Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

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DavidFrankenberg
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Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Jul 2020 17:14

Hi all,

I create a new specific thread about him since the other thread deals specifically with his visit in Rome in 41 : .

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=249872&p=2274068

There are the biographical details by Michael Miller viewtopic.php?f=45&t=249872&hilit=bohle#p2273939

CIA gives free access to some of his interrogation files :

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0001.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0002.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0003.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0004.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0005.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0006.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0007.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0008.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0009.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0010.pdf
https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom ... M_0011.pdf

Of course, there are many more interrogations which are not available online unfortunately.

Among his interrogators, you can find the University teacher Harold Deutsch of Minnesota. Maybe you can find his interrogation in his papers deposited in the university of Minneosta ? https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositori ... urces/1224

Bohle had tremendous life in his way : born in England, raised in South Africa, after having served Hess and Hitler, he turned 100% to the Americains in 1945, he also divorced his first wife the same year and married his non-nazi lawyer Elisabeth Gombel.
He had one son from his previous marriage. I dont know if he kept good relationship with him or if his son kept some papers from him.

I didnt find anything written by him after the war. This is quite frustrating.

Frank-Rutger Hausmann has written a book on him : Ernst-Wilhelm Bohle : Gauleiter im Dienst von Partei und Staat not long ago (2009). Maybe it could answer some of my questions.

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Jul 2020 17:20

Michael Miller wrote:
11 Jun 2020 20:38
On 27.03.1948 he became the first and only defendant before any of the Nürnberg tribunals to plead “schuldig” (guilty),
Did Speer not plead guilty themselves ?
I was persuaded he did as Schirach, i was thinking that's why they did not get the death and were released after some years...
But indeed they were not hanged and were freed because they finally accpeted to denounce the nazism as an error etc.

So that's right : Bohle was the only one to plead guiilty which is we must say wonderful.

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by Michael Miller » 25 Jul 2020 18:20

When asked for his plea, Speer quietly responded, "Nicht schuldig." See https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1003081, around the 02:48:09:20 mark.

~ Mike

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by Br. James » 25 Jul 2020 19:07

Interestingly, Böhle died on 9 November, 1960 -- the 37th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch -- at the young age of just 57 years. His early death may have at least partially been responsible for his failure to leave a memoir, as a number of the other high-ranking Nazis did. Such a work would have been of interest, and he probably could have written it in English, which would have been a great help in the international markets.

Br. James

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Jul 2020 19:59

Michael Miller wrote:
25 Jul 2020 18:20
When asked for his plea, Speer quietly responded, "Nicht schuldig." See https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1003081, around the 02:48:09:20 mark.

~ Mike
He was tougher than I thought ! :)
Br. James wrote:
25 Jul 2020 19:07
Interestingly, Böhle died on 9 November, 1960 -- the 37th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch -- at the young age of just 57 years. His early death may have at least partially been responsible for his failure to leave a memoir, as a number of the other high-ranking Nazis did. Such a work would have been of interest, and he probably could have written it in English, which would have been a great help in the international markets.

Br. James
That is puzzling, isn't it ?
I need to check the cause of his early death (maybe cancer ?) and if he let something to his son, or grandchildren (if they exist).

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by Br. James » 26 Jul 2020 17:57

Thanks, David. I've checked through all of my bio reference works and the only reference I could find to the cause of Böhle's death was in Charles Hamilton's 2nd volume: "[Böhle] died of a heart attack on November 9, 1960." As for his capability of leaving a memoir in English, Michael Miller's extensive bio in "Gauleiter" Volume 1 includes the fact that Böhle was fluent in the language.

Br. James

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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 27 Jul 2020 19:32

Br. James wrote:
26 Jul 2020 17:57
Thanks, David. I've checked through all of my bio reference works and the only reference I could find to the cause of Böhle's death was in Charles Hamilton's 2nd volume: "[Böhle] died of a heart attack on November 9, 1960." As for his capability of leaving a memoir in English, Michael Miller's extensive bio in "Gauleiter" Volume 1 includes the fact that Böhle was fluent in the language.

Br. James
Heart attack ? I would not have thought about it, but if we think about it in those days heart attack was maybe the first cause of death before your 60's.
Nowadays it should be cancer.

***

I am trying to find all testimonies of Bohle during the Nuremberg trial.

I have found the 25 march 1946 session :

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/03-25-46.asp
[The witness Bohle took the stand.]

THE PRESIDENT: Will you tell me your name?

ERNST WILHELM BOHLE (Witness): Ernst Wilhelm Bohle.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this 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 witness repeated the oath in German.]

DR. SEIDL: Witness, you were ultimately the leader of the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP? Is that correct?

BOHLE: Yes.

DR. SEIDL: You were also State Secretary of the Foreign Office?

BOHLE: Yes.

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, Mr. Dodd of the American Prosecution just made the suggestion that, in order to save time, it might b possible to follow the same procedure as in the case of witness Blaha, that is, first of all, to read the affidavit in the presence o the witness and then afterwards hear him in cross-examination

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. SEIDL [Turning to the witness.]: You made an affidavit which I shall now read to you. Concerning the matter:

"1. The Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP was founded on 1 May 1931 at Hamburg upon suggestion of some Germans abroad. Gregor Strasser, Reich Organization Chief at the time, appointed as its leader the NSDAP Member of the Reichstag, Dr. Hans Nieland.
"I myself became a volunteer assistant of the Auslands-Organi-sation in December 1931 and was taken into the Party on I March 1932. On 8 May 1933 Dr. Nieland resigned as leader of the Auslands-Organisation, having become in the meantime a member of the Hamburg Government and also, as a German who had always stayed at home, being less interested in ques-tions concerning Germans abroad. On account of my experience and my connections abroad -- I was born in England and raised in South Africa -- I was charged with the leadership of the Auslands-Organisation.
"2. The purpose of the Auslands-Organisation was, upon the assumption of power, to hold together in an organized way
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the approximately 3,300 Party members living outside the boundaries of Germany at the time of the seizure of power. Further, through it Germans abroad, who could have only a vague idea of the political happenings at home, were to be taught the philosophy and the political program of the new state.
"3. Only German nationals could become members of the Party. The acceptance of foreigners or former Germans who had acquired citizenship in another state was strictly prohibited.
"4. The guiding principle of the Auslands-Organisation of the Party concerning its attitude to foreign countries was found on the Ausland pass of every German national who was a member of the Party, in the following passage: 'Observe the laws of the country whose guest you are. Let the citizens of the country in which you stay take care of their internal politics; do not interfere in these matters, not even by way of conversation.'
"This principle was basic for the work and the attitude of the Auslands-Organisation with respect to foreign countries from the day of its founding up to its end. I myself referred to this in many public speeches, and in so doing coined, among others, the phrase: 'The National Socialist honors foreign folkdom because he loves his own.'
"My speeches in Porchester Hall in London on 2 October 1937 and in Budapest at the end of January 1938 give a comprehen-sive picture of the attitude of the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP toward foreign countries.
"Winston Churchill in the late summer of 1937 repeatedly attacked the activity of the Auslands-Organisation in news-paper articles, and in his well-known article, 'Friendship with Germany,' in the London Evening Standard of 17 September 1937, designated it as an encumbrance on German-English relations. In the same article he said that he was ready to converse with me in the most cordial manner about this question. The German Embassy in London informed the Foreign Office at that time that a question by Churchill in the House of Commons regarding the activity of the Auslands-Organisation would be extremely undesirable. As a result a meeting between Churchill and myself was advocated as urgent. This took place on the day of my speech to the Reich Germans in London, in Winston Churchill's London home, and lasted more than an hour. I had ample opportunity in this thoroughly cordial conversation to describe the activity of the Auslands-Organisation and to dispel his misgivings. At the end he accompanied me to my car and let himself be photographed with
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me, in order, as he said, to show the world that we were parting as friends. There was no inquiry in the House of Commons. From that day Churchill never uttered a word of objection again about the activity of the Auslands-Organisation. My speech of the same date, which was published shortly afterwards in English in pamphlet form by an English concern, was very favorably received. The Times published from it a lengthy excerpt under the heading 'Herr Bohle's Plea for an Understanding.' After this conversation Churchill wrote me a letter in which he voiced his satisfaction with the result of our conversation.
"6. In the trial of the murderer of the Landesgruppenleiter of the Auslands-Organisation in Switzerland, Wilhelm Gustloff, which was held in a Swiss court at Chur in 1936, the legality of the activity of the Auslands-Organisation was the subject of investigation by the court. The Defendant, David Frankfurter, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. From what I remember, I can say that the Swiss authorities, who were in no way friendly to Nazis, had to testify that Gustloff and the Landesgruppen of the Auslands-Organisation had never in any way given reason for complaint with regard to their activity. The testimony of Federal Councillor Baumann, who, to my knowledge, was then Minister of the Interior and of the Police in Switzerland, was at that time decisive.
"7. I should further like to point out in this connection that also after the outbreak of the war the Landesgruppen of the Auslands-Organisation in neutral countries continued to func-tion until the end of the war. That is especially true of Switzerland, Sweden, and Portugal.
"From 1943 on, at the latest, the Reich would hardly have been able to take any steps against suppression, if the Auslands-Organisation had come into conflict with the internal laws of these countries; and suppression would have been the inevitable result.
"8. Aside from the indisputable legality of the Auslands-Organisation, as its leader I have repeatedly expressed the idea that the Auslandsdeutschen (Germans abroad) would certainly be the last people who would let themselves be misused as warmongers or as conspirators against the peace. From bitter experience they knew that with the outbreak of the war they would face at once internment, persecution, confiscation of property, and destruction of their economic existence.
"9. As a result of the knowledge of the situation abroad, no one knew better than the Auslandsdeutschen that any activity
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in the sense of a Fifth Column would be just as foolish as detrimental to the interests of the Reich. To my knowledge, moreover, the expression 'Fifth Column' can be traced back to the Spanish Civil War. It is in any case a foreign invention. When Franco attacked Madrid with four columns of troops, it was asserted that a Fifth Column consisting of nationalist elements was doing its seditious work underground within the besieged city.
"10. There is no basis whatsoever for applying the term 'Fifth Column' to the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP. If this assertion were true, it would mean that members of the Auslands-Organisation working together with local oppositional elements in one or more foreign countries had been delegated, or had by themselves tried, to undermine this state from within. Any such assertion would be pure invention.
"11. Neither from the former Deputy of the Fuehrer, Rudolf Hess, nor from me, as the leader of the Auslands-Organisation, has this organization or members of this organization in any way received orders the execution of which might be considered as Fifth Column activity. Even Hitler himself never gave me any directive in that respect. In summary, I can say that the Auslands-Organisation at no time, as long as I was its leader, displayed any activity in the sense of a Fifth Column. Never did the Deputy of the Fuehrer give orders or directives to the Auslands-Organisation which might have led to such activity. On the contrary, Rudolf Hess most urgently desired that members of the Auslands-Organisation should under no circumstances take part in the internal affairs of the country in which they were living as guests.
"12. Of course, it is known that just as citizens of the then enemy countries, so also Germans were employed in the espionage and intelligence services abroad. This activity had however nothing at all to do with membership in the Auslands-Organisation. In order not to imperil the existence of the Auslands-Organisation groups, which worked legally and entirely in the open, I constantly demanded that members of the Auslands-Organisation would not be used for such purposes or that I should previously be given the opportunity to relieve them of their functions within the Auslands-Organisation."
And that is the end of the statement of the witness Bohle. For the moment I have no questions to ask the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask the witness any questions?

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DR. FRITZ SAUTER (Counsel for Defendant Von Schirach): I would like to put several questions to this witness, Your Honor.

Witness, I represent the Defendant Von Schirach, the former leader of the German Youth. Therefore the following would interest me: Did the Hitler Youth (HJ) also exist in foreign countries or only in Germany?

BOHLE: The Hitler Youth existed among German nationals, in foreign countries also.

DR. SAUTER: Please tell me whether this HJ, the Hitler Youth abroad, was subject to the political directives of the competent Landesleiter of the Auslands-Organisation, or is that not right?

BOHLE: Yes, the Hitler Youth abroad was politically under the control of the Hoheitstrager of the Party.

DR. SAUTER: Once in the course of the proceedings the assertion was made that members of the Hitler Youth were trained for service as agents and for espionage work abroad and also were used for these purposes. Specific facts, that is, specific instances, were certainly not mentioned, but only a general assertion was made, and it was also asserted that Hitler Youth abroad were even used as paratroopers, that is, that they had been trained at home as paratroopers in order to be used abroad in this capacity.

That is the assertion which I submit to you, and I now ask to have your opinion on this, whether, on the basis of your knowledge as the competent leader of the Auslands-Organisation, something like that did occur or whether anything like that was at all possible?

BOHLE: I would like to say the following in reply: I consider it entirely out of the question that members of the Hitler Youth abroad were misused in this way. I can assert that so much the more since I know I would have heard anything to the contrary from the leaders of the Party in the various foreign countries. I know also nothing at all about the training of the Hitler Youth as paratroopers or anything similar. I consider these assertions as absolutely pure invention.

DR. SAUTER: Then I may assume, as the result of your testi-mony, that things of that sort on the basis of the entire organization would certainly have come to your knowledge, if something like that had occurred or perhaps even only had been planned; is that correct?

BOHLE: Yes, indeed.

DR. SAUTER: And then, Witness, I have a last question:

Here in the courtroom a further assertion was also made about the HJ, that is, about the Hitler Youth. It has been asserted that

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at Lvov it once happened that the Hitler Youth or members of the Hitler Youth had used little children as targets. Also in this report no details of course were given, but only the assertion was made. The following would interest me:

As you know the Hitler Youth had, I believe, a membership toward the end of about 7 to 8 million.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Sauter, does that have anything to do with the Auslands-Organisation?

DR. SAUTER: Yes, it does insofar as my client, the Defendant Von Schirach, is charged with the fact that the Hitler Youth abroad committed such atrocities.

THE PRESIDENT: It was not suggested that they did this abroad, was it -- that Hitler Youth ever used children as targets abroad?

DR. SAUTER: Yes, indeed, it was said that at Lvov, in the Government General, not in Germany, but in Lvov, which means abroad.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean after the war began?

DR. SAUTER: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought this witness was speaking about the same organization before the war.

DR. SAUTER: I do not know whether he was also talking about the Auslands-Organisation during the war. But in any case, Mr. President, the witness knows these facts, for he was the head of the Auslands-Organisation. Therefore this witness seems to me especially qualified to give us information on these matters.

THE PRESIDENT: It seems to me that we are very far from the point, but you can go on.

R. SAUTER: Yes, Mr. President, for otherwise I would have to call expressly this witness for my client again.

Witness, do you at all recall the last question I put to you, whether you had any knowledge that the Hitler Youth, or members of the Hitler Youth abroad, which was under your jurisdiction, is supposed to have committed atrocities of that nature?

BOHLE: I regret to tell you, Mr. Attorney, that the Government General did not belong to the Auslands-Organisation, that I was never there and therefore am not in a position to state anything on that point. Obviously the erroneous opinion seems to exist that the Government General, from the point of view of the organization of the Party, was connected with the Auslands-Organisation; however that was not the case. I had no organizational powers there.

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DR. SAUTER: Otherwise, I have no further questions.

DR. ROBERT SERVATIUS (Counsel for the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party): Witness, to what extent, in your capacity as Reichsleiter of the Auslands-Organisation, were you informed about the foreign political intentions of the Fuehrer?

BOHLE: I was not Reichsleiter, but Gauleiter, and was never informed of the foreign political intentions of the Fuehrer.

DR.SERVATIUS: Do you know whether the Fuehrer basically advocated to your organization an understanding with, England?

BOHLE: I do not quite understand your question.

DR. SERVATIUS: Did Hitler, before the war, in your presence and before the other Gauleiter, frequently emphasize the fact that he wanted at all costs an understanding with England, and that you also were to work for its achievement?

BOHLE: I received no orders in this respect from the Fuehrer, but certainly from the Deputy of the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer never discussed foreign political matters with me during the 12 years was in office.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any members of the Defense Counsel want to ask any other questions?

LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. M. G. GRIFFITH-JONES (Junior Counsel for the United Kingdom): Your Auslands-Organisation was organized in the same way as the Party in Germany was organized; is that not so?

BOHLE: Not in all points, because there were various organizations within the body of the Party in the Reich which were not intended for foreign countries, for example, the Office for Municipal Policy.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps I can shorten my question: Did you have Hoheitstrager abroad in the same way as you had them in Germany?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: The organization in each country was under the Landesgruppenleiter; is that correct?

BOHLE: In almost all countries.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And under many there were lower-ranking Hoheitstrager?

BOHLE: Yes, the Ortsgruppenleiter.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Was the result of that, that you had your German population in foreign countries well organized and known to the leaders in those countries?

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BOHLE: To a great extent that might be correct, but it was not so thoroughly organized, nor could it actually be so, because the leader of the Party did not know all the Reich Germans in the country concerned.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did it never occur to you that in the event of your army's invading a country where you had a well-organized organization, that organization would be of extreme military value?

BOHLE: No, that was not the sense and the purpose of the Auslands-Organisation and no offices ever approached me in this con-nection.

LT. COL. GRIF FITH-JONES: Are you telling this Tribunal now that when the various countries of Europe were in fact invaded by the German Army your local organizations did nothing to assist them in a military or semimilitary capacity?

BOHLE: Yes, indeed.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. Now, let me ask you about something else for a moment: You had, had you not, an efficient system of reporting from your Landesgruppenleiter to your head office in Berlin?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I think you have said yourself, did you not, in your interrogations, that you took an especial pride in the speed with which your reports came back?

BOHLE: I did not say that, I believe, with respect to speed but rather with respect to the accuracy of their political survey.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: In fact, your reports did come back with great speed, did they not?

BOHLE: I cannot say that in general. It depended on the possibility of dispatching these reports quickly to Berlin, and how far that was the case in individual instances, I naturally cannot say today. In any ease, I had no special speed or acceleration measures at my disposal.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: In fact, you told your interrogator -- and I can refer you to it if necessary -- that on occasion you got back information before Himmler or the Foreign Office had got similar information.

BOHLE: That must be a misunderstanding. It concerns the political reports from the Landesgruppenleiter which I transmitted from Berlin to the different offices.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well, we will leave the speed out I have it from you that you had an efficient system of reporting, had you not?

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BOHLE: In order to answer that question I would have to know in respect to what reports I am supposed to have had an efficient system of reporting.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That was going to be my next question. I was going to ask you: What in fact did your Landesgruppenleiter report to you?

BOHLE: The Landesgruppenleiter reported of their own accord to me, whenever they had anything of importance which they wanted to report to the competent offices in the Reich.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did they ever report anything which might have been of military or semimilitary value?

BOHLE: That may have been the case in some instances, although at present I cannot recall any specific cases.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: They were never given any instructions, were they, to report that kind of information?

BOHLE: No, generally not.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: How did you get your reports back? Did you have wireless sets with your organization in foreign countries?

BOHLE: No, we did not have any such transmission or wireless stations. Reports either came through courier in special cases or were brought by individuals to Germany.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: After the war started, did your organizations continue in neutral countries?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did they never have wireless sets reporting back information?

BOHLE: I do not know anything about that. I do not believe they had them, for I would have had to know about it.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now, I want to ask you about only one or two documents. Would you look at 3258-PS -- My Lord, that is the exhibit already in, GB-262; I have copies of the extract for the Tribunal and members of Defense Counsel. I expect you read English -- the book itself is coming.

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: There you have before you a copy of some extracts from it. Would you look at the bottom of the first page, last paragraph, commencing "In 1938..." Did you have a Landesgruppenleiter in the Netherlands by the name of Butting?

BOHLE: Yes.

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LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Just pay attention to me for perhaps one moment before you look at that document. Do you know that Butting shared a house at The Hague with the military intelligence office? Do you know that?

BOHLE: No, I do not.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now, I want to quote you quite shortly two paragraphs of this document, which is a report, published as an official United States publication, called "National Socialism, Basic Principles, Their Application by the Nazi Party's Foreign Organization, and The Use of Germans Abroad for Nazi Aims." I just want you to tell the Tribunal what you think first of all about this report, which is printed in that book:

"In 1938 the German Legation owned two houses in The Hague. Both were of course the subject of diplomatic immunity and therefore inviolable as concerned search and seizure by the Dutch police. I shall call the house in which Dr. Butting had his office House Number 2. What went on in House Number 2? It had been remodeled and was divided like a two-family house -- vertically, not horizontally, but between the two halves there was a communicating door. One side of the house was Dr. Butting's. The other half housed the Nazi military intelligence agent for Holland ..."
You say that you do not know anything about that?

BOHLE: Butting was Landesgruppenleiter of the Auslands-Organisation. I am hearing about this house -- or these two houses -- for the first time, that is quite new to me.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. I will just go on.

"S. B. (the military intelligence agent) may have had as many as a dozen subordinates working in Holland, all subagents of the Canaris bureau. These were professional spies who knew their trade. But they could not possibly know Holland as intimately as was required by the strategy of the German High Command, as it was revealed following the invasion of May 1940. For this, not a dozen but perhaps several hundred sources of information were necessary. And it is at this point that Butting and the military intelligence agent come together. Through his German Citizens' Association, Butting had a pair of Nazi eyes, a pair of Nazi ears, in every town and hamlet of the Netherlands. They were the eyes and ears of his minor Party officials. Whenever the military intelligence agent needed information concerning a comer of Holland which his people had not yet explored, or was anxious to check information relayed to him by one of his own people, he would go to Butting."
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Do you know whether Butting assisted the military intelligence agent in Holland in any way like that?

BOHLE: I was told later that he aided in Holland. To what extent he helped him I do not know, for he had had no such mission from me.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I understand, he had no instructions but he was doing it. Just turn now to the last paragraph on that page, too:

"'I know every stone in Holland,' S.B. once boasted. By 'stone' he meant canal, lock, bridge, viaduct, culvert, highway, by-road, airport, emergency landing field, and the name and location of Dutch Nazi sympathizers who would help the invading army when the time came. Had Dr. Butting's Party organization not existed under the innocent cover of his Citizens' Association, S.B.'s knowledge of Holland would have been as nothing compared with what it was. Thus the Citizens' Association served a double purpose; it was invalu-able for espionage at the same time as it fulfilled its primary function as a Fifth Column agency."
Do you know whether the members of your organization in Holland were given instructions to learn about every canal, lock, bridge, viaduct, railway, and so on?

BOHLE: No, I had not the least idea of this.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. I want you to be quite clear. I am putting to you that your organization was in the first place an espionage system reporting information of importance back to the Reich, and, in the second place, it was an organization aimed to help, and which did help, your invading German armies when they overran the frontiers of their neighboring states. Do you understand those two points?

BOHLE: Yes, indeed.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did your organization publish an annual book, your Year Book of the Foreign Organization?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And did that book contain information as to the activities of your organization during the year?

BOHLE: Partially, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I suppose that the Tribunal would be safe in assuming that what was published in that book was accurate information?

BOHLE: One may assume that.

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LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Will you look at the Year Book for 1942? I have copies of the extracts. Would you turn to Page 37 of that book? If you look back one or two pages in the book, you will find that that is an article entitled "The Work of the Norway Branch of the Auslands-Organisation in the War." Is that written by your Landesgruppenleiter in Norway?

BOHLE: I assume so, I cannot recall this.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Will you look at Page 37, and you will see that there are some passages in the book that you have in front of you that have been lightly marked in pencil along the side.

BOHLE: Yes, I have it.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Will you find the paragraph which starts, "Therefore, soon after the outbreak of war in September 1939..." Have you got that?

BOHLE: Yes, I have it.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps you will be so kind as to follow me.

"Therefore, soon after the outbreak of war in September 1939, the enlargement and extension..."
BOHLE: Yes, I am following you.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES:

"... the enlargement and extension of the German Legation in Oslo and of the consulates at Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Hamgesund, Narvik and Kirkenes proved to be of primary importance. This enlargement of the Reich agencies resulted in the local organization of the NSDAP in Norway having to increase its field of activity too, in the same proportion, in order to support the work of the Reich agencies, particularly by Party members and other Germans who had a thorough knowledge of the country and language."
Why, in September '39, was it necessary for the Party to increase its organization in Norway with people having higher knowledge of the country and language? Answer me that before you read on. You need not worry about the rest; we are going to deal with it. Why was it necessary in 1939 to enlarge your organization?

BOHLE: In Norway, as far as I recall, there were only 80 members of the Party in all, and it goes without saying that after the outbreak of the war the official agencies, not only of Germany but also, as you know, those of other states, were enlarged and were assisted by national elements, who knew the country

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concerned. That did not hold true for Germany alone but for all the nations participating in the war.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes. I still do not understand why your perfectly harmless organization should have found it necessary to increase its membership with people who had a profound knowledge of the language and the country. Why should the Auslands-Organisation have found it necessary?

BOHLE: Because the Reich agencies needed Germans who knew the country and the people, especially to furnish information on the German targets of attack in Norway -- exactly what every other nation did, too.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Well, your answer is, is it, that you required them to tell you about targets in Norway? Is that your answer?

BOHLE: No, I did not say that. I said that they were to be at the disposal of the agencies in Norway in case they were needed for public enlightenment, that is for German propaganda purposes among the Norwegians. I would like to emphasize once again that that was done not only by Germany but, of course, by all the warring countries.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well, let us go on and see what happens next:

"The choice and assignment of these supplementary collaborators was carried out by the local leader of the organization in close collaboration with the representatives of the Reich. Therefore, from the first moment of the outbreak of war a great number of Party members were taken away from their jobs and employed in the service of the nation and the fatherland. Without any hesitation and without considering their personal interests, their families, their careers or their property, they joined the ranks and devoted themselves body and soul to the new and often dangerous tasks."
Tell me, was finding out and reporting about the Norwegian people, was that an "often dangerous task"?

BOHLE: Certainly not.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: What, then, were the often dangerous tasks which your own Landesgruppenleiter is saying members of his organization were undertaking from the very moment war broke out, in September '39?

BOHLE: I cannot tell you anything about that, for I have no knowledge whatsoever about this and I cannot conceive any of these dangerous tasks. I have the impression from this article, which, incidentally I did not know about until now, that the

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Landesgruppenleiter had the plausible desire to give more importance to his organization than it had in reality.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: But you say you did, not know about this. This appeared in the official yearbook of your organization. Did you never read what appeared in that book?

BOHLE: Certainly not everything, for I am not familiar with this article.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You have told us that the members of your organization took no part in this. What about the people who were responsible for publishing that book? Did they not ever draw your attention to an article of that kind?

BOHLE: Obviously not.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Just look at the next little paragraph:

"The success of their work, which was done with all secrecy, was revealed when, on 9 April 1940, German troops landed in Norway and forestalled the planned Rank attack of the Allies."
What work was revealed on the 9th of April? What work which had been done with all secrecy was revealed on the 9th of April, work carried out by members of your organization?

BOHLE: I am sorry I cannot reply, for I have no knowledge whatsoever of this. I do not know.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I see. Will you look down to the last paragraph of that page? It is the second sentence -- four, five lines down -- at the end of the fifth line. I beg your pardon. You have the book in front of you. Will you look at Page 40 of the book? In the center of a paragraph the last word of one of the lines starts with "According to the task plan..." Have you got it? It is Page 40. To save time, let me read it:

"According to the task plan which had been prepared since the outbreak of the war, the Landeskreisleitung gave orders on 7 April for Phase 1 of the state of employment..."
It does not sound, does it, like plans being made for different phases of an operation? It does not sound, does it, as if the work of your organization had been simply finding out about Norwegian people?

BOHLE: That might have been since this is entirely new to me, exclusively an agreement within the country itself with military or other authorities. I have had no knowledge of it up to this moment.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: So I understand you to say. But you were the head of this organization, were you not?

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BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You have come before this International Tribunal and given them evidence, presumably saying you are in a position to give them truthful and accurate evidence; is that so?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you understand that?

BOBLE: Yes, I have understood that.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Well, then, do I understand you to say now that you do not know what was happening in your organization, and therefore you are not in a position to give evidence as to whether or not it was a Fifth Column business?

BOHLE: It is quite evident that in an organization of this size the leader, who has his office at Berlin, cannot be closely acquainted with everything which is going on abroad and, more so, what is done against his instructions. I did not have the same disciplinary authority over my Party members abroad as did, for instance, some Gauleiter within the Reich. I need not elaborate on that, because it is self-evident. It is also evident, and this I know, that some Germans abroad, who were called on because of their patriotism in individual cases let themselves be used for purposes without the knowledge of the Auslands-Organisation and against its explicit instructions.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: In the interest of time we will not pursue that particular sphere of activity in Norway, just in case it may have been an exception which you did not know about.

Let me turn to something else. Will you look at Page 65 of that book?

Is that an article by your Landesgruppenleiter in Greece?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Is it in the form of a day-to-day diary of the activities of the Auslands-Organisation in Greece when German troops invaded that country?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Will you look at Page 65?

"Sunday the 27th of April. Swastika on the Acropolis."
That is the heading. I beg your pardon. I do not know whether it comes directly under that heading. This is the Landesgruppenleiter talking:

"I set out immediately, quickly visiting the other quarters," -- where the German colony had been interned -- "the Philadelphia and the Institute. I enjoined the inmates of the house
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in Academy Street to give up returning home today, and to hold themselves in readiness. After all, we did want to help the German troops immediately with our knowledge of the language and the district. Now the moment has come. We must start in immediately."
Do you know...

BOHLE: Yes, I even know all about this. It certainly must be evident that the moment German troops occupied a foreign city and freed the Germans living abroad who had been interned, the latter would put themselves at the disposal of the German troops and help them in every respect as guides, interpreters, or the like. That is certainly the most logical thing in the world.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That is in fact what they did do, and the assistance that your organization appears to have given them is that it managed to organize them and get them ready to do it; is that not so? That is what your Landesgruppenleiter seems to be doing?

BOHLE: I did not understand this question. Will you please repeat it?

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you understand that it is your Landesgruppenleiter who is organizing the members of your organization, organizing them so that they can give their assistance most beneficially to the invading armies?

BOHLE: That is a completely wrong way to express it. The Landesgruppenleiter in Greece, who filled that post from 1934, could not possibly tell whether there was to be an invasion of Greece or not. That had not the slightest thing to do with the nature of his organization. The moment that German troops were in the country it stands to reason that they would welcome their countrymen, act as their hosts, and help them in every way. That was a patriotic duty taken for granted.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I see.

Just turn to Page 66, the next page. Will you find the paragraph which commences "Meanwhile I organized the employment of all Party members to do auxiliary service for the Armed Forces."

Do you have that?

BOHLE: I understand it ...

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You had better find the place.

BOHLE: Where shall I find that place?

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: On Page 66. It is a new paragraph.

BOHLE: Yes, I have it now.

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LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: "Meanwhile I organized the employment of all Party members to do auxiliary service for the Armed Forces."

It really looks now as though the Landesgruppenleiter is organizing them, does it not?

BOHLE: In this instance, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES:

"Soon our boys and girls could be seen riding proud and radiant in their Hitler Youth uniforms, beside the German soldiers on motorcycles and in Army cars ..."
Did you yourself know of the organization and work that your Landesgruppenleiter had put in in Greece to assist your armies in semimilitary capacities, or was that another case like Norway which you did not know anything about?

BOHLE: The Landesgruppenleiter in Greece did not create a semimilitary organization, but set up of course in this instance an organization to aid the troops entering the country in a sector which was entirely civilian.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well; I just want to ask you about another matter. Have you got a document there which is a telegram from somebody called Stohrer, in Madrid?

BOHLE: Stohrer, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Did Stohrer have something to do with the German Embassy in Madrid?

BOHLE: Stohrer was the German Ambassador himself; Doctor Von Stohrer.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: This is dated 23 October 1939. Just let us see what it says:

"The Landesgruppenleiter can obtain a very suitable house for accommodating the Landesgruppe, as well as the German Labor Front, the Ortsgruppe, the Hitler Youth, and the German House Madrid, also room available in case of embassy having to spread out, and especially a very suitable isolated room for the possible installation of second secret radio transmitter, which can no longer be housed at the school because of reopening.
"Landesgruppenleiter requests me to rent the house through the embassy, in which way very considerable tax expense will be avoided. Have no hesitation, in view of anticipated partial use by embassy as mentioned above. If you do not agree I request wire by return.
"Please submit also to Gauleiter Bohle."
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Were you telling the truth to this Tribunal when you told them some 30 minutes ago that you had no knowledge of wireless sets being used by your organization?

BOHLE: Yes, because I have no knowledge of these transmitters, or their use; I must assume that it concerns apparatus of the embassy.

DR. SEIDL: The copy of the telegram, as I have it before me, does not indicate to whom this wire was addressed. The last sentence of the telegram leads one to assume that it was not in any case addressed to the witness. According to my opinion, I think the witness should next be asked whether he knew about this wire and to whom it was addressed.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps you will tell Dr. Seidl to whom the Ambassador in Madrid was likely to send a telegram on such matters as this?

BOHLE: To the Foreign Office at Berlin.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And you, at that time, were State Secretary at the Foreign Office of Berlin, were you not?

BOHLE: Quite right, in October 1939.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Beneath his signature is set out the distribution to -- it mentions various persons in departments in the Foreign Office in Berlin. Is that so?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And are you saying now that all of those departments which were asked to submit this matter to you, that they all failed to do so?

BOHLE: No, I do not claim that. They surely would have done that.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you remember yourself seeing this telegram before?

BOHLE: I cannot recall it. I would have noticed it for I never heard anything about two secret transmitters in Spain. It would also be quite in order for me to admit it. But I cannot do so if I do not know it. The distribution under Number 3 mentions "State Secretary," but that does not mean me, but the State Secretary of the Foreign Office, the political one. My designation in the Foreign Office was: Chief A.O.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I can save you all that. I am not suggesting that that "State Secretary" means you; otherwise it would not be asked to be submitted to you. What I want to know is what you or your embassy workers, or both of you working together,

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wanted with two secret wireless transmitting sets in Spain in October 1939?

Are you still saying that your organization was quite unconcerned in reporting back information of military importance?

BOHLE: Just how do you mean, "reporting back"?

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Are you telling the Tribunal -- I want you to be quite clear -- are you telling the Tribunal that your organization was not being used for espionage purposes in Spain?

BOHLE: Yes indeed, I am asserting that. A distinction must be made between certain members of the Auslands-Organisation who naturally without my knowledge -- I protested against this often enough -- were used abroad for such purposes. I had no objection to Germans abroad being utilized in time of war for such tasks, as was the case very frequently with all other countries. However, I did not want members or officials of the Auslands-Organisation to become involved. A distinction must . . .

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I do not want to stop you at all. I do not want to stop you. Go on if you have anything to say. But, in the interest of time, try and make it as short as possible.

BOHLE: It seems to me there is some confusion between the Auslands-Organisation as an organization and what certain Germans abroad did during the war as their patriotic duty. This seems to me to be the crucial point of the question.

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 27 Jul 2020 19:34

end of 25 march 1946 testimony :
LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Well, I will not argue about that. We see that your organization took sufficient interest to reproduce accounts of what they were doing in its official book. I just want to show you one thing further.

[Turning to the President.] Well, I have one further document to put to this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: You may as well go on.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is a document which I have just had found. I have not had them copied. The Tribunal will forgive me if I read extracts from them?

[Turning to the witness.] It is an original document you hold in your hand and it appears to be, does it not, a carbon copy of a letter from ...

THE PRESIDENT: Has Dr. Seidl got one?

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Yes, he has one in German.

[Turning to the witness.] Is that a letter from your Landesgruppenleiter Konradi?

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BOHLE: It seems to be a directive from Konradi, but not signed by him.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: If you will look at the end of the letter you will see that it is actually signed "Konradi," after the usual "Heil Hitler"...

BOHLE: The copy that I have is not signed.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Will you get that copy back? Perhaps these documents...

[The document was taken from the witness to Lt. Col. Griffith-Jones.]

It is in fact signed "Konradi." Show it to him.

[The document was returned to the witness.]

BOHLE: It is not signed by Konradi, but typed in.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am very much obliged to you. It is my fault for not making myself clear. I told you that we have here a carbon copy. A copy of a letter which was signed and sent by Konradi. That appears to be so, does it not?

BOHLE: That I do not know, for of course I do not know about all the letters written by Konradi.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You can take it, so far as you are concerned, that that is a German document which has been captured, that it is this bit of paper that you are holding in your hand which was found by Allied troops and that bears a typewritten signature of Konradi, who was your Landesgruppenleiter in Romania; is that correct? You remember that you had a Landesgruppenleiter in Romania?

BOHLE: His name was Konradi.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And is this a letter of instructions to the Zellenleiter in Constantsa?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: It is dated the 25th of October 1939. Will you read the first paragraph?

"From 9 to 12 October conferences took place with the Supreme Party functionaries, or their deputies, of the Southeastern and Southern European groups at the head office of the Auslands-Organisation."
Does that mean Berlin?

BOHLE: Yes. Berlin.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: That means your office, does it not?

BOHLE: Yes, in my office, but not in my personal office.

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LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: No, but is it in the office over which you had complete control?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Agreed. I imagine, before we go on, that no orders would be issued from your head office at a conference of that kind which were contrary to your direction, would they?

BOHLE: Not on important things, naturally not.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I am much obliged to you.

"I subsequently received direct instructions from the competent department of the head office of the Auslands-Organisation."
So it appears that the direction given at the conference was confirmed in writing.

"During the war, every National Socialist abroad must directly serve the fatherland, either through propaganda for the German cause or by counteracting enemy measures."
Now perhaps you will turn over, or rather, you will miss out -- I am reading from copy -- the English, the next paragraph, and the next plus one paragraph, and go on to the paragraph com-mencing:

"As everywhere else it is extremely important to know where the enemy is and what he is doing..."
I want you to be quite clear about this and keep it in mind. These are directions coming directly from your head office in Berlin.

"It has been ascertained that the I.S. (Intelligence Service) has attempted, sometimes most successfully, to gain admittance for seemingly trustworthy persons into the activities of the Party group and its associate organizations. It is therefore necessary that you thoroughly investigate not only all those persons coming into contact with you who are not very well known to you, and above all you must scrutinize any new persons and visitors appearing in your immediate vicinity. If possible, let them be taken in hand by a comrade whose absolute Nazi convictions are not generally known to the man in the street...."
I think we can leave the rest of that.

"You are to report everything that comes to your notice, even though it may at first appear very insignificant. Rumors suddenly arising also come in this category, however false they may be."
Do you remember your members in Romania being told to report everything? Everything they saw?

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BOHLE: Yes, of course.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES:

"An important section of both your work and that of your comrades' work must be industrial concerns, business enterprises, et cetera. Not only can you spread your propaganda very well in this way, but it is precisely in such concerns that you can easily pick up information concerning strange visitors. It is known that the enemy espionage organizations are especially active in industrial circles both in gathering information and carrying out acts of sabotage. Members with close connections with shipping and forwarding companies are particularly suitable for this work. It goes without saying that you must be meticulous and cautious when selecting your assistants."
THE PRESIDENT: Do you have some more to read from this document? If so, we will adjourn now until 2 o'clock.

[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]

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25 March 46

Afternoon Session

MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the Defendant Streicher is absent from this session.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Witness, will you look again at the document we were reading before the Court adjourned. Would you look at the paragraph which commences "as everywhere else it is extremely important to know where the enemy is and what he is doing." My Lord, I am not absolutely certain that I did not start reading.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes, you had read that and the next one and the one at the top of Page 3 in the English text. At least I think you have. You read the one beginning "An important section."

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps I can start the paragraph commencing "An important section." Have you got that?

BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES:

"An important section of both your work and that of your comrades must be industrial concerns, business enterprises, et cetera. Not only can you spread your propaganda very well in this way, but it is precisely in such concerns that you can easily pick up information concerning strange visitors. It is known that the enemy espionage organizations are especially active in industrial circles, both in gathering information and carrying out acts of sabotage. Comrades with close connections with shipping and forwarding companies are particularly suitable for this work. Naturally you must be meticulous and cautious when selecting your assistants.
"In this connection a reference to interstate organizations and exchange organizations is relevant." -- I particularly want you to note these next lines:
"It has been proved that these often use harmless activities as camouflage and are in reality to be regarded as branches of the Foreign Intelligence Department."
Witness, doesn't that exactly describe the way in which the Auslands-Organisation was carrying on its business? Read it again:

"It has been proved that these often use harmless activities as camouflage and are in reality to be regarded as branches of the Foreign Intelligence Department."
Doesn't that fit in with the directions that this Landesgruppenleiter of yours has been writing to his members in this document?

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BOHLE: On the contrary, I find that this is clear proof of the fact that the organizations mentioned here were in a foreign espionage service and not in the German espionage service. My interpretation is the exact opposite of that of the British Prosecutor.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Are you not giving instructions here, or is not your Landesgruppenleiter giving instructions, to carry out counterespionage -- the work that is carried on by the intelligence service? Isn't that what the writer is writing about so far?

BOHLE: The letter, with which I am not personally familiar, apparently instructs Germans abroad to turn in a report whenever they encounter the intelligence service at work. I do not think that any objection can be raised to that in time of war.

LT. COL. GRIFTITH-JONES: Very well. We will not go on arguing about it. I understand that you know nothing about the instructions which are contained in that letter. This is the first you have ever seen or heard of it; is that right?

BOHLE: No, this letter is new to me, and I do not know whether it is true, for there is no original here.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: May I take it then that, of the countries around Germany in which your organization worked, you have no knowledge of the activities that they were carrying out in Belgium? You have no knowledge of the activities that they were carrying out in Norway, none about what they were doing in Spain, and not very much about what they were doing in Romania either; is that correct?

BOHLE: No, that is not correct. Of course I knew of the activity of these groups abroad; but the particular activity that the British Prosecutor wishes to point out as the aim of the Auslands-Organisation is not quite clear to me.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: If you had knowledge of any of their activities -- I understand from your evidence that you had none of the activities about which your own Auslands-Organisation Yearbook publishes a story. Both in Norway and Greece the activities were recounted in those two stories. You knew nothing about them at all; is that right?

BOHLE: I did not know about the activity in Norway. I have already testified to that effect. I was very familiar with the activity in Greece which was along perfectly normal lines.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well. I want to leave that, and I just want to ask you two questions about another matter. Am I right in saying that the information -- and I am not going to argue with you now as to what type of information it was -- but the information that your organization sent back, was that passed on to the Defendant Hess?

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BOHLE: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depended upon the nature of the information. If it was information on foreign policy it was, of course, sent to another office.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You were in fact acting as a pool of information, were you not? Let me explain myself: You were forwarding information that you received, to the SS?

BOHLE: Sometimes, yes; if not to the SS then probably...

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: To the Foreign Office?

BOHLE: Sometimes also to the Foreign Office.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And to the Abwehr, were you not?

BOHLE: Very seldom, but it happened occasionally.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You say very seldom. Did you not have a liaison officer attached to your organization from the Abwehr?

BOHLE: No. I had only one assistant who maintained an unofficial connection with the Abwehr, if the occasion arose.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Perhaps we are talking about the same gentleman. Did you not have a Captain Schmauss attached to your head office in Berlin?

BOHLE: Mr. Schmauss has never been a captain but he was a political leader and honorary SS-leader. In the Army, I believe he was a sergeant. Moreover, he did not come from the Abwehr; he was chief of personnel of the Auslands-Organisation and his function as liaison was purely unofficial.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You say he was not a liaison officer between your organization and the Abwehr?

BOHLE: No, he was not an officer at all. He was not a member of the Wehrmacht.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I do not want to quibble with you about his rank. Was he, in effect, whatever he was, acting in a capacity of liaison between you and the Abwehr?

BOHLE: Yes, that is correct.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES. Very well. Now, in addition to the information that Hess obtained through your system of reporting, that is, the Auslands-Organisation, did he also obtain information from those organizations which were dealing with the Volksdeutsche, that is to say, non-German citizens, racial Germans abroad who were not members of your organization, because you allowed only Ger-man citizens to become members of your organization. But others -- Volksdeutsche, I think you call them -- did Hess receive information from other sources about their activities?

BOHLE: I could not say, because I did not discuss it with Hess, and the affairs of the Volksdeutsche were entirely out of my field.

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LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Dr. Karl Haushofer was for some time in 1938 and 1939 president of the VDA, was he not?

BOHLE: I believe so.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Which was an organization dealing with the activities of the Volksdeutsche in foreign countries. Is that correct?

BOHLE: Yes, I believe so. I am not familiar with this field.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And, as you know, Hess and Karl Haushofer were great friends, were they not?

BOHLE: Yes, that is correct.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Haushofer had been Hess' pupil at Munich University; did you know that?

BOHLE: It was the other way around.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Do you not know that Hess received information from Haushofer as to the activities of these other organizations?

BOHLE: No, I know nothing about it.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Well, now, I do not want to catch you out. Is that your answer? Are you being honest to this Tribunal?

BOHLE: No. I wanted to add that the Deputy of the Fuehrer very painstakingly separated the "Auslandsdeutsche," that is, citizens of the Reich who worked abroad, and the "Volksdeutsche," and with equal care he made certain that I should have nothing to do with the question of Volksdeutsche. Therefore I knew nothing of these matters.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Hess as Deputy to the Fuehrer was in fact in, charge of all matters concerning Germanism abroad; was he not?

BOBLE: Yes, that is so, because he was born abroad. However, to my knowledge, he did not take charge of these matters in his capacity as Deputy to the Fuehrer. I do not believe that there was any connection.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Are you telling the Tribunal that just because he was born in a foreign country he had charge of all matters concerning Germanism abroad?

BOHLE: I believe so, because any other Reichsleiter of the Party might just as well have taken rare of these matters. However, I assume that Hess took over these functions simply because he was familiar with foreign countries.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I want to be quite clear. Whatever the reason was, he in fact did have charge of them. That is your evidence?

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BOHLE: Yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Now, I just want to remind you of a passage in your interrogation in this building on the 9th of November. Do you remember that you were interrogated on the 9th ...

BOHLE: [Interposing.]: September?

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: On 9 November last.

BOHLE: November, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: You were interrogated by a Lieutenant Martin, the afternoon of that day.

BOHLE: By Lieutenant Martin, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: Let me read a short extract from the transcript of that interrogation and ask you whether, hi fact, it is correct. You were being asked about the information which came back through the Auslands-Organisation.

"Question: 'He would have to rely on you for his information on matters of that kind?'
"Answer: 'Not entirely; I think Hess had a great many connections in Hamburg through which he obtained information which he did not relay to me.'
"Question: 'What were his connections in Hamburg?'
"Answer: 'The shipping companies.'
"Question: 'Rather like your Landesgruppenleiter instructions in Romania?'
"Answer: 'I think he knew a number of people there. I have always been convinced that he knew them.'
"Question: 'Is that Helferich?'
"Answer: 'Helferich was one, but then there were many people from whom he received information. I believe from Professor Haushofer, his old teacher, with whom he was very friendly. But he always made it a point not to inform us of anything that concerned the Volksdeutsche; he said, "It is not your affair at all."
Is that correct?

BOHLE: That is quite correct, yes.

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: And as you have said it there, is that a correct description of the position that Hess was in with regard to information from abroad, from agents abroad? Does that correctly state the facts as they were?

BOHLE: So far as I can see, it is probably correct. I myself can judge only to the extent to which the reports concerned the Auslands-Organisation. About the others I can make only a guess; I

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cannot give definite information, because I was not acquainted with them.

LT. COL. GRIFF ITH-JONES: I have no further questions. Perhaps I might get the exhibits in order, the ones that I have referred to.

The Yearbook of the Auslands-Organisation from which the stories about Norway and Greece came, becomes Exhibit GB-284. The two translations that you have are numbered Documents M-153 and M-156, both of which become Exhibit GB-284.

The secret wireless telegram, which was Document Number M-158, becomes Exhibit GB-285; and the letter from Landesgruppenleiter Konradi, which was Document Number 3796-PS, becomes Exhibit GB-286.

BOHLE: May I add something to a point which was brought up by the British cross-examination?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

BOHLE: May I begin?

THE PRESIDENT: You may give a short explanation. You are not here to make a speech.

BOHLE: No, I do not want to make a speech. I merely wish to say the following on the question of secret transmitters which was brought up this morning: Although I am not familiar with the technique of these secret transmitters, I assume that a secret transmitter would be of use in a foreign country only if there were a receiving set in Berlin.

I am quite certain that to my knowledge there was never such a receiving set, either in my office in Berlin or in any other office of the Auslands-Organisation, and therefore I may assume that such a receiving set did not exist.

COLONEL JOHN HARLAN AMEN (Associate Trial Counsel for the United States): Do you recall being interrogated on 11 September 1945, by Colonel Brundage?

BOHLE: Yes.

COL. AMEN: I want to read you a few questions and answers from your interrogation and ask you whether you recall being asked those questions and having made those answers:

"Question: 'Now, when you started, your immediate superior was who?'
"Answer: 'Rudolf Hess, until 1941 when he left for England.'
"Question: Who succeeded him?'
"Answer: 'Martin Bormann. Martin Bormann automatically succeeded Hess, but he did not really fill Hess' position,
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because Hess had been born abroad in Egypt, while Martin Bormann understood nothing about foreign affairs. He paid no attention to them at all, but of course, he was my superior.'
"Question: 'But he was nominally your chief?'
"Answer: 'He was technically my chief, but he gave me no orders, directives or similar instructions, because he did not understand anything about these things.'
"Question: 'So that everything that was done in your office, you would say you were responsible for?'
"Answer: 'Absolutely.'
"Question: 'And you are willing to accept the responsibility for that?'
"Answer: 'Naturally.'
Do you remember being asked those questions and having made those answers?

BOHLE: That is absolutely correct.

COL. AMEN: And were those answers true when you made them?

BOHLE: Absolutely true.

COL. AMEN: And are they still true today?

BOHLE: They are still true.

COL. AMEN: So that you accept responsibility for everything which your office was conducting, is that true?

BOHLE: Yes, that is correct.

COL. AMEN: Who was Von Strempel?

BOFILE: Von Strempel was, I believe, counsellor to a secretary of a legation (Gesandtschaftsrat) in the foreign office, but I do not know him very well.

COL. AMEN: Was he not the first secretary of the German Embassy in the United States from 1938 until Pearl Harbor?

BOHLE: I cannot say definitely. I knew him only slightly and had absolutely no contact with him.

COL. AMEN: Well, he was interrogated with respect to the support of the German-American Bund by the Auslands-Organisation prior to 1938, and I want to read you just one or two questions and answers which he made and ask you whether they conform to your understanding of the facts. Do you understand?

BOHLE: Yes.

COL. AMEN:

"Question: 'Was the German-American Bund supported by the Auslands-Organisation?'
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"Answer: 'I am positive that it was connected with the foreign section of the Party. For example, the Bund received instructions from the Party on how to build up their political organization, how, where, and when to hold mass meetings and how to handle their propaganda. Personally, I do not know whether it received financial support."'
Does that conform with your understanding of the facts?

BOHLE: No, that is a completely false representation. The Auslands-Organisation gave no financial support whatever and had no connection with the German-American Bund. I have stated that clearly in many interrogations here in Nuremberg, and have signed an affidavit to that effect.

COL. AMEN: I know you have. So that if Von Strempel has sworn that that is a fact, your testimony is that he was not telling the truth. Is that correct?

BOHLE: I am of the opinion that if Von Strempel was legation secretary, or secretary of another office, he could not have known of the matter and he therefore testified about something which was not quite clear to him. In any event, what he said is not true.

COL. AMEN: Are you familiar with the fact that in 1938 an order was issued prohibiting members of the German embassies and consulates to continue relations or connections with the Bund?

BOHLE: It was a general order for German citizens abroad to resign from the Bund if they were members. But as far as I know, that order was issued some years previously about 1935 or 1936, by the Deputy of the Fuehrer upon my request.

DR. SEIDL: I object to this question; it has no connection with the evidence for which the witness Bohle was called. During his direct examination he was not questioned on any subject which has the slightest relation to the question of the activity of the German-American Bund. I do not believe that this form of interrogation is designed to test the witness, as it has not the slightest bearing on the subject.

COL. AMEN: It seems to me to have a very direct bearing on whether or not this organization was engaged in espionage work abroad and within the United States.

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly; in the opinion of the Tribunal the questions are perfectly proper.

COL. AMEN: Is it not a fact that in spite of that order the foreign section of the Nazi Party nevertheless continued to support the Bund?

BOHLE: No, I was not aware of that and I consider it to be impossible.

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COL. AMEN: Now I would like to read you one or two further extracts from the interrogation of Strempel and ask you whether these statements conform with your knowledge of the facts:

"Question: 'Did the foreign section of the Party continue to support the Bund after the order you mentioned before was issued?'
"Answer: 'I am sure that Mr. Draeger, consul in New York City and representative of the foreign section of the Party, did continue to have relations with Bund officials.'"
Does that conform with your recollection of the facts?

BOHLE: No. In my opinion, that does not correspond to the facts. Naturally, I cannot say whether the consul, Dr. Draeger, maintained his contacts against my order, but there was an imperative order to withdraw completely from the Bund, because from the very beginning I objected strenuously to the activities of the Bund and was supported in my objections by the Deputy of the Fuehrer.

COL. AMEN: You were acquainted with Draeger, were you not?

BOHLE: Yes.

COL. AMEN: What was his position in the United States, insofar as your organization was concerned?

BOHLE: He was a liaison man (Vertrauensmann) of the Auslands-Organisation for the individual Party members in the United States.

COL. AMEN: He was what was known as a confidential agent, was he not?

BOHLE: No, he was not, naturally, but we had...

COL. AMEN: And as a matter of fact, you called him a "confidential agent" in your interrogation, did you not?

BOHLE: No. I called him a "Vertrauensmann," and this was translated into "confidence man." I did ...

COL. AMEN: Well, I will accept that correction. He was a confidence man for your organization in the United States. Correct?

BOHLE: Correct, yes, that is true.

COL. AMEN: And in addition to him there were other confidence men of your organization in the United States? Correct?

BOHLE: Yes, correct.

COL. AMEN: Will you tell the Tribunal what their names were and where they were located?

BOHLE: One was Wiedemann, consul general in San Francisco. There was also Consul Dr. Gissling in Los Angeles and Consul Von Spiegel in New Orleans I believe, but I do not know; perhaps it was Boston. It was one of the two. I believe these are all.

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COL. AMEN: And each of those individuals made reports from time to time which were forwarded to you through Draeger. Is that not a fact?

BOHLE: No, they made no reports to me. I cannot recall that I ever saw a report from Wiedemann, Spiegel, or Gissling. That was not their job.

COL. AMEN: Draeger made the reports to you, did he not?

BOHLE: Draeger made the reports to the Auslands-Organisation in Berlin or to me personally. Mostly to my office.

COL. AMEN: And contained in those reports were various items of information collected by other confidential agents? Isn't that correct?

BOHLE: I do not know, because I am not familiar with these reports and I cannot say whether there was anything to report. We had no Party organization in the United States, because it had been dissolved by Rudolf Hess in April 1933.

COL. AMEN: So you say; but you nevertheless had an individual in Germany whose duty it was to read and pass upon these reports from Draeger as they came in. Is that not a fact?

BOHLE: So far as I know, and I believe my information is correct; the reports that we received were of a purely technical nature. We merely had few Party members in the United States whose card index and membership fees had to be looked after in order to preserve their privileges as Party members. Political activity in the United States was forbidden and did not actually exist.

COL. AMEN: But I am suggesting to you that in spite of the order the activities of your organization nevertheless continued. Now, is it not a fact that there was an individual in your organization in Germany who received these reports from the United States regularly?

BOHLE: It was my assistant, Mr. Grothe, who ...

COL. AMEN: I beg your pardon?

BOHLE: It was my assistant, Mr. Grothe.

COL. AMEN: Correct. Why didn't you tell me that before when I asked you about the individual who read these reports from the United States as they came in?

BOHLE: Please repeat the question. I did not fully understand it.

COL. AMEN: Well, I will withdraw that question. After Grothe received these reports from the United States regularly, to whom did he report the substance of those reports?

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BOHLE: So far as I know, he usually kept them, because they contained nothing of interest and he himself was not in a position to use them. Mr. Grothe had an honorary position with us because of his advanced age and took over this branch of the office because it was of no importance at all in the Auslands-Organisation.

COL. AMEN: So that you were in no position to know what was contained in those reports? Is that correct?

BOHLE: That is for the most part correct.

COL. AMEN: So you do not know whether they were important or not and you do not know whether they contained information relative to espionage matters or not. Is that correct?

BOHLE: I am sure that if they had contained such information, Grothe would have submitted them to me.

COL. AMEN: Well, outside of that, you have no knowledge of it whatsoever. Is that correct?

BOHLE: That is correct.

COL. AMEN: Now, let me just read you one or two more excerpts from the interrogation of Von Strempel:

"Question: 'These relationships seem to have violated the order you mentioned before. Did you report these violations to, the Foreign Office?'
"Answer: 'Yes, several times. In reports that I drafted for Thomsen when I was in the Embassy, we called the attention of Berlin to the fact that this relationship to the Bund was very detrimental ... and stated that the continued support of the Bund by the foreign section of the Party was harming diplomatic relations with the United States.'
"Question: 'What action was taken in Berlin to halt the activities of which you complained?'
"Answer: 'I know of no action.'"
Does that conform to your knowledge of the facts?

BOHLE: I have not the slightest idea of this report by Herr Von Thomsen. This is the first time that I have heard of protests from the Embassy in Washington regarding prohibited connections between Dr. Draeger and the Bund.

COL. AMEN: You know who Thomsen was, do you not?

BOHLE: Thomsen was Charge d'Affaires in Washington.

COL. AMEN: And you know that from time to time various officials of the Bund came over here and had conferences with repre-sentatives of your organization and of the Fuehrer, do you not?

BOHLE: I have heard that they visited the Fuehrer but they did not visit me and we had no conferences of any description.

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COL. AMEN: I did not say with you. I said with representatives of your office; perhaps your friend, Mr. Grothe?

BOHLE: That might be possible but I cannot say definitely because he did not report to me on this matter. They could not have discussed any official matters with Grothe, because he knew very well that I completely repudiated the activities of the German Volksbund in America.

COL. AMEN: In any event, however, you accept responsibility for everything which was done in your organization. Correct?

BOHLE: Naturally.

THE PRESIDE NT: Do either of the other Chief Prosecutors wish to cross-examine? [There was no response.] Then, Dr. Seidl, you can re-examine if you wish.

DR. SEIDL: Witness, you have already answered a question that I intended to ask you, that is, that there was no secret transmitter in Germany which would have been in a position to broadcast secret communications to foreign countries. I ask you now, did you yourself have a transmitter in Germany?

BOHLE: I myself had no transmitter.

DR. SEIDL: Did the Auslands-Organisation have such a trans-mitter?

BOHLE: I consider that to be absolutely impossible; if there had been one, I would have known of it. I never saw one.

DR. SEIDL: Is it correct that in order to communicate with Germans overseas by radio you yourself did not use code on the German network?

BOHLE: That is correct.

DR. SEIDL: You stated previously that the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Hess, was your immediate superior?

BOHLE: Yes.

DR. SEIDL: Were the directives given to you by the Deputy of the Fuehrer of a general nature, or did he go into the details of the work of the Auslands-Organisation?

BOHLE: The Deputy of the Fuehrer gave only general directives and left all the details to me because I had his complete confidence. In his general directives he impressed upon me repeatedly in the sharpest terms the fact that it was my duty to avoid any measures by the Auslands-Organisation that might be detrimental to foreign relations.
DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

[The witness left the stand]

Br. James
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by Br. James » 28 Jul 2020 21:37

"Heart attack ? I would not have thought about it, but if we think about it in those days heart attack was maybe the first cause of death before your 60's. Nowadays it should be cancer."

Thanks, David, and I agree. According to the records, a number of the high-ranking Nazis died in their 60s, if not earlier, and I would suggest that that was caused by smoking, which took its toll on the heart. People who would have died from lung cancer, had they lived long enough, died from heart disease brought on by constant smoking. Was Böhle a smoker?

Br. James

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 28 Jul 2020 23:18

Br. James wrote:
28 Jul 2020 21:37
"Heart attack ? I would not have thought about it, but if we think about it in those days heart attack was maybe the first cause of death before your 60's. Nowadays it should be cancer."

Thanks, David, and I agree. According to the records, a number of the high-ranking Nazis died in their 60s, if not earlier, and I would suggest that that was caused by smoking, which took its toll on the heart. People who would have died from lung cancer, had they lived long enough, died from heart disease brought on by constant smoking. Was Böhle a smoker?

Br. James
He was not fat at all, and not known for being a drinker. I dont know if he was a smoker, but maybe his family was exposed to heart attack ?

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 31 Jul 2020 00:00

Final Argument for Ernst Wilhelm Bohle
By Elizabeth Gombel, his advocate and future wife
Military Tribunal IV
11-1-1948

https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/cgi/ ... text=nmt11

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 13 Aug 2020 00:42

Michael Miller is quoting the English version of the Göbbels diary (entry of 22 may 41) : viewtopic.php?f=45&t=249872&h
22.05.1941 Diary entry of Dr. Goebbels:

Discuss the Hess Affair again with Bohle. He came close to flying with Hess, in the belief that everything had been ordered by the Führer. He also translated the documents that Hess took on his mission, in complete ignorance of the real intent. He believed that the Führer was intending to bypass Ribbentrop and make peace with England through Hess. A naïve assumption...
Does anybody have the German version of it please ?

Thanks

Michal78
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Re: Ernst Bohle, Gauleiter of Germans abroad

Post by Michal78 » 27 Nov 2021 19:01

SS-Gruppenführer Bohle.
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