendations and warnings." This is the note to which you referred, Admiral?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In other words, in your opinion, these sinkings in the Bristol Channel could be carried out lawfully as from 1 January?
Doenitz: Yes; these ocean areas were clearly limited areas in which hostilities took place continuously on both sides. The neutrals had been warned expressly against using these areas. If they entered this war area, they had to run the risk of being damaged. England proceeded likewise in its operational areas in our waters.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Since you considered these sinkings legal, why was the order given to attack without being sighted, if possible, in order to maintain the fiction that mine hits had taken place? Doesn't that indicate a bad conscience?
Doenitz: No. During a war there is no basic obligation to inform the enemy with what means one does one's fighting. In
8 May 46
other words, this is not a question of legality, but a question of military or political expediency.
England in her operational areas did not inform us either as to the means of fighting she uses or did use; and I know how many headaches this caused me when I was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, later, in endeavoring to employ economically the small means we had.
That is the principle. At that time when, as Commander of U-boats, I received this order to simulate mine hits where possible, I considered this as militarily expedient, because the counterintelligence were left in doubt as to whether mine sweepers or U-boat defense means were to be employed.
In other words, it was a military advantage for the nation conducting the war, and today I am of the opinion that political reasons also may have influenced this decision, with the object of avoiding complications with neutral countries.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: How could complications with neutral countries come into being, in your opinion, if this naval warfare measure was a legal one?
Doenitz: During the first World War we had experienced what part is played by propaganda. Therefore I think it possible that our Government, our political leaders, for this reason, too, may have issued this order.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: From your own experience you know nothing about these political reasons?
Doenitz: Nothing at all.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Up to now you have spoken about the orders which were received by the U-boats, first for combating enemy ships, and secondly for combating or searching neutral ships. Were these orders then actually executed? That was primarily your responsibility, was it not?
Doenitz: No U-boat commander purposely transgressed an order, or failed to execute it. Of course, considering the large number of naval actions, which ran into several thousands within the 51/ years of war, a very few individual cases occurred in which, by mistake, such an order was not followed.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: How could such a mistake occur?
Doenitz: Every sailor knows how easily mistakes in identification can occur at sea; not only during a war, but also in peacetime, due to visibility, weather conditions, and other factors.
8 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Is it also possible that submarines operated on the borders of the operational areas, although they were already outside these borders?
Doenitz: That is, of course, also possible. For again every sailor knows that after a few days of bad weather, for instance, inaccuracy in the ship's course happens very easily. This occurs, however, not only in the case of the submarine, but also of the ship, which perhaps is under the impression of having been outside the operational area when torpedoed. It is very difficult to establish the fact in such cases.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: What steps did you, as Commander of U-boats, take when you heard of such a case, a case in which a U-boat had transgressed its orders, even if by mistake?
Doenitz: The main thing was the preventive measures, and that was done through training them to be thorough and to investigate quietly and carefully before the commander took action. Moreover, this training had already been carried on in peacetime, so that our U-boat organization bore the motto: "We are a respectable firm."
The second measure was that during the war every commander, before leaving port, and after returning from his mission, had to report to me personally. That is, before leaving port he had to be briefed by me.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I beg your pardon, Admiral. That did not continue when you were Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, did it?
Doenitz: That was limited after 1943, after I had become Commander-in-Chief. Even then it did continue. In any case, it was the definite rule during my time as Commander of U-boats, so that a commander's mission was considered completed and satisfactory only after he had reported to me in full detail. If, on such an occasion, I could establish negligence, then I made my decision according to the nature of the case, as to whether disciplinary action or court-martial proceedings and punishment had to take place.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I have found here an entry GB-198, on Page 230, in Document Book 4 of the Prosecution, which I would like to read to you. This is a war diary of the Commander of U-boats, that is, yourself.
I read the entry of 25 September 1942:
"U-512 reports that the Monte Corbea was recognized as a neutral ship before being torpedoed. Assumed suspicions of
8 May 46
being a camouflaged English ship are insufficient and do not justify the sinking. The commander will have to stand court-martial for his conduct. All boats at sea will be informed."
Two days later, on 27 September 1942, a radio signal was sent to all. I read:
"Radio signal to all:
"The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy has personally and expressly ordered anew that all U-boat commanders are to comply exactly with the orders concerning the treatment of neutral ships. Violations of these orders will have incalculable political consequences. This order is to be disseminated at once to all commanders."
Will you please tell me what resulted from the court-martial which you ordered here?
Doenitz: I had sent my radio signal to the commander stating that after his return he would have to be answerable before a court-martial, because of the sinking. The commander did not return from this mission with his boat. Therefore this court-martial did not take place.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Did you, in any other case, have experience as to how the courts-martial treated the difficult task of the U-boat commanders when you had ordered a court-martial?
Doenitz: Yes. I remember a case against Kapitanleutnant Kraemer, who had to be acquitted by the court-martial because it was proven that, before the attack, before firing the shot, he had taken note once more through the periscope of the identification of the ship-it was a German blockade-runner-and, in spite of that, was of the opinion that it was a different ship, an enemy ship, and that he was justified in sinking it. In other words, it was not a case of negligence, and therefore in this case he was acquitted.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Taking into consideration all the results of your measures for training and punishing personnel, do you have the impression that enough was done to make the U-boat commanders obey your orders, or did the U-boat commanders in the long run disobey your orders?
Doenitz: I do not think it is necessary to discuss this question at all. The simple facts speak for themselves. During the 5 1/2 years, several thousand naval actions were engaged in by submarines. The number of incidents is an extremely small fraction and I know that this result is only due to the unified leadership of all submarine commanders, to co-ordination and also to their proper training and their responsibility.
8 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: The Prosecution has offered a document, GB-195 on Page 32 of the Prosecution's document book. In this document is entered an order of the Fuehrer, dated 18 July 1941, and it reads as follows:
"In the original operational area, which corresponds in extent with the U.S. prohibited zone for U.S. ships and which is not touched by the U.S.-Iceland route, attacks on ships under American or British escort or U.S. merchantmen sailing without escort are authorized."
In connection with this order by the Fuehrer, the Prosecution, Admiral, termed your attitude cynical and opportunistic. Will you please explain tot the Tribunal what the meaning of this order actually is?
Doenitz: In August 1940 Germany had declared this operational area in English waters. U.S. ships were, however, expressly excluded from attack without warning in this operational area because, as I believe, the political leaders wanted to avoid any possibility of an incident with the U.S.A. I said the political leaders. The Prosecution has accused me, in my treatment and attitude, my differing attitude toward the neutrals, of having a masterful agility in adapting myself, that is guided by cynicism and opportunism. It is clear that the attitude of a state toward neutrals is a purely political affair, and that this relation is decided exclusively by the political leadership, particularly in a nation that is at war.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: You mean to say, in other words, that you had nothing to do with the handling of this question?
Doenitz: As a soldier I had not the slightest influence on the question of how the political leadership believed they had to treat this or that neutral. Regarding this particular case, however, from knowledge of the orders I received through the Chief of the Naval Operations Staff from the political leadership, I should like to say the following: I believe that the political leadership did everything to avoid any incident on the high seas with the United States. First, I have already stated that the U-boats were actually forbidden even to stop American ships. Second...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: One moment, Admiral. To stop them where, in the operational area or outside the operational area?
Doenitz: At first, everywhere.
Second, that the American 300-mile safety zone was recognized without any question by Germany, although according to the existing international law only a three-mile zone was authorized. Third, that...
8 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuhler, an interesting distinction which may be drawn between the United States and other neutrals is not relevant to this Trial, is it? What difference does it make?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In connection with the document cited by me, GB-195, the Prosecution has made the accusation that Admiral Doenitz conducted his U-boat warfare cynically and opportunistically: that is, in that he treated one neutral well and the other one badly. This accusation has been made expressly, and I want to give Admiral Doenitz the opportunity to make a statement in reply to this accusation. He has already said that he had nothing to do with the handling of this question.
THE PRESIDENT: What more can he say than that?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Mr. President, according to the principles of the Statute, a soldier is also made responsible for the orders which he executed. For this reason it is my opinion that he must be able to state whether on his side he had the impression that he received cynical and opportunistic orders or whether on the contrary he did not have the impression that everything was done to avoid a conflict and that the orders which were given actually were necessary and right.
THE PRESIDENT: You have dealt with this order about the United States ships, now.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Yes, I have almost finished. [Turning to the defendant.] Did you want to say something more about the third point, Admiral?
Doenitz: I wanted to mention two or three more points on this subject.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: I think that is possible.
THE PRESIDENT: You may go on, but we hope that you will deal with this point shortly. It appears to the Tribunal to be very unimportant.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: Yes, Sir.
Doenitz: For instance, I had suggested that mines be laid before Halifax, the British port of Nova Scotia, and before Reykjavik, both bases being important for war ships and merchant shipping, The political leaders, the Fuehrer, rejected this because he wanted to avoid every possibility of friction with the United States.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: May I formulate the question this way, that you, from the orders for the treatment of U.S. ships, in no way had the impression that opportunism or cynicism prevailed here, but that everything was done with the
8 May 46
greatest restraint in order to avoid a conflict with the United States? Doenitz: Yes. This went so far, in fact, that when the American destroyers in the summer of 1941 received orders to attack German submarines, that is, before war started, when they were still neutral and I was forbidden to fight bask, I was then forced to forbid the submarines in this area to attack even British destroyers, in order to avoid having a submarine mistake an American for a British ship.
THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 9 May 1946 at 1000 hours.]
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIFTH DAY
Thursday, 9 May 1946
[The Defendant Doenitz resumed the stand.]
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I will continue my examination of the witness.
[Turning to the defendant.] Admiral, how many merchant ships were sunk by German U-boats in the course of the war?
DOENITZ: According to the Allied figures, 2,472.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: How many combat actions, according to your estimate, were necessary to do this?
DOENITZ: I believe the torpedoed ships are not included in this figure of 2,472 sunk ships; and, of course, not every attack leads to a success. I would estimate that in 51/z years perhaps 5,000 or 6,000 actions actually took place.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUHLER: In the course of all these actions did any of the U-boat commanders who were subordinate to you voice objections to the manner in which the U-boats operated?
DOENITZ: No, never.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: What would you have done with a commander who refused to carry out the instructions for U-boat warfare?
DOENITZ: First, I would have had him examined; if he proved to be normal I would have put him before a court-martial.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You could only have done that with a clear conscience if you yourself assumed full responsibility for the orders which you either issued or which you transmitted?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In battle engagements with U-boats, crews of merchant ships no doubt lost their lives. Did you consider crews of enemy merchantmen as soldiers or as civilians, and for what reasons?
DOENITZ: Germany considered the crews of merchantmen as combatants, because they fought with the weapons which had been
9 May 46
mounted aboard the merchant ships in large numbers. According to our knowledge one or two men of the Royal Navy were on board for the servicing of these weapons, but where guns were concerned the rest of the gunners were part of the crew of the ship.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: How many were there for one gun?
DOENITZ: That varied according to the size of the weapon, probably between five and ten. Then, in addition, there were munitions men. The same applied to the servicing of depth charge chutes and depth charge throwers.
The members of the crew did, in fact, fight with the weapons like the few soldiers who were on board. It was also a matter of course that the crew was considered as a unit, for in a battleship we cannot distinguish either between the man who is down at the engine in the boiler room and the man who services the gun up on deck.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did this view, that the members of the crews of hostile merchant ships were combatants, have any influence on the question of whether they could or should be rescued? Or did it not have any influence?
DOENITZ: No, in no way. Of course, every soldier has a right to be rescued if the circumstances of his opponent permit it. But this fact should have an influence upon the right to attack the crew as well.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Do you mean that they could be fought as long as they were on board the ship?
DOENITZ: Yes, there can be no question of anything else-that means fought with weapons used for an attack against a ship as part of naval warfare.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You know that the Prosecution has submitted a document about a discussion between Adolf Hitler and the Japanese Ambassador, Oshima. This discussion took place on 3 January 1942. It is Exhibit Number GB-197, on Page 34 of the document book of the Prosecution. In this document Hitler promises the Japanese Ambassador that he will issue an order for the killing of the shipwrecked, and the Prosecution concludes from this document that Hitler actually gave such an order and that this order was carried out by you.
Did you, directly or through the Naval Operations Staff, receive a written order of this nature?
DOENITZ: I first heard about this discussion and its contents when the record of it was submitted here.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUETHLER: Admiral, may I ask you to answer my question? I asked, did you receive a written order?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: No, I received neither a written nor a verbal order. I knew nothing at all about this discussion; I learned about it through the document which I saw here.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When did you see Hitler for the first time after the date of this discussion, that is, January 1942?
DOENITZ: Together with Grossadmiral Raeder I was at headquarters on 14 May 1942 and told him about the situation in the U-boat campaign.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: There is a note written by you about this discussion with the Fuehrer, and I would like to call your attention to it. It is Doenitz-16, to be found on Page 29 of Document Book Number 1. I submit the document, Doenitz-16. I will read it to you. The heading runs:
"Report of the Commander of Submarines to the Fuehrer on 14 May 1942 in the presence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy"-that is, Grossadmiral Raeder. "Therefore it is necessary to improve the weapons of the submarines by all possible means, so that the submarines may keep pace with defense measures. The most important development is the torpedo with magnetic detonator which would increase precision of torpedoes fired against destroyers and therefore would put the submarine in a better position with regard to defense; it would above all also hasten considerably the sinking of torpedoed ships, whereby we would economize on torpedoes and also protect the submarine from countermeasures, insofar as it would be able to leave the place of combat more quickly."
And now, the decisive sentence:
"A magnetic detonator will also have the great advantage that the crew will not be able to save themselves on account of the quick sinking of the torpedoed ship. This greater loss of men will no doubt cause difficulties in the assignment of crews for the great American construction program." Does this last sentence which I read imply what you just referred to as combating the crew with weapons...?
THE PRESIDENT: You seem to attach importance to this document. Therefore, you should not put a leading question upon it. You should ask the defendant what the document means, and not put your meaning on it.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, what did these expositions mean?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: They mean that it was important to us, as a consequence of the discussion with the Fuehrer at his headquarters, to find a good magnetic detonator which would lead to a more rapid sinking of the ships and thereby achieve the results noted in this report in the war diary.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Can you tell me what successes you mean by this, as far as the crews are concerned?
DOENITZ: I mean that not several torpedoes would be required, as heretofore, to sink a ship by long and difficult attack; but that one torpedo, or very few, would suffice to bring about a more speedy loss of the ship and the crew.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did you, in the course of this discussion with the Fuehrer, touch on the question...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: One moment-the question whether other means might be envisaged to cause loss of life among the crews?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In what way and by whom?
DOENITZ: The Fuehrer brought up the fact that, in the light of experience, a large percentage of the crews, because of the excellence of the rescue means, were reaching home and were used again and again to man new ships, and he asked whether there might not be some action taken against these rescue ships.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: What do you mean by action taken?
DOENITZ: At this discussion, in which Grossadmiral Raeder participated, I rejected this unequivocally and told him that the only possibility of causing losses among the crews would lie in the attack itself, in striving for a faster sinking of the ship through the intensified effect of weapons. Hence this remark in my war diary. I believe, since I received knowledge here through the prosecution of the discussion between the Fuehrer and Oshima, that this question of the Fuehrer to Grossadmiral Raeder and myself arose out of this discussion.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: There exists an affidavit by Grossadmiral Raeder about this discussion. You know the contents. Do the contents correspond to your recollection of this discussion?
DOENITZ: Yes, completely.
9 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Then I would like to submit to the Tribunal, as Doenitz-17, the affidavit of Grossadmiral Raeder; since it has the same content, I may dispense with the reading of it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I was going to say in case it might help the Tribunal, I understand the Defendant Raeder will be going into the witness box; therefore, I make no formal objection to this affidavit going in.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: It has the Number Doenitz-17 and is found on Page 33 of Document Book 1.
[Turning to the defendant.] You just said that you rejected the suggested killing of survivors in lifeboats and stated this to the Fuehrer. However, the Prosecution has presented two documents, an order of the winter of 1939-40 and a second order of the autumn of 1942, in which you limited or prohibited rescue measures. Is there not a contradiction between the orders and your attitude toward the proposal of the Fuehrer?
DOENITZ: No. These two things are not connected with each other in any way. One must distinguish very clearly here between the question of rescue or non-rescue, and that is a question of military possibility. During a war the necessity of refraining from rescue may well arise. For example, if your own ship is endangered thereby, it would be wrong from a military viewpoint and, besides, would not be of value for the one to be rescued; and no commander of any nation is expected to rescue if his own ship is thereby endangered.
The British Navy correctly take up a very clear, unequivocal position in this respect: that rescue is to be denied in such cases; and that is evident also from their actions and commands. That is one point.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, you spoke only about the safety of the ship as a reason for not carrying out rescue.
DOENITZ: There may of course be other reasons. For instance it is clear that in war the mission to be accomplished is of first importance. No one will start to rescue, for example, if after subduing one opponent there is another on the scene. Then, as a matter of course, the combating of the second opponent is more important than the rescue of those who have already lost their ship. The other question is concerned with attacking the shipwrecked, and that is...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, whom would you call shipwrecked?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: Shipwrecked persons are members of the crew who, after the sinking of their ship, are not able to fight any longer and are either in lifeboats or other means of rescue or in the water.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Yes.
DOENITZ: Firing upon these men is a matter concerned with the ethics of war and should be rejected under any and all circumstances. In the German Navy and U-boat force this principle, according to my firm conviction, has never been violated, with the one exception of the affair Eck. No order on this subject has ever been issued, in any form whatsoever.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I want to call to your attention one of the orders submitted by the Prosecution. It is your permanent War Order Number 154; Exhibit Number GB-196 and in my document book on Pages 13 to 15. I will have this order given to you, and I am asking you to turn to the last paragraph, which was read by the Prosecution. There it says, I read it again:
"Do not rescue any men; do not take them along; and do not take care of any boats of the ship. Weather conditions and proximity of land are of no consequence. Concern yourself only with the safety of your own boat and with efforts to achieve additional successes as soon as possible. We must be hard in this war. The enemy started the war in order to destroy us, and thus nothing else matters."
The Prosecution has stated that this order went out, according to their records, before May 1940. Can you from your knowledge fix the date a little more exactly?
DOENITZ: According to my recollection, I issued this order at the end of November or the beginning of December 1939, for the following reasons:
I had only a handful of U-boats a month at my disposal. In order that this small force might prove effective at all, I had to send the boats close to the English coast, in front of the ports. In addition, the magnetic mine showed itself to be a very valuable weapon of war. Therefore, I equipped these boats both with mines and torpedoes and directed them, after laying the mines, to operate in waters close to the coast, immediately outside the ports. There they fought in constant and close combat and under the surveillance of naval and air patrols. Each U-boat which was sighted or reported there was hunted by U-boat-chasing units and by air patrols ordered to the scene.
The U-boats themselves, almost without exception or entirely, had as their objectives only ships which were protected or accompanied by some form of protection. Therefore, it would have been
9 May 46
suicide for the U-boat, in a position of that sort, to come to the surface and to rescue.
The commanders were all very young; I was the only one who had service experience from the first World War. And I had to tell them this very forcibly and drastically because it was hard for a young commander to judge a situation as well as I could.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did experience with rescue measures already play a part here?
DOENITZ: Yes. In the first months of the war I had very bitter experiences. I suffered very great losses in sea areas far removed from any coast; and as very soon I had information through the Geneva Red Cross that many members of crews had been rescued, it was clear that these U-boats had been lost above the water. If they had been lost below the water the survival of so many members of the crews would have been impossible. I also had reports that there had been very unselfish deeds of rescue, quite justifiable from a humane angle, but militarily very dangerous for the U-boat. So now, of course, since I did not want to fight on the open sea but close to the harbors or in the coastal approaches to the harbors, I had to warn the U-boats of the great dangers, in fact of suicide. And, to state a parallel, English U-boats in the Jutland waters, areas which we dominated, showed, as a matter of course and quite correctly, no concern at all for those who were shipwrecked, even though, without a doubt, our defense was only a fraction of the British.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You say that this order applied to U-boats which operated in the immediate presence of the enemy's defense. Can you, from the order itself, demonstrate the truth of that?
DOENITZ: Yes; the entire order deals only with, or assumes, the presence of the enemy's defense; it deals with the battle against convoys. For instance it reads, "Close range is also the best security for the boat..."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER What number are you reading?
DOENITZ: Well, the order is formulated in such a way that Number 1 deals at first with sailing, not with combat. But the warning against enemy air defense is given there also, and in this warning about countermeasures it is made clear that it is concerned entirely with outgoing ships. Otherwise I would obviously not have issued an order concerning sailing. Number 2 deals with the time prior to the attack. Here mention is made of moral inhibitions which every soldier has to overcome before an attack.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, you need only refer to the figures which show that the order is concerned with fighting enemy defense.
DOENITZ: Very well. Then I will quote from 2(d). It says there: "Close range is also the best security for the boat.
"While in the vicinity of the vessels"-that is, the merchantmen-"the protecting ships"-that is, the destroyers-"will at first not fire any depth charges. If one fires into a convoy from close quarters"-note that we are dealing with convoys -"and then is compelled to submerge, one can then dive most quickly below other ships of the convoy and thus remain safe from depth charges."
Then the next paragraph, which deals with night conditions, says:
"Stay above water. Withdraw above water. Possibly make a circle and go around at the rear."
Every sailor knows that one makes a circle or goes around at the rear of the protecting enemy ships. Further, in the third paragraph, I caution against submerging too soon, because it blinds the U-boat, and I say:
"Only then does the opportunity offer itself for a new attack, or for spotting and noting the opening through which one can shake off the pursuing enemy."
Then the figure "(c)," that is, "3(c)," and there it says:
"During an attack on a convoy one may have to submerge to a depth of 20 meters to escape from patrols or aircraft and to avoid the danger of being sighted or rammed ...." ' Thus we are talking here about a convoy. Now we turn to point "(d)" and here it says:
"It may become necessary to submerge to depth when, for example, the destroyer is proceeding directly toward the periscope . . ."
And then follow instructions on how to act in case of a depth-charge attack. Plainly, the whole order deals with...
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think it is necessary to go into all of these military tactics. He has made a point on Paragraph "e." He has given his explanation of that paragraph, and I don't think it is necessary to go into all of these other tactics.
DOENITZ: I only want to say that the last paragraph about nonrescue must not be considered alone but in this context: First, the. U-boats had to fight in the presence of enemy defense near the English ports and estuaries; and secondly, the objectives were ships in convoys, or protected ships, as is shown clearly from the document as a whole.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You said that this order was given about December 1939. Did the German U-boats after the order had been issued actually continue rescues? What experiences did you have?
DOENITZ: I said that the order was issued for this specific purpose during the winter months. For the U-boats which, according to my memory, went out into the Atlantic again only after the Norwegian campaign, for these U-boats the general order of rescue applied; and this order was qualified only in one way, namely that no rescue was to be attempted if the safety of a U-boat did not permit it. The facts show that the U-boats acted in this light.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Do you mean then that you had reports from U-boat commanders about rescue measures?
DOENITZ: I received these reports whenever a U-boat returned, and subsequently through the combat log books.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When was this order which we have just discussed formally rescinded?
DOENITZ: To my knowledge this order was captured or salvaged by England on the U-13 which was destroyed by depth charges in very shallow water in the Downs near the mouth of the Thames. For this boat, of course, this order may still have applied in May 1940. Then in the year 1940, after the Norway Campaign, I again made the open waters of the Atlantic the central field of operations, and for these boats this order did not apply, as is proved by the fact that rescues took place, which I just explained.
I then rescinded the order completely for it contained the first practical instructions on how U-boats were to act toward a convoy and later on was no longer necessary, for by then it had become second nature to the U-boat commanders. To my recollection the order was completely withdrawn in November 1940 at the latest.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, I have here the table of contents of the "Standing War Orders of 1942," and that may be found on Page 16 of Document Book Number 1. I will submit it as Doenitz-11. In this table of contents the Number 154 which deals with the order we have just discussed is blank. Does that mean that this order did not exist any more at the time when the "Standing War Orders of 1942" were issued?
DOENITZ: Yes, by then it had long since ceased to exist.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When were the standing orders for the year 1942 compiled?
DOENITZ: In the course of the year 1941.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When you received reports from commanders about rescue measures, did you object to these measures? Did you criticize or prohibit them?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: No, not as a rule; only if subsequently my anxiety was too great. For example, I had a report from a commander that, because he had remained too long with the lifeboats and thus had been pursued by the escorts perhaps-or probably-summoned by wireless, his boat had been severely attacked by depth charges and had been badly damaged by the escorts-something which would not have happened if he had left the scene in time-then naturally I pointed out to him that his action had been wrong from a military point of view. I am also convinced that I lost ships through rescue. Of course I cannot prove that, since the boats are lost. But such is the whole mentality of the commander; and it is entirely natural, for every sailor retains from the days of peace the view that rescue is the noblest and most honorable act he can perform. And I believe there was no officer in the German Navy-it is no doubt true of all the other nations-who, for example, would not consider a medal for rescue, rescue at personal risk, as the highest peacetime decoration. In view of this basic attitude it is always very dangerous not to change to a wartime perspective and to the principle that the security of one's own ship comes first, and that war is after all a serious thing.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In what years was the practice you have just described followed, that U-boats did not rescue when they endangered themselves?
DOENITZ: In 1940, that is towards the end of 1939, economic warfare was governed by the Prize Ordinance insofar as U-boats were still operating individually. Then came the operations, close to the enemy coast, of 1939-40 which I have described; the order Number 154 applied to these operations. Then came the Norway campaign, and then when the U-boat war resumed in the spring of 1940, this order of rescue, or non-rescue if the U-boat itself was endangered, applied in the years 1940, 1941, and 1942 until autumn.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Was this order put in writing?
DOENITZ: No, it was not necessary, for the general order about rescue was a matter of course, and besides it was contained in certain orders of the Naval Operations Staff at the beginning of the war. The stipulation of non-rescue, if the safety of the submarine is at stake, is taken for granted in every navy; and I made a special point of that in my reports on the cases which I have just discussed.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In June of 1942 there was an order about the rescue of captains. This has the Number DOENITZ-22; I beg your pardon-it is Doenitz Number 23, and is found on Page 45 of Document Book 1, and I hereby submit it.
It is an
9 May 46
extract from the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff of 5 June 1942. I quote:
"According to instructions received from the Naval Operations Staff submarines are ordered by the Commander of U-boats to take on board as prisoners captains of ships sunk, with their papers, if this is possible without endangering the boat and without impairing fighting capacity."
How did this order come into being?
DOENITZ: Here we are concerned with an order of the Naval Operations Staff that captains are to be taken prisoners, that is, to be brought home and that again is something different from rescue. The Naval Operations Staff was of the opinion-and rightly-that since we could not have a very high percentage, say 80 to 90 percent, of the crews of the sunk merchantmen brought back-we even helped in their rescue, which was natural-then at least we must see to it that the enemy was deprived of the most important and significant parts of the crews, that is, the captains; hence the order to take the captains from their lifeboats on to the U-boats as prisoners.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did this order exist in this or another form until the end of the war?
DOENITZ: Yes, it was later even incorporated into the standing orders, because it was an order of the Naval Operations Staff.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER Was it carried out until the end of the war, and with what results?
DOENITZ: Yes, according to my recollection it was carried out now and then even in the last few years of the war. But in general the result of this order was very slight. I personally can remember only a very few cases. But through letters which I have now received from my commanders and which I read, I discovered that there were a few more cases than I believed, altogether perhaps 10 or 12 at the most.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER To what do you attribute the fact that despite this express order so few captains were taken prisoner?
DOENITZ: The chief reason, without doubt, was that on an increasing scale, the more the mass of U-boats attacked enemy convoys, the convoy system of the enemy was perfected. The great bulk of the U-boats was engaged in the battle against convoys. In a few other cases it was not always possible by reason of the boat's safety to approach the lifeboats in order to pick out a captain. And thirdly, I believe that the commanders of the U-boats were reluctant, quite rightly from their viewpoint, to have a captain on
9 May 46
board for so long during a mission. In any event, I know that the commanders were not at all happy about this order.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, now I turn to a document which is really the nucleus of the accusation against you. It is Document GB-199, Page 36 of the British document book. This is your radio message of 17 September, and the Prosecution asserts that it is an order for the destruction of the shipwrecked. It is of such importance that I will read it to you again.
"To all Commanding Officers:
"1. No attempt of any kind must be made to rescue 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. Rescue runs counter to the most elementary demands of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews.
"2. Orders for bringing back captains and chief engineers still apply. "3. Rescue the shipwrecked only if their statements will be of importance for your boat.
"4. Be harsh. Bear in mind that the enemy takes no regard of women and children in his bombing attacks on German cities." Please describe to the Tribunal the antecedents of this order, which are decisive for its intentions. Describe first of all the general military situation out of which the order arose.
DOENITZ: In September of 1942 the great bunk of the German U-boats fought convoys. The center of gravity in the deployment of U-boats was in the North Atlantic, where the protected convoys operated between England and America. The U-boats in the north fought in the same way, attacking only the convoys to Murmansk. There was no other traffic in that area. The same situation existed in the Mediterranean; there also the objects of our attack were the convoys. Beyond that, a part of the boats was committed directly to American ports, Trinidad, New York, Boston, and other centers of congested maritime traffic. A small number of U-boats fought also in open areas in the middle or the south of the Atlantic. The criterion at this time was that the powerful Anglo-American air force was patrolling everywhere and in increasingly large numbers. That was a point which caused me great concern, for obviously the airplane, because of its speed, constitutes the most dangerous threat to the U-boat. And that was not a matter of fancy on my part, for from the summer of 1942-that is, a few months before September, when this order was issued-the losses of our U-boats through air attacks rose suddenly by more than 300 percent, I believe.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, for clarification of this point, I am giving you a diagram which I would like to submit in evidence to the Tribunal as Doenitz-99. Will you, with the use of the diagram, explain the curve of losses?
DOENITZ: It is very clear that this diagram showing the losses of U-boats corroborates the statements which I have just made. One can see that up to June 1942 U-boat losses were kept within reasonable limits and then-in July 1942-what I have just described happened suddenly. Whereas the monthly losses up till then varied as the diagram shows between 4, 2, 5, 3, 4, or 2 U-boats, from July the losses per month jumped to 10, 11, 8, 13, 14. Then follow the two winter months December and January, which were used for a thorough overhauling of the ships; and that explains the decrease which, however, has no bearing on the trend of losses.
These developments caused me the greatest concern and resulted in a great number of orders to the submarine commanders on how they were to act while on the surface; for the losses were caused while the boats were above water, since the airplanes could sight or locate them; and so the boats had to limit their surface activities as much as possible. These losses also prompted me to issue memoranda to the Naval Operations Staff.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When?
DOENITZ: The memoranda were written in the summer, in June.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In June of 1942?
DOENITZ: In June 1942 or July. At the pinnacle of my success, it occurred to me that air power might some day stifle us and force us under water. Thus, despite the huge successes which I still had at that time, my fears for the future were great, and that they were not imaginary is shown by the actual trend of losses after the submarines left the dockyard in February 1943; in that month 18 boats were lost; in March, 15; in April, 14. And then the losses jumped to 38. The airplane, the surprise by airplane, and the equipment of the planes with radar-which in my opinion is, next to the atomic bomb, the decisive war-winning invention of the Anglo-Americans- brought about the collapse of U-boat warfare.
The U-boats were forced under water, for they could not maintain their position on the surface at alp Not only were they located when the airplane spotted them, but this radar instrument actually located them up to 60 nautical miles away, beyond the range of sight, during the day and at night. Of course, this necessity of staying under water was impossible for the old U-boats, for they had to surface at least in order to recharge their batteries. This development forced me, therefore' to have the old U-boats equipped with the so-called
9 May 46
"Schnorchel," and to build up an entirely new U-boat force which could stay under water and which could travel from Germany to Japan, for example, without surfacing at all. It is evident, therefore, that I was in an increasingly dangerous situation.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, in order to characterize this situation I want to call your attention to your war diary of this time. This will have the Number Doenitz-18, reproduced on Page 32, Volume I. I want to read only the contents of the entries from the 2nd until the 14th of September; Page 32:
"On 2 September U-256 surprised and bombed by aircraft; unfit for sailing and diving;
"On 3 September aircraft sights U-boat;
"On 4 September U-756 has not reported despite request since 1 September when near convoy; presumed lost.
"On 5 September aircraft sights U-boat;
"On 6 September U-705 probably lost because of enemy aircraft attack;
"On 7 September U-130 bombed by Boeing bomber;
"On 8 September U-202 attacked by aircraft in Bay of Biscay.
"On 9 September..."
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuehler, the defendant has already told us of the losses and of the reason for the losses. What is the good of giving us details of the fact that U-boats were fighting aircraft?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I wanted to show, Mr. President, that the testimony of Admiral Doenitz is confirmed by the entries in his diary of that time. But if the Tribunal. . .
THE PRESIDENT: That's a matter of common knowledge. We can read it. Anyhow, if you just draw our attention to the document we win read it. We don't need you to read the details of it.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Yes, Mr. President. I will do it that way.
DOENITZ: That is a typical and characteristic entry in my war diary of those weeks and days just before the issuance of my order; but I wanted to add the following: The aircraft were very dangerous especially for psychological reasons: when no aircraft is on the scene, the commander of the U-boat views his situation as perfectly clear but the next moment when the aircraft comes into sight, his situation is completely hopeless. And that happened not only to young commanders, but to old experienced commanders who remembered the good old times.
Perhaps I may, quite briefly, give a clear-cut example. A U-boat needs one minute for the crew to come in through the hatch before it can submerge at all. An airplane
9 May 46
flies on the average 6,000 meters in one minute. The U-boat, therefore, in order to be able to submerge at all - and not to be bombed while it is still on the surface - must sight the aircraft from a distance of at least 6,000 meters. But that also is not sufficient, for even if the U-boat has submerged it still has not reached a safe depth. The U-boat, therefore, must sight the airplane even earlier, namely, at the extreme boundary of the field of vision. Therefore, it is an absolute condition of success that the U-boat is in a state of constant alert, that above all it proceeds at maximum speed, because the greater the speed the faster the U-boat submerges; and, secondly, that as few men as possible are on the tower so that they can come into the U-boat as quickly as possible which means that there should be no men on the upper deck at all, and so on. Now, rescue work, which necessitates being on the upper deck in order to bring help and take care of more people and which may even mean taking in tow a number of lifeboats, naturally completely interrupts the submarine's state of alert, and the U-boat is, as a consequence, hopelessly exposed to any attack from the air.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I wish now to take up the Laconia matter itself which I would be reluctant to have interrupted. If it is agreeable to the Tribunal, I would suggest that we have a recess now.
[A recess was taken.]
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, you have just described the enemy's supremacy in the air in September 1942. During these September days you received the report about the sinking of the British transport Laconia. I submit to the Tribunal the war diaries concerning that incident under Numbers Doenitz-18, 20, 21, and 22. These are the war diaries of the commanders of U-boats and of the commanders of the submarines which took part in this action, Kapitanleutnants Hartenstein, Schacht and Wurdemann. They are reproduced in the document book on Page 34 and the following pages. I shall read to you the report which you received. That is on Page 35 of the document book, 13 September, 0125 hours. It reads "Wireless message sent on America circuit:
"Sunk by Hartenstein British ship Laconia." Then the position is given and the message continues:
"Unfortunately with 1,500 Italian prisoners of war. Up to now picked up 90..." then the details, and the end is: "Request orders." I had the document handed to you. . .
9 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Where are you now?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: On Page 35, Mr. President, the entry of 13 September, time 0125 hours, the number at the beginning of the line; at the bottom of the page.
[Turning to the defendant.] I had the documents handed to you to refresh your memory. Please tell me, first, what impression or what knowledge you had about this ship Laconia which had been reported sunk, and about its crew.
DOENITZ: I knew from the handbook on armed British ships which we had at our disposal that the Laconia was armed with 14 guns. I concluded, therefore, that it would have a British crew of at least about 500 men. When I heard that there were also Italian prisoners on board, it was clear to me that this number would be further increased by the guards of the prisoners.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Please describe now, on the basis of the documents, the main events surrounding your order of 17 September, and elaborate, first, on the rescue or non-rescue of British or Italians and secondly, your concern for the safety of the U-boats in question.
DOENITZ: When I received this report, I radioed to all U-boats in the whole area. I issued the order:
"Schacht, Group Eisbar, Wurdemann and Wilamowitz, proceed to Hartenstein immediately."
Hartenstein was the commander who had sunk the ship. Later, I had to have several boats turn back because their distance from the scene was too great. The boat that was furthest from the area and received orders to participate in the rescue was 710 miles away, and therefore could not arrive before two days. Above all I asked Hartenstein, the commander who had sunk the ship, whether the Laconia had sent out radio messages, because I hoped that as a result British and American ships would come to the rescue. Hartenstein affirmed that and, besides, he himself sent out the following radio message in English...
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER That is on Page 36, Mr. President, under time figure 0600.
DOENITZ: "If any ship will assist the shipwrecked Laconia crew, I will not attack her, provided I am not being attacked by ship or air force." Summing up briefly, I gained the impression from the reports of the U-boats that they began the rescue work with great zeal.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: How many U-boats were there?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: There were three or four submarines. I received reports that the numbers of those taken on board by each U-boat were between 100 and 200. I believe Hartenstein had 156 and another 131. I received reports which spoke of the crew being cared for and taken over from lifeboats; one report mentioned 35 Italians, 25 Englishmen, and 4 Poles; another, 30 Italians and 24 Englishmen; a third, 26 Italians, 39 Englishmen, and 3 Poles. I received reports about the towing of lifeboats towards the submarines. All these reports caused me the greatest concern because I knew exactly that this would not end well. My concern at that time was expressed in a message to the submarines radioed four times, "Detailed boats to take over only so many as to remain fully able to dive." It is obvious that, if the narrow space of the submarine-our U-boats were half as big as the enemy's-is crowded with 100 to 200 additional people, the submarine is already in absolute danger, not to speak of its fitness to fight. Furthermore, I sent the message, "All boats are to take on only so many people..."
THE PRESIDENT: Are these messages in the document?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, where are they? Why did he not refer to the time of them? FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: They are all messages contained in the three diaries of the U-boats. The first message is on Page 36, Mr. President, under group 0720. I will read it.
"Radio message received"-a message from Admiral Doenitz - " 'Hartenstein remain near place of sinking. Maintain ability to dive. Detailed boats to take over only so many as to remain fully able to dive."'
DOENITZ: Then I sent another message:
"Safety of U-boat is not to be endangered under any circumstances."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: This message is on Page 40, Mr. President, under the date of 17 September, 0140 hours.
DOENITZ: "Take all measures with appropriate ruthlessness, including discontinuance of all rescue activities" Furthermore, I sent the message:
"Boats must at all times be clear for crashdiving and underwater use."
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: That is on Page 37, under 0740, Heading 3.
DOENITZ: "Beware of enemy interference by airplanes and submarines."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: "All boats, also Hartenstein, take in only so many people that boats are completely ready for use under water."
DOENITZ: That my concern was justified was clearly evident from the message which Hartenstein sent and which said that he had been attacked by bombs from an American bomber.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: This message, Mr. President, is on Page 39, under 1311 hours. It is an emergency message, and under 2304 hours there is the whole text of the message which I should like to read.
DOENITZ: At this occasion . . .
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: One moment, Admiral The message reads:
"Radiogram sent: From Hartenstein" - to Admiral Doenitz - "Bombed five times by American Liberator in low flight when towing four full boats in spite of a Red Cross flag, 4 square meters, on the bridge and good visibility. Both periscopes at present out of order. Breaking off rescue; all off board; putting out to West. Will repair."
DOENITZ: Hartenstein, as can be seen from a later report, also had 55 Englishmen and 55 Italians on board his submarine at that time. During the first bombing attack one of the lifeboats was hit by a bomb and capsized, and according to a report on his return there were considerable losses among those who had been rescued.
During the second attack, one bomb exploded right in the middle of the submarine, and damaged it seriously; he reported that it was only by a miracle of German shipbuilding technique that the submarine did not fall to pieces.
THE PRESIDENT: Where has he gone to now? What page is he on?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: He is speaking about the events which are described on Pages 38 and 39, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: It would help the Tribunal, you know, if you kept some sort of order instead of going on to one page and then to 40, and then back to 38.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: The reason is that we are using two different war diaries, Mr. President.
Admiral, would you tell us now what measures you took after Hartenstein's report that he had been attacked repeatedly in the course of the rescue measures?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: I deliberated at length whether, after this experience, I should not break off all attempts at rescue; and beyond doubt, from the military point of view, that would have been the right thing to do, because the attack showed clearly in what way the U-boats were endangered.
That decision became more grave for me because I received a call from the Naval Operations Staff that the Fuehrer did not wish me to risk any submarines in rescue work or to summon them from distant areas. A very heated conference with my staff ensued, and I can remember closing it with the statement, "I cannot throw these people into the water now. I will carry on."
Of course, it was clear to me that I would have to assume full responsibility for further losses, and from the military point of view this continuation of the rescue work was wrong. Of that I received proof from the submarine U-506 of Wurdemann, who also reported- I believe on the following morning - that he was bombed by an airplane.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: That report, Mr. President, is on Page 42 in the war diary of Wurdemann, an entry of 17 September, at 2343 hours. He reported:
'Transfer of survivors to Annamite completed." - Then come details "Attacked by heavy seaplane at noon. Fully ready for action."
DOENITZ: The third submarine, Schacht's, the U-507, had sent a wireless message that he had so and so many men on board and was towing four lifeboats with Englishmen and Poles.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: That is the report on Page 40, the first report.
DOENITZ: Thereupon, of course, I ordered him to cast off these boats, because this burden made it impossible for him to dive.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: That is the second message on Page 40.
DOENITZ: Later, he again sent a long message, describing the supplying of the Italians and Englishmen in the boat.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER That is on Page 41, at 2310 hours. I shall read that message:
"Transferred 163 Italians to Annamite." - The Annamite was a French cruiser which had been called to assist in the rescue.-"Navigation officer of Laconia and another English officer on board. Seven lifeboats with about 330 Englishmen and Poles, among them 15 women and 16 children, deposited at Qu. FE 9612, women and children kept aboard ship for one night. Supplied all shipwrecked with hot meal and drinks,
9 May 46
clothed and bandaged when necessary. Sighted four more boats at sea-anchor Qu. FE 9619."
Then there are further details which are not important.
DOENITZ: Because I had ordered him to cast off the lifeboats and we considered this general message as a supplementary later report, he was admonished by another message; and from that, the Prosecution wrongly concluded that I had prohibited the rescue of Englishmen. That I did not prohibit it can be seen from the fact that I did not raise objection to the many reports speaking of the rescue of Englishmen.
Indeed, in the end I had the impression that the Italians did not fare very well in the rescue. That this impression was correct can be seen from the figures of those rescued. Of 811 Englishmen about 800 were rescued, and of 1,800 Italians 450.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, I want once more to clarify the dates of the entire action. The Laconia was torpedoed on 12 September. When was the air attack on the lifeboats?
DOENITZ: On the 16th.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In the night of the 16th? On the 17th?
DOENITZ: On the 16th.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: On the 16th of September. So the rescue took how many days altogether?
DOENITZ: Four days.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: And afterwards was continued until when?
DOENITZ: Until we turned them over to the French warships which had been notified by us.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Now, what is the connection between this incident of the Laconia, which you have just described, and the order which the Prosecution charges as an order for destruction?
DOENITZ: Apart from my great and constant anxiety for the submarines and the strong feeling that the British and Americans had not helped in spite of the proximity of Freetown, I learned from this action very definitely that the time had passed when U-boats could carry out such operations on the surface without danger. The two bombing attacks showed clearly that in spite of good weather, in spite of the large numbers of people to be rescued who were more clearly visible to the aviators than in normal heavy sea conditions when few people have to be rescued, the danger to the
9 May 46
submarines was so great that, as the one responsible for the boats and the lives of the crews, I had to prohibit rescue activities in the face of the ever-present-I cannot express it differently - the ever present tremendous Anglo-American air force. I want to mention, just as an example, that all the submarines which took part in that rescue operation were lost by bombing attack at their next action or soon afterwards. The situation in which the enemy kills the rescuers while they are exposing themselves to great personal danger is really and emphatically contrary to ordinary common sense and the elementary laws of warfare.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: 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.
DOENITZ: Actually, I cannot say anything in the face of such an accusation. The whole question concerned rescue or non-rescue; 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 KRANZBUEHLER: 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?
DOENITZ: 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 favorably 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
9 May 46
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.
THE PRESIDENT: You haven't referred us back to the order, but are you referring to Page 36 of the Prosecution's trial brief, or rather British Document Book?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Yes, Mr. President, Page 36 of the British Document Book.
THE PRESIDENT: There are two orders there, are there not?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: No. It is one order with four numbered parts.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, there are two paragraphs, aren't there? There is Paragraph 1 and there is Paragraph 2 of 17 September 1942.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I think you mean the excerpt from the war diary of the Commander of the U-boats, which is also on-Page 36 in the document book.
THE PRESIDENT: Hadn't you better read the phrase that you are referring to? FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Yes. I am speaking now of the second sentence, dated 17 September, under heading 1, on Page 36 of the document book of the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: The second sentence reads, "Rescue is contrary to the most elementary laws of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews." That is the sentence on which Admiral DOENITZ commented just now.
THE PRESIDENT: On Page 36, the first order is an order to "All Commanding Officers" and Paragraph 1 of it begins, "No attempt of any kind must be made at rescuing members of ships . . ." Is that the paragraph you are referring to?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER Yes, and of that I mean the second sentence, Mr. President. "Rescue is contrary to the most primitive laws of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and crews."
9 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: What about the next paragraph, 17 September 1942, Paragraph 2?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I just wanted to put that to him. That is an entry in the war diary on which I would like to question him now.
Admiral, I now put to you an entry in your war diary of 17 September; there we find:
"All commanders are again advised that attempts to rescue crews of ships sunk are contrary to the most elementary 1a\vs of warfare after enemy ships and their crews have been destroyed. Orders about picking up captains and chief engineers remain in force."
THE PRESIDENT: It is differently translated in our document book. You said:
"After enemy ships have been destroyed..." In our translation it is "....by annihilating enemy ships and their crews."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I think it should be 'by," Mr. President, not "after."
DOENITZ: This entry in the war diary refers to the radio order, the four regular radio messages which I sent during the Laconia incident and which were also acknowledged.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: One moment, Admiral. Please explain to the Tribunal first how such entries in the war diary were made. Who kept the war diary? Did you yourself keep it or who did that?
DOENITZ: Since I am not to conceal anything here, I have to say that the keeping of the war diary was a difficult matter for me because there were no reliable officers available for this task. That entry, as I suspected and as has been confirmed to me here, was made by a former chief petty officer who tried to condense my orders during the entire case into an entry of this sort. Of course, I was responsible for each entry; but this entry had in reality no actual consequences; my radio order was the essential thing.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, the decisive point here, in my opinion, is whether that entry is a record of your actual reflections or whether it is only an excerpt from the wireless order, an extract which had been noted down by a subordinate according to his best knowledge and ability.
DOENITZ: The latter is correct. My own lengthy deliberations were concerned with the order of the Naval Operations Staff, the order of the Fuehrer, and my own serious decision, whether or not I should discontinue that method of warfare; but they are not included in the war diary.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, will you explain what is meant in the war diary by the entry, "All commanders are advised again," and so on.
DOENITZ: I do not know exactly what that means. My staff, which is here, has told me that it referred to the four radio messages which I had sent; because before the Laconia case no statement on this subject had been made. "Again," therefore, means that this was the fifth radio message.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER Thus the order of 17 September 1942 was, for you, the end of the Laconia incident?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: To whom was it directed?
DOENITZ: According to my best recollection, it was directed only to submarines on the High Seas. For the various operation areas- North Atlantic, Central Atlantic, South Atlantic-we had different radio channels. Since the other submarines were in contact with convoys and thus unable to carry out rescue measures, they could simply shelve the order. But I have now discovered that the order was sent out to all submarines, that is, on all channels; it was a technical matter of communication which of course could do no harm.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You said that the fundamental consideration underlying the entire order was the overwhelming danger of air attack. If that is correct, how could you in the same order maintain the directive for the rescue of captains and chief engineers? That can be found under Heading 2.
DOENITZ: There is, of course, a great difference in risk between rescue measures for which the submarine has to stop, and men have to go on deck, and a brief surfacing to pick up a captain, because while merely surfacing the submarine remains in a state of alert, whereas otherwise that alertness is completely disrupted.
However, one thing is clear. There was a military purpose in the seizure of these captains for which I had received orders from the Naval Operations Staff. As a matter of principle, and generally, I would say that in the pursuit of a military aim, that is to say, not rescue work but the capture of important enemies, one must and can run a certain risk. Besides, that addition was not significant in my view because I knew that in practice it brought very meager results, I might say no results at all.
I remember quite clearly having asked myself, "Why do we still pick them up?" It was not our intention, however, to drop a general order of that importance. But the essential points are, first the lesser risk that the state of alert might not be maintained during rescue and, secondly, the pursuit of an important military aim.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: What do you mean by the last sentence in the order, "Be harsh"?
DOENITZ: I had preached to my U-boat commanders for 5 1/2 years, that they should be hard towards themselves. And when giving this order I again felt that I had to emphasize to my commanders in a very drastic way my whole concern and my grave responsibility for the submarines, and thus the necessity of prohibiting rescue activities in view of the overwhelming power of the enemy air force. After all it is very definite that on one side there is the harshness of war, the necessity of saving one's own submarine, and on the other the traditional sentiment of the sailor.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You heard the witness Korvettenkapitan Mohle state in this Court that he misunderstood the order in the sense that survivors should be killed, and in several cases he instructed submarine commanders in that sense.
DOENITZ: Mohle is . . .
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: One moment, Admiral. I want to put a question first. As commanding officer, do you not have to assume responsibility for a misunderstanding of your order?
DOENITZ: Of course, I am responsible for all orders, for their form and their contents. Mohle, however, is the only person who had doubts about the meaning of that order. I regret that Mohle 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, as members of my staff, were either also partly responsible or participated in the drafting of these orders; or, as another alternative, through his immediate superior in Kiel. I am convinced that the few U-boat commanders to whom he communicated his doubts remained quite unaffected by them. If there were any consequences I would of course assume responsibility for them.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You are acquainted with the case of Kapitanleutnant Eck, who after sinking the Greek steamer Peleus in the spring of 1944 actually fired on life boats. What is your view of this incident?
DOENITZ: As Kapitanleutnant Eck stated at the end of his interrogation under oath, he knew nothing of Mohle's interpretation or Mohle's doubts nor of the completely twisted message and my decision in the case of U-386 That was the incident which Mohle mentioned when the submarine met pneumatic rafts with fliers, and I voiced my disapproval because he had not taken them on board. A written criticism of his actions was also forwarded to him. On the other hand, some authority pointed out that he had not
9 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
9 May 46
destroyed these survivors. Eck knew nothing about the interpretation or the doubts of the Mohle order, nor of this affair. He acted on his own decision, and his aim was not to kill survivors but to remove the wreckage; because he was certain that otherwise this wreckage would on the following day give a clue to Anglo-American planes and that they would spot and destroy him. His purpose, therefore, was entirely different from the one stated in the Mohle interpretation.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Eck said during his examination that he had counted on your approval of his actions. Did you ever hear anything at all about the Eck case during the war?
DOENITZ: No. It was during my interrogation here that I heard about it, for Eck was taken prisoner during that same operation.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Do you approve of his actions, now that you know of them?
DOENITZ: I do not approve his actions because, as I said before, in this respect one must not deviate from military ethics under any circumstances. However, I want to say that Kapitanleutnant 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. Therefore, if for the reason that he believed he would otherwise be spotted and destroyed-and that reason was not unfounded, because in the same operational area and during the same time four submarines, I think, had been bombed-if he came to his decision for that reason, then a German court-martial would undoubtedly have taken it into consideration. I believe that after the war one views events differently, and one does not fully realize the great responsibility which an unfortunate commander carries.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Apart from the Eck case did you, during the war, or after, hear of any other instance in which a U-boat commander fired on shipwrecked people or life rafts?
DOENITZ: Not a single one.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You know, do you not, the documents of the Prosecution which describe the sinking of the ships Noreen Mary and Antonico? Do you or do you not recognize the soundness of these documents as evidence according to your experience in these matters?
DOENITZ: No. I believe that they cannot stand the test of an impartial examination. We have a large number of similar reports about the other side, and we were always of the opinion, and also stated that opinion in writing to the Fuehrer and the OKW, that one must view these cases with a good deal of skepticism, because a
9 May 46
shipwrecked person can easily believe that he is being fired on, whereas the shots may not be aimed at him at all, but at the ship, that is, misses of some sort.
The fact that the Prosecution gives just these two examples proves to me that my conviction is correct, that apart from the Eck case no further instances of this kind occurred during those long years in the ranks of the large German U-boat force.
FLOTTENRIGHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You mentioned before the discussion with the Fuehrer in May 1942, during which the problem whether it was permissible to kill survivors was examined, or at least touched upon by the Fuehrer. Was' that question reexamined at any time by the Commander-in-Chief of U-boats or the Naval Operations Staff?
DOENITZ: When I had become Commander-in-Chief of the Navy . . .
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER That was in 1943?
DOENITZ: I think in the summer of 1943 I received a letter from the Foreign Office in which I was informed that about 87 percent of the crews of merchant ships which had been sunk were returning home. I was told that was a disadvantage and was asked whether it was not possible to do something about it. Thereupon I had a letter sent to the Foreign Office in which I wrote 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.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: There is an entry in the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff which deals with this case. I submit this entry as Doenitz-42, on Pages 92 to 94 in Volume II of the document book.
I shall read as introduction the first and second sentences of Page 92. The entry is dated 4 April 1943.
"The German Foreign Office pointed out a statement of the British Transport Minister according to which, following sinkings of merchant vessels, an average of 87 percent of the crews were saved. On the subject of this statement the Naval Operations Staff made a comprehensive reply to the Foreign Office." Then there is the reply on the next pages, and I should like to call to your attention a part of it first, under Heading 1, about the number of convoy ships sunk. What is the importance of that in this connection?
DOENITZ: That so many people certainly returned home.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Furthermore, under Heading 2, it is mentioned that the sailors do not need a long period of training, with the exception of officers, and that an order for the picking up of captains and chief engineers already existed. What is the meaning of that?
DOENITZ: It is intended to emphasize that a matter like that is being judged in the wrong light.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: One moment, Admiral. By "a matter like that," you mean the usefulness, from a military point of view, of killing the shipwrecked?
DOENITZ: I mean that crews were always available to the enemy; or unskilled men could very quickly be trained.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER Under Heading 4, you point to the great danger of reprisals against your own submarine crews. Did such reprisals against German U-boat crews occur at any time in the course of the war?
DOENITZ: I do not know. I did not hear anything about reprisals in that respect. I only received reliable reports that when U-boats were bombed and destroyed from the air, the men swimming in the water were shot at. But whether these were individual acts or reprisals carried out on orders, I do not know. I assume they were individual acts.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: The decisive point of the entire letter seems to be in Heading 3; I shall read that to you:
"A directive to take action against lifeboats of sunken vessels and crew members drifting in the sea would, for psychological reasons, hardly be acceptable to U-boat crews, since it would be contrary to the innermost feelings of all sailors. Such a directive could only be considered if by it a decisive military success could be achieved."
Admiral, you yourself have repeatedly spoken about the harshness of war. Are you, nevertheless, of the opinion that psychologically the U-boat crews could not be expected to carry out such an order? And why?
DOENITZ: We U-boat men knew that we had to fight a very hard war against the great sea powers. Germany had at her disposal for this naval warfare nothing but the U-boats. Therefore, from the beginning-already in peacetime-I trained the submarine crews in the spirit of pure idealism and patriotism. That was necessary, and I continued that training throughout the war and supported it by very close personal contacts with the men at the bases. It was necessary to achieve very high morale.
9 May 48
very high fighting spirit, because otherwise the severe struggle and the enormous losses, as shown on the diagram, would have been morally impossible to bear. But in spite of these high losses we continued the fight, because it had to be; and we made up for our losses and again and again replenished our forces with volunteers full of enthusiasm and full of moral strength, just because morale was so high. And I would never, even at the time of our most serious losses, have permitted that these men be given an order which was unethical or which would damage their fighting morale; much less would I myself ever have given such an order, for I placed my whole confidence in that high fighting morale and endeavored to maintain it.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You said the U-boat forces were replenished with volunteers, did you?
DOENITZ: We had practically only volunteers.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Also at the time of the highest losses?
DOENITZ: Yes, even during the time of highest losses, during the period when everyone knew that he took part in an average of two missions and then was lost.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: How high were your losses?
DOENITZ: According to my recollection, our total losses were 640 or 670.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: And crew members?
DOENITZ: Altogether, we had 40,000 men in the submarine force. Of these 40,000 men 30,000 did not return, and of these 30,000, 25,000 were killed and only 5,000 were taken prisoner. The majority of the submarines was destroyed from the air in the vast areas of the sea, the Atlantic, where rescue was out of the question.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I come now to a new subject. Would this be a suitable time to recess?
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I am turning now to the theme of the so-called conspiracy. The Prosecution is accusing you of participating from 1932, on the basis of your close connections with the Party, in a conspiracy to promote aggressive wars and commit war crimes. Where were you during the weeks of the seizure of power by the National Socialists in the early part of 1933?
DOENITZ: Immediately after 30 January 1933, I believe it was on 1 February, I went on leave to the Dutch East Indies and Ceylon, a trip which lasted well into the summer of 1933. This leave journey had been granted me, at Grossadmiral Raeder's recommendation, by President Hindenburg.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: After that, you became commander of a cruiser at a foreign station?
DOENITZ: In the autumn of 1934 I went as captain of the cruiser Emden through the Atlantic, around Africa into the Indian Ocean, and back.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Before this sojourn abroad or after your return in 1935 and until you were appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in the year 1943 were you politically active in any way?
DEWITT: I was not active politically until 1 May 1945, when I became head of the State, not before then.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: The Prosecution has submitted a document, namely, an affidavit by Ambassador Messersmith. It bears the number USA-57 (Document Number 1760-PS) and I have the pertinent extracts in my document book, Volume II, Page 100. In this affidavit, Ambassador Messersmith says that from 1930 until the spring of 1934 he acted as Consul General for the United States in Berlin. Then, until July 1937, he was in Vienna and from there he went to Washington. He gives an opinion about you with the remark, "Among the people whom I saw frequently and to whom my statements refer were the following...." Then your name is mentioned. From this one must get the impression that during this period of time you were active in political circles in Berlin or Vienna. Is that correct?
DOENITZ: No. At that time I was Lieutenant Commander and from the end of 1934 on I was Commander.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: With the permission of the Tribunal I sent an interrogatory to Ambassador Messersmith
9 May 46
in order to determine upon what facts he was basing his opinion. This interrogatory was answered and I am submitting it as Exhibit Doenitz-45. The answers will be found on Page 102 of the document book, and I quote:
"During my residence in Berlin and during my later frequent visits there as stated in my previous affidavits, I saw Admiral Karl Doenitz and spoke to him on several occasions. Howeyer, I kept no diary and I am unable to state with accuracy when and where the meetings occurred, the capacity in which Admiral Doenitz appeared there, or the topic or topics of our conversation. My judgment on Doenitz expressed in my previous affidavit is based on personal knowledge and on the general knowledge which I obtained from the various sources described in my previous affidavits."
Did you, Admiral, see and speak with Ambassador Messersmith anywhere and at any time?
DOENITZ: I never saw him, and I hear his name here for the first time. Also, at the time in question, I was not in Berlin. I was in Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea coast or in the Indian Ocean. If he alleges to have spoken to me it would have had to be in Wilhelmshaven or in the Indian Ocean. Since neither is the case, I believe that he is mistaken and that he must have confused me with somebody else.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Were you a member of the NSDAP?
DOENITZ: On 30 January 1944 I received from the Fuehrer, as a decoration, the Golden Party Badge; and I assume that I thereby became an honorary member of the Party.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When did you become acquainted with Adolf Hitler and how often did you see him before you were appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy?
DOENITZ: I saw Adolf Hitler for the first time when, in the presence of Grossadmiral Raeder in the autumn of 1934, I informed him of my departure for foreign parts as captain of the cruiser Emden. I saw him again on the day following my return with the Emden. From the autumn of 1934 until the outbreak of war in 1939, in 5 years, I saw him four times in all, including the two occasions when I reported to him as already mentioned.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER And what were the other two occasions? Were they military or political occasions?
DOENITZ: One was a military matter when he was watching a review of the fleet in the Baltic Sea and I stood next to him on
9 May 46
the bridge of the flagship in order to give the necessary explanations while two U-boats showed attack maneuvers.
The other occasion was an invitation to all high-ranking army and navy officers when the new Reich Chancellery in the Voss Strasse was completed. That was in 1938 or 1939. I saw him there but I did not speak with him.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: How many times during the war, until your appointment as Commander-in-Chief, did you see the Fuehrer?
DOENITZ: In the years between 1939 and 1943 I saw the Fuehrer four times, each time when short military reports about U-boat warfare were being made and always in the presence of large groups.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Until that time had you had any discussion which went beyond the purely military?
DOENITZ: No, none at ale
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER When were you appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy as successor to Grossadmiral Raeder?
DOENITZ: On 30 January 1943.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Was the war which Germany was waging at that time at an offensive or defensive stage?
DOENITZ: At a decidedly defensive stage.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In your eyes was the position of Commander-in-Chief, which was offered to you, a political or a military position?
DOENITZ: It was self-evidently a purely military position, namely, that of the first soldier at the head of the Navy. My appointment to this position also came about because of purely military reasons which motivated Grossadmiral Raeder to propose my name for this position. Purely military considerations were the decisive ones in respect to this appointment.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You know, Admiral, that the Prosecution draws very far-reaching conclusions from your acceptance of this appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, especially with reference to the conspiracy. The Prosecution contends that through your acceptance of this position you ratified the previous happenings, all the endeavors of the Party since 1920 or 1922, and the entire German policy, domestic and foreign, at least since 1933. Were you aware of the significance of this foreign policy? Did you take this into consideration at all?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: The idea never entered my head. Nor do I believe that there is a soldier who, when he receives a military command, would entertain such thoughts or be conscious of such considerations. My appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy represented for me an order which I of course had to obey, just as I had to obey every other military order, unless for reasons of health I was not able to do so. Since I was in good health and believed that I could be of use to the Navy, I naturally also accepted this command with inner conviction. Anything else would have been desertion or disobedience.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Then as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy you came into very close contact with Adolf Hitler. You also know just what conclusions the Prosecution draws from this relationship. Please tell me just what this relationship was and on what it was based?
DOENITZ: In order to be brief, I might perhaps explain the matter as follows:
This relationship was based on three ties. First of all, I accepted and agreed to the national and social ideas of National Socialism: the national ideas which found expression in the honor and dignity of the nation, its freedom, and its equality among nations and its security; and the social tenets which had perhaps as their basis: no class struggle, but human and social respect of each person regardless of his class, profession, or economic position, and on the other hand, subordination of each and every one to the interests of the common weal. Naturally I regarded Adolf Hitler's high authority with admiration and joyfully acknowledged it, when in times of peace he succeeded so quickly and without bloodshed in realizing his national and social objectives.
My second tie was my oath. Adolf Hitler had, in a legal and lawful way, become the Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, to whom the Wehrmacht had sworn its oath of allegiance. That this oath was sacred to me is self-evident and I believe that decency in this world will everywhere be on the side of him who keeps his oath.
The third tie was my personal relationship: Before I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, I believe Hitler had no definite conception of me and my person. He had seen me too few times and always in large circles. How my relationship to him would shape itself was therefore a completely open question when I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. My start in this connection was very unfavorable. It was made difficult, first, by the imminent and then the actual collapse of U-boat warfare and, secondly, by my refusal, just as Grossadmiral Raeder had already refused, to scrap
9 May 46
the large ships, which in Hitler's opinion had no fighting value in view of the oppressive superiority of the foe. I, like Grossadmiral Raeder, had opposed the scrapping of these ships, and only after a quarrel did he finally agree. But, despite that, I noticed very soon that in Navy matters he had confidence in me and in other respects as well treated me with decided respect.
Adolf Hitler always saw in me only the first soldier of the Navy. He never asked for my advice in military matters which did not concern the Navy, either in regard to the Army or the Air Force; nor did I ever express my opinion about matters concerning the Army or the Air Force, because basically I did not have sufficient knowledge of these matters. Of course, he never consulted me on political matters of a domestic or foreign nature.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You said, Admiral, that he never asked you for advice on political matters. But those matters might have come up in connection with Navy questions. Did you not participate then either?
DOENITZ: If by "political" you mean, for instance, consultations of the commanders with the so-called "National Socialist Leadership Officers," then, of course, I participated, because this came within the sphere of the Navy, or rather was to become a Navy concern. That was naturally the case.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Beyond those questions, did Hitler ever consider you a general adviser, as the Prosecution claims and as they concluded from the long list of meetings which you have had with Hitler since 1943 at his headquarters?
DOENITZ: First of all, as a matter of principle, there can be no question of a general consultation with the Fuehrer; as I have already said, the Fuehrer asked for and received advice from me only in matters concerning the Navy and the conduct of naval warfare- matters exclusively and absolutely restricted to my sphere of activity.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: According to the table submitted, between 1943 and 1945 you were called sometimes once and sometimes twice a month to the Fuehrer's headquarters. Please describe to the Tribunal just what happened, as far as you were concerned, on a day like that at the Fuehrer's headquarters-what you had to do there.
DOENITZ: Until 2 or 3 months before the collapse, when the Fuehrer was in Berlin, I flew to his headquarters about every 2 or 3 weeks, but only if I had some concrete Navy matter for which I needed his decision. On those occasions I participated in the noontime discussion of the general military situation, that is, the report which the Fuehrer's staff made to him about what had taken place
9 May 48
on the fighting fronts within the last 24 hours. At these military discussions the Army and Air Force situation was of primary importance, and I spoke only when my Naval expert was reporting the naval situation and he needed me to supplement his report. Then at a given moment, which was fixed by the Adjutant's Office, I gave my military report which was the purpose of my journey. When rendering this report only those were present whom these matters concerned, that is, when it was a question of reinforcements, et cetera, Field Marshal Keitel or Generaloberst Jodl were generally present.
When I came to his headquarters every 2 or 3 weeks - later in 1944 there was sometimes an interval of 6 weeks - the Fuehrer invited me to lunch. These invitations ceased completely after 20 July 1944, the day of the attempted assassination.
I never received from the Fuehrer an order which in any way violated the ethics of war. Neither I nor anyone in the Navy-and this is my conviction-knew anything about the mass extermination of people, which I learned about here from the Indictment, or, as far as the concentration camps are concerned, after the capitulation in May 1945.
In Hitler I saw a powerful personality who had extraordinary intelligence and energy and a practically universal knowledge, from whom power seemed to emanate and who was possessed of a remarkable power of suggestion. On the other hand, I purposely very seldom went to his headquarters, for I had the feeling that I would best preserve my power of initiative that way and, secondly, because after several days, say 2 or 3 days at his headquarters, I had the feeling that I had to disengage myself from his power of suggestion. I am telling you this because in this connection I was doubtless more fortunate than his staff who were constantly exposed to his powerful personality with its power of suggestion.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You said just now, Admiral, that you never received an order which was in violation of military ethics. You know the Commando Order of the autumn of 1942. Did you not receive this order?
DOENITZ: I was informed of this order after it was issued while I was still Commander of the U-boats. For the soldiers at the front this order was unequivocal. I had the feeling that it was a very grave matter; but under Point 1 of this order it was clearly and unequivocally expressed that members of the enemy forces, because of their behavior, because of the killing of prisoners, had placed themselves outside the Geneva Convention and that therefore the Fuehrer had ordered reprisals and that those reprisal measures, in addition, had been published in the Wehrmacht report.
9 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZB0XLER: Therefore, the soldier who received this order had no right, no possibility, and no authority to demand a justification or an investigation; does this mean such an order was justified? As Commander of the U-boats did you have anything to do with the execution of this order?
DOENITZ: No, not in the slightest.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: As far as you remember, did you as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy have anything to do with the carrying out of this order?
DOENITZ: As far as I remember I was never concerned with this order as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. One should not forget, first, that this decree excludes expressly those taken prisoner in battles at sea and, second, that the Navy had no territorial authority on land, and for this latter reason found itself less often in a position of having to carry out any point of this order.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You know the document submitted by the Prosecution, which describes how in the summer of 1943 a Commando unit was shot in Norway. I mean the Prosecution's Exhibit GB-208. The incident is described there as showing that the crew of a Norwegian motor torpedo boat were taken prisoner on a Norwegian island. This motor torpedo boat was charged with belligerent missions at sea. The document does not say who took the crew prisoner, but it does say that the members of the crew were wearing their uniforms when they were taken prisoner, that they were interrogated by a naval officer, and that on the order of Admiral Von Schrader they were turned over to the SD. The SD later shot them. Did you know about this incident or was it reported to you as Commander-in-Chief?
DOENITZ: I learned about this incident from the trial brief of the Prosecution.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Can you explain the fact that an incident of this nature was not brought to your attention? Would this not have had to be reported to you?
DOENITZ: If the Navy was concerned in this matter, that is, if this crew had been captured by the Navy, Admiral Von Schrader, who was the commander there, would absolutely have had to report this matter to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. I am also convinced that he would have done so, for the regulations regarding this were unequivocal. I am also convinced that the naval expert at the Navy High Command, who was concerned with such matters, would have reported this to me as Commander-in-Chief.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: What is your opinion about this case now that you have learned about it through the document of the Prosecution?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: If it is correct that it concerns the crew of a motor torpedo boat which had belligerent missions at sea, then this measure, the shooting which took place, was entirely wrong in any case, for it was in direct opposition even to this Commando Order. But I consider it completely out of the question, for I do not believe that Admiral Von Schrader, whom I know personally to be an especially chivalrous sailor, would have had a hand in anything of this sort. From the circumstances of this incident, the fact that it was not reported to the High Command, that this incident, as has now been ascertained by perusal of the German newspapers of that time, was never mentioned in the Wehrmacht communique, as would have been the case if it had been a matter concerning the Wehrmacht, from all these circumstances I assume that the incident was as follows.
That the police arrested these people on the island; that they were taken from this island by vessel to Bergen; that there one or two, if I remember correctly, naval officers interrogated them, since the Navy, of course, was interested in this interrogation; and that then these people were handed over to the SD, since they had already been taken prisoner by the SD. I cannot explain it otherwise.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: You wish to say, then, that in your opinion these men had never been prisoners of the Navy?
DOENITZ: No. If they had been, a report to the High Command would have been made.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Quite apart from these questions I should like to ask you, did you not in your position as Commander-in-Chief, and during your visits to the Fuehrer's headquarters, have experiences which made you consider disassociating yourself from Adolf Hitler?
DOENITZ: I have already stated that as far as my activity was concerned, even at headquarters, I was strictly limited to my own department, since it was a peculiarity of the Fuehrer's to listen to a person only about matters which were that person's express concern. It was also self-evident that at the discussions of the military situation only purely military matters were discussed, that is, no problems of domestic policy, of the SD, or the SS, unless it was a question of SS divisions in military service under one of the army commanders. Therefore I had no knowledge of all these things. As I have already said, I never received an order from the Fuehrer which in any way violated military ethics. Thus I firmly believe that in every respect I kept the Navy unsullied down to the last man until the end. In naval warfare my attention was focused on
9 May 46
the sea; and the Navy, small as it was, tried to fulfill its duty according to its tasks. Therefore I had no reason at all to break with the Fuehrer.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Such a reason would not necessarily refer to a crime; it could also have been for political considerations, having nothing to do with crimes. You have heard the question broached repeatedly as to whether there should have been a Putsch. Did you enter into contact with such a movement and did you yourself consider or attempt a Putsch?
DOENITZ: No. The word "Putsch" has been used frequently in this court-room by a wide variety of people. It is easy to say so, but I believe that one would have had to realize the tremendous significance of such an activity. The German nation was involved in a struggle of life and death. It was surrounded by enemies almost like a fortress. And it is clear. to keep to the simile of the fortress, that every disturbance from within would without doubt perforce have affected our military might and fighting power. Anyone, therefore, who violates his loyalty and his oath to plan and try to bring about an overthrow during such a struggle for survival must be most deeply convinced that the nation needs such an overthrow at all costs and must be aware of his responsibility.
Despite this, every nation will judge such a man to be a traitor, and history will not vindicate him unless the success of the overthrow actually contributes to the welfare and prosperity of his people. This, however, would not have been the case in Germany.
If, for instance, the Putsch of 20 July had been successful, then a dissolution, if only a gradual one, would have resulted inside Germany-a fight against the bearers of weapons, here the SS, there another group, complete chaos inside Germany-for the firm structure of the State would gradually have been destroyed and disintegration and a reduction of our fighting power at the front would have inevitably resulted.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks that the defendant is making a long and political speech., It really hasn't very much to do with the questions with which we have to deal.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I was of the opinion that the question of whether a Commander-in-Chief is obliged to bring about a Putsch was regarded as a main point by the Prosecution, a point having a bearing on the question of whether he declared himself in agreement or not with the system which is being characterized as criminal. If the Tribunal considers this question irrelevant I do not want to press it further.
9 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think the Prosecution has put forward the view that anybody had to create a Putsch.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: It seemed to me a self-evident view of the Prosecution.
Admiral, the Prosecution has submitted two documents, dating from the winter of 1943 and May 1945, containing speeches made by you to the troops. You are accused by the Prosecution of preaching National Socialist ideas to the troops. Please define your position on this point.
DOENITZ: When in February 1943 I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, I was responsible for the fighting power of the entire Navy. A main source of strength in this war was the unity of our people. And those who had most to gain from this unity were the Armed Forces, for any rupture inside Germany would perforce have had an effect on the troops and would have reduced that fighting spirit which was their mission. The Navy, in particular, in the first World War, had had bitter experiences in this direction in 1917-18.
Therefore in all of my speeches I tried to preserve this unity and the feeling that we were the guarantors of this unity. This was necessary and right, and particularly necessary for me as a leader of troops. I could not preach disunity or dissolution, and it had its effect. Fighting power and discipline in the Navy were of a high standard until the end. And I believe that in every nation such an achievement is considered a proper and good achievement for a leader of troops. These are my reasons for talking the way I did.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: On 30 April 1945 you became head of the State as Adolf Hitler's successor; and the Prosecution concludes from this that prior to that time also you must have been a close confidant of Hitler's, since only a confidant of his would have been chosen to be Hitler's successor where matters of state were concerned. Will you tell me how you came to be his successor and whether Hitler before that time ever spoke to you about this possibility?
DOENITZ: From 20 July 1944 on I did not see Hitler alone, but only at the large discussions of the military situation. He never spoke to me about the question of a successor, not even by way of hinting. This was entirely natural and clear since, according to law, the Reich Marshal was his successor; and the regrettable misunderstanding between the Fuehrer and the Reich Marshal did not occur until the end of April 1945, at a time when I was no longer in Berlin.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Where were you?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: I was in Holstein. Therefore, I did not have the slightest inkling, nor did the Fuehrer, that I was to become his successor.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Just how, through what measures or orders, did that actually come about?
DOENITZ: On 30 April 1945, in the evening, I received a radio message from headquarters to the effect that the Fuehrer was designating me his successor and that I was authorized to take at once all measures which I considered necessary. The next morning, that is on 1 May, I received another radio message, a more detailed directive, which said that I was to be Reich President; Minister Goebbels, Reich Chancellor; Bormann, Party Minister; and Seyss-Inquart, Foreign Minister.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did you adhere to this directive?
DOENITZ: This radio message first of all contradicted the earlier radio message which clearly stated: "You can at once do everything you consider to be right." I did not and as a matter of principle never would adhere to this second radio message, for if I am to take responsibility, then no conditions must be imposed on me. Thirdly, under no circumstances would I have agreed to working with the people mentioned, with the exception of Seyss-Inquart.
In the early morning of 1 May I had already had a discussion with the Minister of Finance, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, and had asked him to take over the business of government, insofar as we could still talk about that. I had done this because in a chance discussion, which had taken place several days before, I had seen that we held much the same view, the view that the German people belonged to the Christian West, that the basis of future conditions of life is the absolute legal security of the individual and of private property.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Admiral, you know the so-called "Political Testament" of Adolf Hitler, in which you are charged with continuing the war. Did you receive an order of this sort at that time?
DOENITZ: No. I saw this Testament for the first time a few weeks ago here, when it was made public in the press. As I have said, I would not have accepted any order, any restriction of my activity at the time when Germany's position was hopeless and I was given the responsibility.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: The Prosecution has submitted a document in which you exhorted the war leaders in the spring of 1945 to carry on tenaciously to the end. It is Exhibit
9 May 46
GB-212. You are accused in this connection of being a fanatical Nazi who was ready to carry on a hopeless war at the expense of the women and children of your people. Please define your position in respect to this particularly grave accusation.
DOENITZ: In this connection I can say the following: In the spring of 1945 I was not head of the State; I was a soldier. To continue the fight or not to continue the fight was a political decision. The head of the State wanted to continue the fight. I as a soldier had to obey. It is an impossibility that in a state one soldier should declare, "I shall continue to fight," while another declares, "I shall not continue the fight." I could not have given any other advice, the way I saw things; and for the following reasons:
First: In the East the collapse of our front at one point meant the extermination of the people living behind that front. We knew that because of practical experiences and because of all the reports which we had about this. It was the belief of all the people that the soldier in the East had to do his military duty in these hard months of the war, these last hard months of the war. This was especially important because otherwise German women and children would have perished.
The Navy was involved to a considerable extent in the East. It had about 100,000 men on land, and the entire surface craft were concentrated in the Baltic for the transport of troops, weapons, wounded, and above all, refugees. Therefore the very existence of the German people in this last hard period depended above all on the soldiers carrying on tenaciously to the end.
Secondly: If we had capitulated in the first few months of the spring or in the winter of 1945, then from everything we knew about the enemy's intentions the country would, according to the Yalta Agreement, have been ruinously torn asunder and partitioned and the German land occupied in the same way as it is today.
Thirdly: Capitulation means that the army, the soldiers, stay where they are and become prisoners. That means that if we had capitulated in January or February 1945, 2 million soldiers in the East, for example, would have fallen into the hands of the Russians. That these millions could not possibly have been cared for during the cold winter is obvious; and we would have lost men on a very large scale, for even at the time of the capitulation in May 1945-that is, in the late spring-it was not possible in the West to take care of the large masses of prisoners according to the Geneva Convention. Then, as I have already said, since the Yalta Agreement would have been put into effect, we would have lost in the East a much larger number of people who had not yet fled from there.
9 May 46
When on 1 May I became head of the State, circumstances were different. By that time the fronts, the Eastern and Western fronts, had come so close to each other that in a few days people, troops, soldiers, armies, and the great masses of refugees could be transported, from the East to the West. When I became head of the State on 1 May, I therefore strove to make peace as quickly as possible and to capitulate, thus saving German blood and bringing German people from the East to the West; and I acted accordingly, already on 2 May, by making overtures to General Montgomery to capitulate for the territory facing his army, and for Holland and Denmark which we still held firmly; and immediately following that I opened negotiations with General Eisenhower.
The same basic principle-to save and preserve the German population-motivated me in the winter to face bitter necessity and keep on fighting. It was very painful that our cities were still being bombed to pieces and that through these bombing attacks and the continued fight more lives were lost. The number of these people is about 300,000 to 400,000, the majority of whom perished in the bombing attack of Dresden, which cannot be understood from a military point of view and which could not have been predicted. Nevertheless, this figure is relatively small compared with the millions of German people, soldiers and civilian population, we would have lost in the East if we had capitulated in the winter. Therefore, in my opinion, it was necessary to act as I did: First while I was still a soldier, to call on my troops to keep up the fight, and afterwards, when I became head of the State in May, to capitulate at once. Thereby no German lives were lost; rather were they saved.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of the Defendants' Counsel wish to ask questions?
DR. WALTER SIEMERS (Counsel for Defendant Raeder): Admiral Doenitz, you have already explained that Grossadmiral Raeder and the Navy in the summer of 1939 did not believe, despite certain ominous signs, that war was about to break out. Since you saw Grossadmiral Raeder in the summer of 1939, I should like you briefly to supplement this point. First of all, on what occasion did you have a detailed conversation with Grossadmiral Raeder?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: Grossadmiral Raeder embarked in the middle of July 1939 for submarine maneuvers of my fleet in the Baltic Sea. Following the maneuvers...
DR.SIEMERS: May I first ask you something? What sort of maneuvers were they? How large were they and where did they take place?
DOENITZ: All submarines which had completed their tests I had assembled in the Baltic. I cannot remember the exact figure, but I think there were about 30. In the maneuvers I then showed Grossadmiral Raeder what these submarines could accomplish.
DR. SIEMERS: Were all those submarines capable of navigating in the Atlantic?
DOENITZ: Yes, they were, and in addition there were the smaller submarines of lower tonnage, which could operate only as far as the North Sea.
DR. SIEMERS: That means, therefore, that at that time you had no more than two dozen submarines capable of navigating in the Atlantic; is that right?
DOENITZ: That figure is too high. At that time we had not even 15 submarines capable of navigating in the Atlantic. At the outbreak of war, as far as I remember, we went to sea with fifteen submarines capable of navigating in the Atlantic.
DR. SIEMERS: During those few days when you were with Raeder at the maneuvers did you talk to him privately?
DOENITZ: Yes. Grossadmiral Raeder told me - and he repeated this to the entire officers' corps during his final speech in Swinemunde - that the Fuehrer had informed him that under no circumstances must a war in the West develop, for that would be Finis Germaniae. I asked for leave and immediately after the maneuvers I went on leave on 24 July for a 6-weeks' rest at Bad Gastein. I am merely stating that because it shows how we regarded the situation at that time.
DR. SIEMERS: But then the war came rather quickly, did it not, and you had to break off the leave which you had planned?
DOENITZ: I was called back by telephone in the middle of August.
DR.SIEMERS: These words, that there would be no war with England, and the words, Finis Germaniae, did Raeder speak them during a private conversation or only in this speech at Swinemunde?
DOENITZ: As far as the sense is concerned, yes. As far as the exact words are concerned, I cannot remember now what was
9 May 46
said in the main speech and what was said before. At any rate he certainly said it during the main speech.
DR. SIEMERS: Thank you very much.
DR. LATERNSER: Admiral, on 30 January 1943 you became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and thereby a member of the group which is indicted here, the General Staff and the OKW?
DR. LATERNSER: I wanted to ask you whether, after you were appointed, you had discussions with any of the members of these groups regarding plans or aims as outlined in the Indictment?
DOENITZ: No, with none of them.
DR.LATERNSER: After you came to office, you dismissed all the senior commanders in the Navy. What were the reasons for this?
DOENITZ: Since I was between 7 and 10 years younger than the other commanders in the Navy, for instance, Admiral Carls, Admiral Boehm, and others, it was naturally difficult for both parties. They were released for those reasons and, I believe, in spite of mutual respect and esteem.
DR.LATERNSER: How many commanders in the Navy were involved in this case?
DOENITZ: I think three or four.
DR. LATERNSER: Was there close personal and official contact between the Navy on the one hand, and the Army and Air Force on the other?
DOENITZ: No, not at all.
DR. LATERNSER: Did you know most of the members of the indicted group?
DOENITZ: No. Before my time as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, I knew only those with whom I happened to find myself in the same area. For instance, when I was in France I knew Field Marshal Von Rundstedt. After I became Commander-in-Chief I knew only those whom I met by chance when I was at headquarters where they had to submit some army report at the large military situation conference.
DR. LATERNSER: Then you did not know most of the members of these groups?
DR.LATERNSER: Did those commanders who were known to you have a common political aim?
9 May 46
D0NITZ: As far as the Army and the Air Force are concerned, I cannot say. As far as the Navy is concerned, the answer is "no." We were soldiers, and I was interested in what the soldier could accomplish, what his personality was; and I did not concern myself in the main about a political line of thought, unless it affected his performance as a soldier.
I want to mention, as an example, the fact that my closest colleague who from 1934 until the very end in 1945 always accompanied me as my adjutant and later as Chief of Staff, was extremely critical of National Socialism-to put it mildly-without our official collaboration or my personal attitude toward him being affected thereby, as this long period of working together shows.
DR. LATERNSER: May I inquire the name of this Chief of Staff to whom you have just referred?
DOENITZ: Admiral Godt.
DR. LATERNSER: Admiral Godt. Do you know of any remarks made by Hitler regarding the attitude of the generals of the army? The question refers only to those who belong to the indicted group.
DOENITZ: At the discussions of the military situation, I naturally heard a hasty remark now and then about some army commander, but I cannot say today why it was made or to whom it referred.
DR. LATERNSER: You were quite often present during the situation conferences at the Fuehrer's headquarters. Did you notice on such occasions that commanders-in-chief put forward in Hitler's presence views strikingly different from his?
D0NITZ: Yes, that certainly happened.
DR. LATERNSER: Can you remember any particular instance?
DOENITZ: I remember that when the question of falling back in the northern sector in the East was discussed, the army commander of this sector of the front was not of the same opinion as the Fuehrer, and that this led to an argument.
DR. LATERNSER: Was that commander successful with his objections?
DOENITZ: I think so, partly; but I should like you to ask an army officer about that because naturally I do not know these details so clearly and authentically.
DR.LATERNSER: Did the high military leaders of the Navy have anything to do with the Einsatzgruppen of the SD?
DOENITZ: The Navy, no. As far as the Army is concerned, I do not believe so and I assume they did not. But please do not ask me about anything but the Navy.
9 May 46
DR. LATERNSER: Yes. This question referred only to the Navy. And now, some questions about regional Navy commanders. Did the commanders of the regional Navy Group Commands - Marine Gruppenkommando - have extensive territorial authority?
DOENITZ: No. According to the famous KG-40, that is War Organization 1940, the Navy had no territorial powers ashore. Its task ashore was to defend the coast under the command of the Army and according to sectors, that is, under the command of the divisions stationed in that particular sector. Apart from that they took part in battle in coastal waters.
DR.LATERNSER: So that regional commanders in the Navy were therefore simply troop commanders?
DR. LATERNSER: Did the commanders of these regional Navy Group Commands have any influence on the formulation of orders regarding submarine warfare?
DOENITZ: No, none whatever.
DR. LATERNSER: Did they influence decisions regarding what ships were to be sunk?
DOENITZ: No, not at all.
DR. LATERNSER: And did they influence orders regarding the treatment of shipwrecked personnel?
DR. LATERNSER: Now the holder of the office of Chief of Naval Operations Staff also belongs to this group. What were the tasks of a Chief of Naval Operations Staff?
DOENITZ: That was a high command, the office which worked out the purely military, tactical, and operational matters of the Navy.
DR. LATERNSER: Did the Chief of Naval Operations Staff have powers to issue orders?
DR. LATERNSER: Then his position was similar to that of Chief of General Staff of the Air Force or of the Army?
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon, I must first get the idea clear. I assume that by "Chief of Naval Operations Staff" you mean the Chief of Staff of Naval Operations Staff? In Grossadmiral Raeder's time the name "Chief of Naval Operations Staff" was the same as "Commander-in-Chief of the Navy." The position about which you are asking was called "Chief of Staff of Naval
9 May 46
Operations Staff" while I was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy; the name "Chief of Staff of Naval Operations Staff" was changed to "Chief of Naval Operations Staff," but it was the same person and he was under the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
DR.LATERNSER: Was there in the Navy a staff of Admirals corresponding to the Army General Staff?
DOENITZ: No, that did not exist. Such an institution did not exist. The necessary consultants, "Fuhrungsgehilfen," as we called them, came from the front, served on the staff and then returned to the front.
DR. LATERNSER: Now I shall ask one last question. The witness Gisevius has stated in this courtroom that the highest military leaders had drifted into corruption by accepting gifts. Did you yourself receive a gift of any kind?
DOENITZ: Apart from the salary to which I was entitled, I did not receive a penny; I received no gifts. And the same applies to all the officers of the Navy.
DR. LATERNSER: Thank you very much. I have no further questions.
DR. NELTE: Witness, you were present when the witness Gisevius was being examined here. That witness, without giving concrete facts, passed judgment in the following manner: "Keitel had one of the most influential positions in the Third Reich." And at another point he said, "I received very exact information regarding the tremendous influence which Keitel had on everything relating to the Army and accordingly also on those who represented the Army to the German people."
Will you, who can judge these matters, tell me whether that judgment of Defendant Keitel's position, his function, is correct?
DOENITZ: I consider it very much exaggerated. I think that Field Marshal Keitel's position has been described here so unequivocally that it ought to be clear by now that what is contained in these words is not at all correct.
DR. NELTE: Am I to gather from this that you confirm as correct the description of the position and functions as given by Reich Marshal Goering and Field Marshal Keitel himself?
DOENITZ: Yes, it is perfectly correct.
DR. NELTE: The witness Gisevius judged these matters, not on the basis of his own knowledge, but on the basis of information received from Admiral Canaries Did you know Admiral Canaris?
DOENITZ: I knew Admiral Canaris from the time when he was still a member of the Navy.
9 May 46
DR.NELTE: Later on, when he was Chief of the Intelligence Service for foreign countries in the OKW, did you not have discussions with him? Did he not come to see you in his capacity as Chief of the Intelligence Service?
DOENITZ After I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, he visited me and he made a report about information matters which he thought he could place at the disposal of the Navy, my sphere of interest. But that was his last report to me. After that, of course, I received from him or his department written information reports which concerned the Navy.
DR. NELTE: Is it right for me to say that the position of Admiral Canaris as Chief of Intelligence, that is, espionage, counterespionage, sabotage, and intelligence, was of great importance for the entire conduct of the war?
DOENITZ: His office or his department?
DR.NELTE: He was the chief of the whole department, was he not?
DOENITZ: Of course, he worked for the entire Armed Forces, all three branches of the Armed Forces; and I must say in that connection, if you ask me about the importance, that I was of the opinion that the information which we received from him and which interested the Navy was very meager indeed.
DR. NELTE: Did Canaris ever complain to you that Field Marshal Keitel at the OKW in any way obstructed and hampered him in carrying out his activity and that he could not pass on his intelligence and his reports?
DOENITZ: He never did that and, of course, he could have done so only during the first report. No, he never did that.
DR. NELTE: With reference to Canaris I should like to know whether you can tell me anything about his character and consequently about his credibility as a source of information; whether you consider him reliable?
DOENITZ: Admiral Canaris, while he was in the Navy, was an officer in whom not much confidence was shown. He was a man quite different from us - we used to say he had seven souls in his breast.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, we don't want to know about Admiral Canaris when he was in the Navy. I don't think there is any use telling us that Admiral Canaris was in the Navy. The only possible relevance would be his character afterwards when he was head of the intelligence.
DR. NELTE: Mr. President, do you not think that, if someone is unreliable and not credible as a commodore, he might also be so as
9 May 46
an Admiral in the OKW? Do you think that that could have changed during these years?
[Turning to the defendant.] But, nevertheless, I thank you for the answer to this question and I now ask you to answer the following question. Is it true that Hitler forbade all branches of the Armed Forces to make reports on any political matters and that he demanded that they confine themselves to their own sphere of work?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is true.
DR. NELTE: Witness Gisevius has stated that Field Marshal Keitel threatened the officers under his command that he would hand them over to the Gestapo if they concerned themselves with political matters, and I ask you: Is it true that, according to the regulations applying to the Armed Forces, the Police - including the Gestapo, the SD, and the Criminal Police-had no jurisdiction at all over members of the Armed Forces, no matter what their rank was?
DOENITZ: That is correct.
DR. NELTE: And is it also correct that the branches of the Armed Forces and also the OKW we're at great pains to preserve this prerogative as far as the Police were concerned?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is true.
DR. NELTE: So that any alleged threat, as mentioned by Gisevius, namely, the handing over of these people to the Gestapo, could not have been carried out?
DR. NELTE: And it is correct for me to say that all officers of the OKW to whom such a statement might have been made naturally knew that, too?
DOENITZ: Naturally. A soldier was subject to military jurisdiction, and nobody could interfere with the Armed Forces.
DR. NELTE: Moreover, did Field Marshal Keitel, as Chief of the OKW, have any right to deal with officers serving in the OKW without the knowledge and consent of the Commander-in-Chief of the branch of the Armed Forces to which the officer belonged? Could he promote such an officer, dismiss him, or anything like that?
DOENITZ: An officer in a branch of the Armed Forces-for instance the Navy-was detailed to the OKW for a definite office and thus was sent by the Navy to the OKW. If this officer was to be given a different office in the OKW, then the branch of the Armed Forces to which he belonged would of course have to be consulted.
DR. NELTE: Is it not correct to say that these officers were still on the roster of their own branch of the Armed Forces, since the
9 May 46
OKW was not a branch of the Armed Forces and was not a formation; in other words, if there was a promotion, for instance, it would be ordered by the Navy? If Canaris was to have been promoted, you, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, would have had to order this promotion, assuming, of course, that you were in agreement with this proposal? It was, merely a question of the actual command and of personnel?
DOENITZ: These officers were detailed to the OKW. As far as I can recollect, they were still on the Navy roster under the heading, "Detailed from the Navy to the OKW."
DR. NELTE: But they did not leave the Navy as a branch of the Armed Forces, did they?
DOENITZ: Promotion of such officers, I think, was decided by the Personnel Office of the Navy in agreement with the OKW, and I think also that no one could be detailed-I consider this self-evident-without agreement of the branch of the Armed Forces concerned.
DR. NELTE: Witness Gisevius has stated that certain men, among them Field Marshal Keitel for military matters, had formed a close ring of silence around Hitler so that nobody they did not want to let through could approach him. I ask you, was it possible for Field Marshal Keitel to keep you, as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, away from Hitler, if you wanted to make a report to him?
DR. NELTE: In the same way, was it possible for Field Marshal Keitel to keep the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force away, if the latter wanted to report to the Fuehrer?
DR. NELTE: And how was it with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army?
DOENITZ: I know nothing about that. When I was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, there was no such position.
DR. NELTE: Then how was it with the Chief of General Staff of the Army? Could he at any time report to the Fuehrer without going by way of Field Marshal Keitel?
DOENITZ: It was not possible for Field Marshal Keitel to keep anyone away, and he would never have done so anyway.
DR. NELTE: In reply to a question of the Prosecution, witness Gisevius stated in this courtroom that his group forwarded reports to Field Marshal Keitel, by way of Admiral Canaris, which dealt with the crimes against humanity which have been adduced here
9 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
9 May 46
by the Prosecution. These reports had been camouflaged as "foreign reports." I ask you, was a camouflaged "foreign report" of this sort ever submitted to you or sent to you by Canaris?
DOENITZ: No, never.
DR. NELTE: From your knowledge of Keitel's personality, do you consider it possible that he would have withheld from the Fuehrer an important report which was submitted to him?
DOENITZ: I consider that absolutely out of the question.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think that is a proper question for you to put.
DR. NELTE: With this question I wanted to end my inquiries on this point; but I still have one other question, which can be quickly dealt with. Mr. President, in your communication of 26 March 1946, you gave me permission to submit an affidavit from Admiral Doenitz concerning the function and the position of the Chief of the OKW. I received this affidavit and handed it over to the Prosecution on 13 April for examination, and I understand that there are no objections to this affidavit. I have, however, not yet got back the original, which was handed over on 13 April, and I do not know whether it has in the meantime been submitted to the Tribunal by the Prosecution or not.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't know anything about the affidavit that you are dealing with.
DR. NELTE: I shall therefore be forced to put questions to Admiral Doenitz, which in large part are the same questions which I have already put to Field Marshal Keitel himself.
THE PRESIDENT: Do the Prosecution object to the affidavit at all?
DR.NELTE: No, they did not raise any objections. Therefore, if it had been returned I would have submitted it as an exhibit, without reading it.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. NELTE: Thank you.
DR. DIX: Witness, you have stated that the SD and the Gestapo, in fact, the whole Police had no jurisdiction over members of the Armed Forces-for instance, they could not arrest members of the Armed Forces. Did I understand you correctly?
9 May 46
DR.DIX: Do you know, Witness, that all the officers, or in any case most of them, who were suspected of being involved in the affair of 20 July, were arrested by members of the SD and sent for questioning by the SD and the SD office, where they were arrested, to prisons under the SD and there held under SD guard and not under any military guard?
DOENITZ: No, I don't know that, because after 20 July, as far as I can remember, an order was issued specifically stating that the SD were to-give to branches of the Armed Forces the names of those soldiers who had participated in the Putsch and that these soldiers were then to be dismissed from the branches of the Armed Forces, particularly to keep the principle of noninterference in the branches of the Armed Forces from being violated, and that then the SD would have the right to take action.
DR.DIX: That order did come out, but perhaps we can come to an explanation of this order if you answer further questions which I want to put to you. Do you know, Witness, that the examination, the interrogation of those officers arrested in connection with 20 July, was carried out exclusively by officials of the SD or the Gestapo and not be officers, that is, members of military courts? DOENITZ: I can only judge as to the two cases which I had in the Navy. I received information that these two officers had participated. I had questions put to them, and they confirmed it. Thereupon these officers were dismissed from the Navy. After that the interrogation was, of course, not carried out by the Navy; but I know that my Navy court judges still concerned themselves about the officers and the interrogation.
DR. DIX: Who dismissed these men?
DOENITZ: The Navy
DR. DIX: That is you.
DR. DIX: Do you know, Witness, that following upon the investigation regarding 20 July a committee of generals was former under the chairmanship of Field Marshal Von Rundstedt?
DOENITZ: Yes, I heard about that.
DR. DIX: And that this committee, on the basis of the record of the SD, decided whether the officer in question was to be dismissed from the Army or would have to leave the Army, so the he could be turned over to the civil court, namely, the People's Court?
DOENITZ: That is not known to me.
9 May 46
DR. DIX: May I put it to you that I am of the opinion that the order which you have described correctly...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Dix, you are bound by his answer. He said he didn't know anything about it. You can't then put to him what you say happened. If he says he doesn't know anything about it, you must accept his answer.
DR. DIX: I just wanted to put to him that the order to which I referred earlier, which actually exists and which deals with the decision of whether a person is to be dismissed from the Army and surrendered to the civil authorities, has to do with this committee presided over by Field Marshal Von Rundstedt, which had to decide whether the officer in question was to be dismissed and thereby turned over, not to a military court, but to the People's Court.
THE PRESIDENT: I understood the witness to say he didn't know anything about it.
I think you are bound by that answer.
DR. DIX: May I add something?
THE PRESIDENT: Who are you offering these questions for? You are counsel for the Defendant Schacht.
DR. DIX: My colleague's questions concerning Keitel were put to challenge the credibility of the witness Gisevius. Schacht's defense is naturally interested in the credibility of the witness Gisevius. The Defense has put three questions in connection with Gisevius' credibility, therefore, concerning the case for Schacht. May I add something?
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. DIX: I ask the questions to which your Lordship is objecting only because I think it possible that the answer of the witness may have been based on a mistake, namely, that he confused the general regulation stating that the soldier concerned must be dismissed before the SD could lay hands on him with the order stating that Von Rundstedt's committee would have to decide whether the officer in question was to be dismissed from the Army so that he could be handed over to the People's Court, not to the SD. The SD merely carried out the investigation, the preliminary interrogation.
THE PRESIDENT: What is it you want to ask him now?
DR.DIX: Admiral, I think you have understood my question, or do you want me to repeat it?
DOENITZ: I cannot tell you any more than I have already done.
DR. SERVATIUS: Witness, as Commander of Submarines, you did once have some official contact with Sauckel?
9 May 46
D0NITZ: No, not official but private.
DR.SERVATIUS: What was the occasion?
DOENITZ: A submarine, which was to go into the Atlantic for 8 weeks, had reported to me that it had been discovered after leaving port that Gauleiter Sauckel had crept aboard. I immediately sent a radio message ordering the submarine to turn back and put him on the nearest outpost steamer. DR.SERVATIUS: What was Sauckel's motive?
DOENITZ: No doubt a belligerent one. He wanted to go to sea again.
DR. SERVATIUS: But he was a Gauleiter. Did he not have particular reasons in order to show that he too was ready to fight in the war and did not want to remain behind?
DOENITZ: It surprised me that he, as a Gauleiter, should want to go to sea; but, at any rate, I considered that here was a man who had his heart in the right place.
DR. SERVATIUS: You believe that his motives were idealistic?
DOENITZ: Certainly. Nothing much can be got out of a submarine trip.
DR.SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.
DR. STEINBAUER: Admiral, do you remember that in your capacity as head of the State on 1 May 1945 you ordered the Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Netherlands to come to Flensburg to report to you?
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you also remember that on this occasion my client asked you to cancel the order originally sent to the Commander-in-Chief in the Netherlands to the effect that all locks and dykes should be blown up in the event of an attack, and to give the order that the mined blasting points be rendered harmless?
DOENITZ: Yes, he did do that. It was in accordance with my own principles, for when I became head of the State I gave the order that all destruction in occupied territories, including for instance Czechoslovakia, should cease forthwith.
DR. STEINBAUER: At the end of his report, did he ask you for permission to return to his station in the Netherlands instead of remaining in Germany?
DOENITZ: Yes, he did so repeatedly. He tried to get back - the weather situation was difficult - to the Netherlands by a motor torpedo boat.
9 May 46
DR. STEINBAUER: Thank you very much.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Defendant, I want you first of all to answer some questions on your record after becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Navy on 30 January 1943. As Commander-in-Chief of the Navy you had the equivalent rank of a Minister of the Reich; is that not so?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is correct.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You had also the right to participate in meetings of the Reich Cabinet; had any such meetings taken place?
DOENITZ: I was authorized to participate if such a meeting, or my participation in such a meeting, was ordered by the Fuehrer. That is the wording of the order. But I must say that no meeting of the Reich Cabinet took place at the time I was Commander-in-Chief from 1943 on.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: From the time that you became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, the government of the Reich was in a sense carried on from Hitler's headquarters; isn't that so?
DOENITZ: That is correct.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It was a military dictatorship in which the dictator saw those people he wanted at his military headquarters; that is right, is it not?
DOENITZ: One cannot say "military dictatorship." It was not a dictatorship at all. There was a military sector and a civilian sector, and both components were united in the hands of the Fuehrer.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. I will take the last part of your answer, and we will not argue about the first.
Now, you saw him on 119 days in just over 2 years; do you agree to that?
DOENITZ: Yes. But in that connection it must be stated that from 30 January 1943, when I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, until the end of January 1945-that is, approximately 2 years -the number was, I think, 57 times. The larger figure arises from the fact that in the last months of the war I took part in the noontime conferences on the situation which took place daily in the Voss Strasse in Berlin.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to ask you about certain of these. At a number of these meetings the Defendant Speer was present, Divas he not?
DOENITZ: I cannot remember that he was present in person at the discussions of the military situation. Actually Minister Speer
9 May 46
as a civilian had nothing to do with a discussion of the military situation. But it is possible that he was there on some occasions, for instance, when tank production and other, matters were discussed which were directly connected with the Fuehrer's military considerations.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That was exactly what I was going to put to you, that the occasions when the Defendant Speer were present were when you were going into matters of supply; that is, supply for the various services, including supply for the Navy.
DOENITZ: Supply questions of the Navy were never discussed at the large conferences on the military situations I discussed these matters with the Fuehrer alone, as I have already said, usually in the presence of Jodl and Keitel. I submitted these matters to the Fuehrer after I had come to an understanding with Minister Speer, to whom I had delegated all matters of naval armament when I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. That, in general, was the situation.
SIR DAVID MAXWEL FYFE: But, like the head of every service, you would have had to learn about priorities and materials and labor. You would want to know how labor was going to be allocated during the next period, would you not?
DOENITZ: I tried to bring it about that by a decision of the Fuehrer Minister Speer would be given the order to build the largest possible number of new U-boats which I had to have at the time. But there were limitations as to the quantities to be allotted to each branch of the Armed Forces by Speer's Ministry.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And, therefore, you would be very interested in discovering the figure of manpower for labor for naval supplies and for the other supplies, to see that you were getting your fair share, would you not?
DOENITZ: I am very sorry, but I cannot give you an answer to that. I never knew, and I do not know today, how many workers Speer was using for the armament supply for the Navy. I do not even know whether Speer can give you the answer, because construction of submarines, for instance, was taking place all over the German Reich in many industrial plants. Parts were then assembled in the shipyards. Therefore I have no idea what the labor capacity allotted to the Navy was.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you remember describing Speer as the man who holds the production of Europe in his hand? That was on 17 December 1943. I shall put the document to you in a little time. But do you remember describing him as that?
9 May 46
DOENITZ: Yes; I know that quite well.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And don't you know quite well also that Speer was getting his labor from foreign labor brought into the Reich?
DOENITZ: I knew, of course, that there were foreign workers in Germany. It is just as self-evident that as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy I was not concerned as to how these workers were recruited. That was none of my business.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did not Gauleiter Sauckel tell you on the occasion of this trip that he had got 5 million foreign workers into the Reich, of whom only 200,000 had come voluntarily?
DOENITZ: I did not have a single conversation with Gauleiter Sauckel. I have never had a discussion with anyone about questions referring to workers.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, Defendant, you were head of a service department in the fifth and sixth years of the war. Wasn't Germany, like every other country, searching around to scrape the bottom of the barrel for labor for all its requirements? Weren't you in urgent need of labor, like every other country in the war?
DOENITZ: I, too, think that we needed workers.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you' telling the Tribunal that you did not know after these conferences with Hitler and with Speer that you were getting this labor by forcing foreign labor to come into the Reich and be used?
DOENITZ: During my conferences with Hitler and Speer, the system of obtaining these workers was never mentioned at all. The methods did not interest me at all. During these conferences the labor question was not discussed at all. I was interested merely in how many submarines I received, that is, how large my allotment was in terms of ships built.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You tell the Tribunal you discussed that with Speer and he never told you where he was getting his labor? Is that your answer on this point?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is my answer, and it is true.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you remember, just before we passed from the industrial side of it, that at certain meetings the representatives for coal and transport, and Gauleiter Kaufmann, the Reich Commissioner for Shipping, were present at meetings which you had with the Fuehrer?
9 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You may take it from me that they are listed as being present at these meetings. Were you dealing with general problems of shipping and transport?
DOENITZ: Never. As far as sea transport is concerned-that is true. I was thinking of things on land. I thought you meant on land. I have already stated that at the end of the war I was keenly interested in the tonnage of merchant vessels because this tonnage, which I needed in order to carry out military transports from Norway, from and to the East, and for refugee transports, was not under my jurisdiction but under that of Gauleiter Kaulmann, the Reich Commissioner for shipping. So at meetings and discussions which dealt with the sea transport situation I was, of course, present.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let us take another subject of these 119 days. On 39 of these days the Defendant Keitel was also present at the headquarters and at about the same number, the Defendant Jodl.
DOENITZ: I am sorry; I did not understand the date.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I will put it again. At 39 of these meetings between January 1943 and April 1945 the Defendant Keitel was present and at about the same number, the Defendant Jodl. Now, is it right that you discussed or listened to the discussion, in their presence, of the general strategical position?
DOENITZ: I might say that the word "meeting" does not quite describe the matter.
It was rather, as I...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, you choose the word; you give us the word. DOENITZ: It was, as I described it, a large-scale discussion of the military situation; and at this discussion I heard also, of course, reports about the army situation. That I explained before.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I just want to get it quite clear that over these 2 years you had every opportunity of understanding and appreciating the military strategical position; that is so, isn't it?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, on 20 of these occasions the Defendant Goering was present. The Defendant Goering has put himself forward in two capacities; as Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe and as a politician. What was he doing on these 20 occasions?
DOENITZ: Reich Marshal Goering was there as Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force when the military situation was discussed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And so from the Defendant Goering you would have a full knowledge and appreciation of the air situation and the position of the Luftwaffe during this period?
DOENITZ: Insofar as my occasional presence at these discussions, in which only segments were dealt with - an over-all picture was never given at such a discussion - insofar as I could form an opinion from these segments, which naturally was always fragmentary. That was the reason why I have never made statements about military matters outside the Navy.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let me ask you just one further question on this point. Following up what Dr. Laternser asked, on 29 June 1944, apart from Keitel and Jodl and Goering, these defendants, Marshal Von Rundstedt and Marshal Pommel were also present; and may I remind you that that was 3 weeks after the Allies had invaded in the West. You were being given the opportunity, were you not, of getting the appreciation of the strategical position after the Allied invasion of Normandy, isn't that so?
DOENITZ: Yes, from that I gained an impression of the situation in Normandy after the enemy had set foot there. I was in a position to report to the Fuehrer which of my new small striking devices I could put to use in that sector.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, let us change to another aspect of the government in general.
On a number of occasions the Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler was present at these conferences - shall I call them - isn't that so?
DOENITZ: Yes. If the Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler was there, and as far as I remember that happened once or twice, it was because of his Waffen-SS.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You may take it from me that he is shown as being there on at least seven occasions, and that Fegelein, who was his representative at the Fuehrer's headquarters, is shown as being present on five occasions. What did Himmler discuss about the Waffen-SS-the doings of the Totenkopf division?
DOENITZ: That cannot be right. Fegelein was always present during the discussions of the military situation; he never missed, because he was a permanent representative. If the Reichsfuehrer was present during these discussions, he reported only on the Waffen-SS, those divisions of the Waffen-SS which were being used somewhere under the Army. I do not know the name of these individual divisions. I do not think they included the Totenkopf; I never heard they did; there was a Viking or . . .
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That was because they were being largely occupied in concentration camps, and you say that Himmler never mentioned that?
DOENITZ: That Totenkopf divisions were used in concentration camps I learned here in Nuremberg. It wasn't mentioned there. I
9 May 46
have already said that during the military discussions only military matters were discussed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, the Defendant Kaltenbrunner is only reported as being present once, on 26 February 1945, when there was quite a considerable gathering of SS notabilities. What were you discussing with him then?
DOENITZ: It is not correct that Kaltenbrunner was there only once. As far as I remember, he was there two, three, or four times; at any rate, during the last months of the war I saw him two, three, or four times. Kaltenbrunner never said a word there; as far as I remember, he just listened and stood about.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What I want you to tell the Tribunal is: What was the subject of conversation when you had, not only the Defendant Kaltenbrunner there, but you had SS Obergruppenfuehrer Steiner, your own captain in attendance, and Lieutenant General Winter? What were these gentlemen there for, and what were you hearing from them?
DOENITZ: Who is the captain and who is Lieutenant General Guenther?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Captain Von Assmann; I took it he was the captain in attendance on you, though I may have been wrong - Kapitaen zur See Von Assmann. Then there was Lieutenant General Winter, SS Obergruppenfuehrer Steiner, and SS Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrurnner. What were you discussing on the 26th of February 1945?
DOENITZ: I must mention one fact in this connection: Captain Von Assmann was present at every discussion of the general situation.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just a moment. You can tell us something afterwards, but first of all listen to my question. What were you discussing with these people from the SS on 26 February 1945?
DOENITZ: I cannot remember that now. I do remember, however, that Steiner received an order in regard to the army groups in Pomerania which were to make the push from the north to the south in order to relieve Berlin. I think that when Steiner was present perhaps this question, which did not concern me, was discussed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now I just want you to think, before I leave this point. You have agreed with me that at a number of meetings, a large number, there were present Keitel and Jodl, at not quite so many Goering, who would give you the army and air situation in Germany; there was present the Defendant Speer, who would give you the production position; there was present Himmler,
or his representative Fegelein, who would give you the secure position; and you yourself were present, who would give the nave position. At all meetings there was present the Fuehrer who would make the decisions.
I put to you, Defendant, that you were taking as full a part in the government of Germany during these years as anyone, apart from Adolf Hitler himself.
DOENITZ: In my opinion that description is not correct. At times discussions of the general situation neither Speer nor anybody else supplied a complete survey of the work being done. On the contrary, only acute questions of the day were discussed. As I have said, the happenings of the last 24 hours were discussed, and what should be done. That there was a staff there which in its report gave an over-all picture - that was quite out of the question; it was not at all like that. The only one who had a complete picture o the situation was the Fuehrer. At these discussions of the military situation the developments of the last 24 hours and the measure' to be taken were discussed. These are the facts. Therefore, one cannot say that any one of the participants hat an over-all picture. Rather every one had a clear view of his owl department for which he was responsible. An over-all picture it the mind of any of the participants is out of the question. Only the Fuehrer had that.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I won't argue with you but I suppose, Defendant, that you say-as we have heard from s many other defendants - that you knew nothing about the slave labor program, you knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews, and you knew nothing about any of the bad conditions in concentration camps. I suppose you are going to tell us you knew nothing about them at all, are you?
DOENITZ: That is self-evident, since we have heard here how all these things were kept secret; and if one bears in mind the fact that everyone in this war was pursuing his own tasks with the maximum of energy, then it is no wonder at all. To give an example I learned of the conditions in concentration camps...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I just want your answer for the moment, and you have given it to me. I want you to come to a point which was well within your own knowledge, and that is the order for the shooting of Commandos, which was issued by the Fuehrer on 18 October 1942. You have told us that you got it when you were Flag Officer of U-boats. Now, do you remember the document by which the Naval Operations Staff distributed it? Do you; remember that it said this:
9 May 46
"This order must not be distributed in writing by flotilla leaders, section commanders, or officers of this rank.
"After verbal notification to subordinate sections the above officers must hand this order over to the next higher section, which is responsible for its withdrawal and destruction."
Do you remember that?
DOENITZ: Yes, I read that again when I saw the order here. But on the other side it says also that this measure had already been announced in the Wehrmacht order.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What I want to know from you is: Why was there this tremendous secrecy about this order in the naval distribution?
DOENITZ: I did not understand that question. I do not know whether tremendous secrecy was being observed at all. I am of the opinion that in 1942 all naval officers had been informed about it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: This is on 28 October, 10 days after the order was issued. I am not going to quarrel with you about adjectives, Defendant. Let me put it this way: Why did the naval distribution require that degree of secrecy?
DOENITZ: I do not know. I did not make up the distribution chart. As an officer at the front I received this order at that time. I do not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Within 3 months you were Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
Did you never make any inquiries then?
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you never make any inquiries?
DOENITZ: No, I did not. I have told you that I saw this order as Commander of U-boats and that as far as my field of activities was concerned this order did not concern me in the least and, secondly, that men captured during naval engagements were expressly excepted; so, as far as that goes, this order at that time had no actual, no real significance. In view of the enormous number of things that I had to deal with when I became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, it was quite natural that it did not occur to me to take up the question of this new order. I did not think of the order at all.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am going to put to you when the time comes a memorandum from the Naval Staff showing that it was put before you. Don't you remember that?
DOENITZ: If you are referring to the memorandum which is in my trial brief, then I can only say that this memorandum was not submitted to me, as can be clearly seen from this note.
9 May 45
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What I want to ask you before the Tribunal adjourns is: Did you approve of this order or did you not?
DOENITZ: I have already told you, as I. . .
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, you haven't. I want you to tell the Tribunal now, and you can answer it either "I approved" or "I did not approve." Did you or did you not approve this order to your commanders?
DOENITZ: Today I do not approve of that order since I have learned here that the basis was not so sound. ..
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you agree with it when you were Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy at the beginning of 1943? Did you approve of it then?
DOENITZ: As Commander-in-Chief of the Navy I was not concerned with this order. While I was Commander of U-boats, as I have already explained to you, I considered it simply a reprisal order. It was not up to me to start an investigation or to take it up with the office which had issued the order to find out whether the basis was correct or not. It was not up to me to start an investigation on the basis of international law. And it was quite clear in Point 1 of the order that here the enemy, the opponent, had placed himself outside the bounds of the Geneva Convention, because they were murdering prisoners, and that therefore we had to do certain things as reprisals. Whether these reprisal measures were necessary or whether they were fully justified by the conditions in Point 1, that is something I did not and could not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: This is the last question. I want you to try and answer it with a straight answer if you can. At the beginning of 1943 did you or did you not approve of this order?
DOENITZ: I cannot give you an answer, because at the beginning of 1943 I did not think of the order and was not concerned with it. Therefore I cannot say how that order affected me at that particular time. I can tell you only how it affected me when I read it as Commander of U-boats; and I can also tell you that today I reject this order, now that I have learned that the basis on which it was issued was not so sound. And thirdly, I can tell you that I personally rejected any kind of reprisals in naval warfare-every kind, in every case, and whatever the proposal.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I will ask some more questions about it tomorrow, as the time has come to break off.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 10 May 1946 at 1000 hours.]
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIX DAY
FRIDAY, 10 May 1946
[The Defendant Doenitz resumed the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, I understand there are some supplementary applications for witnesses and documents, which would probably not take very long to discuss. Is that so?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I have not actually received the final instructions. I can find out in a very short time. I will get Major Barrington up. I am told that is so.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal, therefore, proposes to sit in Open session tomorrow until a quarter to 12 dealing with the Trial in the ordinary course and then to take the supplementary applications at a quarter to 12 and then to adjourn into closed session.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, we shall be ready for them at a quarter to 12 tomorrow.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Defendant, the first document that I want you to look at with regard to the Fuehrer Commando Order of 18 October 1942 is on Page 65 of the English document book and on Page 98 of the German document book. It is Document Number C-178, Exhibit USA-544. You will see that that document is dated 11 February 1943. That is some 12 days after you took over as Commander-in-Chief and you will see from the reference that it went to "1. SKL Ii." That is the international law and prize law division of your operations staff, isn't it-Admiral Eckardt's division?
DOENITZ: No. It is addressed to the first section of the Naval Operations Staff, that is, the operational section. It originates with Eckardt and is sent to the first section, that is, to the section chief.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But I think I am quite right- the reference about which
I asked you, 1. SKL Ii, that is Admiral Eckardt's department. That is the
reference for Admiral Eckardt's international law department?
10 May 40
DOENITZ: No, no, no. It is the department in which Admiral Eckardt was also an official. Admiral Eckardt was an official in that department.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And the third SKL in the next line is the press department as you said, isn't it?
DOENITZ: No. The third section of the SKL collected information sent in for the Navy and reported on it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I note it was intelligence and press. Is that right or not?
DOENITZ: Yes, it was intelligence and press.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I just want you to help the Tribunal on three points in this document. You remember I asked you yesterday about the secrecy standard of the original Fuehrer order of 18 October. If you will look at the second paragraph you will see that it says:
".. . was given the protection of top secret merely because it is stated therein (l) that . . . sabotage / organization . . . may have portentous consequences... and (2) that the shooting of uniformed prisoners acting on military orders must be carried out even after they have surrendered voluntarily and asked for pardon."
Do you see that?
DOENITZ: Yes, I have read it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You agree that that was one of the reasons for giving the order top secrecy?
DOENITZ: This exchange of notes between Eckardt and the section chief was not submitted to me, as is obvious from the initials noted in the book...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Is that the reason for you not answering my question? Do you agree that that is the reason for giving top secrecy to this document?
DOENITZ: I do not know. I cannot tell you that, because I did not issue this Commando Order. It says in the Commando Order, on the one hand that these people had killed prisoners. That is the way I had read it as Commander, U-boat Fleet; and on the other hand . . .
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I shall give you one more opportunity of answering my question. You were Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy. Do you say that you are not able to answer this question: Is the reason stated in Paragraph 2 of this document a correct reason for attaching top secrecy to the Fuehrer order or
10 May 40
18 October? Now you have this final opportunity of answering that question. Will you answer it or won't you?
DOENITZ: Yes, I will do that. I consider it possible, particularly as the legal expert here thinks so. I do not know if it is correct, because I did not issue the order. On the other hand, it says in the order that these things would not be published in the army orders.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That was the next point. The next paragraph says that what is to be published in the army orders is the annihilation of sabotage units in battle, not, of course, if they are shot - as I would say, murdered - quietly, by the SD after battle. I want you to note the next paragraph. The next paragraph raises the difficulty as to how many saboteurs were to be considered as a sabotage unit and suggests that up to ten would certainly be a sabotage unit.
Now, if you look at the last paragraph - I will read it to you quite slowly:
"It is to be assumed that Counterintelligence III is acquainted with the Fuehrer orders and will therefore reply accordingly to the objections of the Army General Staff and the Air Force Operations Staff. As far as the Navy is concerned, it remains to be seen whether or not this case should be used to make sure"-note the next words-"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."
Are you telling the Tribunal that after that minute from Eckardt's department, which was to be shown to 1. SKL, your Chief-of-Staff's department., that you were never consulted upon it?
DOENITZ: Yes, I do say that, and I will prove by means of a witness that there are no initials or distribution list here; and this witness will prove quite clearly that I did not receive a report on it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Admiral Wagner was your Chief of Staff?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: All right, we will not occupy further time.
DOENITZ: He was not my Chief of Staff; he was chief of this section. He was Section Chief 1. SKL, to which this order was directed. He knows beyond doubt that no report was made to me. The circumstances are perfectly clear.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I will leave that, if you say that you have not seen it; and I will ask you to look at Document Number 551-PS.
10 May 46
My Lord, I will pass the Tribunal a copy. This is Exhibit USA-551, and it was put in by General Taylor on 7 January.
[Turning to the defendant.] Now, that is a document which is dated 26 June 1944; and it deals with the Fuehrer order; and it says how it will apply after the landing of the Allied Forces in France; and if you will look at the distribution, you will see that Number 4 is to the OKM, 1. SKL. That is the department on which you were good enough to correct me a moment ago. Now, did you-were you shown that document, which says that the Fuehrer order is to apply to Commando units operating outside the immediate combat area in Normandy? Were you shown that document?
DOENITZ: No, that was not shown to me in any circumstances- and quite rightly, as the Navy did not take part in the affair.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You told me yesterday that you were concerned with the matter and that you had small boats operating in the Normandy operations. That is what you told me yesterday afternoon. You have changed your recollections since yesterday afternoon?
DOENITZ: No, not at all. But these one-man submarines were boating on water and had nothing to do with Commandos on the land front. That is clear from this document, too-I do not know if it is the original of the 1. SKL because I cannot see the initial. I am convinced, however, that it was not submitted to me, because it had nothing to do with the Navy.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. Will you just look at Document Number 537-PS, which is dated 30 July 1944.
My Lord, that is Exhibit USA-553, also put in by General Taylor on 7 January.
DOENITZ: Where is it?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The sergeant major will point to the place. That is the document applying the Commando Order to "military missions," and you will see again later that the distribution includes OKM, Department SKL. Did you see that order?
DOENITZ: Yes, I can see it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you see it at the time that it was distributed, at the end of July 1944?
DOENITZ: It is quite certain that this order was not submitted to me because again it has nothing to do with the Navy. The Navy had nothing to do with fighting partisans.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want you now just to look very quickly, because I do not want to spend too much time on it, at Document Number 512-PS.
10 May 46
My Lord, that is Exhibit USA-546, which was also put in by General Taylor on 7 January.
[Turning to the defendant.] Now, that is a report dealing with the question of whether members of Commandos should not be murdered immediately in order that they could be interrogated, and the question is whether that is covered by the last sentence of the Fuehrer order, and I call your attention to the fact that it refers, with regard to interrogations, in the second sentence:
"Importance of this measure was proven in the cases of Glom fjord, the two-man torpedo at Trondheim, and the glider plane at Stavanger."
DOENITZ: I cannot find it at the moment.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It is 512-PS.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, perhaps you ought to read the first sentence.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If Your Lordship pleases.
DOENITZ: This document dates from 1942. At that time I was Commander of U-boats from the Atlantic Coast to the Bay of Biscay. I do not know this paper at all.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is your answer, but it is 14 December 1942; and the point is put up which is raised in the first sentence which My Lord has just directed be read:
"Top secret: According to the last sentence of the Fuehrer order of 18 October, individual saboteurs can be spared for the time being in order to keep them for interrogation."
Then follows the sentence I have read. That was the point that was raised, and what I was going to ask you was, did that point come up to you when you took over the Commandership-in-Chief of the Navy in January 1943? Just look at the last sentence.
"The Red Cross and the BDS protested against the immediate carrying out of the Fuehrer order..."
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon, but I still cannot find where that is. I have not yet found the last sentence. Where is it?
THE PRESIDENT: Our translation says "after the immediate carrying out...."
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: "After," My Lord: I am sorry. It is my fault. I am greatly obliged to Your Lordship. "Protested after the immediate..." I beg Your Lordship's pardon-I read it wrong.
DOENITZ: That dates from December 1942.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It is only six weeks before you took over.
10 May 46
DOENITZ: Yes. I do not know this teleprint. In any case, that is probably not Red Cross, but probably Reiko See, Reich Commissioner for Shipping-or so I assume. BDS is probably the SS Leader in Norway.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But the point that I thought might have some interest for you was the two-man torpedoes. I thought that might have been referred to you as a matter of Navy interest. However, if it was not I will come to a document after you took over. Give the defendant Document Number 526-PS, on 10 May 1943.
My Lord, that is USA-502, and was put in by my friend Colonel Storey on 2 January.
[Turning to the defendant.] You see that that is an account - it is from the Defendant Jodl's department, and it is annotated for the Defendant Jodl's department-about an enemy cutter which carried out an operation from the Shetlands, a cutter of the Norwegian Navy; and it gives its armament, and it says that it was an organization for sabotaging strong points, battery positions, staff and troop billets, and bridges and that the Fuehrer order was executed by the SD. That was a cutter which was blown up by the Norwegian Navy, I suppose after they were attacked, and ten prisoners were murdered. Was that brought to your attention?
DOENITZ: This was shown to me during an interrogation, and I was also asked if I had not had a telephone conversation with Field Marshal Keitel. It was afterwards found to be the Wehrmacht area commander who had contacted the OKW. It was a matter for the Army and for the SD, not for the Navy.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: If you deny that you ever heard about that, will you turn to Page 100 of the document book.
My Lord, it is Page 67 of the British document book.
[Turning to the defendant.] And that is a summary, a summary of the trial of the SD. ..
DOENITZ: Where is it? I cannot find it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Page 100, I have told you. If you will look for it, I think you will find it. It is Page 67 of the English, if you prefer to follow it in that language.
Now I will explain to you; I think you have read it before because you have referred to it. That is a summary by the judge advocate at the trial of the SS men of the evidence that was given, and I just want to see that you have it in mind.
If you will look at Paragraph 4, you will see that they set out from Lerwick, in the Shetlands, on this naval operation for the
10 May 46
purpose of making torpedo attacks on German shipping off the Norwegian coasts and for the purpose of laying mines. Paragraph 5:
"The defense 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 uniforms at all times after their capture."
Now. you mentioned this yesterday. You see that in Paragraph 6:
"Deponent states that the whole of the crew was captured and 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; and there they were interrogated by Lieutenant H.P.K. W.Fanger, a lieutenant of the Naval Reserve, on the orders of Korvettenkapitan Egon Drascher, both of the German Naval Counterintelligence; and this interrogation was carried out upon the orders 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 members of the crew were entitled to be treated as prisoners of war and that officer in turn reported both orally and in writing to the Sea Commander, Bergen, and in writing to the Admiral of the West Coast." - and that is Admiral Von Schrader.
Now I want just to read you the one sentence which, in view of that, I do not think you will think is taken out of context of the evidence given by Lieutenant Fanger at this trial. He was asked:
"Have you any idea at all why these people were handed over to the SD?" In answering that question I want you to tell me who was responsible for their being handed over. This was your officers, your outfit; that was the general in command of the Norwegian coast, Admiral Von Schrader in command of this section, whose people captured the crew. That is your own officers. Is it true what you told the Court yesterday that the crew were captured by the SD? Have you any reason to believe Lieutenant Fanger is not telling the truth?
THE PRESIDENT: What is that you were quoting from then?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It is the shorthand notes taken on the trial of the SS.
THE PRESIDENT: Has it been admitted?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, My Lord, it has not been, but it was within Article 19.
10 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I do not know the document which has been used. May I have it, please? Shorthand notes which I have not seen are being used; and according to the Tribunal's ruling on cross-examinations they must be given to me when the witness is heard.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, with great respect, but this point arose yesterday when the defendant made certain statements with regard to Admiral Von Schrader. I am questioning these statements, and the only way I can do it is to use documents which I did not otherwise intend to use. I shall, of course, let Dr. Kranzbuehler see them in due course.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you a copy of the German? That was to have been given in German, that evidence.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I have only the English transcript and I am willing to let- Dr. Kranzbuehler see it, but it is all I have.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you got any other copy you can hand him?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, I only was sent one copy.
THE PRESIDENT: After you are through with it, will you please hand that copy to Dr. Kranzbuehler?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, have you any reason to suppose, Defendant, that your officer, Lieutenant Fanger, is not telling the truth when he says that these men were captured by Admiral Von Schrader?
DOENITZ: I have no reason to question that statement because the whole affair is completely unknown to me. I have already stated that the incident was not reported to me nor-as I can prove-to the High Command of the Navy; and I told you yesterday that I could only assume, in consequence, that these men-here it is, in Paragraph 6-were captured on an island, not by the Navy but by a detachment of the Police. Consequently Admiral Von Schrader said that they were not Navy prisoners but Police prisoners and must be handed back to the Police; and for this reason he did not make a report.
I assume that that is what happened. I myself cannot furnish the full details of this story or explain how it came about, because it was not reported to me at the time.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is the point I will get to in a moment. It nowhere states in this document that they were
10 May 46
captured by the Police, and in fact that they were captured by the forces under Admiral Von Schrader, who attacked this island to which this boat was moored.
DOENITZ: I do not know about that. The document says that the men reached the island - the reason is not clear. That the men were brought back from the island afterwards in some sort of boat is quite clear; but naturally they might remain Police prisoners if they were captured there by the Police or the coast guards. That is the only explanation I can think of, in view of Admiral Von Schrader's personality.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I just asked you - your own officer, Lieutenant Fanger, says they were captured by Admiral Von Schrader's troops, and you say if Lieutenant Fanger says that you have no reason to believe he is not telling the truth, is that right?
DOENITZ: Yes. My estimate of Von Schrader's personality caused me to assume yesterday that it happened like that. Since I am informed today of a Lieutenant Fanger's statement, things may have happened differently for I may be wrong.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you look at the end of Paragraph 8, the last sentence:
"There was an interview between Blomberg of the SS and Admiral Von Schrader...." And then the last sentence:
"Admiral Von Schrader told Blomberg that the crew of thistorpedo boat were to be handed over in accordance with theFuehrer orders to the SD."-and then they were handed over.
And the official of the SD who carried out this interrogation stated at the trial:
". . . that after the interrogation he was of the opinion that themembers of the crew were entitled to be treated as prisonersof war, and that he so informed his superior officer."
Despite this report and the representations of a superior officer the crew were dealt with under the Fuehrer order and executed, and it describes how they were shot and their bodies secretly disposed of. Do you say you never heard about that?
DOENITZ: No. I do say that and I have witnesses to prove it. If the SD official thought that these men did not come under that head, he would have been obliged to report that to his superiors and his superiors would have been obliged to take the appropriate steps.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You say, you already take the position that the Navy had interrogated them, the Navy Intelligence said they should be treated as prisoners of war, and Admiral Von Schrader said they should be handed over to the SS and that the SS examined them and said they should be treated as prisoners of war,
10 May 46
and despite that these men are murdered? And you say you knew nothing about it?
Did your Kapitan zur See Wildemann say anything to you concerning this? W-i-l-d-e-m-a-n-n.
DOENITZ: I do not know him.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let me try to bring him to your recollection. At this time he was an officer on the staff of Admiral Von Schrader and dealt with this matter. Now, Kapitan Wildemann, and I suppose we should assume, unless you know anything to the contrary, that he is a trustworthy officer, says:
"I know that Von Schrader made a written report on this action, and I know of no reason why the handing over of the prisoners to the SD should not have been reported on."
Do you still say you never got any report from Von Schrader?
DOENITZ: Yes, I still say that I did not receive any report, and I am equally convinced that the High Command of the Navy did not receive it either. I have a witness to prove that. I do not know where the report went. Admiral Von Schrader was not directly responsible to the High Command of the Navy; and the report may have been sent to the OKW, if this report was made at all. At any rate the High Command of the Navy did not receive a report on this particular matter, hence my assumption that these men were captured on the island in the first place by the Police. Otherwise, I think Admiral Von Schrader would have reported it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Before you make any further statement, I would like you to have in mind something further that Kapitan Wildemann said, which you know probably quite well, "After the capitulation Admiral Von Schrader many times said that the English would hold him responsible for handing over the prisoners to the SD," and Admiral Von Schrader was under orders to proceed to England as a prisoner when he shot himself. Did you know Admiral Von Schrader shot himself?
DOENITZ: I heard it here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you know he was worried about being held responsible for this order?
DOENITZ: No, I had not the slightest idea of that. I only heard of his suicide here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you still telling the Tribunal that Admiral Von Schrader made no report to you? Do you remember a few days after the capture of this M.T.B. Admiral Von Schrader received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross?
DOENITZ: Yes, but that has no connection with this matter. He did not make a report on this matter and he did not go to Berlin for his Knight's Cross either, as far as I remember.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Two other officers, Oberleutnant Nelle and Seeoberfahnrich Bohm were decorated; and in the recommendations and citations the capture of this M.T.B. was given as the reason for this decoration. You say you knew nothing about it?
DOENITZ: I know nothing about it and I cannot know anything about it, because the competent superior officers would have dealt with these decorations and not myself. The High Command of the Navy did not receive a report on this matter; otherwise it would have been passed on to me. I have that much confidence in my High Command, and my witness will testify that he did not receive it either and that he must have done so if it had gone to the Navy.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My final question, and I leave this subject: Admiral Von Schrader was your junior officer, and according to you, a very gallant officer. Do you want the Tribunal to understand that the responsibility which broke and made Admiral Von Schrader commit suicide was his responsibility, that he never consulted you and you were taking no responsibility for his acts? Is that what you want the Tribunal to understand?
DOENITZ: Yes. I will swear to that; because if Admiral Von Schrader really committed suicide on account of this incident, then he did make a mistake because he treated naval personnel, engaged in a naval operation, in a wrong manner. If that is correct, he acted against orders. In any case, not even the slightest hint of the affair reached me.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, will you ask the witness what he meant when he said that Von Schrader was not directly under the Navy? He was under Admiral Ciliax, wasn't he, who was on leave at this time?
DOENITZ: I said that he was not directly under the High Command of the Navy in Berlin. So if Admiral Von Schrader made any report on the affair, the report did not come to me directly but went to his immediate superior, who was in Norway.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And that immediate superior was Admiral Ciliax who was on leave - but omit the leave for the moment; his immediate superior was Admiral Ciliax?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to put it perfectly fairly: Do you mean that for operations in Norway Admiral Ciliax was acting under the commander - correct me if I am wrong - was it General Von Falkenhorst? I cannot remember, perhaps you can help me. Do you remember that this Admiral was acting under the commander-in-chief in Norway so that you will tell the Tribunal. . .
10 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
10 May 46
DOENITZ: Yes, as far as territory was concerned Admiral Ciliax was not under the High Command of the Navy but under the Wehrmacht Commander for Norway, General Von Falkenhorst; but I can only say that if Schrader's suicide is connected with this affair, then the Commando Order was not properly carried out when these men, who were naval personnel and had been sent into a naval action, were not treated as prisoners of war. If that is what happened- I do not know-then a mistake was made locally.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But at any rate you say that despite these decorations for this action you as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy knew nothing about it at all. That is what you say?
DOENITZ: I awarded the Knight's Cross to Admiral Von Schrader for entirely different reasons. I awarded it. I knew nothing about decorations awarded to the other people you mentioned. It has nothing to do with me because their immediate superiors would attend to that. Nor do I know whether these awards are really connected with the story or if they were given for other reasons. I still cannot imagine - and I do not believe - that a man like Admiral Von Schrader would treat naval personnel in this way. The document does not say that they were killed in a naval action but that they were captured on an island. It seems to me peculiar that the High Command of the Navy should have received no report on it, since orders to that effect had been given, and that the Wehrmacht report should make no reference to it in accordance with the Commando Order. All these factors are against it. I personally am unable to form an opinion as to the affair.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Defendant, I am not going into details. You may take it from me that the evidence at the trial has been that this cutter was attacked by two naval task forces. If Dr. Kranzbuehler finds I am wrong I will be happy to admit it. But we will pass on to another subject. Time is going. Would you turn to Page 105 of the document book?
DOENITZ: Then I can only say that it is a clear violation of orders and that the High Command of the Navy was not informed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want you to come to this next point, 105 in the German, 71 in the English document book. Now we needn't have any trouble about this document because it is signed by you. It is a memorandum about the question of more labor for shipbuilding; and you are probably very familiar with it. But will you look at the first sentence?
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon, but what page is it?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Page 105, Exhibit GB-211 (Document Number C-195), English Page 71.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, if you would look at the first sentence, "Furthermore, I propose reinforcing the shipyard working party by prisoners from the concentration camps...."
I don't think we need trouble with coppersmiths, but if you will look at the end of the document, the very last, you will see Item 2 of the summing-up reads:
"12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed in the shipyards as additional labor. Security service agrees to this." Now, that is your document, so...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So we may take it that you were familiar with the fact of the existence of concentration camps?
DOENITZ: I have never denied it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And I think you went further, didn't you, when asked about this on 28 September? At that time you said:
"I generally knew that we had concentration camps. That is clear.
"Question: 'From whom did you learn that?'
"Answer: 'The whole German people knew that.' "
Don't you remember saying that?
DOENITZ: Yes. The German people knew that concentration camps existed; but they did not know anything about the conditions and methods therein.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It must have been rather a surprise for you when the Defendant Von Ribbentrop said he only heard of two: Oranienburg and Dachau? It was rather a surprise to you, was it?
DOENITZ: No, it was not at all surprising, because I myself only knew of Dachau and Oranienburg.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But you say here you knew there were concentration camps. Where did you think you were going to get your labor from? What camps?
DOENITZ: From these camps.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you think that all your labor was going to be German or that it was going to be partly foreign labor?
DOENITZ.: I did not think about that at all. I should like to explain now how these demands came to be made.
10 May 46
At the end of the war I was given the task of organizing large scale transports in the Baltic Sea. Gradually the necessity arose to move the hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken refugees out of the coastal areas of East and West Prussia where they were exposed to starvation, epidemics, and bombardment and to bring them to Germany. For this reason I made enquiries about merchant shipping, which was not actually under my jurisdiction; and in so doing I learned that out of eight ships ordered in Denmark, seven had been destroyed by saboteurs in the final stage of construction. I called a meeting of all the departments connected with those ships and asked them, "How can I help you so that we get shipping space and have damaged ships repaired more quickly?" I received suggestions from various quarters outside the Navy, including a suggestion that repair work, et cetera, might be speeded up by employing prisoners from the concentration camps. By way of justification, it was pointed out, in view of the excellent food conditions, such employment would be very popular. Since I knew nothing about the methods and conditions in the concentration camps, I included these proposals in my collection as a matter of course, especially as there was no question of making conditions worse for them, since they would be given better food when working. And I know that if I had done the opposite I could have been accused here of refusing these people an opportunity of having better food. I had not the slightest reason to do this, as I knew nothing about any concentration camp methods at the time.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am sure we are grateful for your explanation. But I just want you to tell me, after you had proposed that you should get 12,000 people from concentration camps did you get them?
DOENITZ: I do not know. I did not do anything more about that. After the meeting I had a memorandum prepared and submitted to the Fuehrer...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Keep to the answer. The answer is that you do not know whether you got them or not, assuming that you did get them.
DOENITZ: I did not get them at all. I had nothing to do with shipyards and consequently I do not know how those responsible for the work in the shipyards received their additional workers. I just do not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But you held a position of some responsibility; if you get 12,000 people from concentration camps into the shipbuilding industry, they would have to work alongside people who weren't in concentration camps, would they not?
DOENITZ: Certainly, yes.
10 May 40
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you telling this Tribunal that when you ask for and you may have got 12,000 people out of concentration camps, who work alongside people not in concentration camps, that the conditions inside the concentration camps remain a secret to the other people and to all the rulers of Germany?
DOENITZ: First of all, I do not know whether they came. Secondly, if they did come, I can very well imagine that they had orders not to talk; and thirdly, I do not even know what camps they came from and whether they were not people who had already been put into other camps on account of the work they accomplished. At any rate, I did not worry about the execution or methods, et cetera, because it was none of my business; I acted on behalf of the competent non-naval departments which required workmen in order to carry out repairs more quickly, so that something could be done about repairs for the merchant navy. That was my duty, considering the arrangements which I had to make for the re-transport of these refugees. I would do exactly the same thing again today. That is the position.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, just look a little down the document to the fourth paragraph, after it says, "Translator's note." If you will look at the English, the paragraph beginning: "Since elsewhere..." Have you found that? This is as you have told us, after you express your worry about the sabotage in the Danish and Norwegian shipyards. I just want you to look at your proposal to deal with saboteurs.
"Since elsewhere measures for exacting atonement taken against whole working parties among 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." That is what you were suggesting, Defendant, a collective penalty against the whole working party where any sabotage occurred; isn't that so?
DOENITZ: Yes. May I give an explanation in that connection?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is all right. But otherwise, it is so?
DOENITZ: Agencies outside the Navy connected with shipbuilding stated at that meeting that sabotage had been prevented in France by the introduction of certain measures for exacting atonement. Through an affidavit by an officer who attended the meeting and drafted the minutes or the short memorandum, I have now ascertained that these measures at that time meant the withholding of the additional rations issued by the management of the shipyard.
10 May 46
That is what that meant. And, secondly, to come to Norway and Denmark, I told these people:
"It is impossible for us to build ships there with our foreign currency and our materials, only to have them smashed up by sabotage-and assuredly with the co-operation of the shipyard workmen-when they are nearly ready. What can we do against that?"
The answer I received was that the only way was to keep them away from saboteurs and to round them up in camps.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The whole of this explanation that you have given us is in this document which is in front of the Tribunal. Have you anything to add to what is in the document?
DOENITZ: Right. I have to add that the workmen were to be treated in exactly the same way as our own workmen who were also housed in barracks. The Danish and Norwegian workers would not have suffered the slightest discomfort.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want you to look at one more sentence:
"By the employment of the working parties concerned as concentration camp workers, their output would not only be increased by 100 percent but the cessation of their previously good wages might possibly result in their being considerably deterred from sabotage..."
That fairly represents your view of the way to treat Norwegian and Danish workers, does it not?
DOENITZ: This was a safety measure to allow us to get control of the sabotage.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, just turn back to Page 70 of the English document book, Page 103 in the German document book. This is an extract from the minutes of a meeting between you and Hitler on 1 July 1944, signed by yourself. Have you got it?
D0NITZ: Not yet.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Page 70 in the English, Page 112 in the German text (Exhibit Number GB-210).
D0NITZ: I have got it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: In connection with the general strike in Copenhagen, the Fuehrer says:
"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."
10 May 46
Silence with regard to those who are condemned without trial! Do you agree with that statement of Hitler's?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Then why did you distribute it to Operations for circulation if you didn't approve of it?
DOENITZ: I do not agree with this procedure, but it expresses an idea of the Fuehrer's. This was not a discussion between the Fuehrer and myself; it represents notes on the military situation generally, made by the officer who accompanied me, and contains widely differing points.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you try and answer my question? It is a perfectly simple one. It is: Why did you distribute that to Operations for circulation? What was there in these few lines that was of interest to your officers? What did you think was valuable for your officers to know in that dreadful piece of savagery that I have just quoted to you?
DOENITZ: It is very easy to explain that. The officer who made the minutes included it in order to inform our shipyard establishments that there was a general strike in Copenhagen. That one paragraph from the long situation discussions was included so that the shipyard establishments would know that there was a strike in Copenhagen. That was the whole point.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am suggesting to you, Defendant, that you circulated that to your officers to inculcate ruthlessness among them. That is my suggestion. What do you say to that?
DOENITZ: I say that is entirely wrong. I may tell you also that I did not even hear the Fuehrer make that statement, but it is possible that it was taken down by the accompanying officer, Wagner, for the reason which I have just given you, to warn our people of the general strike in Copenhagen.
SIP DAVID-MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, Defendant, I am not going to argue with you about your knowledge of documents you have signed. I have questions which deal with documents you haven't signed, so let's pass on to the next one.
DOENITZ: I know the document. I know it because I have signed it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Page 69, that is Page 4 in the English document book or Page 102 in the German document book (Exhibit Number GB-209), the minutes of the conference on 19 February 1945, between you and Hitler.
D0NITZ: No, that is not correct.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, I beg your pardon. It is an extract from the minutes of the Hitler conference on 19 February 1945; and then there is a note. ..
DOENITZ: No. It says here: Participation by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in situation discussion with the Fuehrer. It was not a special conference on the general military situation.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I did not mean to say "special." I said the Hitler conference on the 19th.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now the first sentence of Paragraph 1 says:
"The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany should renounce the Geneva Convention " 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." And if you look down at the next minutes of the conference on 20 February, which is headed, "Participation of C-in-C Navy at a Fuehrer conference on 20 February at 1600 hours," it reads as follows: "The C-in-C Navy informed the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, Generaloberst Jodl, and the representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Fuehrer's headquarters, Ambassador Hewel, of his views with regard to Germany's possible renunciation of the Geneva Convention. From a military standpoint there are no grounds for this step as far as the conduct of the war at sea is concerned. On the contrary, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Even from a general standpoint it appears to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy that this measure would bring no advantage."
Now look to the last sentence:
"It would be better to carry out measures considered necessary without warning and at all costs to save face with the world." That means, put in blunt and brutal language, "Don't denounce the convention, but break it whenever it suits you," doesn't it?
DOENITZ: No, that is not true.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What does it mean? Let's take it word for word. "It would be better to carry out measures considered necessary...." Aren't these measures contrary to the rules of the Geneva Convention?
DOENITZ: I must give an explanation of that.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Answer my question first and then make a statement. You have done it before but try to answer my question: "These measures considered necessary"-If they don't mean measures contrary to the terms of the Geneva Convention, what do they mean? Answer that question first.
DOENITZ: They are measures against our own troops. I had heard, or I was told that the Fuehrer intended, or had said, that because the front was yielding in the West and he feared that American and British propaganda might induce men to desert, he intended to leave the Geneva Convention, so I said to my staff, "How is it possible in this connection to contemplate abandoning lock, stock, and barrel a system of international law almost a century old?" I may have said something like this, "The necessary measures must be taken." There was no thought of concrete measures in that connection and no such measures were introduced. My own views on the treatment of prisoners of war can best be heard from the 8,000 British prisoners of war who were in my camps. That is the situation regarding this matter. All the chiefs of the Wehrmacht branches protested against the idea of renouncing the Geneva Convention. They were not in favor of this idea.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Is that your total explanation of "to carry out measures considered necessary"? You have nothing else to add on that point? Well, I shall pass to another one. Do you remember saying to Dr. Kranzbuehler yesterday that when you became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy the war was purely a defensive war? Do you remember saying that to your counsel yesterday? DOENITZ: Yes.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That was not your fault, was it? It was not your fault that it remained limited to the countries engaged when you took over? Do you remember your advice to Hitler on the meeting of 14 May 1943?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, let me just suggest to you, do you remember the discussion about the sea transport for Sicily and Sardinia? Do you remember having a discussion on that, and do you remember your warning Hitler that your U-boat losses were 15 to 17 U-boats a month and that the position as to the future of the U-boat war looked rather gloomy? Do you remember that? DOENITZ: Yes, I do.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And do you remember Hitler saying, "These losses are too heavy. This cannot go on." And did you say to Hitler:
10 May 46
"Now our only small outlet for sorties is the Bay of Biscay, and control of this involves great difficulties and already takes up ten days. C-in-C Navy sees best strategic solution in occupation of Spain, including Gibraltar."
And did Hitler remark:
"In 1940 this would still have been possible with the co-operation of Spain; but now, and against the will of Spain, our resources are no longer adequate." Do you remember suggesting that to Hitler on 14 May 1943, and Hitler saying his resources were no longer adequate?
DOENITZ: I do not think that I had proposed to the Fuehrer that we should occupy Spain. I described the situation very clearly; I said that we were blocked in that small corner of the Bay of Biscay and that the situation would be different if there was much more room. That, however, does not suggest that, in consideration of the defensive situation, we should occupy Spain.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Let us get it clearly, I am quoting you now from Admiral Assmann's headline diary, a verbatim translation.
The original is in London, My Lord. I will get the copy and put it in and certify it. This point again only arose yesterday and I haven't got it. I will have the original given and I will show Dr. Kranzbuehler this entry. [Turning to the defendant.] These are the words that Admiral Assmann records:
"C-in-C Navy continues: 'Now our only small outlet for sorties is the Bay of Biscay, and control of this involves great difficulties and already takes up 10 days.'
"C-in-C Navy sees best strategic solution in occupation of Spain, including Gibraltar."
Did you say that "the best strategic solution lies in the occupation of Spain, including Gibraltar"?
DOENITZ: That is possible. If that is the wording you have got there, it is possible that that is the way I said it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I was going to pass on from these general. . .
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, have you passed altogether from C-158 on Page 69?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I had, but I can easily return to it, My Lord.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the second sentence in Paragraph 1 appears to have some bearing upon the answers which the defendant has given.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I am sorry, but I tried to cut it as short-to the bare bone-and I am sorry if I omit matters.
[Turning to the defendant.] Defendant, would you return to the last document, C-158. That's the one about the Geneva Convention; it's Page 69 of the English book; 102 of the German, whichever you're following. The sergeant major will help you to find it.
Now, if you'll look at the first paragraph, after the sentence I read, "The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany should renounce the Geneva Convention," it goes on:
"Not only the Russians but also the Western Powers are violating international law by their actions against the defenseless population and the residential districts of the towns. It therefore appears expedient to adopt the same course in order to show the enemy that we are determined to fight with
every means for our existence and, also, through this measure to urge our people to resist to the utmost."
Were not these, that are referred to there as the "same course" - were not these the "measures considered necessary" to which you were referring in the second minute?
DOENITZ: The witness who drew up these two records will be able to explain exactly where and when this information was given. I myself was only told, just as the Reich Marshal testified, that the Fuehrer was upset because our Western Front was not holding, and men were quite pleased to become American and English prisoners of war. That was how the whole thing began; and that was the information which I originally received.
I cannot give an opinion on these minutes which were drawn up by an officer. The best thing would be for Admiral Wagner to give more exact details of these matters. I cannot say more than that under oath. I was of the opinion that the renunciation of the Geneva Convention was in principle a great mistake and was wrong. I have given practical proof of my views on the treatment of prisoners of war. Everything else is wrong.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to make quite clear the point that the Prosecution put against you as this: That you were prepared not to denounce the Convention, but you were prepared to take action contrary to the Convention and say nothing about it; and that's what I suggested is the effect of the last sentence, especially when read with these words in the first paragraph. My Lord, I am going to pass to the war at sea.
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon, but may I say one thing more? If measures are taken against desertion, they must be made public. They must have a deterrent effect; and so it never entered my head
10 May 46
to keep them secret. On the contrary my only thought was, "How is it possible to leave the Geneva Convention at all?" And that is what I was expressing.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The document is clear.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE Defendant, did you know that on the first day of the war the Navy put up to the Foreign Office that the maximum damage to England could only be achieved, with the naval forces you had, if U-boats were permitted the unrestricted use of arms without warning against Allied and neutral shipping in a wide area? From the first day of the war, did you know that the Navy put that up to the German Foreign Office?
DOENITZ: I do not believe that the Naval Operations Staff at the time sent me a memorandum of that kind, if it was ever set up, which I do not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE Now, I want you to try and remember because it's quite important. You say that the naval command never informed the Flag Officer of U-boats that that was their view of the war?
DOENITZ' I do not know. I cannot remember that the Naval War Staff ever informed me of such a letter to the Foreign Office. I do not believe they did; I do not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, then, perhaps it would assist your memory if you looked at the letter.
My Lord, this is Document Number D-851 and it will become Exhibit Number GB-451.
DOENITZ: No, I do not know this paper.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I just will take it by stages because, of course, you wouldn't know the first part; but I'll read it to you and then we'll look at the memorandum together.
"Submitted respectfully to the Secretary of State"-that would be Baron von Weizsacker-"with the enclosed memorandum.
"The Chief of the Operational Department of the Naval High Command, Captain Fricke, informed me by telephone that the Fuehrer was already dealing with this matter. The impression had, however, arisen here that the political connections had again to be gone into and brought to the Fuehrer's notice anew
10 May 46
Captain Fricke had therefore sent Korvettenkapitan Neubauer to the Foreign Office in order to discuss the matter further."
That's signed by Albrecht on 3 September 1939. Then there is the memorandum:
"The question of an unlimited U-boat war against England is discussed in the enclosed data submitted by the Naval High Command.
"The Navy has arrived at the conclusion that the maximum damage to England, which can be achieved with the forces available, can only be attained if the U-boats are permitted an unrestricted use of arms without warning against enemy and neutral shipping in the prohibited area indicated in the enclosed map. "The Navy does not fail to realize that (a) Germany would thereby publicly disregard the agreement of 1936 regarding the prosecution of economic warfare, and (b) a military operation of this kind could not be justified on the basis of the hitherto generally accepted principles of international law." And then it goes on to deal with it.
Are you telling the Tribunal that the Defendant Raeder never consulted or informed you before these data were submitted to the Foreign Office?
DOENITZ: No, he did not do so, and that is shown by the fact that it is a memorandum from the Chief of the Operations Department to the Secretary of State, that is to say, a negotiation between Berlin and the Foreign Of lice; and the front-line commander, whose station was on the coast and who, for all practical purposes, was in charge of the U-boats, had nothing to do with it. I do not know this letter.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, are you saying that you went on with your activities at the beginning of the war without knowing that this was the view of the Naval High Command?
DOENITZ: I was not informed about this letter. I have said already that my knowledge of it . . .
THE PRESIDENT: That wasn't an answer to the question. The question was whether you knew at the time that this was the view of the Naval High Command. Answer the question.
DOENITZ: No, I did not know that. I knew that the view of the Naval High Command was to follow the measures of the enemy step by step. I knew that.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But you see, that is the entire difference, Defendant.
That is what you said at great length in giving your evidence the day before yesterday and yesterday, that
10 May 46
you were answering, step by step, the measures of the enemy. You gave that evidence. Do you say that you didn't know that this was the view of the Defendant Raeder, formed on the first day of the war? Do you say you didn't know it at all, you had no inkling that that was Raeder's view?
DOENITZ: No; I did not know that because I did not know of this letter; and I do not know if that is Herr Raeder's view. I do not know.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, again I don't want to argue with you; but if the Commander, the Chief of the Navy--and I think at that time he called himself chief of the naval war staff as well-allows the chief of his Operational Department to put this view forward to the Foreign Office-is it the practice of the German Navy to allow post captains to put for-ward a view like that when it is not held by the Commander-in-Chief?
It is ridiculous, isn't it? No Commander-in-Chief would allow a junior officer to put forward that view to the Foreign Office unless he held it, would he?
DOENITZ: Will you please ask the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Raeder. I cannot give any information as to how this letter came to be written.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I will do that with very great pleasure, Defendant; but at the moment, you see, I have got to question you on the matters that you put forward, and my next question is: Was it not in pursuance of the view and desire expressed in that memorandum that the U-boat command disregarded from the start the London Treaty about warning ships?
DOENITZ: No, on the contrary, entirely on the contrary. In the
West we wanted to avoid any further complications, and we endeavored as long as possible to fight according to the London Agreement. That can be seen from all the directives that the U-boats received.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, ought you perhaps to draw his attention to the penultimate paragraph in that memorandum?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I probably should. My Lord, I will read the three, because if you will notice it goes on:
"The High Command does not assert that England can be beaten by unrestricted U-boat warfare. The cessation of traffic with the world trade center of England spells serious disruptions of their national economy for the neutrals, for which we can offer them no compensation.
"Points of view based on foreign politics would favor using military method of unrestricted U-boat warfare only if
10 May 46
England gives us a justification, by her method of waging war, to order this form of warfare as a reprisal.
"It appears necessary, in view of the great importance in the field of foreign politics of the decision to be taken, that it should be arrived at not only as a result of military considerations, but taking into furl account the needs of foreign politics."
I am greatly obliged, Your Lordship.
[Turning to the defendant.] Did you hear of any qualification of this view which was arrived at on considerations of foreign politics? Did you hear anything about that?
DOENITZ: No, I can only repeat that I saw this document here for the first time.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. Well now, I would like you, just before we go on to the question, to look at Page 19 of the English document book, Page 49 of the German.
My Lord, the whole of the treaty, which is very short, is set out there. My Lord, I have the formal copy if Your Lordship would like to see it, but it is set out in these two paragraphs.
[Turning to the defendant.] You see:
"1. In action with regard to merchant ships, submarines must conform to the rules of international law to which surface vessels are subjected. "2. In particular, except in the case of persistent refusal to stop on being duly summoned or of active resistance to visit or search, a warship, whether a surface vessel or submarine, may not sink or render incapable of navigation a merchant vessel without having first placed passengers, crew, and ship's papers in a place of safety. For this purpose the ship's boats are not regarded as a place of safety unless the safety of the passengers and crew is assured in the existing sea and weather conditions by the proximity of land, or the presence of another vessel which is in position to take them on board."
I had better remind you of that because I have some questions to put to you upon it.
Would you turn over the page and look at the foot of Page 20 in the English document book-it is either Page 50 or 51 in the German document book-where there are some figures set out.
Have you got the page?
D0NITZ: Yes, I have read it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You read it. You see that it says in the two sentences before:
10 May 46
"In a certain number of early cases the German commander allowed the crew of the merchant vessel to get clear; and he even made some provision for them before he destroyed the vessel. Such destruction was in accordance with Article 72 of the Prize Ordinance; and therefore, for the purpose of this paper, the Germans have been given the benefit of the doubt in such cases."
The following are the figures on record. This is for the first year of the war:
"Ships sunk: 241.
"Recorded attacks: 221.
"Illegal attacks: 112. At least 79 .of these 112 ships were torpedoed without warning. This does not, of course, include convoy ships."
I wanted you to be quite clear, Defendant, that it excludes, first of all, ships where any measures had been taken for the safety of the crew and secondly, it excludes convoy ships.
Now-, do you dispute these figures in any way, that there were 79 attacks without warning in the first year of the war?
DOENITZ: Yes, I do. These figures cannot be checked. Yesterday I stated that in consequence of the use of arms by ships we had to take other measures. So I cannot check whether this report, which for other reasons looks very like propaganda to me, takes into consideration the behavior of the crews and their resistance, et cetera. That is to say, it is impossible for me to check these figures or to say on what they are based. At any rate, the German point of view was that it was legal considering that the ships were armed and that they transmitted intelligence-were part of an intelligence organization-and that from now on action would be taken against these ships without warning. I have already mentioned the fact that England acted in exactly the same way, and so did other nations.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am going to ask you some questions about that, but let's just take one example. Was any warning given before the Athenia was sunk?
DOENITZ: No, I have already stated that that was a mistake; the Athenia was taken for an auxiliary cruiser. The sinking of an auxiliary cruiser without warning is quite legal. I have also stated already that on a thorough examination of the case, I have found that the commander should have been more cautious and that is why he was punished.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I just want to get your view, Defendant. Did it ever occur to you that in the case of a merchant ship, if it were sunk without warning, it meant either death or
10 May 46
terrible suffering to the crew and to these merchant seamen? Did that ever occur to you?
DOENITZ: If merchant ships...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just answer the question.
DOENITZ: If a merchant ship acts like a merchant ship, it is treated as such. If it does not, then the submarine must proceed to attack. That is legal and in accordance with international law. The same thing happened to the crews of German merchant ships.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That isn't what I asked you. I wanted to know, because it is important on some of these points: Did it ever occur to you, did you ever consider, that you were going to cause either death or terrible suffering to the crews of merchant ships who were sunk without warning?
Just tell us, did it occur to you or didn't it?
DOENITZ: Of course; but if a merchant ship is sunk legally, that is just war, and there is suffering in other places, too, during the war.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you view with pride of achievement the fact that 35,000 British merchant seamen lost their lives during the war? Do you view it as a proud achievement or do you view it with regret?
DOENITZ: Men are killed during wars and no one is proud of it. That is badly expressed. It is a necessity, the harsh necessity of war.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, just look at Page 29 in the English document book, or Page 58 in the German, whichever you care to look at. It is Document Number C-191, Exhibit GB-193. This is 22 September, 19 days after the beginning of the war.
"Flag Officer, U-boats, intends to give permission to U-boats to sink without warning any vessel sailing without lights.
"Previous instructions, permitting attacks on French war and merchant ships only as a defensive measure, purely French or Anglo-French convoys only north of the latitude of Brest and forbidding attacks on all passenger ships, give rise to great difficulties to U-boats, especially at night. In practice, there is no opportunity for attacking at night, as the U-boat cannot identify the target, which is a shadow, in a way that entirely obviates mistakes being made. If the political situation is such that even possible mistakes must be ruled out, U-boats must be forbidden to make any night attacks in waters where French and English naval forces or merchant ships may be moving. On the other hand, in sea areas where only English units are to be expected, the measure desired by the Flag Officer, U-boats, can be carried out. Permission to take this step is not to be given in writing, but need merely be based
10 May 46
on the unspoken approval of the Naval Operations Staff. U-boat commanders would be informed by word of mouth"- and note the last line-"and 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, just tell me-take your choice-do you consider that sailing without lights is either persistent refusal to stop on being duly summoned or active resistance to visit and search, within the Treaty? Which of either of these things do you consider it to be?
DOENITZ: If a merchant ship acts like a warship . . .
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: First of all, you must answer my question, if the Tribunal does not rule otherwise; and then you can give your explanation. My question is this: Do you consider that sailing without lights is either persistent refusal to stop or active resistance to visit and search? Do you consider it to be either one or the other, or both of these things? Do you?
DOENITZ: The question is not correctly expressed, because we are dealing with a certain operational area in which British and French . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, you will answer the question, please.
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you consider that sailing without lights is either persistent refusal to stop on being duly summoned, which is one of the matters, in the Treaty, or active resistance to visit and search, which is the other matter set out in the Treaty? Now, do you consider that sailing without lights is either or both of these matters mentioned in the Treaty?
DOENITZ: If a merchant ship sails without lights, it must run the risk of being taken for a warship, because at night it is not possible to distinguish between a merchant ship and a warship. At the time the order was issued, it concerned an operational area in which blacked-out troop transports were traveling from England to France.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Your answer is that it is not covered by the Treaty, but by one of the matters in the Treaty; but your explanation was that you thought you were entitled to torpedo without warning any ship that might be mistaken for a warship. That is your answer, is it?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Why didn't the Defendant Von Ribbentrop and all these naval advisers stipulate for that when Germany adhered to this Treaty, if you were going to interpret it
10 May 46
in that way? Were you ever asked about it before Germany adhered to this Treaty in 1936?
DOENITZ: I was not asked before Germany signed this Treaty; Germany adhered to the Treaty in practice, as I know very well, until countermeasures were introduced; and then I received orders to act accordingly.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just let us go through this document and see if you can help me perhaps a little more on some other' points. Why was this action to be based on the unspoken approval of the naval war staff? Why hadn't the naval war staff the courage to speak its approval in an ordinary order if it was all right?
DOENITZ: Yes; the paper you are showing me is a note or memorandum made by a young official on the Naval Operations Staff. In fact-it was the idea of that particular officer on the Naval Operations Staff; and as I have pointed out here, I did not know of the matter-in actual fact, the Naval Operations Staff never gave me such an order. The contents of that paper are fiction.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, of course, they weren't to issue an order at all. You see, this states with great frankness that you were to act on the unspoken approval of the naval war staff, so that the naval war staff could say, as you have said now, "We didn't issue an order;" and the junior officers would be acting on an unspoken word, and I want to know-you have been Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy-why is it done in this way, why is it done by unspoken words, on oral orders?
DOENITZ: No, precisely that is not correct. That was this young officer's idea. The order which I received from the Naval Operations Staff stated explicitly that blacked-out vessels could be sunk in this area where English transports were traveling from England to France. So, you see, it contained none of the things stated in this memorandum. There is no doubt that the section chief and likewise the Chief of the Naval Operations Staff refused and rejected that entirely impossible idea and gave me that short and explicit order.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you suggesting to the Tribunal that on these vitally important points - "unspoken approval of the war staff, U-boat commanders informed by word of mouth" - that a young staff officer is allowed to put in an incorrect memorandum and get away with it uncorrected? Is that the way, is that the state of efficiency of the staff of the German Navy?
DOENITZ: No, that is a misunderstanding. It actually has been corrected. That is a note submitted by the official on the Naval Operations Staff, of which his superiors on the Naval Operations Staff did not approve. It was corrected. There was no unspoken agreement but an explicit and clear order to myself; so that young
10 May 46
officer's idea had already been turned down by the Naval Operations Staff itself.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You know that the original is initialed by Admiral Von Friedeburg?
DOENITZ: No, that is quite wrong, that is impossible. "Fd" is written there-that means Fresdorf. That was Kapitanleutnant Fresdorf. He was an official on the Naval Operations Staff-not Friedeburg. He was a young officer in the first department of the Naval Operations Staff. These are all things which I learned of here. His chief, Admiral Wagner, had condemned it already. It was not Friedeburg, but Fresdorf. That is the way this young officer thought about it, but actually a definite order was issued without these things.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Take the next bit. "The sinking of a merchant ship must be justified in the War Diary as due to possible confusion with a warship or auxiliary cruiser." Do you agree with faking the records after you have sunk a ship?
DOENITZ: No, and it was not done. That also belongs to the same category-the ideas of that officer. No order for that -has ever been given. The order of the Naval Operations Staff issued to me in that connection has been submitted and that is a clear and concise order, without the things mentioned here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Of course, you appreciate that these things, according to this memorandum, are to be stated without orders. There has to be no order because an order might come out-because if it is done without an order it won't come out. Are you suggesting-you are putting it on the shoulders of this lieutenant commander, that he invented these three damning facts: Unspoken approval, oral instructions to commanders, and faking the orders? You say that these existed only in the mind of a Kapitanleutnant? Is that what you are telling the Tribunal?
DOENITZ: Yes, yes, of course, because the clear, concise order was given by the Naval Operations Staff to me in which these things were not mentioned. And quite as clearly I passed my orders on. That is how it is. This memorandum, or these ideas of that officer, was already disapproved by his chief of department in Berlin. A clear order was given to me, however, and there was nothing in it about a War Diary and all these things mentioned here. That order is available.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, we shall be able to ask, I understand, Admiral Wagner as to where this Kapitanleutnant got hold of these ideas, is that so, or whether he made them out? Is that what you are telling us, that Wagner will be able to deal with this, will he?
10 May 46
DOENITZ: Admiral Wagner ought to know all about it, because this official was in his department in Berlin.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. Well, if you put that onto the Kapitanleutnant, let's pass on to another point. In mid-November . . .
DOENITZ: I am not laying any blame on anybody, but they are ideas of a young officer which were already disapproved of by his chief of department. I am blaming no one. I do not accuse anybody.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. I thought you were.
Well, now, let's pass to another point. In mid-November of 1939, Germany gave warning that she would sink, without warning, merchant ships, if armed. Don't you know that before that warning-if you want to see the point you will find it on Page 21 of the English document book or 51 to 52 of the German document book. It is just before the break, about five lines.
"By the middle of November, a score of"-that is 20- "British merchantmen had already been illegally attacked by gunfire or torpedoed from submarines."
THE PRESIDENT: Which page did you say?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, Page 21, about ten lines before the break. [Turning to the defendant.] You see, what I am suggesting, Defendant, is that the statement, the warning, that you would sink merchant ships, if armed, made no difference to the practice you had already adopted of sinking unarmed ships without warning.
DOENITZ: In the beginning of October, if I remember correctly, I received the order or the permission, the legal permission, to sink armed merchantmen. From that moment on I acted accordingly.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Just tell me: Was it your view that the mere possession of arms, a gun, on the merchant ship, constituted active resistance to visit or search within the Treaty; or was this a new addition for the guidance of German U-boat warfare which you were introducing completely independent of the Treaty?
DOENITZ: It is a matter of course that if a ship has a gun on board she will use it. It would have been a one-sided obligation if the submarine, in a suicidal way, were then to wait until the other ship fired the first shot. That is a reciprocal agreement, and one cannot in any circumstances expect the submarine to wait until it gets hit first. And, as I said before, in practice the steamers used their guns as soon as they came within range.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But you know, the arming of merchant ships, Defendant, was well known in the last war. It was, well known for 20 years before this Treaty was signed. And you will agree with me, won't you, that there is not a word in the Treaty forbidding the arming of merchant ships? Why didn't you give these ships the opportunity of abstaining from resistance or of stopping? Why did you go in the face of the Treaty which you had signed only 3 years before? That is all I want to know. If you can't tell me, if you say it is a matter for argument, I will ask Admiral Raeder. At the moment, will you tell us, or can you tell us, why didn't you keep to the Treaty?
DOENITZ: That was not an infringement of the Treaty. I am not an expert on international law. I am soldier; and I acted according to my military orders. Of course, it is suicide for a submarine to wait till it receives the first hit. It goes without saying that the steamer is not carrying guns for fun, but to make use of them. And I have already explained what use was made of them.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, just one other matter, because I must cover these points in view of your evidence.
Did you order your commanders to treat the use of wireless as active resistance? Did you consider that the use of wireless for merchant ships was active resistance within the Treaty?
DOENITZ: On 24 September, the Naval Operations Staff's order . . .
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, no, just answer the question first, Defendant, and then give your explanation. I said that to you quite 20 times yesterday and today. Did you consider the use of wireless by merchant ships as active resistance?
DOENITZ: It is generally laid down by international law that a merchant ship can be fired on if it makes use of its wireless when stopped. That is also in the French Ordinance, for instance. In order to avoid more severe measures we had not, as a rule, done so yet. Not until the end of September, when I received a definite order or permission to do so, was that rule, which is in accordance with international law, put into effect.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Tell me, didn't the German Admiralty know in 1936 that most merchantmen had wireless?
DOENITZ: Of course, but according to the International Conference on International Law - I happen to know this because it appeared as a footnote in the Prize Ordinance - according to this conference of 1923, they were not allowed to use wireless when being stopped. That is international law and is found in all instructions. I know for certain that the French instructions say this too.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: At any rate again, the German Admiralty and the German Foreign Office did not make any mention of use of wireless in this Treaty. What I am suggesting-I want to put it quite clearly to you-is that you were not bothering about this Treaty at all in any case where it didn't suit you in the operations in this war.
DOENITZ: That is not true.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, let's pass on to neutrals. I haven't heard you suggest that you were dealing with neutrals because they were armed, but let's take a concrete example.
"On 12 November 1939..."
DOENITZ: I have never said that neutrals were armed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is what I thought. Well, we will rule that out. We will take the example.
My Lord, it is given on Page 20 of the document book, and in the middle of the middle paragraph (Exhibit Number GB-191).
[Turning to the defendant.]
"On 12 November, the Norwegian Arne Kjode was torpedoed in the North Sea without warning at all. This was a tanker bound from one neutral port to another." Now, Defendant, were you classing tankers bound from one neutral port to another as warships; or for what reason was that ship torpedoed without warning? The master and four of the crew lost their lives. The others were picked up after many hours in an open boat. Why were you torpedoing neutral ships without warning? This is only the 12th of November in the North Sea, a tanker going from one neutral port to another.
DOENITZ: Well, the submarine commander in this case could not see, first of all, that the ship was traveling from one neutral port to the other, but this ship...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Therefore...
DOENITZ: No, not for that reason; no. But that ship was heading for England, and he confused it with an English ship. That is why he torpedoed it. I know of that case.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You approve of that action by the submarine commander? DOENITZ: No; that is an assertion made by yourself and it is in practice refuted by our clean submarine warfare and by the fact that it was done by mistake.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: When in doubt, torpedo...
DOENITZ: That is one of the cases...
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Don't you approve of that: when in doubt, torpedo without warning? Is that your view?
DOENITZ: No, no; that is merely what you assert. If one or two instances of mistakes are found in the course of 5 1/2 years of clean submarine warfare, it proves nothing; but it does contradict your assertion.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes. Well, now, let's look at your clean U-boat warfare, if you want. Will you turn to Page 30 of the English book or Page 59 to 60 of the German book.
Now, the first of these-this is the note on the intensification of U-boat warfare. You say that on the directive of the Armed Forces High Command of 30 December-this is on the 1st of January 1940:
". . . the Fuehrer, on report by the C-in-C Navy" - that is the Defendant Raeder - "has decided: (a) Greek merchant vessels are to be treated as enemy vessels in the zone around Britain declared barred by the U.S.A." There is a mistake, My Lord, in the translation. You see it says "blockaded by the U.S.A. and Britain." The proper translation should be "in the zone around Britain declared barred by the U.S.A."
Now, Defendant, I don't want to make any bad point, at any rate intentionally. Were you including Greek ships because you believed that most of the Greek merchant navy was on British charter, was being chartered by Britain? Was that the reason?
DOENITZ: Yes. That was probably why the Naval Operations Staff gave the order, because of the Greek fleet sailing in England's service. I assumed that those were the reasons of the Naval Operations Staff.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Assumed that was the reason. I do not want to occupy time on the point. What I want to know is this: Did that mean that any Greek ship in these waters would be sunk without warning?
DOENITZ: Yes. It says here that they were to be treated like enemy ships.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE In sum, then, that means that a Greek merchantman from then on would be sunk without warning if it came into the zone around the British coast.
Now, you mentioned the Bristol Channel, and you have given your explanation of the next sentence. You say all ships may be attacked without warning. For external consumption, these attacks should be given out as hits by mines.
I just want to get it clear from you. You are not suggesting that the reason of the Naval High Command was to conceal the maze of
10 May 46
operations of the U-boats; the reason was to avoid trouble with neutrals whose good will you wanted to keep, was it not?
DOENITZ: I already stated my position on that yesterday. These are matters connected with the political leadership and I know nothing about them. I myself, as Commander of U-boats, looked at them only from the angle of military advantage or expediency, just as England did in similar cases. What the political reasons may have been, I cannot say.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is my whole suggestion to you, you know, Defendant, that you were acting on the military necessity stated in that memorandum of the Naval Command that the maximum damage to England could only be achieved with unrestricted use of arms without warning. But let us just look at the next one now.
DOENITZ: There were certain areas which neutrals had been warned not to cross. I stated yesterday that the same procedure was followed in English operational areas. If a neutral in spite of these warnings entered those areas, where military actions were constantly being carried on by one side or the other, it had to run the risk of suffering damage. Those are the reasons which induced the Naval Operations Staff to issue these orders.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: As you mentioned that, I shall deal first with your areas. Your zone, which is published, was from the Faroes to Bordeaux and 500 miles west of Ireland. That is, your zone was 750,000 square miles; isn't that right? Your zone around Britain was from the Farces to Bordeaux, and 500 miles west of Ireland?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is the operational area of August 1940.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, of August 1940.
DOENITZ: And it is in accord in extent with the so-called combat zone which America forbade her merchant ships to enter.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You say it is in accord. Let us just look at it and see what the two things were. The United States at that time said that its merchant ships were not to come into that zone. You said that if any merchant ship came into that zone, 750,000 square miles in extent, none of the laws and usages of war applied, and that ship could be destroyed by any means you chose. That was your view, was it not?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is the German point of view in international law, which was also applied by other nations, that operational areas around the enemy are admissible. I may repeat that I am not a specialist in international law but a soldier, and I judge according to common sense. It seems to me a matter of course that an ocean
10 May 46
area, or an ocean zone, around England could not be left in the undisturbed possession of the enemy.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I do not think you are disputing it at all; but I want to get it quite clear. It was your view that it was right that if you fixed an operational zone of that extent, any neutral ship-and you agree that it is a neutral ship-coming unarmed into that zone could be destroyed by any means that you cared to use? That was your view of the way to conduct a war at sea; that is right, is it not?
DOENITZ: Yes; and there are plenty of British statements which declare that in wartime-and we were at war with England-one cannot permit neutrals to enter and give aid to the belligerents, especially if they had previously been warned against doing so. That is quite in accordance with international law.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: We will discuss the matter of law with the Tribunal. I want to get at the facts.
That is the position which you adopt? And equally, if you found a neutral vessel outside the zone using its wireless, you would treat it as if it were a ship of war of a belligerent power, would you not? If a neutral vessel used its wireless after seeing the submarine, you would treat it as a ship of war of a belligerent power, would you not?
DOENITZ: Yes, according to the regulations of international law.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. As I say, the matters of law rest with the Tribunal. I am not going to argue these with you. But, apart altogether from international law, did it ever strike you that that method of treating neutral ships was completely disregarding the life and safety of the people on the ships? Did that ever strike you?
DOENITZ: I have already said that the neutrals had been warned not to cross the combat zones. If they entered the combat zones, they had to run the risk of suffering damage, or else stay away. That is what war is. For instance, no consideration would be shown on land either to a neutral truck convoy bringing ammunition or supplies to the enemy. It would be fired on in exactly the same way as an enemy transport. It is, therefore, quite admissible to turn the seas around the enemy's country into a combat area. That is the position as I know it in international law, although I am only a soldier.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE I see.
D0NITZ: Strict neutrality would require the avoidance of combat areas. Whoever enters a combat area must take the consequences.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. That is your view? I do not think it could possibly be put more fairly.
10 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
10 May 46
DOENITZ: And for that reason the United States explicitly prohibited entry into these zones in November, because it refused to enter the combat zone.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: In your view, any neutral ship which entered a zone of 750,000 square miles around Britain was committing an unneutral act and was liable to be sunk without warning at sight. That is your view of how war at sea should be conducted; that is right, is it not?
DOENITZ: Yes. Special lanes were left open for the neutrals. They did not have to enter the combat area unless they were going to England. Then they had to run the risk of war.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE;: I just want you to tell me, if you will look back to Document C-21; that is, on Page 30 of the English book and Pages 59 to 60 of the German, you see that in all these cases-you take the one in Paragraph 2, Page 5:
"Conference with the Chief of Naval Operations Staff"-on 2 January; that was the "intensified measures" in connection with the "Case Yellow," that is, the invasion of Holland and Belgium-"the sinking by U-boats. . . without any warning, of all ships in those waters near the enemy coasts in which mines can be employed."
Why, if, as you have just told the Tribunal several times, you were acting in accordance with what you believe to be international law, why did you so act only in areas where mines could be employed?
DOENITZ: I have already explained that that was a question not of legality but of military expediency. For military reasons I cannot give the enemy explicit information as to the means of combat I am using in an area which may be mined. You operated in the same way. I remind you of the French danger zone which was declared, corresponding to the mined areas around Italy. You did not state which weapons you were using, either. That has nothing to do with legality. That is purely a question of military expediency.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You see, I think you will appreciate that the point that I am putting to you is this: That you were pretending to neutrals that you were acting in accordance with the London Treaty, whereas you were actually acting not in accordance with the Treaty, but in accordance with instructions you laid down for yourself, based on military necessity.
What I am suggesting to you is that what the Naval High Command was doing was pretending to, and getting the advantage fraudulently of appearing to, comply with the Treaty. And that, I suggest, is the purpose of these orders that you would only do this where mines could be laid. Isn't that what was in your mind?
10 May 46
DOENITZ: It is not true that we tried to fool the neutrals. We warned the neutrals explicitly that combat actions were going on in these operational areas and that if they entered they would suffer damage. We pretended nothing; we told them explicitly: "Do not enter these zones." England did the same.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, doesn't the next sentence bear upon that?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, Your Lordship; I am very much obliged to Your Lordship.
[Turning to the defendant.] Would you look at the next sentence in II-1, where it says the following?
"By the present order, the Navy will be authorized, in keeping with the general intensification of the war, to sink by U-boats, without any warning, all ships in those waters near the enemy coasts in which mines can be employed. In this case, for external consumption, pretense should be made that mines are being used. The behavior of, and use of weapons by, U-boats should take this into consideration."
Do you say, in the face of that sentence, that you were not trying to fool the neutrals-to use your own phrase? Do you still say you were not trying to fool the neutrals?
DOENITZ: No, we did not fool them because we warned them beforehand. In wartime I do not have to say what weapon I intend to use; I may very well camouflage my weapon. But the neutrals were not fooled. On the contrary, they were told, "Do not enter these zones." After that, the question of which particular military method I use in these areas no longer concerns the neutrals.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now I want you to tell the Tribunal, what was your view of your responsibility to the seamen from boats that were sunk? Would you have in mind the provisions of the London Treaty, and will you agree that your responsibility was to save seamen from boats that were sunk wherever you could do so without imperiling your ship? Is that, broadly, correct?
DOENITZ: Of course, if the ship herself behaved according to the London Agreement, or unless it occurred within the operational areas mentioned. SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Oh? Do you really mean that? That is, if you sank a neutral ship which had come into that zone, you considered that you were absolved from any of your duties under the London Agreement to look after the safety of the crews?
DOENITZ: In operational areas I am obliged to take care of the survivors after the engagement, if the military situation permits. The same held good in the Baltic and in many operational areas.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is what I put to you, Defendant. Please believe me, I don't want to make any false point. I put to you: If they could do so without imperiling their ships, that is, without risking losing their ships. Let us get it quite clear: Do you say that in the zone which you fixed there was no duty to provide for the safety of the crew, that you accepted no duty to provide for the safety of the crew?
DOENITZ: I have stated that I was obliged to take care of the survivors after the engagement, if the military situation permitted. That forms part of the Geneva Convention or the agreement on its application.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Then it didn't matter whether the sinking was in the zone or out of the zone. According to what you say, you undertook exactly the same duty towards survivors whether it was in the zone or outside the zone. Is that right?
DOENITZ: No, that is not correct, because outside the zone neutrals were treated according to the Prize Ordinance, only inside the zone they were not.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: What I can't understand is this - and really, I hope I am not being very stupid - what was the difference? What difference did you consider existed in your responsibility towards survivors if the sinking was inside the zone or outside the zone? That is what I want to get clear.
DOENITZ The difference was that neutrals outside the zone were treated according to the Prize Ordinance. According to the London Agreement, we were obliged, before sinking the ship, to see that the crew were safe and within reach of land. There was no obligation to do so inside the zone. In that case we acted according to the Hague Agreement for the application of the Geneva Convention, which provides that the survivors should be taken care of after the fight if the military situation permits.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you agree that an order in express terms to annihilate, to kill, the survivors of a ship that is sunk would be an appalling order to give?
DOENITZ: I have already stated that the attacks on survivors were contrary to a soldier's idea of fair fighting and that I have never put my name to any order which could in the slightest degree lead to anything of the kind-not even when it was proposed to me as a reprisal measure.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Will you agree that even with the discipline in your own branch of the service, there was a possibility that some U-boat commanders would have refused to comply with an order to annihilate survivors?
10 May 46
DOENITZ: No such order was ever given.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I think it is quite a fair question. What if it were given in express terms, "Annihilate survivors after you sink a ship"? You know your officers. Would there, at any rate, have been some danger that some of them would have refused to carry out that order?
DOENITZ: Yes. As I know my U-boat forces, there would have been a storm of indignation against such an order. The clean and honest idealism of these would never have allowed them to do it; and I would never have given such an order or permitted it to be given.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, that is what I put to you. Now, just look at Page 33 of the English document book. That contains your own Standing Order Number 154 (Exhibit Number GB-196). Let me read it to you, rather slowly, if the Tribunal does not mind. It says:
"Do not pick up survivors and take them with you; do not worry about the merchant ship's boats; weather conditions and distance from land play no part. Have a care only for your own ship and strive only to attain your next success as soon as possible. We must be harsh in this war."
First of all, tell me, what do you mean by "your next success"? Doesn't that mean the next attack on a vessel?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, just look at that order of yours and compare it with the words of the London Treaty. The Treaty, you remember, says that a warship, including a submarine, may not sink or render incapable of navigation a merchant vessel without first having placed passengers, crew, and ship's papers in a place of safety. For this purpose, the ship's boats are not regarded as a place of safety unless the safety of the passengers and crew is assured in the existing sea and weather conditions, by the proximity of land or the presence of another vessel.
Defendant, you had that article of the London Treaty in front of you, had you not, when you were drafting this order? And you were deliberately excluding from your order the matters mentioned in the London Treaty? Listen to your order: "Do not worry about the boats; weather conditions"-one thing mentioned in the Treaty- "and distance from land"-another thing mentioned in the Treaty- "play no part."
Your order could have been put in other language almost as clearly: "Disregard all the matters that are stated in Paragraph 2 of the London Treaty."
10 May 46
Now tell me, didn't you have the London Treaty in front of you when you drew that order?
DOENITZ: Of course I had the London Treaty in my mind and in front of me. I stated in detail yesterday, however, that we were thinking in terms of an engagement, a ship under escort, as is shown by the order as a whole. You have taken just one paragraph. There was, therefore, no question of applying the London Agreement, which does not refer to ships under escort. Secondly, we were thinking of an area in the immediate vicinity of the permanent positions. enemy defenses off the harbors on the British coast. The London Agreement has nothing to do with fighting ships under escort. Those are two entirely different things; and that order applied to this area and the combating of ships under escort. I explained that in detail yesterday.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But if you say that that only applied when it was a question of attacking ships in convoy, would you look at Page 26 of the English document book and at Page 57 of the German document book? There you will find the account of the sinking of the Sheaf Mead on 27 May 1940. And if you will look at the U-boat's log, opposite the time group 1648 hours-which is on Page 27 of the English and Page 57 of the German (Exhibit Number GB-192)-this is what the log says:
"A large heap of wreckage floats up. We approach it to identify the name. The crew have saved themselves on wreckage and capsized boats. We fish out a buoy; no name on it. I ask a man on the raft. He says, hardly turning his head 'Nixuame.' A young boy in the water calls, 'Help, help, please.' The others are very composed; they look damp and somewhat tired and have a look of cold hatred on their faces. Then on to the old course."
If you turn to Page 57 of the German document book, or Page 28 of the English, you will find the last sentence from the survivors' report describes the submarine as doing this:
"They cruised around for half an hour, taking photographs of us in the water. Otherwise they just watched us but said nothing. Then she submerged and went off without offering us any assistance whatever."
There you see the point, Defendant, that your own commander says that there was a young boy in the water calling, "Help, help, please," and your submarine takes a few photographs, submerges, and then goes off.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, ought you not to refer to the passage just after the name of the vessel, under 1648, "It is not clear...."?
10 May 48
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: "It is not clear whether she was sailing as a normal merchant ship. The following seemed to point to the contrary." And then, My Lord, it gives a number of matters.
Of course, My Lord, I am on the point of survivors at the moment. I am not taking this instance as a matter of wrongful sinking; I am taking it as an instance of carrying out this order.
I am very much obliged to Your Lordship, but that is why I didn't do it.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Defendant has now had the opportunity of looking at the log of U-37. Was it not your practice in May 1940 to see personally the logs of all U-boats when they arrived?
DOENITZ: I had the commanders of submarines report verbally to me every time. The logs, which arrived or were finished several weeks later or some time after the entries were made since they had to be written in the port, were only submitted to me by my Chief of Staff if they contained something special in addition to the verbal report.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you remember seeing the log of U-37 that was involved in this incident?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you now observe that the Sheaf Mead was not sailing in convoy?
DOENITZ: Yes I know that. And I know that she was an armed ship and that, according to the orders which the commander had, he was justified in sinking her as an armed ship. It also appears from his log that he could not decide on firing the torpedo until he had ascertained that the ship was armed. That is very clearly expressed here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: May I please explain to His Lordship that I am not on the question of sinking. I am on the question of survivors. Did you take any action with the U-boat commander, Kapitanleutnant Ernst, for not having assisted in the rescue of survivors?
DOENITZ: No. But I did tell him that if he was on the spot where this rescue went on he should also have helped.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Was he not simply carrying out your Order 154 of November or December 1939?
DOENITZ: No, he was not.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now...
DOENITZ: I have already stated to which waters it applied and that it only applied to ships which were protected.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, would you look at Page 34 in the English document book, Page 69 in the German document book. That is the report of the conversation between Hitler and Oshima, and you say that you were told nothing about it. Now I want you just to follow about halfway down, halfway through the extract, where it says:
10 May 46
"After having given further explanations on the map, the Fuehrer pointed out that however many ships the United States built, one of its main problems would be the lack of personnel. For that reason merchant ships would be sunk without warning, with the intention of killing as many of the crew as possible. Once it gets around that most of the seamen are lost in the sinkings, the Americans would soon have difficulties in enlisting new people. The training of seagoing personnel takes a long time."
Now, did you agree with that argument of Hitler's that once it gets around that most of the seamen are lost in the sinkings, the Americans would soon have difficulties in enlisting new people? Did you think that that was a sound argument on the question of sea warfare against the United States?
DOENITZ: I have already given my answer to that question in writing to the Foreign Office, and I clearly stated my opinion, which was that I did not believe that it would take a long time to train seamen, and that America had no lack of them. Consequently I would also not be of the opinion that this would serve as a deterrent if they had enough men.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So you do not agree with the Fuehrer's reasoning on that point?
DOENITZ: No, I do not agree with the last part, namely, that there would be a shortage of seamen.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, it is the first point that I want your opinion on expressly: "Once it gets around that most of the seamen are lost in the sinkings, the Americans would soon have difficulties in enlisting new people." That is, I suggest to you, that the new people would be scared off by the news of the sinking and killing of the first people. Did you agree that that was a sound argument? That is what I want your view on.
DOENITZ: That is his personal point of view. Whether they would be scared off or not is an American matter which I cannot judge.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Would you look at your own document book, Volume 1, Page 29 in the English version, which is your report to the Fuehrer on 14 May 1942.
Do you see the last sentence where you are advocating a range pistol? You say:
"A range pistol will also have the great advantage that the crew will not be able to rescue themselves on account of the quick sinking of the torpedoed ship. This greater loss of crews will no doubt cause difficulties for the assignment of crews for the great American construction program."
10 May 46
DOENITZ: It is perfectly clear, it is correct. If I have not got the old crews any more, I have to have new ones. It makes it more difficult. It says nothing about scaring off there, but the positive fact is stated that new crews have to be trained.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So are we to take it that you did not think that would have any frightening or terrorizing effect on the getting of new crews, if the old crews were sunk under conditions where they would probably lose their lives.
DOENITZ: That is a matter of opinion, it depends on the courage, the bravery of the people. The American Secretary Knox said that if in peacetime - in 1941 - the sinkings of German U-boats were not published he expected it would have a deterrent effect on my U-boats. That was his opinion. I can only say that the silent disappearance through American sinkings in peacetime did not scare off my U-boats. It is a matter of taste.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, on 14 May the Fuehrer was pressing you to take action against the crews after the vessel was sunk. Is that not so?
DOENITZ: Yes. He asked whether we could not take action against the crew and I have already said, after I heard of the Oshima discussion here, that I believe this question to Grossadmiral Raeder and myself was the result of that Oshima discussion.
My answer to that, of course, is known; it was "no."
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Your answer was "no," it would be far better to have a range pistol and kill them while they were still on the boat. That was your answer, was it not?
DOENITZ: No. My answer was: Taking action against shipwrecked personnel is out of the question, but it is taken for granted that in a fight one must use the best possible weapon. Every nation does that.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, but the object of your weapon, as quite clearly set out, was that the crew would not be able to rescue themselves on account of the quick sinking of the ship. That is why you wanted to use the range pistol.
DOENITZ: Yes. And also of course, because we considered the crews of the steamers as combatants since they were fighting with weapons.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I am not going back to deal with that point again, but that was in your mind. Now, the Fuehrer raised this point again on 5 September 1942, as is shown in your document book, Volume II, Page 81.
DOENITZ: I do not have it. Where is it?
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It begins with the discussion in the OKW on 5 September 1942. It is Exhibit Doenitz-39, Page 81, and it is in the English document book, Volume II.
DOENITZ: Yes, I have it now.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It arises out of an incident of the sinking of the mine boat, film, and there is a question of whether British destroyers had fired with machine arms on soldiers in lifeboats; and the Fuehrer gave orders to the Naval Command to issue an order, according to which "our warships would use reprisals"; and if you look a little lower down, you will see that the matter had been investigated by your operations staff, and it is stated:
"It could not be proved beyond a doubt that the fire had been aimed at the crew boarding the lifeboats. The enemy fire was evidently aimed at the ship itself." Then you discuss the question of applying reprisals, at the foot of that page, and you say:
"It is the opinion of the Naval Operations Staff that before issuing reprisal orders, one should take into consideration whether such measures, if applied by the enemy against us, would not in the end be more harmful to us than to the enemy. Even now our boats are able only in a few cases to rescue shipwrecked enemy crews by towing the lifeboats, et cetera, whereas the crews of sunken German U-boats and merchant vessels have so far, as a rule, been picked up by the enemy. The situation could therefore only change in our favor if we were to receive orders, as a measure of reprisal, that shipwrecked enemy crews should not only not be saved, but that they should be subdued by fire. It is significant in this respect that so far it could not be proved that in the cases on record where the enemy used arms against shipwrecked Germans such action was the result of, or was covered by, an order of an official British agency. We should therefore bear in mind the fact that knowledge of such a German order would be used by enemy propaganda in such a manner that its consequences could not easily be foreseen."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I object against this manner of procedure. The document about which this cross-examination is being made is a document from me, and I have not submitted it yet. I do not know whether it is customary in this Trial that exhibits of the Defense are submitted by the Prosecution. For this reason I had suggested at the time to begin with the documentary evidence so that the Prosecution should also have an opportunity to use my exhibits in cross-examination.
10 May 46
THE PRESIDENT: Have you any objection to the document which is in your document book being offered in evidence?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I only want to avoid having my documents presented by the Prosecution in cross-examination because this upsets my entire documentary evidence. This particular case does not play a decisive role for me, but if the Prosecution proposes to present other documents of mine which have not yet been submitted, I should like to ask that the cross-examination be interrupted and I first be afforded an opportunity to submit my documents.
THE PRESIDENT: That will only waste time, will it not? It would not do any good; it would only waste time.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I do not think it would be a waste of time if I, as Defense Counsel, ask that I be allowed to submit my own documents to the Tribunal myself and that they shall not be quoted to the Tribunal by the Prosecution from my document book, because the manner of presentation and the questions asked by the Prosecution do, of course, give these documents a quite definite meaning.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuehler, the Tribunal thinks there is no objection to the course that is being taken. You have had the opportunity already of puffing this document to the witness. You will have a further opportunity of putting it to him again in re-examination.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So that there was fresh pressure put on you to take this course, that is, to fire on the crews of sunken vessels and that in September, was there not?
DOENITZ: No, that is not correct. I only learned of this document of the naval war here; I was not under pressure, therefore; but it is true that, in accordance with this document, the Naval Operations Staff had apparently had orders from the OKW to compile a list of all such cases and that the Naval Operations Staff very correctly took the point of view that one would have to be very careful in judging these cases and that it advised against reprisal measures. It appears to me that the compilation of this document served to convince us that in principle one should keep away from these reprisal measures.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you know that on the instructions of Hitler the OKW had put through an inquiry to the naval war command on this point in September?
DOENITZ: No, I did not know that. I just said I do not know about this entry in the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff and the appendix which is attached to it. I first heard of it here.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You first heard of it here?
DOENITZ: I did not know about the entry in the War Diary of the Naval Operations Staff. That was done in Berlin, and I was Commander of the Submarine Fleet in France at the time.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Weil, if you tell the Tribunal that you did not know about it in September, then we will pass on to another document. That is what you say, that you did not know about it in September 1942?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I would just like you-I do not want to take you through the Laconia in any detail, but I want you just to tell me about one, I think, one or two entries. I think it is Page 40 of your own document book.
THE PRESIDENT: Is that not on Page 41?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE I am very much obliged to Your Lordship. [Turning to the defendant.] It is Page 41, at the bottom. It is on 20 September, 1320 hours. That is your wireless message to the U-boat Schacht. Do you see that?
DOENITZ: Yes, and I explained that in great detail yesterday.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE I just want to know: Is it true what is stated in your wireless message that the boat was dispatched to rescue Italian allies, not for the rescue and care of Englishmen and Poles? Is that true?
DOENITZ: That is correct, because the vessel had reported to me that it had four boats in tow-and it says on Page 40, ". . . with British in tow." It was clear, considering the whole situation, that a submarine with vessels in tow could not remain on the surface without the greatest danger to itself. Hence on Page 40 under heading 2 the order and the instructions given, "Boats with British and Poles to be cast adrift." I wanted to get rid of the boats. That was the only reason. And it was only afterwards- Page 41-when a long radio message came from him, which in itself was a repetition but which was interpreted to mean that after the two air attacks had taken place he had again endangered his boat by stopping and picking up men, only then did he receive this wireless message, after it had gradually dawned on me- during the first four days, or perhaps three days, I had nothing against rescuing the British-that the Italians, who after all were our allies, were getting the worst of it, which indeed proved to be the case.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You have given a long explanation. Now, is that wireless
message true, that the boat was
10 May 46
dispatched to rescue Italian allies, not for the rescue and care of Englishmen and Poles? Is that true or not true?
DOENITZ: Of course; this wireless message contained both instructions and it becomes unequivocally clear from these two instructions as well as from the impression I had that the British who were rescued far outnumbered the Italians, who were left to drown.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, there is one point I want you to make a little clearer, When you were interrogated about this matter, you said that you were under great pressure at the time; and, I think, that the pressure came to you from Hitler only through Captain Fricke. Is that right?
DOENITZ: No, "only" is not correct. It was "also." The pressure, as I have very clearly explained here, was due to worry and anxiety regarding the fate of my submarines, because I knew that they were now being greatly jeopardized. We had evidence of that already from the bombing attacks; secondly, of course, from the Fuehrer's orders which Fricke gave. But I have also stated here that in spite of that order, even if it was not militarily correct to act in this way, I continued rescuing. However, the pressure, my worry and anxiety, were mostly caused by the fate of the submarines themselves.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: So that at this time you had had the report to the Fuehrer on 14 May; you had then had the Laconia incident, and during that incident you had had the pressure from the Fuehrer. Now, was it not because of this...
DOENITZ: I beg your pardon, but...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Allow me to ask my question.
DOENITZ: I think there is an error that has crept in here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Very well, I will correct it. You had had the report to the Fuehrer on 14 May. You have told me that. There was then the Laconia...
DOENITZ: That has nothing to do with the Fuehrer's order in the case of the Laconia. In the case of the Laconia the Fuehrer had given orders, and quite rightly, that no boats should be endangered by the rescue. That is something quite different from the subject of 14 May.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I am trying to assemble for the moment what matters you had to deal with. You had had the 14th of May, the Laconia incident, and then an order to stop, coming through from the Fuehrer.
DOENITZ: No, in the case of the Laconia incident I never thought at all of the order or of the discussion of 14 May with the Fuehrer,
10 May 46
and I could not, because that was an entirely different subject. This is quite another matter, here it was purely a matter of rescue. There is no connection whatsoever between the two.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: We will see about that. Turn to Page 36 in the British document book, or Pages 71 to 75 in the German document book. Now, you have told us that what mainly concerned you was the safety of your own boats and of your own personnel.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Why did you put into the order, "The elementary demands of warfare for the destruction of ships and crews are contrary to rescuing"? What was the point of putting these words in, unless you meant to encourage people to destroy enemy ships and crews?
DOENITZ: I explained that in great detail yesterday. I preached during all these years: You must not rescue when your own safety is in danger. In the case of the Laconia I myself in my anxiety and worry wirelessed that to the troops many times. Apart from that, I found again and again that submarine commanders were taking the danger from the air too lightly. I also showed how that is to be explained psychologically. I described yesterday the overwhelming increase of the air force, and consequently in no circumstances would I have again given my people as a reason that, if there is danger from the air, or since you are being endangered from the air, et cetera, you must not rescue, or rescuing would be contrary to the elementary demands of warfare; because I did not want to leave it to my commanders to discuss whether there was danger from the air or not. After all my experience of the losses suffered and in view of the ever present air force, which as history has shown was becoming stronger and stronger, I had to give a clear-cut order to the commanders based on that experience: "You cannot go on like that, or while we rescue the enemy we shall be attacked and killed by the enemy." Therefore this reasoning must not enter into it. I did not wish to give the commanders another opportunity of deliberating or discussing. I told you already yesterday that I could have added, "If now, in view of the danger from the air, we are killed by that selfsame enemy while rescuing him, then rescue is contrary to the elementary demands of warfare." I did not want to do that, because I did not want any more discussion. We all had the impression that this refrain, "Do not rescue if there is danger from the air," was outworn, because this would have meant that the commanders would nevertheless lose their liberty of action, and might slip into this thing.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But if you had simply said, "You are forbidden to rescue," and if you had wanted to give a reason, "You are forbidden to rescue because in view of the Allied air cover it is a matter of too great danger for the safety of yourself and your boat ever to rescue at all," that would have been quite clear. Why did you not put it that way?
DOENITZ: No, that is just what I could not do. I have just said so, because some commander in some naval theater might get the idea that there was no danger from the air, and the next moment the plane would appear and he would be struck down. I have already said all that in reply to your suggestion.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, you had two experienced staff officers with you at the time that you got this order out- Captains Godt and Hessler, had you not?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is right.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And both Captain Goat and Captain Hessler advised you strongly against the issue of this order, did they not?
DOENITZ: As far as I can remember, they said something like this, "The bulk of the submarines"-I have said that here-"the bulk of the U-boats, that is, more than 90 percent of the U-boats, are already fighting the convoys, so that such an order is out of the question for them."
That was the question: Should we issue such a general order at all, and would not the further developments which forced us all the time to issue new orders, namely, "Remain on the surface as little as possible," make such an order superfluous? However, since I was responsible for warding off every possible danger to a submarine, I had to give this order and my staff agreed with me perfectly as far as this measure was concerned.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you not say when you were interrogated on 22 October and on other occasions: "Godt and Hessler told me, 'Do not send this wireless message-you see, one day there may be a wrong impression about it; there may be a misinterpretation of that.'" Did you not say that?
DOENITZ: Yes, I said that, and it is true too that such a remark may have been made. But it was not misinterpreted by the U-boats; nobody thought of that or we would not have issued the order. But we were thinking of the effects on the outside world.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And was not the effect that you wanted to produce: That you would have an order which could be argued was merely a prohibition of rescue, and would encourage the submarine commanders who felt that way to annihilate the survivors of the crews?
10 May 46
DOENITZ: No, that is absolutely wrong, and it is also proved by the documents which we have submitted.
Apart from the Mohle case, nobody misunderstood this order and when we compiled the order we were aware of that fact. That becomes clear from the communications which we had with U-boat commanders, and it becomes clear from my searching inquiries when I asked whether they had in any way thought of that. The order does not show that at all, neither does the reason which led to it. The fact is that we were rescuing for all we were worth. The question was, "to rescue or not to rescue," and nothing else. That is the key to the Laconia case.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You said that "we issued the order." Do you remember saying this in an interrogation on 6 October: "I am completely and personally responsible for it, because Captains Godt and Hessler both expressly stated that they considered the telegram as ambiguous or likely to be misinterpreted." Do you remember saying that, "I am completely and personally responsible" because both your staff officers had pointed out that it was ambiguous? Did you say that?
DOENITZ: I do not think so. I cannot think I said it that way. I am not sure, but I will say the following:
During the interrogation I was told that Captains Goat and Hessler made this order, and in reply to that I said, "It is quite immaterial, I am responsible for the order." Moreover, the main point of discussion on that order was whether one ought to issue such an order. That it should ever have entered Captain Godt's or Captain Hessler's mind that such an order could be misunderstood by us-by the U-boats-is completely erroneous. I emphatically stated that, too, during the interrogation. I clearly stated that this consideration and the discussion of the question whether the order was to be issued or not had nothing whatever to do with it as far as these two gentlemen were concerned. That is quite clear; and that also was contained in the interrogation.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You were making clear that it was the first occasion. I made it clear that you were not blaming your junior officer who had advised you against this, and you were taking the responsibility on this occasion yourself. That is true, these junior officers advised you against it? In your own words, they both expressly stated that they considered the telegram ambiguous and liable to be misinterpreted; that is right, is it not, they did say that?
DOENITZ: I did not see the discussion after it was put down, and I did not sign
it. I can tell you quite clearly-and this is clear from
10 May 46
another discussion-that I said that I myself will assume full responsibility. For me that was the essential thing. The only reason why the whole question came up was because the interrogating officer told me these officers had drafted the order, and then, as I recall it, the idea was that on no account should these officers be held responsible for my order. That was the point of the matter.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, at any rate, you are not changing what you said a few minutes ago that both Captain Godt and Captain Hessler advised you against issuing this order, are you?
DOENITZ: According to my recollection, at first both advised against it. I have now heard that both are saying they did not advise against it, but that perhaps I or somebody else might have advised against it. I do not know for certain. I recollect that at first both advised me against issuing such an order at a time when 90 percent of our submarines were already engaged in fighting convoys and when we were being forced under the water anyway and it was absolutely impossible to make any more rescues since we were below the surface; and I said, "No; there will surely still be cases where such a thing can happen and where the commander will be faced with an awkward situation and in that case I want to relieve him of such a decision." That was the reason and the meaning of the discussion, nothing else.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: We will continue. That is the first part of the order. Now take Paragraph 2, "Orders for bringing in captains and chief engineers still apply." Now, Defendant, you know perfectly well that in order to find the captain or chief engineer, the U-boat has got to go around the lifeboats or wreckage and make inquiries, "Where is the captain?" And you know very well that the usual practice of the British merchant navy was to try and hide the captain and prevent them finding out who he was. Is that not the practical position that had to be met, that you had to go around the lifeboats asking for the captain if you wanted to bring him in? Is that not so?
DOENITZ: Not exactly, no. I stated quite clearly yesterday that, first, the risk of taking aboard one man was much less as far as time was concerned, and would not limit the crash diving ability of the boat, whereas rescuing activities would limit severely the crash diving ability. Secondly, that that had a military aim ordered by the Naval Operations Staff for which, as is always the case in war, a certain risk would have to be taken; and, thirdly, that the significance of that paragraph appeared to all of us to be unimportant, the results being always poor. This order, if you want to construe it like this and take it out of its context, militates against your contention that I wanted to destroy these people;
10 May 46
because I wanted to take prisoners, and if I intended to kill somebody first, then I certainly could not have taken him prisoner.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE I am putting it to you that the second part of the order is that you are to bring in captains and chief engineers to find out what you can from them.
Look at the third paragraph: "Rescue ship crews only if their statements will be of importance for U-boats," that is, of importance for you to learn from them the position of Allied ships or the measures the Allies are taking against submarines. That is the point against two and three, is it not? You are only to take prisoners if you can find out some useful thing from them?
DOENITZ: I think it is taken for granted that we should try to get as much information as possible, and since I cannot take the whole crew as prisoners on a U-boat, I have to confine myself to the most important persons. Therefore I remove these people from further engagement, whereas the others may engage again. Of course, in view of the limited room on a U-boat, I do not take unimportant people but the important ones.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I do not want to take up a lot of time, but I want you to tell me this: Did I' understand your explanation of the word "again" in the War Diary to be that you had drawn the attention of certain submarine commanders to your telegrams during the Laconia incident, is that your explanation?
DOENITZ: No, it did not refer. to U-boat commanders; and I believe the word "again," as my staff says, referred to those four wireless messages which we have read as meaning this during the last few days and which were submitted to the Tribunal yesterday.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I put to you a moment ago a question and you said the "again" refers to the messages you sent out during the Laconic incident. I think you agree with that, do you not? Do not be afraid to agree with what I say. When was that?
DOENITZ: Yesterday it was explained to me that there were four wireless messages, and I assumed that the person was summarizing the whole event, and that was probably his way of putting it. He was a chief petty officer and I do not know what he meant when he used the word "again."
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now you say you had never heard of the Hitler and Oshima conversations which I put to you a few moments ago?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Therefore, one may assume, may one not, that Lieutenant
Heisig, who gave evidence, had not
10 May 46
heard of the Hitler and Oshima conversations either; do you not think he could not have heard about it?
DOENITZ: I assume it was out of the question.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you notice that Heisig said in his evidence that during a lecture he heard you put forward the same argument as Hitler put forward in his conversations with Oshima?
DOENITZ: First of all I want to state that Heisig here in this witness box said something different from what he said during his interrogation. During cross-examination he has admitted here that I have not said anything about fighting against shipwrecked personnel; secondly, everything else he said is so vague that I do not attach much value to its credibility; thirdly, he stated quite clearly that I did not say this in a lecture but during a discussion, which is in itself of no importance; and fourthly, it may well be that the subject of America's new construction program and the manning of the new ships by trained crews was discussed. It was possible during that discussion.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you now say you agree you never opened any discussion having reference to the American shipbuilding program and the difficulty of finding crews? Do you agree with Heisig on that?
DOENITZ: The German press was full of that. Everybody read and knew about the shipbuilding program. Pictures were made...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But the argument I am suggesting to you, you know, was that the building program would be useless if you could destroy or frighten off sufficient merchant navy crews. That is the point in Himmler's conversation, and that Heisig said you said. Did you say that?
DOENITZ: I have always taken the view that losses of crews would make replacement difficult, and this is stated in my war diary together with similar ideas, and perhaps I said something of the kind to my midshipmen.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Would you look at Page 37 of the Prosecution document book, Page 76 in the German translation? It is an order dated 7 October 1943 (Document Number D-663, Exhibit Number GB-200). I just want you to look at the last sentence: "In view of the desired destruction of ships' crews, their sinking is of great value."
DOENITZ: I have read it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: "In view of the desired destruction of ships' crews, their sinking is of great value," and it is continually pressing, the need for ships' crews.
10 May 46
DOENITZ: Yes, of course, but in the course of fighting. It is perfectly clear that these rescue ships were heavily armed. They had aircraft and could be sunk just like other convoy ships. If there were steamer crews on hand it was naturally our desire to sink them since we were justified in sinking such crews. Moreover they were used as U-boat traps near the steamers.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: On the question of the rightness or wrongness of sinking rescue ships, the destruction of ships' crews, now, I want to ask you one or two questions about Mohle. He commanded the U-boat Flotilla from 1942 until the end of the war. That is nearly three years; and as he told us, he has a number of decorations ' for gallant service. Are you telling the Tribunal that Commander Mohle went on briefing submarine commanders on a completely mistaken basis for three years without any of your staff or yourself discovering this? You saw every U-boat commander when he came back.
DOENITZ: I am sorry that Korvettenkapitan Mohle, being the only one who said he had doubts in connection with this order, as he declared here, did not report this right away. I could not know that he had these doubts. He had every opportunity of clearing up these doubts and I did not know, and nobody on my staff had any idea, that he had these thoughts.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I have a letter here, a letter from a widow of one of your submarine commanders. I cannot get the commander and this is a letter from his widow. I want you to say what you think of a passage in it. She says-in the second paragraph - "Captain Mohle says he has not found one U-boat commander who objected to the order to fire at helpless seamen who were in distress in the water."
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I object to the use of this letter. I think this is the sort of letter which cannot be used as an exhibit. It is not sworn, and it is a typical example of the kind of letter which Mr. Justice Jackson has already repeatedly characterized.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: The only point I make is this: The man himself has not come back. His widow can give information as to how he understood his orders before he went out. I should have submitted it with probative value. I think it occurs in Article 19. I will not use it if there is the slightest doubt about it before the Tribunal.
DOENITZ: It is full of incorrect statements, too. It says there that he, Prien, died in a concentration camp, which is not true.
THE PRESIDENT: Wait just a minute.
10 May 46
DOENITZ: It is not true.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Mr. President, I have only just finished reading the whole letter.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal is considering the matter at the moment.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: May I state one argument in this connection first?
THE PRESIDENT: Welt we have heard your argument and we are considering the matter.
The Tribunal thinks that it is undesirable and that this document should not be used.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: As Your Lordship pleases.
[Turning to the defendant.] Now I want to deal just for one moment with a passage in your own document book which Dr. Kranzbuehler put to you yesterday. It is Volume 2, Page 92, Exhibit 42. Before I ask you a question about it, there is one point that I would like you to help me on. In your interrogation you said that on 22 October that about two months after that order of 17 September you issued orders forbidding U-boats to surface at all. Is that right? You gave orders forbidding U-boats to surface, is that right?
DOENITZ: So far as it is possible for a submarine not to do so at all. We were always making changes, day and night, and it depended upon the degree of danger and weather conditions whether we gave orders for the U-boats to surface and re-charge when on the move.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: They were not to surface after attacks, were not to surface at all before or after attacks; is that not the effect of your order?
DOENITZ: Of course submarines, for example at night, had to be on the surface for attacks, but the main thing was to avoid every risk when on the move.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Then two months later there was an order that they were to surface as little as possible, and you tell me it was your order?
DOENITZ: As far as possible they were to try by all means to avoid danger from the air.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Did you give orders as to surfacing?
DOENITZ: I gave them quite a number of orders, as I have already said, according to the weather, according to what part of the sea they were in, and whether it was day or night. The orders were different according to these factors, because the danger depended
10 May 46
on these elements and varied accordingly. There were changes too; if we had bad experiences, if we found that night was more dangerous than day, then we surfaced during the day. We had the impression that in the end it was better to surface during the day, because then one could at least locate beforehand the aircraft attacking by direction-finding, so we changed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But it is a fact that quite soon after this order the Allied air cover became so heavy that-I quote your own words; you say, "Two months later submarines were no longer in a position to surface." That is, as I understood it, surfacing became very difficult in view of the heavy nature of Allied air attacks, is that right?
DOENITZ: Yes, they did not have a chance to come to the surface in certain waters without being attacked immediately. That is just the point. The submarines were however in readiness, in the highest degree of readiness-and that is the big difference, for in rescue work readiness is disrupted; yet these heavy losses and difficulties occurred at the height of readiness.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now I want you to look at Page 93. It is the page after the one I referred you to in Volume II of your document book; do you see Paragraph 1?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: "The percentage of merchant vessels sunk out of convoys in 1941 amounted to 40 percent; in the entire year of 1942 to barely 30 percent; in the last quarter of 1942 to 57 percent; in January 1943, to about 65 percent; in February to about 70 percent; and in March to 80 percent." Your worst period was the first three quarters of 1942, is that not so? That appears from your own figures.
DOENITZ: Which "worst period"? What do you mean? I do not understand.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, it is Page 93, Paragraph 1.
DOENITZ: Yes, but how do you mean, "worst period"?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE Well, the percentage of sunk merchant vessels in convoys in 1941 amounted to 40 percent.
DOENITZ: You mean merchant ships?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, I am reading your own war diary, or rather the naval war staff War Diary. "In the entire year of 1942 to barely 30 percent..."
DOENITZ: From convoys?
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Convoys, yes. So that the worst period that you had was the first three quarters of 1942?
DOENITZ: No. In 1942, as I have already said in my description of the entire situation, a large number of submarines were just outside the ports, they were off New York, off Trinidad, et cetera, so that they are not mentioned here. In this list only the sinkings carried out by those packs which were attacking the convoys in the North Atlantic are mentioned.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: But is it not right that these figures mean that your worst period was the first three quarters of 1942? It must have been around 30 percent.
DOENITZ: No, my most successful period was the year 1942.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, how can you call it the most successful period if for the entire year of 1942 your percentage of sunk merchant vessels in convoys is only 30 percent, whereas in January and February and March 1943, it got up to 65, 70, and 80 percent?
DOENITZ: Quite right, that is so. Of the merchant ships sunk in 1942, 30 percent were sunk in the Atlantic, but the total figure was much larger than, for instance, in 1943, when 65 and 70 percent were sunk; and that is simply because at that time in 1943 we could no longer remain outside a port like New York. This indicates percentages of sinkings in the Atlantic from convoys only.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: You see what I am putting to you is this, that in 1942, when your percentage from convoys was low, when you had had that pressure that I have gone into with you before, there was every reason for you to issue an unequivocal order which would have the effect of getting submarine commanders to destroy the crews of the ships. In 1943 your U-boats were not surfacing, your convoy proportions had gone up, and there was not any reason to make your order more explicit. That is what I am suggesting to you, Defendant.
DOENITZ: I consider that that is quite wrong.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now I just want to...
DOENITZ: It was like this. As I already said, from the summer of 1942 onwards we found that the danger from the air suddenly increased. This danger from the air was making itself felt in all waters, also in those waters where submarines were not fighting convoys or were not fighting just outside the ports.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now I just want you to help me on one other point. Dr. Kranzbuehler put to you yesterday that Kapitanleutnant Eck said that if he had come back he would not have expected you to have objected or been angry with him for
10 May 46
- Forum Staff
- Posts: 23712
- Joined: 20 Jul 2002 19:52
- Location: USA
10 May 46
shooting up the crew of the Peleus. You said you knew that Eck was carrying this order of yours in his locker when he did shoot up the crew of the Peleub?
DOENITZ: Yes, but I also know that this order did not have the slightest effect on his decision but that, as Eck has expressly said, his decision was to shoot up the wreckage; and he had quite a different aim, namely, to remove the wreckage because he was afraid for his boat which would have been smashed to pieces just like other boats in those wakes. He stated clearly that there was no connection whatsoever in his mind between the order with reference to the Laconia, which he had on board quite accidentally, and his decision.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now you know there are two other cases before the Tribunal, the Noreen Mary and the Antonico, which are on Pages 47 and 52 of the Prosecution's document book, where witnesses give specific evidence of the U-boat carrying out attacks on them when they are in one case on wreckage and in the other case in the lifeboat. Will you look at the Noreen Mary on Page 47 of the document book? The testament of the survivor is on Pages 49 and 50. He deals with this point; he says in the fourth paragraph-Page 85 of the German book...
DOENITZ: I have the English document book.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It is Page 50 of the English one; I have got the English document:
"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 about 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 statement by the Brazilian gentleman you will find on Page 52. Have you got it?
DOENITZ: Yes, I have got it.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Fifteen lines from the foot, he says, ". . . the enemy ruthlessly machine-gunned the defenseless sailors in Number 2 lifeboat..." Assuming-of course one has to assume-that Mr. McAllister and Senhor de Oliveira Silva are speaking the truth, are you saying that these U-boat officers were acting on their own?
DOENITZ: It is possible that the men might have imagined these happenings. I want to point out, however, that in a night
10 May 46
fight - let us take the case of the Antonico first - which lasted 20 minutes, it could very easily have been imagined that these were shots, or that shots directed against the ship hit a lifeboat. At any rate, if someone makes a report on a night attack lasting 20 minutes, then it is a subjective report and everyone who knows how these reports vary, knows how easily a seaman can make a mistake. If, during such a night fight, the U-boat had wanted to destroy these people, then it would not have left after 20 minutes, particularly as the person states that he could not see the submarine in the darkness. These are certainly all very vague statements.
The case of the Noreen Mary is quite similar. A large number of statements are made in this deposition which certainly are not true; for instance, that the submarine bore a swastika. Not a single submarine went to sea painted in any way. If someone is on some wreckage or in a lifeboat and there are shots nearby. then he very easily feels that he is being shot at. It was for this very reason that quite a number of cases of the Anglo-American side have been mentioned by us; not because we wanted to make an accusation, but because we wanted to show how very skeptical one has to be regarding these individual reports. And the only cases in 5.5 years of war, during several thousand attacks, are the ones brought up here.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, and of course for the 2.5 of these years that the submarine commanders have been shooting up survivors, you are not likely to get many cases, are you? I just want to ask you one other point...
DOENITZ: Submarine commanders with the exception of the case of Eck have never shot up shipwrecked persons. There is not a single instance. That is not true.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is what you say.
DOENITZ: In no case is that proved. On the contrary, they made the utmost efforts to rescue. No order to proceed against shipwrecked people has ever been given the U-boat force, with the exception of the case of Eck, and for that there was a definite reason. That is a fact.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, tell me this: Did you know that the log of the Athenia was faked, after she came in?
DOENITZ: No, it was not faked, but there was a clear order that the case of the Athenia should be kept secret for political reasons and, as a result, the log had to be changed.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I see. You do not like the word "faked." Well, I will use the word "changed"; that a page was
10 May 46
cut out of the log and a false page had been put in. Did you know about that?
DOENITZ: I cannot tell you that today. It is possible. Probably Captain Lemp received the order either from me or my staff: "The case is to be kept secret." And following that, he or the flotilla took the log, which went to ten different departments of the Navy, and altered it. What else could he do? He could not do otherwise.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to know, was it your order and with your knowledge that that log was altered from, I suppose, the truth into the falsity in which it exists today? That is a simple question. Can you answer it?
DOENITZ: Yes. Either it was done by my order or, if it had not been done, then I would have ordered it, because the political instructions existed that "it must be kept secret." The fighting men had no other choice, therefore, but to alter the log. The U-boat commanders never received the order to make a false entry, but in the particular case of the Athenia, where it was ordered afterwards that it must be kept secret, it was not noted in the log.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now I have only one other point to deal with you, and I can deal with it quite shortly. You were q firm adherent of ideological education for service personnel, were you not?
DOENITZ: Yes, I have explained my reasons.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE Well, I just want to get thus, and then you can explain your reasons afterwards. You thought it nonsense that a soldier should have no politics, did you not? If you want to...
DOENITZ: Of course. The soldier had nothing to do with politics; but, on the other hand, he naturally had to stand by his country during the war.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: And you wanted your commanders to indoctrinate the Navy with Nazi ideology, did you not?
DOENITZ: I wanted the troops' commanders to tell them that the unity of the German people as it existed then was a source of strength for our conduct of the war and that consequently, since we enjoyed the advantages of this unity, we also should see to it that the unity should continue, because during the World War we had had very bad experiences precisely because of that. Any lack of unity among the people would have necessarily affected the conduct of the war.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Look at Page 7 in the English document book (Document Number D-640, Exhibit Number GB-186).
10 May 46
I think it puts it almost exactly as in my question. The last sentence:
"From the very start the whole of the officers' corps must be so indoctrinated that it feels itself coresponsible for the National Socialist State in its entirety. The officer is the exponent of the State. The idle chatter that the officer is nonpolitical is sheer nonsense."
That is your view, is it not?
SPRITZ: I said that. But you have also got to read from the beginning, where it says that our discipline and our fighting strength is miles above that of 1918 and the reason is because the people as a whole are behind us, and if that had not been the case then our troops would have become disintegrated long ago; that is the reason why I said that.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Tell me, how many men were you attempting to apply this to, or how many men had you got in the Navy on the 15th of February 1944? I want to see what body you were trying to affect. How many? A quarter of a million?
DOENITZ: 600,000 or 700,000.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I would just like you to turn to the next page, Page 8 in the British document book, which gives your speech on Heroes' Day, 12 March 1944. You say this:
"What would have become of our country today if the Fuehrer had not united Us under National Socialism? Split parties, beset with the spreading poison of Jewry, and vulnerable to it because we lacked the defense of our present uncompromising ideology, we would long since have succumbed under the burden of this war and delivered ourselves up to the enemy who would have mercilessly destroyed us." (Document Number 2878-PS)
What did you mean by the "spreading poison of Jewry"?
DOENITZ: I meant that we were living in a state of unity and that this unity represented strength and that all elements and all forces...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, that is not what I asked. I am asking you, what did you mean by the "spreading poison of Jewry"? It is your phrase, and you tell us whet you meant by it.
DOENITZ: I could imagine that it would be very difficult for the population in the towns to hold out under the stress of heavy bombing attacks if such an influence was allowed to work, that is what I meant.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE; Well, now, can you tell me again; what do you mean by the "spreading poison of Jewry?"
DOENITZ: It means that it might have had a disintegrating effect on the people's power of endurance, and in this life-and-death struggle of our country I, as a soldier, was especially anxious about this.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, that is what I want to know. You were the Supreme Commander and indoctrinated 600,000 or 700,000 men. Why were you conveying to them that Jews were a spreading poison in party politics? Why was that? What was it that you objected to in Jews that made you think that they had a bad effect on Germany?
DOENITZ: That statement was made during my memorial speech on Heroes' Day. It shows that I was of the opinion that the endurance, the power to endure, of the people, as it was composed, could be better preserved than if there were Jewish elements in the nation.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: This sort of talk, "spreading poison of Jewry," produced the attitude in the mind which caused the death of five or six million Jews in these last few years. Do you say that you knew nothing about the action and the intention to do away with and exterminate the Jews?
DOENITZ: Yes, of course I say that. I did not know anything at all about it and if such a statement was made, then that does not furnish evidence that I had any idea of any murders of Jews. That was in the year 1943.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, what I am putting to you is that you are joining in the hunt against this unfortunate section of your community and leading six or seven hundred thousand of the Navy on the same hunt.
Now, just look at Page 76 of the document book in this last reference to you...
DOENITZ: Nobody among my men thought of using violence against Jews, not one of them, and nobody can draw that conclusion from that sentence.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, now, just look at Page 76. This is where you are dealing with the promotion of under officers and men who have shown themselves to be personalities in warfare. You first of all say:
"I want the leaders of units responsible for ratings and the flotilla commanders and other commanders superior to them to interest themselves more in the promotion of those petty officers and men who have shown in special situations in the
10 May 46
war that, thanks to their inner attitude and firmness, their energetic and inner drive, in short, owing to their personal qualities, they are capable of taking the right decisions independently and of carrying them out without wavering in their aim and with willing acceptance of responsibility. "One example: On the auxiliary cruiser Cormoran, which was used as a place of detention in Australia, a warrant officer, acting as senior camp officer, had all communists who made themselves noticeable among the inmates of the camps systematically and unobtrusively done away with. This petty officer is sure of my full recognition for his decision and its execution; and after his return I shall do everything I can to promote him, as he has shown he is fitted to be a leader." Was that your idea of leadership in this National Socialist indoctrinated Navy; that he should murder political opponents in a way that would not be found out by the guards?
DOENITZ: No, it was not so. It has been reported to me that there was an informer there who, when new crews were brought in, was smuggled into the camp and, after listening around, passed information on to the enemy. The result was that on the strength of that information U-boats were lost. And it was then that the senior man in the camp, a petty officer, decided to remove that man as a traitor. That is what was reported to me and what I shall prove by a witness. In my opinion, and every nation will recognize that, the man acted like anyone else who finds himself in an extremely difficult situation and he had to...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Why did you not say that, Defendant? If you had stated that this man had killed a spy, who by the spreading of information was dangerous, I would not have put this to you. But what you say is that it was communists who made themselves noticeable, and this man had killed them without knowledge of the guard. Why do you put communists in your order if you mean a spy?
DOENITZ: I think this is an order from a Baltic station. I had been told that it concerned a spy, and it is something that a witness will prove. If there were reasons-perhaps intelligence reasons- for not divulging that...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you putting the responsibility for this order on one of your junior officers? Are you saying it was one of your junior officers who put the order out like this? It was not what you meant at all? Is that what you are saying?
DOENITZ: I have merely said how the order came about; up to now, I have not once shirked the responsibility.
10 May 46
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: All right.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: Is there any further cross-examination?
COLONEL POKROVSKY: My Lord, the Soviet Prosecution has several questions to ask the Defendant DOENITZ.
[Turning to the defendant.] Defendant DOENITZ, your address to the German people and your order to the Armed Forces in connection with Hitler's death were drafted by you on 30 April 1945, is that not so?
DOENITZ: Yes. .
COL. POKROVSKY: In these documents you informed the people that Hitler's successor, appointed by Hitler himself, was you. That is correct, is it not? ]
COL. POKROVSKY: Did you ask yourself then for what particular reason Hitler selected you?
DOENITZ: Yes, I put that question to myself when I received that telegram, and came to the conclusion that after the Reich Marshal had been removed, I was the senior officer of an independent branch of the Armed Forces, and that that was the reason.
COL. POKROVSKY: In your address to the Army and to the people, you demanded the continuation of military operations, and all those who were opposed to resistance were called traitors and cowards, is that not so?
COL. POKROVSKY: A few days afterwards, you gave an order to Keitel to capitulate unconditionally, is that not right?
DOENITZ: Yes. I said quite clearly in the first order that I would fight in the East until troops and refugees could be rescued from the East and brought to the West and that I would not fight one moment longer. That was my intention, and that is also clearly expressed in that order.
COL. POKROVSKY: By the way, there was not a word about it in this order, but that is not so important. Do you agree that on 30 April...
COL. POKROVSKY: First listen to my question and then answer. Do you agree with the fact that on 30 April also, right on the
10 May 46
day when you published the two documents that we are talking about now, it was absolutely clear that further resistance of Hitlerite Germany was absolutely aimless and useless?
Do you understand my question? Do you agree with that?
DOENITZ: Yes, I understood the question. May I say the following: I had to continue fighting in the East in order to rescue the refugees who were moving to the West. That is certainly very clearly stated. I said that we would continue to fight in the East only until the hundreds and thousands of families from the German eastern area could be safely transferred to the West.
COL. POKROVSKY: Still you did not answer my question, DOENITZ, did you, even though it was very clearly put. I repeat it once again so that you can manage to understand it. Do you agree with the fact that already on 30 April it was fully clear that further resistance of Hitlerite Germany was absolutely aimless and useless? Answer me "yes" or "no."
DOENITZ: No, that was not clear. From the military point of view the war was absolutely lost, and there was then only the problem of saving as many human beings as possible, and therefore we had to continue resistance in the East. Therefore that resistance in the East had a purpose.
COL. POKROVSKY: Very well, I understand you, but will you deny that your order, which called for a continuation of the war, led to further bloodshed?
DOENITZ: That is extremely small, compared to the one or two millions which otherwise would have been lost.
COL. POKROVSKY: One moment, please; will you wait. Do not try and make any comparisons. First answer and then explain. That is the order that we have to follow here all the time. First "yes,' or "no," and then an explanation, please.
DOENITZ: Of course, in the fighting in the East during those few days there might be further losses, but they were necessary in order to save hundreds of thousands of refugees.
COL.POKROVSKY: You did not answer my question. I shall repeat it for the third time.
THE PRESIDENT: He did answer; he said "yes," that bloodshed would be caused.
That is an answer to your question.
COL. POKROVSKY: Thank you.
[Turning to the defendant.] I would like you to explain exactly the question of whether you look upon yourself, first and foremost, as a politician, or do you look upon yourself as a soldier who obeyed direct orders of his own superiors without any analysis of the political meaning and content of such orders?
10 May 46
DOENITZ: I do not understand that question completely. As head of State, from 1 May on, I was a political man.
COL. POKROVSKY: And before that time?
DOENITZ: Purely a soldier.
COL. POKROVSKY: On 8 May 1946, at 1635 hours, in this room you mentioned, "As a soldier I did not have in mind such political considerations as might have been in existence." On 10 May, at 1235 hours, here, you said, when the question of submarine warfare was taken up, "All this concerns political aims; but I, as a soldier, was concerned with military problems." Is that not so?
DOENITZ: Yes, it is quite correct. I said that before 1 May 1945 I was purely a soldier. As soon as I became the head of State I relinquished the High Command of the Navy because I became the head of State and therefore a political personality.
COL. POKROVSKY: Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, about 15 minutes ago, addressed you also and referred to two documents, and in particular to Document GB-186, D-640; and he cited one sentence from this, one sentence which grossly contradicts what you said just now. You remember this sentence "idle chatter"?
DOENITZ: Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
COL. POKROVSKY: I want to ask you: How can you reconcile these two extremely contradictory statements, the statement about "idle chatter," about the fact that the officer is not a politician. This statement took place on 15 February 1944, at the time when you were not the supreme head of the State. Is that not so?
DOENITZ: If a soldier during the war stands firmly behind his nation and his government, that does not make him a politician; that is said in that sentence and that was meant by that sentence.
COL.POKROVSKY: All right. We will be more exact about whether this is really the fact. Several times, in a very definite manner, you testified here before the Tribunal that for many years before the war and during the war you were indoctrinating the Navy in the spirit of pure idealism and firm respect for the customs and laws of war. Is that so?
DOENITZ: Right; yes.
COL. POKROVSKY: In particular, on 9 May, yesterday, at 1254 hours, you said, "I educated the submarine fleet in the pure idealism and I continued such education during the war. It was necessary for me in order to achieve high fighting morale." Five minutes later on the same day, you said, when speaking about the Navy, "I never would have tolerated that orders were given to these people which would be contradictory to such morale, and it is out of the question
10 May 46
that I myself could have given such an order." You acknowledge that those were your words, or approximately your words, allowing for the possible inexactness of translation; is that not so?
DOENITZ: Of course, that is what I said.
COL. POKROVSKY: I would like you to take a look at the document which is in your possession now, the document presented by your defense counsel as Doenitz-91. In this document your defense counsel presents an excerpt from the testimony, the affidavit made by Dr. Joachim Rudolphi. In order not to waste the Tribunal's time, I would like you to tell us briefly in one word, "yes" or "no," whether Rudolphi is correct in his testimony; that you always strongly opposed the introduction into the German Armed Forces of the Hitlerite so-called "People's Courts." Did you understand me?
DOENITZ: I was against handing over legal cases from the Navy to other courts. I said that, if one bears the responsibility for a branch of the Armed Forces, one also must have court-martial jurisdiction. That is what it says.
COL. POKROVSKY: And you are familiar with Rudolphi's affidavit?
DOENITZ: Yes, I know it.
COL. POKROVSKY: You remember that on the first page of that excerpt presented to the Tribunal it says:
"Early in the summer of 1943, the first threatening attempt to undermine the nonpolitical jurisdiction of the Armed Forces was made."
Is Rudolphi correct in explaining this question and is it true that you were against this attempt to introduce special political courts into the Navy and Armed Forces? Is that correct?
DOENITZ: According to my recollection, my resistance began in the summer 1943. It may be that already in the spring the jurisdiction of the Wehrmacht was threatened. That may be, but I did not learn of it.
COL. POKROVSKY: Do you acknowledge, DOENITZ, or not, that these so-called "People's Courts" were to deal, as Rudolphi puts it, with anything that smacked, even remotely, of politics? That is his sentence which you can find on the first page of Document D-91.
DOENITZ: As I have already stated, my point of view was the following: I wanted to keep my soldiers under my own jurisdiction. I could not judge proceedings outside the Navy, because I did not know the legal procedure. My point was that my soldiers should remain with me and be sentenced by me.
COL. POKROVSKY: For all kinds of crimes, including political crimes, is that not so? Did I understand you correctly?
10 May 40
DOENITZ: Yes, I meant that; I have stated that I was of the opinion that they should remain under Navy jurisdiction.
COL. POKROVSKY: Will you deny, DOENITZ, that you were always preaching and always encouraging in every way the murder of defenseless people from among the members of the German Armed Forces for purely political reasons and that you always looked upon such murders as acts of military valor and heroism?
DOENITZ: I do not understand you. I do not know what you mean.
COL. POKROVSKY: You did not understand my question?
DOENITZ: No, I have not understood the meaning of your question at all.
COL. POKROVSKY: I can repeat it. Perhaps it win be clearer to you. I am asking you: Will you deny the fact that you preached in favor of the murder of members of the German Armed Forces, by other members of the German Armed Forces and purely for political reasons? Now, is the question clear to you?
DOENITZ: How do you come to ask this question?
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not find your question quite clear.
COL. POKROVSKY: What I have in mind, My Lord, is the Order Number 19 for the Baltic Fleet, which in part was dealt with by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe. There is one point of this order which elucidates, with absolute precision, the motives for publishing and promulgating this order. One idea is expressed there in a very clear manner-and with your permission I shall read one paragraph from this document. "One example"-it says in Order Number 19, last paragraph but one-"On the auxiliary cruiser Cormoran, which was used as a place of detention in Australia a warrant officer. . ."
THE PRESIDENT: Which paragraph?
COL.POKROVSKY: The last paragraph but one of Document D-650, Page 4 of the English text. I beg your pardon, Page 4 of the German text, and the last paragraph on the third page of the English copy.
THE PRESIDENT: It was read already in cross-examination.
COL.POKROVSKY: This particular part was not read in the cross-examination, and it is really very important for the case.
THE PRESIDENT: We have just heard this very question, this very example, read by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, not half an hour ago.
COL. POKROVSKY: But Sir David, in reading this example, did not read one particular sentence which is of great importance to me and which clarifies Doenitz' position; and that is the reason why I
10 May 46
permitted myself to come back to this particular passage. It is only one sentence which interests me.
THE PRESIDENT: What sentence are you referring to?
COL. POKROVSKY: The first sentence in the second paragraph from the end. It is the paragraph which begins, "One example: In a prisoner-of-war camp..."
THE PRESIDENT: You are entirely wrong. He read the whole of the paragraph. Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe read the whole of the paragraph.
COL.POKROVSKY: When, with your permission, I shall read these few words, then you will convince yourself, Sir, that these particular words were not read.
THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, I have a note in my notebook made at the time, which shows that the whole of this was read; that the defendant was cross-examined about the meaning of the word "communist"; and that he explained it by saying that he was referring to a spy among the crew who might give away submarine secrets. The whole matter was gone into fully by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, and the Tribunal does not wish to hear any more about it.
COL.POKROVSKY: It is absolutely necessary for me to read two expressions from this sentence which were not read into the record here, and I ask your permission to read these two words.
THE PRESIDENT: Which two words do you say were not read? State the two words.
COL.POKROVSKY: "Systematically" and "unobtrusively," that is, according to plan. They are not talking about one particular instance, but they are talking about the whole definite plan, about the system.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but that was all read, Colonel Pokrovsky. You must have missed it.
COL. POKROVSKY: I am not saying that Sir David has omitted that.
THE PRESIDENT: That was read by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe and put to the witness, to the defendant.
COL.POKROVSKY: Perhaps Sir David may have accidentally omitted this, but it is really very important for me, because DOENITZ testified here to the killing of only one spy; but what is really meant here is that there was a plan to exterminate all communists, or rather men who were supposed to be communists, according to the idea Of some petty officer.
THE PRESIDENT: It is exactly what Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe put to the witness. He said, "How can you say that this refers to a
10 May 46
case of spies or one spy, when it is referring to all communists"? It is exactly the question he put to him.
COL.POKROVSKY: Perhaps I did not understand quite correctly what our interpreter translated, but in our translation this was not mentioned.
Then with your permission I will go to the next question.
[Turning to the defendant.] Will you deny, DOENITZ, that in this order, as the one example of high military valor-that military valor which serves as the basis or the reason for extraordinary promotion of noncommissioned officers and officers-you used, as one example, the treacherous and systematic murder of people for political reasons? Do you deny that this order was correctly understood?
DOENITZ: No, that is quite wrong. This order refers to one incident in a prisoner-of-war camp, and it should be considered in what serious dilemma the senior member of the camp found himself and that he acted in a responsible and correct manner by removing in the interests of our warfare as a traitor that communist who was at the same time a spy. It would have been easier for him if he had just let things take their course, which would have harmed the U-boats and caused losses. He knew that after his return home he would have to account for it. That is the reason why I gave this order.
COL.POKROVSKY: Perhaps you will agree that the incidents, as you explain them now, are absolutely different from what is written in your order.
THE PRESIDENT: I have already told you that the Tribunal does not wish to hear further cross-examination upon this subject. You are now continuing to do that, and I must draw your attention again clearly to the ruling of the Tribunal that the Tribunal will not hear further cross-examination upon this subject.
COL.POKROVSKY: In the light of this document, I ask you how do you explain your statements about your alleged objections in principle to special political courts being introduced into the Navy, that is, the considerations in principle which were testified to by Dr. Rudolphi? How do you explain this contradiction?
DOENITZ: I did not understand what you said.
COL.POKROVSKY:You say here that the document does not deal with political acts, whereas the order is formulated very precisely and Dr. Rudolphi testified to the fact that you were against introducing political courts into the Army and the Navy. Obviously there is a contradiction in terms here, and I would like to have this contradiction explained.
10 May 46
DOENITZ: I do not see any contradiction, because Dr. Rudolphi says that I was against handing over legal cases to courts outside of the Navy and because the case of the Cormoran deals with an action by the senior camp member, far away in a prisoner-of-war camp in a foreign land. He decided on this action only after grave deliberation, knowing that at home he would have to answer for it before a military court. He did this because he considered it necessary, in the interests of the conduct of the war, to stop the loss of submarines by treason. Those are two entirely different things. Here we deal with an individual case in the Cormoran camp.
COL.POKROVSKY: What you are testifying to now is a repetition of what you said before; and, as you heard, the Tribunal does not want to listen to it any more. This is really not an answer to my question.
DOENITZ: Yes. In answering your question I cannot say anything but the truth, and this is what I have done.
COL. POKROVSKY: Of course our ideas of truth may be altogether different. I, for instance, look upon this question in an altogether different manner. This fact . . .
DOENITZ: Will you excuse me. I am under oath here, and you do not want to accuse me of telling an untruth, do you?
COL. POKROVSKY: We are not talking about false testimony, but we are talking about a different approach to the idea of truth. I, for instance, consider that by this order you revealed yourself as a real...
DOENITZ: No, I cannot agree with that.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly put the question if you want to put a question?
COL. POKROVSKY: I want to ask him one question, My Lord, and I must explain to him why I am asking this question.
[Turning to the defendant.] I consider this order a revelation of your loyalty, your fanatical loyalty, to fascism; and in this connection I want to ask you whether you consider that it was because of the fact that you showed yourself to be a fanatical follower of fascism and fascist ideas that Hitler chose you to be his successor- because you were known to Hitler as a fanatical follower who was capable of inciting the Army to any crime in the spirit of the Hitlerite conspirators and that you would still call these crimes pure idealism. Do you understand my question?
DOENITZ: Well, I can only answer to that that I do not know. I have already explained to you that the legitimate successor would have been the Reich Marshal; but through a regrettable misunderstanding a few days before his appointment, he was no longer in the
10 May 46
game, and I was the next senior officer in command of an independent branch of the Wehrmacht. I believe that was the determining factor. That fact that the Fuehrer had confidence in me may also have had something to do with it.
COL.POKROVSKY: The Soviet Prosecution, My Lord, has no more questions to ask of this defendant.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kranzbuehler, do you want to re-examine?
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: I should like to put a few more questions, Mr.
[Turning to the defendant.] Admiral, during the cross-examination by Sir David you were asked about your knowledge of conditions in concentration camps; and you wanted to make an additional statement, which you could not do at the time. What personal connections did you have with any inmates of concentration camps, or did you have any connections at all?
DOENITZ: I had no connections with anybody who had been sent to a concentration camp; with the exception of Pastor Niemoller. Pastor Niemoller was a former comrade of mine from the Navy. When my last son was killed, he expressed his sympathy; and on that occasion I asked him how he was.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: When was that?
DOENITZ: That was in the summer of 1944, and I received the answer that he was all right.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Did you write him directly, or how did it happen?
DOENITZ: No. I received this information through a third person.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: Was that the only message you received from a concentration camp?
DOENITZ: The only one I received.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In the cross-examination a report by Captain Assmann was presented about a conference with the Fuehrer in May 1043. You remember its contents. You are alleged to have said that in view of the present naval war situation, it was desirable that Germany should get possession of Spain and Gibraltar. Did you make a positive suggestion in that direction? One cannot see that from the document.
DOENITZ: Of course, when I discussed the situation, I mentioned the danger of the narrow strip along the Bay of Biscay; and I said that it would be more favorable to us if we could start our U-boats from a wider area. At that time nobody even contemplated a move against Spain, either with the consent of Spain or in the form of an attack. It was quite obvious that our forces were in no way sufficient
10 May 46
for that. On the other hand, it is quite understandable that, in showing my concern about that narrow strip, I should say that it would have been better if the area had been larger. That is what I meant by that statement. I was referring to U-boat warfare and not to any move against Spain on land. It certainly would have been impossible for me as a naval officer to make a suggestion to attack Spain.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In connection with the sinking of the Athenia it has been hinted that your statement was considered an excuse; that is, that the commanding officer of the submarine confused the Athenia with an auxiliary cruiser. Therefore, I should like to put to you an excerpt from the war diary of the officer commanding in that action and I want you to confirm that it is really by the same commanding officer. I shall read from the document of the Prosecution, Exhibit GB-222, on Page 142 of my document book, Volume III. It is the war diary of the submarine U-30. The excerpt is dated 11 September 1939, Page 142 in document book, Volume III.
"Sighted a blacked-out vessel. Got on its trail. In zigzag course recognized as merchant ship. Requested to stop by morse lantern. Steamer signals 'not understood,' tries to escape in the thick squall and sends out SOS 'chased by submarine' and position by radiotelegraphy.
"Gave 'stop' signal by radio and morse lantern.
"Ran ahead. First 5 shots with machine gem C/30 across the bow. Steamer does not react. Turns partly, about 90°, directly toward the boat. Sends 'still chased.' Therefore, fire opened from aft bearing with 8.8 cm. English steamer Blairlogie, 4,425 tons.
"After 18 shots and three hits, steamer stops. Crew boards boats. Last message by radio, 'Shelled, taking to boats.' Fire immediately ceased when emergency light was shown and steamer stopped.
"Went over to life boats, gave orders to pull away toward south. Steamer sunk by torpedo. Afterwards both boat crews supplied with Steinhager and cigarettes. 32 men in two boats. Fired red stars until dawn. Since American steamer, American Skipper, was nearby, we departed. Crew was rescued."
Can you confirm, Admiral, that this was an entry by the same commanding officer who nine days before had torpedoed the Athenia?
DOENITZ: Yes, that is the same commander of the same operation who shortly before had committed this error.
10 May 46
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: In the cross-examination it was once more maintained, and very definitely, that you had sent an order to destroy to the commanders. I should like to put to you a letter which is signed by various U-boat commanders. You know the letter and know the signatures, and I should like to ask you to tell me whether the U-boat commanders who signed were taken prisoner before September 1942, that is, before your alleged orders to destroy, or whether they were captured afterwards.
I am reading from the document book, Volume II, Page 99, Doenitz-53, which I submit to the Tribunal. It is addressed to the camp commander of the prisoner-of-war camp, Camp 18, in the Featherstone Park camp in England. I received it through the British War Ministry and the General Secretary of the Court. I read finder the date of 18 January 1946, and the text is as follows:
"The undersigned commanders, who are now here in this camp and whose U-boats were active on the front, wish to make the following statement before you, Sir, and to express the request that this statement should be forwarded to the International Military Tribunal in Nurnberg.
"From the press and radio we learn that Grossadmiral DOENITZ is charged with having issued the order to destroy survivors from the crews of torpedoed ships and not to take any prisoners. The undersigned state under oath that neither in writing nor orally was such an order ever given by Grossadmiral DOENITZ. There was an order that for reasons of security of the boat, because of increased danger through defense measures of all kinds, we were not to surface after torpedoing. The reason for that was that experience had shown that if the boat surfaced for a rescue action, as was done in the first years of the war, we had to expect our own destruction. This order could not be misunderstood. It has never been regarded as an order to annihilate shipwrecked crews. "The undersigned declare that the German Navy has always been trained by its leaders to respect the written and unwritten laws and rules of the sea. We have always regarded it as our honor to obey these laws and to fight chivalrously while at sea."
Then come the signatures of 67 German submarine commanders who are at present prisoners of war in British hands.
I ask you, Admiral-you know these signatures-were these commanders captured before September 1942 or after September 1942?
DOENITZ: Most of them beyond doubt were made prisoner after September 1942. In order to examine that exactly from both sides,
10 May 46
I should like to see the list again. But most of them beyond doubt were captured after September 1942.
FLOTTENRICHTER KRANZBUEHLER: That is enough. I have no further questions. DR.LATERNSER: Mr. President, I should like to clarify only one point which came up during the cross-examination.
Admiral, during the cross-examination you have stated that you were present at the situation conferences on 19 and 20 February 1945, and you said. . .
DOENITZ: No, that this date...
DR. LATERNSER: I made a note of it and you will recognize the conference at once. During the situation conference of 19 February, Hitler is alleged to have made the suggestion to leave the Geneva Convention. I ask you now to tell me:
Which high military leaders were present during that situation conference?
DOENITZ: I believe there is a mistake here. I did not hear this question or suggestion of the Fuehrer from his own lips, but I was told about it by a naval officer who regularly took part in these situation conferences. Therefore I do not know for certain whether the date is correct, and I also do not know who was present when the Fuehrer first made that statement. In any case, I remember the matter was again discussed the next day or two days later; and then I believe the Reich Marshal, and of course Jodl and Field Marshal Keitel, were present. At any rate, the whole of the Wehrmacht were unanimously against it; and to my recollection, the Fuehrer, because he saw our objection, did not come back to this question again.
DR. LATERNSER: Thank you. I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The defendant can return to the dock.
[The defendant left the stand.]