Source: Law-Reports of Trials of War Criminals, The United Nations War Crimes Commission, Volume XII, London, HMSO, 1949

[Some sections have been highlighted provisionally until hyperlinks can be added to appropriate files. Page numbers precede text]




30TH DECEMBER. 1947 - 28TH OCTOBER, 1948

Part IV

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIII 

Evidence with Particular Reference to the Commando Order
Evidence with Particular Reference to the Night and For Decree
Evidence with Particular Reference to Hostages and Reprisals
Evidence with Particular Reference to the Partisan Warfare
Evidence with Particular Reference to Crimes Committed against Prisoners of War
Evidence with Particular Reference to Alleged Acts of Looting, Pillage, Plunder and Spoliation


(d) Evidence with Particular Reference to the Commando Order

Following the Dieppe raid, Hitler issued the following order on 18th October, 1942 :


" (1) For some time our enemies have been using in their warfare methods which are outside the international Geneva Conventions. Especially brutal and treacherous is the behaviour of the so-called commandos, who, as is established, are partially recruited even from freed criminals in enemy countries. From captured orders it is divulged that they are directed not only to shackle prisoners, but also to kill defenceless prisoners on the spot at the moment in which they believe that the latter as prisoners represent a burden in the further pursuit of their purposes or could otherwise be a hindrance. Finally, orders have been found in which the killing of prisoners has been demanded in principle.

" (2) For this reason it was already announced in an addendum to the Armed Forces report of 7th October, 1942, that in the future, Germany, in the face of these sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, will resort to the same procedure, i.e., that they will be ruthlessly mowed down by the German troops in combat, wherever they may appear.

" (3) I therefore order:
" From now on all enemies on so-called Commando Missions in Europe or Africa challenged by German troops, even if they are to all appearances soldiers in uniform or demolition troops, whether armed or unarmed, in battle or in flight, are to be slaughtered to the last man. It does not make any difference whether they are landed from ships and aeroplanes for their actions, or whether they are dropped by parachute. Even if these individuals, when found, should apparently be prepared to give themselves up, no pardon is to be granted them on principle. In each individual case full information is to be sent to the OKW for publication in the Report of the Military Forces


 " (4) If individual members of such commandos, such as agents, saboteurs, etc., fall into the hands of the military forces by some other means, through the police in occupied territories for instance, they are to be handed over immediately to the SD. Any imprisonment under military guard, in PW stockades for instance, etc., is strictly prohibited, even if this is only intended for a short time.

" (5) This order does not’ apply to the treatment of any enemy soldiers who, in the course of normal hostilities (large-scale offensive actions, landing operations and airborne operations), are captured in open battle or give themselves up. Nor does this order apply to enemy soldiers falling into our hands after battles at sea, or enemy soldiers trying to save their lives by parachute after battles.

" (6) I will hold responsible under Military Law, for failing to carry out this order, all commanders and officers who either have neglected their duty of instructing the troops about this order, or acted against this order where it was to be executed."

The evidence showed that this order was issued after drafts and changes had been prepared largely by the accused Warlimont and Lehmann. On 7th October, 1942, Hitler made a radio speech in which it was stated :

" All terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers but like bandits, have in future to be treated as such by the German troops, and they must be slaughtered ruthlessly in combat wherever they turn up."

It appeared that on 8th October, the accused Warlimont was instructed by Jodl to put the announcement in the form of a military order. The accused maintained that he was given detailed instructions with regard to the contents of the order and that it was his intention to sabotage it. There was, however, overwhelming evidence to show that the accused Warlimont had made a substantial contribution to its preparation and that he had speeded up the matter as much as he could. While it appeared that Hitler himself had drawn up the final order, the preparatory work carried out by Warlimont placed before Hitler the ideas which the accused had expressed in his various drafts and part of these were incorporated in the final order. The accused Lehmann’s activities in connection with the preparation of the Commando Order were subordinate to those of the accused Warlimont, but the evidence showed that, like Warlimont, the accused Lehmann had in his capacity as staff officer played an essential part in the criminal whole. Although it was not shown that he had contributed to the inherent viciousness of any of the particular provisions of this order, the evidence established that he was one of those responsible for its final production in the form in which it was transmitted to the army. Through the various protests made with respect to the issuing of this order, among others by Admiral Canaris, both Warlimont and Lehmann were shown to be fully aware of its illegal and criminal character.

The accused von Leeb was not involved in or connected with the Commando Order, as he resigned his command on 16th January, 1942.

The Commando Order was transmitted by the OKH directly to the armies as well as to the Army Group North of which the accused von Kuechler


was then in command. The evidence did not show, however, that von Kuechler put this order into the channels of command for subordinate units. The order was not particularly applicable in the eastern area and there was no evidence to show that it was carried out within his command. 

The War diary of the 3rd Panzer Army of which the accused Reinhardt was at that time in command, showed that the Commando Order had been received by it. It was further shown that Reinhardt had passed the order down in the chain of command. That the 3rd Panzer Army considered the Commando Order of general application and therefore also applicable in the eastern areas was shown by entries into its War diary to the effect that, until otherwise advised, the order was to be carried out against men in uniform.

The evidence showed that this order as well as Hitler’s supplement to it were received by the accused von Salmuth. On the 25th October he transmitted this order for compliance with a covering letter. This letter was signed by his Chief of Staff, on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief. The accused explained that his Chief of Staff should not have signed the letter and was not authorized to do so, but the accused did nothing to repudiate this action, nor did he reprimand him in any way therefor.

It was clear from the evidence that the 17th Army Corps, of which the accused Hollidt was then in command, had received the Commando Order and that the accused had seen it. He stated that he saw no reason to pass on the order and the evidence did not show that he did so or that it was ever carried out by units under his command.

The Commando Order was distributed by SKL to subordinate units on 27th October, 1942. That was after the accused had become Commander of the Fleet. It was sent to his headquarters and his subordinate units. There was no evidence that it was implemented by him or enforced by any units subordinate to him.

The accused von Roques denied that he had distributed the Commando Order but orders issued by the Chief of Staff of the Rear Area Army Group South on the 9th August, 1941, as well as many reports from subordinate units showed that the Commando Order had in fact been implemented and that a great number of uniformed paratroopers had been shot as guerrillas or handed over to the SS for liquidation.

The evidence failed to show that the accused Reinecke had any connection with the execution of this order.

As to the accused Woehler the evidence showed that he, as Chief of Staff of the 11th Army, knew of the receipt and the enforcement of the Commando Order by the 11th Army. It did not, however, show any participation on his part in the transmittal of the order to subordinate units. He had no command authority over subordinate units, nor had he any executive power


The accused von Sperrle and Hoth were not involved in or charged in connection with the Commando Order.

(e) Evidence with Particular Reference to the Night and Fog Decree

The Night and Fog Decree was signed by Keitel on 7th December, 1941, and reads as follows :

" Since the opening of the Russian campaign, Communist elements and other anti-German circles have increased their assaults against the Reich and the occupation power in the occupied territories. The extent and the danger of these activities necessitate the most severe measures against the malefactors in order to intimidate them. To begin with one should proceed along according to the following directives.


" In case of criminal acts committed by non-German civilians and which are directed against the Reich or the occupation power endangering their safety or striking power, the death penalty is applicable in principle.


" Criminal acts contained in paragraph I will, in principle, be tried in the occupied territories only when it appears probable that death sentences are going to be passed against the offenders, or at least the main offenders, and if the trial and the execution of the death sentence can be carried out without delay. In other cases the offenders, or at least the main offenders, are to be taken to Germany.


" Offenders who are being taken to Germany are subject to court-martial procedure there only in case that particular military concerns should require this. German and foreign agencies will declare upon inquiries on such offenders that they were arrested and the state of the proceeding did not allow further information.


" The Commanders-in-Chief in the occupied territories and the justiciaries, within their jurisdiction, will be personally held responsible for the execution of this decree.


" The Chief of the OKW will decide in which of the occupied territories this decree shall be applied. He is authorized to furnish explanations, supplements, and to issue directives for its execution. The Reich Minister of Justice will issue directives for the execution within his jurisdiction."

It appeared that this decree was signed by Keitel after prior negotiations with the accused Lehmann and Warlimont. The Night and Fog Decree involved legal questions and the evidence showed that, as in the case of the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order, the accused Lehmann was the major craftsman of its final form. It was the accused Lehmann who conducted the


negotiations whereby the Ministry of Justice was given the task of trying these persons charged under this decree before the Special Courts and later the People’s courts, wherein they were deprived of the rudimentary rights which defendants are usually accorded in the courts of civilized nations. (Footnote: See Vol. VI, p. 8)

The accused Lehmann pleaded that the original ideas were Hitler’s but there seems to be no doubt from the evidence that Lehmann substantially contributed to the final product. The evidence did not suffice to show any criminal connection on the part of the accused Warlimont with this decree. 

On the 1st July, 1944, the accused Warlimont sent the following teletype to the chief of the legal department of the OKW (WR), the accused Lehmann :

" Subject : Combating of enemy terrorists in the occupied territories.

" On account of events in Copenhagen, the Fuehrer has decreed that court-martial proceedings against civilians in the occupied territories must be discontinued with immediate effect. WR is requested to submit suggestions for the draft of an order concerning the treatment of enemy terrorists and saboteurs among the civilian population in the occupied territories by 2nd July, 2000 hours.

" Policies :

" Terror can be countered only by terror, but court-martial sentences only create martyrs and national heroes.

" If German units or individual soldiers are attacked in any manner, the commander of the unit and/or the individual soldier are bound to take counter measures independently and, in particular, to exterminate terrorists. Terrorists or saboteurs who are arrested later, must be turned over to the SD."

" The Fuehrer Decree on the treatment of enemy Kommandos, dated 18th October, 1942 . . . will remain in force as it does not apply to the civil population."

On the receipt of this order, the accused Lehmann proceeded to make effective this order, which, as it seems apparent from the evidence, bore fruit in the Terror and Sabotage Decree signed by Hitler on 30th July, 1944. In August, 1944, the accused participated in the drafting of the supplement order enlarging the scope of the original decree.

None of the other accused were shown to have been involved in or were charged in connection with the issuance or execution of the Night and Fog Decree.

(f) Evidence with Particular Reference to Hostages and Reprisals

The evidence showed that in the instances of so-called hostage takings and killings, and the so-called reprisal killings, which were at issue in the present trial, not even an attempt was made or even suggested as being necessary to meet any judicial safeguards or prerequisites which might possibly have been expected to be required by International Law.


On 16th September, 1941, Keitel issued the following directive pertaining to the suppression of the insurgent movement in occupied territories :

" Measures taken up to now to counteract this general communist insurgent movement have proven themselves to be inadequate. The Fuehrer now has ordered that the severest means are to be employed in order to break down this movement in the shortest time possible. Only in this manner, which has always been applied successfully in the history of the extension of power to great peoples can quiet be restored. 

" The following directives are to be applied : (a) Each incident of insurrection against the German Wehrmacht, regardless of individual circumstances, must be assumed to be of communist origin. (b) In order to stop these intrigues at their inception, severest measures are to be applied immediately at the first appearance, in order to demonstrate the authority of the occupying power, and in order to prevent further progress. One must keep in mind that a human life frequently counts for naught in the affected countries and a deterring effect can only be achieved by unusual severity. In such case the death penalty for 50 to 100 communists must in general be deemed appropriate as retaliation for the life of a German soldier. The manner of execution must increase the deterrent effect. The reverse procedure-to proceed at first with threat of measures of increased severity as a deterrent does not correspond with these principles and is not to be applied." 

The accused Warlimont was charged with participation in the formulation of this so-called Hostage Order. He admitted that he had prepared the original draft but claimed that part of it had been changed by someone without his knowledge. His explanation was, however, not sustained by the evidence. In any case it was established through the accused’s admission that one of the paragraphs in his original draft dealt with the number of people who were to be shot in atonement for each German soldier killed. In respect of that number the accused no longer remembered whether the original draft contained the figures 5-10 to one as the ratio established. He submitted his draft to Keitel and Keitel’s testimony before the International Military Tribunal regarding this matter merely showed that the ratio number submitted by him to Hitler had been changed by the latter from 5 and 10 to 50 and 100.

The evidence showed that on 1st October, 1941, the accused von Roques received an order from Army Group South which directed :

" (1) Arresting hostages and all men not residing in any villages near the railway line Kasatin-Fastow-Smela-Dnjepropetrowsk, possibly also near the line Alexandrija-Dnjepropetrowsk.

" (2) Hanging hostages at the railway tracks in case of new acts of sabotage.

" (3) In case of further acts of sabotage, complete evacuation of a strip 1-2 km. wide on either side of the railway line and firing on every civilian approaching the railway tracks."

The accused von Roques immediately passed this order down to his subordinate Feldkommandanturen. The evidence did not show that hostages had been shot in his area..


The evidence failed to show any criminal connection on the part of the accused Woehler with the hostage and reprisals orders and killings allegedly carried out within the area of the 11th Army while he was chief of staff. 

None of the other accused were charged with criminal responsibility with or involved in these types of crimes.

(g) Evidence with Particular Reference to the Partisan Warfare

Among the numerous exhibits there were many documents dealing with the so-called partisan warfare. The evidence leaves the impression that anti-partisan warfare was used by the German Reich as a pretext for the extermination of thousands of innocent persons. In these respects Hitler seemed to have stated the policy adopted by the Wehrmacht when he said :

" . . . This partisan war again has some advantages for us ; it enables us to eradicate everyone who opposes us."

The accused claimed that they did only execute as partisans those who were operating as franc-tireurs and bandits and who failed to comply with the requirements of the rules of war and so did not constitute lawful belligerents. The evidence showed, however, that it was the policy of the Wehrmacht to create classes of partisans by definition in orders and directives and by construction and in this manner they brought within the list of those they described as partisans and shot or hanged not only franc-tireurs, in fact, but also many innocent categories. Those falling within the various classifications were executed summarily as partisans and so classified in the reports. That applied also to the so-called " partisan suspects " and " every civilian who impedes or incites others to impede the German Wehrmacht."

The Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order was only a part of this policy, and the evidence showed that so-called " partisans," " partisan suspects or sympathizers " and even Red Army soldiers in uniform had been summarily executed by the Wehrmacht or handed over to the SD or other agencies for liquidation more or less as a daily routine. These acts were shown to have been carried out with the knowledge, connivance or approval of the accused von Kuechler, Hoth, Reinhardt, von Salmuth, von Roques and Woehler within their respective areas of command. The evidence failed to show any criminal responsibility in this connection on part of the accused von Leeb, Hollidt and Schniewind. The accused Sperrle and Reinecke were not involved in or charged with this type of crime. As to the accused Warlimont and Lehmann the evidence showed that they had in a criminal way participated in the formulation of various of these orders. The accused Warlimont had also been charged with instituting reprisals particularly against the families of French officers, but although the evidence showed his inhumane attitude towards the innocent members of families of French officers, it failed to prove that he had participated in any criminal acts in this respect.

(h) Evidence with Particular Reference to Crimes Committed against Prisoners of War

The evidence showed that apart from the crimes involved in the execution of the Commissar Order, the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order, the Commando


Order and the Directives applicable to Partisan Warfare, in so far as these orders and directives concerned prisoners of war, a series of other crimes against prisoners of war were committed by the Wehrmacht.

(1) Murder and ill-treatment of Prisoners of War

The evidence showed that hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners of war died from hunger, cold, lack of medical care, and ill-treatment. Later on in the war the German authorities apparently realized that, due to these deplorable conditions and ill-treatment, they had lost for Germany a tremendous source of manpower. Thereafter the treatment of prisoners of war was apparently to some extent based on the principle that it was better to work them to death than merely to let them die. The defence claimed many of these prisoners of war were in a deplorable condition when captured, due to lack of food, poor clothing, wounds, sickness and exhaustion and that these conditions counted for the death of a great number of them. The evidence showed, however, that the great mass of the Russian prisoners of war did not die because of their condition at the time of their capture. The claim of the defence that the German Army did not have sufficient food with which to maintain the prisoners of war, was not sustained by the evidence. It showed that during their progress through Russia the Germans had seized the food supplies of the people and there was no evidence to show that German soldiers at that time were dying from starvation. The evidence showed that in some cases there were epidemics of typhus in the German Army, but nothing to parallel the various epidemics which broke out in the Russian camps. The evidence also showed that, although it happened that soldiers in the German Army died in isolated cases from lack of medical supplies and medical attention, there were thousands of Russian prisoners of war who died from lack of attention. As to the treatment of Russian prisoners of war generally the evidence showed not only that humane treatment was not generally required of German soldiers in dealing with them, but that the directly opposite procedure was imposed upon them by superior orders.

The evidence disclosed numerous reports submitted by the accused von Kuechler’s subordinate units showing that a great number of illegal executions of Red Army soldiers had taken place. His own testimony indicated that he was aware of these reports. There was no evidence tending to show any corrective action on his part. It appeared that he not only tolerated such crimes but approved the execution of the orders concerned. 

The evidence also showed that the accused von Kuechler as Commander-in-chief of the 18th Army was guilty of what the Tribunal regarded as criminal neglect of prisoners of war within his area of command. He testified that he had himself visited every prisoner-of-war camp in his area. Reports showed that in one camp " at present 100 men are dying daily." Another report showed that all the inmates of the camp East were expected to die within six months at the latest because the prisoners were treated badly when at work and could not survive on the rations allocated to them. On the other hand the evidence failed to show any such neglect on the part .of the accused while he was Commander-in-Chief of Army Group North..


The general conditions of prisoners of war within the accused Hoth’s 17th Army area was illustrated by a report submitted by the Oberquartiermeister of his Army on the 25th November, 1941. It reads in part as follows :

" The P.W.s who still are in the Army area at present cannot be evacuated, since they are being required for the activation of P.W.s-companies to be used for railway-maintenance and of P.W.s-construction battalions. . . .

" Since the beginning of operations altogether 236,636 P.W.s were taken by the elements of the Army up to 15th November, 1941. Moreover, 129,904 P.W.s have passed through the installations of the Army who were taken by units not tactically under the command of the Army, so that since the beginning of operations a total of 366,540 P.W.s were made and evacuated. Approximately 400 were shot. As for those who died of natural causes and those escaped, no records are available. . . .

" The rations ordered by decree OKH Gen.Std.H/Gen.Qu. IVa (III, 2) No. I/23728/41 sec., dated 21st October, 1941, could not, of course, be issued to the P.W.s even in a single case. Fat, cheese, soya-bean flour, jam and tea could not always be issued even to our own troops.

" These foodstuffs were replaced by millet, corn, sunflower kernels, buckwheat, in part by lentils and peas, partly also by bread.  

" Distribution of the ordered rations, either in full or in part, was not possible simply because rations could not be supplied. The feeding of P.W.s has been possible only from stores found in the country. The cooking of the food causes additional difficulties since only in rare instances field kitchens were brought along by the P.W.s Even our own troops, as a result of the supply difficulties, had to live from the country. The rations due to them had to be cut down by a half for a longer period. . . . .

" Clothing is insufficient ; above all shoe-wear. Underwear, in part, is completely lacking. The insufficient clothing is particularly felt during labour employment in the winter.

" Conditions of the clothing situation can only be improved if all dispensable clothing items are being taken away from the P.W.s who are to be released in the rear area-of the army group, and placed at the disposal of the armies upon request.

" Repair-shops have been installed in the transit camps which are under the jurisdiction of the army. There is a shortage of material and tools. Deceased and shot persons will be buried without their clothes and the clothes used again. (Emphasis supplied). . . . 

" In view of the present number of P.W.s, their housing is absolutely impossible. Brick-stoves will be built by the P.W.s themselves. . . .

" After being assigned for labour their health improves since these P.W.s receive supplementary rations. With the existing shortage of fat and albumen, mortality will increase during the winter months.


Many cases of pneumonia and severe intestinal diseases have occurred. At the evacuation of the huge numbers of P.W.s taken in the battle east of Kiev, where under the worst weather conditions only part of the P.W.s could be sheltered in sheds, one per cent. died each day." 

Not all of these conditions could be attributed to Hoth, but as to many of them the evidence left no doubt that they involved the responsibility of this accused. This applied to the neglect that continued after he assumed command in that he held them for labour under such conditions. The evidence also showed that GPU soldiers and " four extremely suspect Red Army men " had been shot by his subordinate units after capture and that prisoners of war had been used as shield for German troops. These acts had been reported to the accused and the reports showed that the killing of prisoners of war for the reasons stated were not mere excesses, but were in accordance with an approved policy. The accused Hoth had taken no steps to counteract these acts.

Reports from units subordinate to the accused Reinhardt shawed the hanging of two former Russian soldiers for being friendly to partisans ; the shooting of four Russian prisoners for planning to escape, and of six prisoners of war who had stolen arms and ammunition and tried to escape ; and the shooting of three prisoners of war who could not be removed under the eye of the enemy. It appears that no steps were taken by the accused to counter-act such crimes.

On the 25th July, 1941, the OKW issued an order which was transmitted in the chain of command by the accused Salmuth’s XXX Corps. It provided that Red Army soldiers " are to be considered guerrillas as from a certain date, to be fixed in each area, and are to be treated as such." The accused von Salmuth was responsible for its transmittal. On the 21st November, 1941, the accused transmitted an order concerning partisans which provided that " every dispersed soldier who is found in the possession of arms in the region of the XXXth AK is to be shot immediately." This order was executed within the command of the accused. Numerous reports from his area of command showed an excessive number of deaths by shooting and otherwise among prisoners of war in circumstances which in the Tribunal’s opinion left no doubt that the accused were aware of and criminally responsible for these excesses.

The accused von Roques admitted having read the following report dated 15th October, 1941, from the 24th Infantry Division which was under his command :

" Devoting every effort to the task, the removal of prisoners proceeds according to order. Insubordination, attempts to escape, and exhaustion of prisoners make the march very difficult. Already there are over 1,000 dead following executions by shooting and exhaustion. In Alexandrija no preparations have been made by PW transit camp 182 for the permanent accommodation of 20,000. Novoukrainka, allegedly only for 10,000."

The evidence showed that the accused von Roques was still in command on the 15th October, 1941, for he had initialed the above-mentioned report


and signed an order, commanding the 24th Infantry Division for its participation in the movement of prisoners of war, under date of 26th October, 1941. 

The accused Reinecke was the chief of the General Wehrmacht Office (AWA) under the OKW. One of the most important sub-sections of this office was that of Prisoner of War Affairs, and the evidence showed that the accused had the general control and responsibility over these affairs within the Reich, the General Government, the Reich Commissariat, and other areas under the OKW. Reinecke issued the overall directives to the prisoner-of-war camps within his jurisdiction with which they were bound to comply. Although these directives were always issued " by order " of his superior, Keitel, it was quite clear that the accused as chief of the AWA was not merely one who transcribed the orders of his superior and passed them on. The evidence showed that it was one of his major functions to draft and prepare orders for submission to Keitel for his approval or sign in his name orders in conformity with his known policy. Many of the orders signed by the accused did not bear Keitel’s initials showing that they were seen and approved by him, as was usually the procedure when Keitel was present. The evidence showed that the accused had made inspections himself of the prisoner-of-war camps within his jurisdiction and that the camps were constantly being inspected by his subordinates. There was overwhelming evidence to show that he was fully aware of the fact that prisoners of war were murdered in the camps within his jurisdiction and the deplorable conditions under which they lived and the ill-treatment accorded to them. Various inflammatory orders concerning prisoners of war were issued by the accused. On the 24th March, 1942, the OKW/AWA issued the following order :

" Ruthless and energetic action in cases of unco-operativeness, refusal to work, and negligence in work, especially toward Bolshevist agitators, is to be ordered ; insubordination or active resistance must be completely removed immediately with a weapon (bayonet, gun-butt or firearms, no sticks)." The decree concerning use of arms by the armed forces is to be interpreted strictly. Whoever does not use his weapon or does not use it energetically enough in seeing that an order is carried out is liable to punishment."

On 17th August, 1944, an OKW decree was signed by the accused Reinecke, concerning the treatment of prisoners of war, which provided, inter alia :

" The prisoners of war must definitely know at all times that they will be ruthlessly proceeded against, if necessary with weapons, if they slack in their work, offer passive resistance, or even rebel. . . .

" Minor offences by the guard and auxiliary guard personnel in the treatment of prisoners of war are not to be prosecuted if they serve to help increase production. . . , "

In the programme adopted by the leaders of the Third Reich, they undertook to inspire the German population to murder Allied flyers by lynch law, or " mob justice. " The evidence showed that the accused Warlimont was well informed on the entire matter. He attended numerous conferences and personally discussed the matter with Kaltenbrunner, one of the active participants in the whole procedure, who informed him that lynch justice was to be the rule. There was also much correspondence, in which he took


a part, with the German Foreign Office and with Goering who was reluctant to consent to participating in this scheme for fear of reprisals. The authors of the plan desired on the one hand to intimidate the enemy and at the same time to cloak its operation in such a manner that it would not result in reprisals. The evidence showed that the accused Warlimont played an active and substantial part in the preparation and formulation of this policy. Goering finally agreed in general to the procedure recommended. As a result of this policy, a great number of allied airmen were either lynched or handed over to the SD for liquidation.

The evidence failed to show any criminal responsibility in this connection on the part of the accused von Leeb, Hollidt and Woehler. The accused Sperrle, Schniewind and Lehmann were not involved in or charged with crimes of this kind.

(2) Segregation and Liquidation of Prisoners of War in Co-operation with the SD and SIPO

There was overwhelming evidence to show that the Third Reich at an early stage of the war adopted a programme for the segregation and liquidation of certain categories of prisoners of war. The Commissar Order, the Commando Order, the regulations regarding partisan warfare, lynching and the handing over of allied flyers to the SD for liquidation were only part of this general programme for segregation and liquidation of certain categories of prisoners of war. The liquidations were not confined. to political commissars, commando troopers or "terror flyers." The evidence showed that Jewish prisoners of war, those sick and unable to work, those who had escaped and had been recaptured, and prisoners of war of Polish and certain other nationalities who had had sexual intercourse with German women, were also turned over by the Wehrmacht to the Gestapo, SIPO and SD for liquidation.

The evidence showed that the accused Reinecke, as chief of the General Wehrmacht Office under the OKW had taken an active part in the preparation and formulation of this segregation programme and carried it out within the area of his jurisdiction. The accused denied knowledge of this segregation programme, but many orders, some of which were signed by him, left no doubt either as to his participation or as to his knowledge regarding the fate of those prisoners of war who were segregated and handed over to the above-mentioned agencies.

As to the accused von Kuechler, the evidence showed that not only Red Army soldiers, but also escaped prisoners of war had been shot within his area of command with his knowledge, and without any steps having been taken by him to prevent such crimes being carried out.

On the 24th July, 1941, the High Command of the Wehrmacht issued an order for the screening and segregation of Russian prisoners of war in the camps in the zone of operation by which politically untenable and suspicious elements and agitators were to be segregated. An activity report showed that the commander of the rear army, subordinate to the accused Reinhardt, had issued instructions according to this order. Reports showed that the instructions had been carried out. Whether or not the accused Reinhardt


had made himself acquainted with these reports was not quite clear from the evidence, but the fact remained that he had the opportunity to do so. 

The evidence showed that also within the area of the accused von Salmuth’s command prisoners of war had been handed over to the SD. Thereafter the army had exercised no supervision over them and had apparently no control over them. The circumstances indicate that at the time the accused was aware of the fate which awaited these prisoners.

The remainder of the accused were not connected or charged with any particular crime according to this general programme of segregation and liquidation, although some of them were criminally connected with the specific criminal orders enumerated and dealt with under previous headings.

(3) The Illegal Use of Prisoners of War for Prohibited Labour

The evidence showed that orders providing for the use of prisoners of war in dangerous occupations, including the removal of mines, had been issued by the accused von Kuechler’s subordinate units. One order dated 29th October, 1941, from the OKW distributed by the 50th Corps of the 18th Army to the 26th Division, provided that " mines other than in the combat or dangerous areas are to be removed by Russian prisoners in order to spare German blood." The evidence also showed that the accused had knowledge of and approved this use of prisoners of war, which the Tribunal regarded as illegal. 

The, above-mentioned order from the OKW was also transmitted in the area of Army Group North and was implemented in the accused Reinhardt’s area. His LIX Corps issued an order providing :

" If it is suspected that roads or places are mined, prisoners of war or the local population are to walk in front or clear the mines." 

Several reports showed that hundreds of prisoners of war had been used for work in supply units in connection with loading of ammunition, for billet and field fortifications and at the front. Their use for such work was so general that it seems to have been the policy of the 3rd Panzer Army under Reinhardt to use prisoners of war for these purposes. Prisoners were also sent to work in the German armament industry. An order signed by the accused Reinhardt as Commander-in-Chief of the 3rd Panzer Army, dated 18th October, 1942, seemed to the Tribunal to confirm this conclusion in every respect. Under the heading, Labour Allocation of Prisoners of War and Civilians, he stated :

" The urgent need for prisoners of war in the zone of occupation and for the economy and armament industry at home requires a thorough and planned organization of the labour allocation of prisoners of war." 

Numerous documents and the testimony of witnesses showed that prisoners of war had, to a large extent, been used for work in the combat area on the eastern fronts by units subordinate to the accused von Salmuth, in circumstances which left no doubt as to his responsibility. This applied also to captured soldiers of the Western Powers on the western fronts.

The evidence showed that units subordinate to the accused Hoth’s 17th Army and later units subordinate to his 4th Panzer Army had used hundreds of prisoners of war for labour consisting of road and railroad maintenance


work in construction battalions and for digging anti-tank ditches. They had also been used for loading ammunition. The first-mentioned work was, however, not carried out in dangerous locations.

As to the accused Hollidt, the evidence showed that over a wide period of time, prisoners of war had been used by units subordinate to him for the construction of field fortifications and for labour with combat units. At that time, his army was in the course of retreat which covered some 1,500 . kilometres. Reports showed that prisoners of war were in fact killed by an attack from enemy mortars. The use of these prisoners of war took place with the knowledge and approval of the accused.

The evidence showed the use of French prisoners of war within the accused Reinecke’s jurisdiction in the manufacture of artillery weapons in the Krupp plants with the knowledge and approval of the accused. It failed to show, however, the actual use of Russian prisoners of war in the manufacture of arms and munitions.

Documentary evidence showed that units subordinate to the accused Woehler, while Commander-in-Chief of the 8th Army, used prisoners of war in the combat area for the construction of field fortifications with the knowledge and acquiescence of the accused.

The evidence failed to show any criminal responsibility in this connection on the part of the accused Sperrle, von Roques and Warlimont. The remainder of the accused, von Leeb, Schniewind and Lehmann were not involved or charged with these kinds of crimes.

(i) Evidence with Particular Reference to Alleged Acts of Looting, Pillage, Plunder and Spoliation

The evidence showed that the looting and spoliation which had been carried out in the various occupied countries, were not the acts of individuals, but were carried out by the German Government and the Wehrmacht for the needs of both. It was carried out on a larger scale than was possible by individuals and the strictness of the regulations addressed to individuals in the army, as shown by the evidence, seemed to have been sometimes based upon the idea that in looting, the individual was not depriving the victim of the property, but was depriving the Reich and the Wehrmacht. 

On the 17th September, 1940, Keitel issued an order to the military commander in occupied France providing for the illegal seizure of property and its transfer to the Reich. This order reads in part as follows :

" Reichsminister Rosenberg and/or his deputy Reichshauptstellenleiter Ebert has received clear instructions from the Fuehrer personally governing the right of seizure ; he is entitled to transport to Germany cultural goods which appear valuable to him and to safeguard them there. The Fuehrer has reserved for himself the decision as to their use.  

" It is requested that the services in question be informed correspondingly."

Pursuant to this order, the accused Reinecke wrote to the Supreme Commander in France on the 10th October, 1940, and requested that the directions given in this directive of Keitel’s be transmitted to the military administration

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIII
Last Updated 10/09/01 08:10:37
©S D Stein
Faculty of Economics and Social Science