Official Transcript of the American Military Tribunal in the matter of the United States of America, against Wilhelm List, et al, defendants, sitting at Nurnberg, Germany, on 28 August 1947, 0930-1630, Justice Wennerstrum, presiding.
THE MARSHALL: Persons in the courtroom will please find their seats.
The Honorable, the Judges of Military Tribunal V.
Military Tribunal V is now in session. God save the United States of America and this honorable Tribunal.
There will be order in the court.
THE PRESIDENT: The Marshall will ascertain if all defendants are present in the Courtroom.
THE MARSHALL: May it please Your Honor all defendants are present in the courtroom.
THE PRESIDENT: Judge George J. Burke will preside at this days session.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I just want to submit a request from the defense counsel as follows: Before the Tribunal rules on the duration of the adjournment I request that the defense be heard on this point once more.
JUDGE BURKE: The Tribunal will be glad to entertain the views of defense counsel presented briefly.
DR. LATERNSER: (For defendant List.) Your Honor, I shall try to be as brief as possible. In the preparation for tho defense it is first of all of tho greatest importance to know whether the defense counsel will be in a position to send two delegates to Washington, or whether the material will be brought to Nurnberg by the Prosecution. If it should be possible to send these delegates to Washington, then a normal time should be taken as a basis which is necessary for the trip itself, and for carrying out of the task in Washington. Then the result of the investigation of the files would have to be made use of in order to be put down in the form of document books.
This will take a considerable period of time, and I believe that the defense can only then start to work once it has its own document books in its hands, in order to determine the course its defense will take.
Your Honor, I want to point out the following points, for even if, which we do not hope, we should not be able to carry out this trip, the defense cannot start before the expiration of four weeks. As a sample reason for this, I have made inquiries from colleagues who are acting as defense counsel in a common trial, and I was told that from the time the document book in German is submitted it takes three weeks until the defense counsel has come into the possession of the necessary copies, and into possession of the necessary copies, and into possession of the document book translated into English. That is to say, from the date the document hook has been submitted at the competent quarters it takes until the carrying out of the technical processes, the multigraphing and translations, at least three weeks.
I have already drawn the Tribunal's attention to the fact that we, as regards the procuring of evidence, are experiencing the greatest difficulties. The time mail takes and the return of an affidavit which we have requested, all takes considerable time. For instance, when making inquiries in Austria where some of the witnesses live, only a very few answers were returned. We were told, for instance, that a questionnaire which we had enclosed had not arrived, this was apparently taken out by the censorship or some other authorities.
JUDGE BURKE: Will you repeat your observation about the abstraction of things from your communication?
MR. LATERNSER: I said that letters which we had, for instance, sent to Austria and which had contained questionnaires and instructions how to make affidavits, the enclosures were taken out of the envelopes. Whether they were taken out by the censorship or some other postal authorities, I don't know. We have gotten word that the letters arrived, but not the questionnaires.
After all, the prosecution only started its case on July 15, and only five to six weeks have elapsed up until now, and the time is not sufficient for us to get all our evidence.
I should further like to ask you to take into account, that during the whole duration of this trial the climatic conditions were very unfavorable for mental activities. All those concerned in this trial know how tiring these sessions have been. The defense counsel only had time in the evening between 1800 and 2000 hours during which they could talk to their clients, not only the defense but also the defendants, who are also in most cases of an advanced age, were so tired that the time at their disposal could only be used for discussion of current matters which had just happened in the trial. A preparation of the defense was not possible in this time in the measure required.
It would be interesting for the Court to find out under what conditions we have to work. The rooms in which our discussions take place are as well equipped as they could be equipped under the conditions obtaining here. But we are certainly confined, and the room was exceedingly hot during that time we discussed these matters, so it was very difficult to carry them out at all.
Another point which I want to make here, the Prosecution has arranged its evidence in a chronological order, I certainly don't want to criticize this arrangements but I am of the view that a purely chronological order is hot something which eases the work of the defense. May I just quote one point, if for instance the defense wants to refute a statement of the prosecution which stated that the bands appeared in uniforms, the defense must look for the material offered in this context, not in one document book but may have to go through all the 25 document books in order to extract what may be of use to itself. The way the subject matter of this trial was ordered, this chronological arrangement, has made things exceedingly difficult for the defense.
I can only explain to the Tribunal that a briefer adjournment than four weeks would provide the greatest difficulties for the defense in this connection.
I ask the High Tribunal to take into account that the defense itself only began its case after the prosecution had finished its preparations, and as far as I know the prosecution had at least one year at its disposal to make its preparations. For this reason the defense cannot be expected to cope with 25 document books in a period of time of about two weeks. I believe that according to the principles of justice it is justified that the defense obtain at least four weeks for the preparation of its case.
DR. RAUSCHENBACH: (for the defendant Foertsch) Your Honor, may I permit myself to add one point to what my colleague, Dr. Laternser, has said. I am referring to the translation of the document books. As defense counsel in Case IV against Pohl and others, I have observed how unfavorable it may be and at least how difficult it is if the defendants sitting in the first benches of the dock at the beginning of the evidence are not in a possession of the document book, that is, their document books have not been translated. If the documents are given later, that is after the defendant has been for sometime on the witness stand, then the case is so severed that it is very difficult to present it to the court in some kind of completeness, and since the material cannot be submitted in a unified form it is to be feared the defense cannot present its case in a successful manner. For this reason, too, the adjournment should be extended until such time as those defendants who appear on the witness stand at the beginning, are in possession of most of the translated documents, so that they can be used when these defendants are testifying. This does not exclude that further document books or additions are submitted at a later date.
DR. MENZEL: (For defendant Kuntze) Your Honors, I want to add to the reasons which my colleagues have presented here, one point which often appears, and which is additional to the previous reasons. I have, for instance, found a witness who was a Yugoslav National, and for that reason knew well the conditions in the Balkans. I have written to him and this witness answered, and a number of points in evidence were submitted by him. When I wrote to him the second time in regard to an affidavit he refused all statements, and the reason he gave was that he was afraid of reprisals. He writes to me that he is still a Yugoslav National, that his dependents are still living in Yugoslavia, and he adds "how can ho under such circumstances state or testify without hindrance, in view of what might happen to my family." He writes further "who can give me a guarantee today that my statements do not bring distress to my family and my acquaintances and friends." I could submit further points from this letter which are of a much grosser nature, but I want consciously to avoid this. You will surely see from this, the psychological difficulties with which the witnesses have to contend, and I don't have to tell you how long it takes to overcome these obstacles and to dispel the doubts of these witnesses, and to convince them they will not be prosecuted because they tell the truth before this Tribunal.
DR. FRITSCH: (for the defendant Rendulic) I only want to mention one quite brief point. My colleagues have spoken about the difficulties of procuring witnesses. But there are other difficulties as well which should be possible to overcome quite easily. First of all, I must state that the prosecution has certainly endeavored to help us by making material available to us as far as it seemed expedient to the prosecution. I applied for, and the Tribunal has granted it to me, that the bandit regulations of 1942 should be handed out to us. These bandit regulations are necessary for us. These bandit regulations have been submitted by the prosecution to one or another of the defendants, but now they can't get hold of them. And it is necessary for me now to take up a lot of writing work, and even to travel in order to obtain these regulations.
In order to submit them to the Tribunal. Apart from these regulations other material also has to be submitted, and I should like to ask the Court to consider that a journey, only for instance to Hanover, that is a distance which took two days formerly requires at least a week under today's conditions. Here again there are considerable difficulties present, which in the six weeks which have been at our disposal from the date when we heard of the prosecution's charges, could not be overcome. We need for these things the time limit which we have requested.
JUDGE BURKE: Are there other remarks from defense counsel on the subject?
Mr. Denney, the court would be pleased to have your views with the same limitation of brevity which I suggested to the defense counsel.
MR. DENNEY: If your Honor please, I don't think we should try to tell the Court how long defense counsel should take. I should like, however, with reference to Dr. Fritsch's remark to make this comment, he requested the regulations of which he spoke. We did not oppose the request. We as yet have been unable to find them. We are trying to find them. I saw Dr. Fritsch in the hall last night, and I suggested that he go to the document room -- or perhaps it was his assistant, Dr. Jagwitz, -- I suggested he go to the document room with the blank, that is the blank form filled in which indicated we had approved the request, and he asked me where the document room was. This in the sixth week of the trial, the indictment having been served in early May. Now we are doing everything we can to get the book for him. I have never seen it myself. I don't think it is relevant. But we have not objected. We have said he can have it. I certainly think when he gets up and makes a statement with reference to application they make, he should state all the facts to the Tribunal, and not indicate by under-statement that we are complying insofar as we find it expedient, because that is certainly not our attitude and we are not trying in any way to forestall them or impede them.
JUDGE BURKE: The Tribunal will make an announcement on the matter after the noon recess.
You may proceed, Mr. Denney.
MR. DENNEY: Thank you, your Honor. If your Honors, please, I should like to state that I have been very remiss with reference to the Greek documents. It suddenly occurs to me they have no page numbers in the document book. Of course, the documents are all separate by number, and they are all paginated within themselves. However, I shall endeavor to work out some arrangement whereby we can run them serratim at the close of the document book, where they were offered, which I believe is 21, and as soon as I work something out if we are still here, I will make a statement on the record, and if not I will send a memo to all Your Honors' secretaries so that they can be advised, and I will personally explain the pagination problem to them, and also the Secretary General.
JUDGE BURKE: Very well, Mr. Denney. You may proceed.
MR. DENNEY: I am sorry that has happened. If your Honors will recall that at the time the first part of the Yugoslav report, which was Exhibit 100, was put in evidence, there wore certain portions which I agreed with Dr. Laternser in Yugoslav to have translated to German, which we were not using. People speaking Yugoslav, German and English are somewhat few and far between locally, and we have now been able to get copies of them, and for the convenience of defense counsel I will give them two copies of each of the additional German portions, and will hand one copy to the Secretary General. This is the balance, Dr. Laternser which I am giving you now. I believe it will be apparent from the material as to what it covers. And Dr. Laternser agreed, on behalf of the defense counsel, that we did not have to submit the long list of names that were in the reports. There were several pages of names and he said that it would be all right to omit them.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: Is that your understanding, Dr. Laternser? Dr. Laternser indicates that it is his judgment as well.
MR. DENNEY: And this is for the Secretary General. This is the balance of the exhibit. Now, with reference to the exhibit which was appended at the end of Document Book 21, I now have a final page for each of Your Honors' document books, which should be put in instead of the last page which is presently there. I believe tho exhibit number is 498-A, and I'm sorry I don't have the page number. The only think is to list these brief documents here which I neglected to do.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: 498-A, Mr. Denney?
MR. DENNEY: Yes, Your Honor. That's that sheet that we always put in at the close of the document book. That's the one from Document Book 21, and this page should be substituted. I have copies here for the translators and interpreters and for the Secretary General, and the defense counsel copies will be right up. I just sent for those. This one which goes at the close of Document Book 22 should be marked "510-A for Identification" and called Page 27. And then on the next document book, this should be marked 525-A and inserted at the close of Document Book 23, and there again I have neglected to paginate the certificate of General Taylor's which is Exhibit No. 525; and I will do that and then advise tho Court as to the page numbers which this should get. Your Honors will notice one thing--that is at the close of Document Book 22 there is an Exhibit 510, which was the Norwegian film, and at tho beginning of Document Book 23 there is another Exhibit 510, which is Norway 13B. Well, 13B is the sub-title of Exhibit No. 510. That is the reason that it is done that way. The other copies for defense counsel of the insert in Document Book 21 have not been received; however, rather than delay the Court I will withdraw, and I shall be sure that they get the balance of these copies this morning. It should be a matter of moments until they get here. Mr. Fenstermacher will continue with the last document book.
MR. FENSTERMACHER: If Your Honors please.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: You may proceed, Mr. Fenstermacher.
MR. FENSTERMACHER: Thank you, Your Honor. Yesterday, prior to the adjournment, we were discussing some Yugoslavian documents which had been given tho Exhibit No. 552, and we had completed, I believe, the first two of those portions of Exhibit 552,--one and two. Now, if Your Honors will turn please to Page 6 of Exhibit 552--this will be Exhibit No. 552/3. Do Your Honors have it?
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE:NOKW-1660?
MR. FENSTERMACHER: No, Your Honor, this is a Yugoslavian document. J-116 is on the cover page of the document. This is a report from Police Headquarters Sarajevo, dated Sarajevo 20 October 1941. Tchetniks in Srednje wear uniforms like our soldiers. The only difference is that they wear stars on headgears." And the report is signed "Police Chief." Certification on the document is to the effect that "this is a true and correct excerpt of the original document, captured by the Yugoslavian Army of Liberation in files of the Main Security Department of the Independent State of Croatia." We call Your Honors' attention to the date of the document, 20 October 1941. Turning next then to Page 8 of this exhibit, document labelled Y-114. It can be identified more readily as Exhibit No. 552/4. This is an order from the Headquarters of the Kalinovic Detachment of tho People Partisan Army of Liberation, dated 28 October 1941, Treskavica, sent to the Headquarters of the Precansky Battalion.
In compliance with the general order of the High Command of the Partisan Detachment of Bosnia and Herzegovine, all partisan units have immediately to give allegiance.
Accordingly, your Hqs. has to do so without delay. Enclosed are several copies of allegiance text. Before giving allegiance partisans should be instructed about its contents and meaning. Commanding officer and political commissar, or at least one of them, have to be present at the ceremony.
New partisans joining detachment after given allegiance have to be immediately instructed about the contents of allegiance obligations and meaning of it, and have to give allegiance also.
Insignia and Salute. In Serbian areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina our banner is Serbian and in Croatian areas - Croatian, with the five-cornered star in the middle. Five-cornered star with Serbian respectively Croatian, band tri-color has to be worn on headgear. Salute - tight fisted hand as follows:
Military: fist at temple Civilian:
fist slightly above shoulder (Circular of the High Command of the Partisan Detachment of Bosnka and Herzegovina, dated 19 Oct.
Banners will be supplied as soon as we receive them. If impossible to provide partisans with insignia -- send request to our Hqs.
Regards Death to fascism - Liberty to the people.
Pol. Commissar Commandant Scepan Rade The certificate of the Head of the Legal Department of the State commission is to the effect that "this is a true and correct excerpt of an original document issued by the Headquarters of tho Kalinovic Detachment of the Peoples Partisan Army of Liberation."
And again I call Your Honors' attention to the reference in the document to insignia and to the date of tho document, 28 October 1941.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, may I look at the original?
(Dr. Laternser examining document) Thank you very much.
MR. FENSTERMACHER: If your Honors, will turn now to page 10 of this particular document, that page marked J 129, it should be marked as Exhibit 552/5. This document is addressed to the Bailiff of the village of Totchionik:
"In order to activate the Peoples Liberation Committee there will be a meeting tomorrow in the village of Totchionik. Your task is to gather all farmers near some of tho buildings. Our comrades will come and activate a Peoples Liberation Committee. The farmers have to be on the spot at 12 o'clock."
It is dated, "Battlefield 1 April 1942" and is signed "Commander R. Rovatchevitch."
The certificate is to the effect that "this is a true and correct cony of the original document issued by the Hqs of the 1 Battalion the II Proletarian Shock Brigade."
I call your Honors attention to the date of the document 1 April 1942.
Turning to the next page, page 11, Document Y 117, it should be marked Exhibit 552/6. This is General Order No. 8, issued by the Commandant of Croatian Partisan People Detachments of Liberation on the 20 May 1942:
"I In compliance with the general order of the Supreme Hqs. of the Yugoslav Partisan People and Volunteer Army of Liberation, commanders have to wear the following insignia:
Section Leader: One red five-cornered star on the left sleeve above elbow.
Platoon Leader: Two red five-cornered star on the left sleeve above elbow.
Company Commander: One red five-cornered star and one stripe below it.
(6 cm. long and 1½ cm. width.)
Battalion Commander: One red five-cornered star and two stripes below it. (6 cm. long and 1½ width.)
Detachment Commander: One red five-cornered star and three stripes below it. (6 cm. long and 1½ width) Commander of Group of Detachments:
and brigade commander as well as members of Highest Hqa, have to wear on left sleeve above elbow a stripe like Roman V turned down. Between points of V is a red five-cornered star.
Political Commissars: wear the same, above-mentioned insignias, and in addition, sickle and hammer on the red star.
This Hqs will prescribe special insignia for deputy commanders, deputy political commissars and chiefs of staff of small detachments.
II Group's and Detachment's Commanders will issue necessary orders to all subordinated units to provide their men as soon as possible with aforementioned insignia wearing of which is obligatory."
"This order has to be made public in front of formation.
Death to fascism -- Liberty to the People (Signed): Commander Ivo Vladitch.
Political Commissar Vlado Katitch."
The certificate states that, "this is a true and correct copy of the original document issued by this Higher Hqs of the Croatian Partisan People Detachments of Liberation."
I call your Honors attention to the date of this document, 20 May 1942.
Turning next to page 13, Document J/127, it should be marked Exhibit 552/7. This is an order from, the Headquarters of the Third Zone of Operations of the People Partisan Detachments:
"2 December 1942 To the:
Hqs of the 1 Slavonian Shock Brigade of the N.O.P. Hqs of the I and II Detachments of the III Zone of Operation.
Our Circular No. 767 of 28 November 1942, and circular entitled "To all Political Commissars" dated 19 November 1942, - subject of wearing of national insignia - tri-colored stripes on partisans caps, - is amended as follows:
The tri-colored stripe is to be worn in form of letter V turned down, according to instruction given in circular, and not in the way as it was explained in our letter of the same No. that it is to be worn below the five-cornered star.
It is emphasized again that wearing of this tripe is not obligatory. It is requested to put the afore-mentioned amendment into practice. Death to Fascism - Liberty to the People."
Turning next to page 15, document labelled Y/128, this should be marked Exhibit 552/8, and introducing this deposition of a witness taken in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the prosecution is mindful of the fact that should there be an application by the defense, the witness should be produced for cross examination purposes.
"Deposition of witness "Comrade Vlade Zetchevitch, Minister of Public Buildings of the F.N.R.Y. on subject of collecting evidence against former German Genarals and Commanders in the South Eastern Territories Field Marshals List, von Weichs and others, now on trial in Nuremburg.
Deposition made on the 5 June 1947.
Mr. Milan Markovitch, representative of the Head of Legal Department of the Yugoslav State Commission is present at the interrogation.
Questioned with respect to the subject of this interrogation -- i.e. treatment of German PWs captured during the war by partisan detachments and units of Yugoslav National Army of Liberation - witness made the following deposition:
"I remember that in battles in the Podzinsky area, conducted for the liberation of the cities of Loznica, Matchva, Etolica (miners settlement 4 miles from Krupanj), Krupnja and other localities, our detachments have captured a great number of German soldiers.
This happened in September or October of 1941. Even at that time our detachments were formed according to rules which applied to a regular army. The organization was carried out according to the regulations of the Hague Convention and units had commanders appointed, soldiers wore prescribed insignia and bore arms quite openly. The regulations of the Hague Convention were applied with respect to PWs and our men treated German PWs strictly according to the rules of International Law and Conventions concerning treatment of PWs. In spite of the fact that the German Commanders and German Army did not adhere to the Hague Convention and the regulations of International Law with respect to land warfare, and were killing innocent population, bombing open cities, murdering our PWs -- we have always treated German PWs in a human way, strictly according to the Hague Convention. The German PWs were always sent to the rear zone and collected in Uzice. A number of German PWs was kept that time in a temporary camp in the apartment building of the monastery of Petkovitza in Jadar County -- and was about to be transported further to the rear zone. The German fliers, not caring for the Hague Convention, bombed this monastery and killed on this occasion most of the PWs (about 60 German PWs and some of our military guards.)
I remember also, that there was a number of German PWs in a camp in Krupanj. German PWs, knowing well that their fliers were to bomb open cities and PW camps, put on the meadow of the camp, a warning appeal to their fliers written in large white letters: "Do not fire. We are German PWs."
At the end of 1941, when the Yugoslav territory liberated this year, had to be evacuated by our Army, -- the partisan detachments could not evacuated German PWs from Uzice. Appropriate measures were taken and these PWs were left in a school building at Zlatibora near Uzice. Later they were liberated by the German units.
With regard to the general treatment applied to German PWs, I have to say that it was very humane -- for instance they were getting the same food as partisans.
I do not know whether there were in 1941 some cases of exchange of German PWs for our prisoners, but this does not mean that such a practice was not applied at some later date. There are even some documents testifying that such procedure was applied during the later period of the National fight for Liberation.
I have nothing more to tell on the subject."
Read, checked and approved.
Signed Vlada Zetchevitch.
Certified: Head of the Legal Department Legal Adviser Urosh Bjelitch M.D. Markovitch."
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I move to have this witness called for cross examination.
DR. FENSTERMACHER: I think, if your Honors please, there was a ruling from the Tribunal yesterday, that such an application had to be in writing, and could not be made orally on the record.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I made this motion right now, and I shall be glad to do it in writing also.
PRESIDING JUSTICE BURKE: I think that would be the desirable thing for the record.
DR. FENSTERMACHER: That, if your Honors, please, completes Exhibit 552.
PRESIDENT WENNERSTRUM: Mr. Fenstermacher, in what book is this to be attached?
MR. FENSTERMACHER: If your Honors please, I think it can just be kept separate, after Book 24.
The next document, which is NOKW-1639, consists of several parts, all of which have been sent to us by the Yugoslav National Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes. It is offered as Prosecution's Exhibit 553 and should be paginated 1 and following. The first portion of the document is an interrogation consisting of five pages and should be marked 125, and also marked Exhibit 553/1.
We are offering this interrogation, which is in the German language. We are mindful of the fact that, should defense counsel request, we will have to produce the witness for cross examination.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I object to the introduction of this document. This is not an affidavit or testimony. Instead it is a responsible interrogation, I assume, of a defendant. Therefore this is not evidence of a witness. It cannot be used.
MR. FENSTERMACHER: If Your Honors please, I do not share Dr. Laternser's assumption that this is an interrogation of a defendant. This is simply an interrogation of a German soldier, if Your Honors please; it is in the proper form, certified, and has the stamp of the Yugoslav National War Crimes Commission.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I believe that this whole document has several faults. For instance, the interrogation could not have been carried out in German for in this interrogation there is one sentence which really does not make sense.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: You are referring now to an error in translation, Dr. Laternser?
DR. LATERNSER: In case that this document should be admitted, in that case I shall then point out these errors when the prosecution reaches these pages in the document. In any case, Your Honor, I object against the introduction of this document because it is not a statement of a witness.
It can be seen from the document itself that it is the interrogation of a defendant, of an accused person, for it states "from protective custody", that such and such a person was presented, and then the name follows.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: For the reasons given by the Presiding Judge at yesterday's session, the document will be received with the definite limitations indicated by his views on the subject at that time. You may proceed.
"Made on 12 March 1947 on behalf of the city of Belgrade in a court martial procedure by members of the National Commission for the Investigation of Crimes committed by the occupation forces and their accomplices, Belgrade.
"Sambaher Vladislav, Referent of the National Commission as interpreter.
"Mihailovic Leposava, stenographer and interpreter.
"Josef Selmayr, former German Army colonel and Chief (IA) of the Operations Branch of Army Group F was brought in from the detention prison. He answered the questions put to him as follows:
"My name is Josef Selmayr. I was born on 7 July 1905 in Straubing/ Danube (Southern Bavaria). I am married and have three children. My family residence is in Wiesbaden, Idsteinerstrasse 16. My religion is Catholic. I was a colonel in the German Army.
"I came to Yugoslavia from the Russian Theater of Operations. In August 1943, I reported to General Alezander Loehr in Saloniki. He informed me of the impending organization of Army Group F which was to include territorially the Southeast Area of that period. According to plan, Field Marshal Rommel originally was to become Commander-in-Chief Southeast. However, it was decided later on that Field Marshal Freiherr Maximilian von Weichs was to take over High Command Southeast. Thus, Army Group F was organized 26 August 1943. It was composed of the following elements:
"1) Army Group E, which included the troops in area Greece, under the command of General Alexander Loehr.
"2) The Second Panzer Army which until June (?) 1944 was commanded by General Lothar Rendulic. He was relieved by General Boehme at the beginning of June 1944 who in turn was relieved by General Maximilian de Angelis in the second half of the month of July 1944. This Panzer Army included the following corps: the V SS Mountain Corps, XV Mountain Corps, XXI Mountain Corps, and the LXIX Corps. The territorial authority of the Second Panzer Army extended to Albania, Montenegro, and NDH (including the territories coming under its authority after the surrender of Italy). Area Serbia did not come within the competency of the Second Panzer Army except as far as the provisioning of the units of the Army and the securing of these supplies from the railroad unloading points to the Army limits was concerned.
"3) The command authority over those troops which were stationed in Serbia, which was headed by Commander Serbia. Subordinated to him were: the Bulgarian Occupation Corps, the Russian Defense Corps, and the indigenous armed units. Commander Serbia was subordinated to Army Group F only tactically. This organization of Commander-in-Chief Southeast was based on the situation at that time, i.e., light defense of the expected landing of the Anglo Americans on the Balkan and the withdrawal of Italy from the war which was being counted on. The duty of Army Group F was: defense of the Adriatic and Aegean coast in the event of an enemy landing and the protection of signal communications within this area, in connection with the fight against the People's Liberation Army(NOVJ) and against other insurgent groups in the Balkans.
"The Chief of Staff of Army Group F up to 25 April 1944 was General Foertsch. He was succeeded by General Winter. I was Chief of the Operation Branch of the Staff (Ia). Colonel Zorn was Oberquartiermeister (Qu). The subordinate command authorities had the same staff organization as that of Army Group F, however, on a smaller scale.
"During the period of my activity in Yugoslavia, three sizable operations against the Yugoslavian People's Liberation Army took place. The first of these operations was executed in fall 1943 with the cover name 'Kugelblitz'. Since the majority of the enemy was not annihilated in this operation, an additional operation was undertaken toward the end of May 1944 with the cover name 'Roesselsprung'. Its mission was to destroy the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army (NOVJ). The third operation took place in July/August 1944 from the Ibar Valley under the cover name 'Ruebezahl'. These three operations were executed pursuant to the suggestion and order of Army Group F, naturally in agreement with the OKW because the OKW had to approve all plans for the execution of large scale operations.
During the last years, it was a regulation in the German Army that the OKW had to approve any operation of this kind before its execution, notwithstanding the adverse effect of this procedure if the situation required rapid action. However, if it was a question of a operation, the execution of which required troops not over one division strong, the OKW generally did not have to be notified in advance, but afterwards via Commander-in-Chief Southeast.
"For operations, the execution of which required troops up to one regiment strong, the approval of Army Group F generally was not needed in advance. Of course, in both cases High Command Southeast had to be informed subsequently. The plan for the 'Roesselsprung' Operation was drafted by the staff of the Second Panzer Army. General Lothar Rendulic submitted this plan to Field Marshal von Weichs who on his part transmitted the plan to OKW. After approval by the OKW von Weichs issued the order for the start of the operation. General Lothar Rendulic was responsible for its execution. Von Weichs was 100 percent informed regarding the course of this and of the other two operations in as far as it was of an operational significance, since reports from the field arrived every 24 hours. The command of Operation 'Kugelblitz' was transferred by General Rendulic to the Commanding Officer of the V SS Mountain Corps, General Arthur Phleps."
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, this sentence which has just been read, and which reads, "...regarding the course of the action..., since reports from the field came in every 24 hours" -- this is a sentence which in German does not make sense.
I can definitely assume that the witness Selmayr had never uttered this sentence as it reads here. I assert that this testimony is wrong.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: It is your contention the testimony is wrong because of your conclusion or because of an error in translation?
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I am not asserting that the witness has made a wrong testimony. That would be an objection against the probative value which I cannot make at this point. I am merely saying that the interrogation -- the witness cannot have said that. That is, that the record must have been taken down mistakenly.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: Is it a matter, Dr. Laternser, that you would care to have submitted to a competent interpreter?
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, may I have a look at the original for a moment?
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: Surely.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I can just see here that the signature Selmayr is written under this interrogation. Therefore he has only signed it in the way as it is in this document here.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: Will you repeat that, please.
INTERPRETER: I just notice here that Selmayr's signature is under this interrogation. Therefore he has signed the document as we see it here.
DR. LATERNSER: Your Honor, I cannot explain this at all, and will have to hear about it when he is here for cross examination.
PRESIDING JUDGE BURKE: Very well.
MR. FENSTERMACHER: Continuing with the fifth line at the bottom of page 3:
"Pursuant to a basic Hitler Order of the year 1941, the partisans fighting behind the German lines were not to be called this 'honorable name'. They were to be designated as bands and to be treated as such. This was valid for all theaters of operation and until the end of the war, "De jure, this also applied to the People's Liberation Army since for political reasons Hitler refused to recognize it as a belligerent power.