Правда и ложь о Катыни
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Показания О. Оберхойзера комиссии Мэддена (юнит 5)
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|Тема: Показания О. Оберхойзера комиссии Мэддена (юнит 5) Сб Окт 27, 2012 6:53 pm|| |
TESTIMONY OP EUGEN OBERHAEUSER
Mr. Flood. What is your full name ?
General Oberhaeuser. Eugen Oberhaeuser.
Mr. Flood. Were you, at one time, identiJfied with the German
armed forces ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I was an officer of the permanent forces.
Mr. Flood. What was 3'oiir rank and what was the nature of your
command in 1941 ?
General Oherhaeuser. I held the rank of lieutenant general and
was the chief of communications of the central army group.
Mr. Flood. Could that be referred to and could your status be referred
to as nachtrichten commander of the army group ?
General Oberhaeuser. It could be called that. Our designation
was chief of communications of the army group (Nachtfuehrer.)
Mr. Flood. Who was the commanding general or field marshal of
the army group ?
General Oberhaeuser. Up to Christmas, 1941, the commander in
chief of the army group was Field Marshal von Bock. He was succeeded
by Field Marhal von Kluge.
Mr. Flood. What was von Kluge's command up until December,
1941, when he succeeded von Bock?
General Oberhaeuser. He was commander in chief of the Fourth
Mr. Flood. And I suppose the Fourth Army was one of the armies
in the middle group.
General Oberhaeuser. That is correct. The army group included
4 or 5 armies and the Fourth Army was part of army group center.
Mr. Flood. What, in a general way, were your duties as chief of
communications for the army group ?
General Oberhaeuser. As chief of communications, I was responsible
for all the communiactions, such as telephone, teletype, and wireless
from army group center to the single armies belonging to it, and to
fulfill my duties, I had been given signal regiment 537. We were
also partly responsible for communications with the supreme command.
For this purpose, there was a special regiment which was
attached to us.
Mr, Flood. What was the name of that outfit?
General Oberhaeuser. 597.
Mr. Flood. 597 what?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not quite recollect that this regiment
had a special name. It was probably called signal regiment 597.
Mr. Flood. Were you in a position, as chief of conniuniications, at
any time from July to December of 1941, officially, to intercept or be
in a position to intercept, special orders from the supreme command
to the army group?
General Oberhaeuser. It was part of my duty to see that communications
were in order, that it was always possible to talk freely, but
I was never instructed to watch over conversations being held between
the supreme headquarters and the army group. It was my task merely
to see that communications worked properly.
Mr. Flood. Well, I am not interested so much in whether you
received instructions to listen. What I want to know is, did you,
whether you received instructions or not?
General Oberhaeuser. I was in a position to listen in to conversations
and to intercept them in the course of my duties so as to make
sure that communications worked properly.
Mr, Flood. You therefore were in a position to intercept or to be
aware of any orders from a supreme command or from the army group
field marshal to any special units of any kind in your area?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I was in a position to do so.
Mr. Flood. You were also, therefore, in a position to be aware of or
to intercept communications that might take place between field
marshals commanding various army groups?
General Oberhaeuser, Yes, I was in a position to do so.
Mr. Flood. When did your headquarters, your personal headquarters,
and the army group headquarters move into the Smolensk area,
and where did they come from ?
General Oberhaeuser. Approximately at the beginning of September
Mr. Flood. Where did the army group set up its headquarters with
reference to the city of Smolensk ?
General Oberhaeuser. It was in a forest which contained several
small wooden houses and was located some 10 kilometers west of
Smolensk, on both sides of the highway connecting Smolensk and
Mr. Flood. Where did you set up your communications headquarters
with reference to the army group headquarters ?
General Oberhaeuser. My personal small headquarters, comprising
about seven officers altogether, was erected right next to the field
Mr. Flood. How far were those headquarters from the village of
General Oberhaeuser. Approximately 3 kilometers.
Mr. Flood. Three kilometers from Katyn and about 10 kilometers
from Smolensk ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, that is so.
Mr. Flood. How soon after the combat troops moved forward did
the army group and your headquarters move into the set-up we are
talking about ?
General Oberhaeuser. The combat troops took Smolensk some time
in July, and the army group sent an advance unit into this area very
soon afterwards, the beginning of August, as the army group intended
to put up its headquarters which, up to then, had been in Borisow,
as quickly as possible in the Smolensk area.
INIr. Flood. What do you mean by an advance unit ?
General Oberhaeuser. This advance unit consisted of 1 lieutenant
of my staff and 1 lieutenant from the staff of the army group, and
approximately 20 enlisted men, whose duty it was to start immediately
putting up communications, telephone lines, and so forth.
Mr. Flood. Then this was an advance communications unit ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, it is correct. It was an advance unit of
my communications unit of signal regiment 537.
Mr. Flood. It was an advance unit of your command ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, of the troops directly under my command.
Mr. Flood. What were the names of these 2 officers you just mentioned
who were with the advance party ?
General Oberuabuser. The officer of my own staff was First Lieutenant
Rucker, and the officer of the signal regiment 537 was Lieutenant
Mr. Flood. This officer Hodt was not an officer of regiment 537, but
was an officer of your personal staff, is that correct ?
General Oberiiaeuser. Of regiment 537.
Mr. Flood. Who was the other officer?
General Oheriiaei'ser. The other officer, Riicker, was from my
INIr. Flood. How do yon spell his name ?
General Oberhaeuser. R-u-c-k-e-r, Rucker.
Mr. Flood. Was he a communications officer as well ?
General Oberiiaeuser. Yes, he was a communications ofiicer and
expert. It was always like this, that every signal or communications
regiment had a high ranking postal officer attached to it, with the
rank of officer, who had a very good education, usually a university
man, and they were first-class experts on communications, telephones,
and so forth. Tliey were permanently :ittached to all the regimental
staffs of all the communications and signal regiments.
Mr. Flood. Of the two officers, which was in command of the advance
General Oberiiaeuser. Lieutenant Rucker was in charge of this
advance unit, being the senior in rank, but he acted on orders from me.
I had been to this area myself and had worked out the plan how to
arrange all these communications.
I also want to point out that the communications system of an army
group is a very elaborate and large scale affair which could be compared
with the communications system of a medium-sized city.
Mr. Flood. What was the jurisdiction in kilometers of your command
over communications for tlie Central Army Group?
General Oberhaeuser. Tlie area under my jurisdiction stretched
from Orel to Vitebsk, over a distance of approximately 500 kilometers,
from north to south and east to west. It comprised the whole
area of the army group center.
Mr. Flood. How long did you stay in command in that area ?
General Oberhaeuser. From the beginning of the Russian campaign
on June 22, 1941, until October 1943.
Mr. Flood. You indicated that, in order to have a knowledge of the
area so as to give instructions to your advance part}?^ as to how to lay
out communications, you yourself visited the area at the time of or
before the advance party, is that correct ?
General Oberhaeuser. It was prior to sending the advance unit into
Mr. Flood. Do you recall the month, approximately?
General Oberhaeuser. More or less at the end of July 1941, very
soon after the combat troops had taken Smolensk.
Mr. Flood. Can you tell me more specifically what you mean by
"very soon"? How many days after the combat troops moved
General Oberiiaeuser. To my recollection, I was in the area within
8 days after tlie combat troops had passed through.
I Avant to exphiin this in detail. To acconmiodate sucli a large communications
unit and several staff headquarters in a newly conquered
area, a suitable site must be found, and it is never early enough for a
connnunicatiojis chief to get to this area so as to locate suitable sites
and make all the necessary preliminary arrangements.
Mr. Flood. That being so, I take it for granted that you did considerable
traveling around the Katyn-Smolensk area, in general,
within a week after the combat troops moved forward ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, that is correct. I did so, and during
my first visit to this area, both Lieutenants Eucker and llodt accompanied
Mr. Flood. I suppose that 30 square miles on three sides, except, oi
course, forward, Avould have been a reasonable tour of inspection
to set up such headquarters ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, because it was always our tendency to
decentralize and deconcentrate with a view to avoiding losses through
Mr. Flood. Where did Lieutenant Hodt set up his advance headquarters
General Oberkl\euser. I do not recollect where his headquarters
were, but Rucker set up his headquarters at Krasny Bor.
Mr. Flood. Krasny Bor, I understand, is a village in the area.
Where is it located with reference to Smolensk and Katyn?
General Oberhaeuser. Krasu}' Bor was about 8I/2 to 9 kilometers
Mr. Flood. If I refresh your memory, would you recall that Lieutenant
Hodt set up headquarters for his advance party at Katyn?
General Oberhaeuser. It is quite possible that Lieutenant Hodt
set up quarters in Katyn. Katyn is also a village which is not just
in one spot. It is spread out over the countryside and the actual
center of Katyn is quite a long distance away from the so-called little
Dnie])pr Castle. We sliould rathei' call it the area of Katyn, because
it is so spread out and nut ju>t a siiiall s])ot. It is quite an area.
Mr. Flood. Do you know Colonel Bedenk ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I knew him. He was the commanding
officer of Signal Regiment 537.
Mr. Flood. AMiere was Signal Regiment 537 on active duty between
July and December, 1941 ?
Genera] Oberhaeuser. The regiment was spread out over the whole
large area of the armj^ group center, over 500 kilometers.
Mr. Flood. Was the regiment one of the regiments in your command?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, it w^as directly under me.
Mr. Flood. Do you loiow where the colonel set up the regimental
General Oberhaeuser. In the so-called little Dnieper Castle lying
on the high bank of the River Dnieper.
Mr. Flood. What is the relationship of this Dnieper Castle to the
General Oberhaeuser. It is located right in the middle of the
Mr. Flood. How far was it from Bedenk's headquarters to your
General Oberhaeuser. Approximately 3 kilometers.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever visit Colonel Bedenk ?
General Oberhaeuser, Yes, I visited Colonel Bedenk quite frequently
in his headquarters. On an average of about twice a week.
Sometimes it was once a week and sometimes three times. That depended
on the volume of matters we had to discuss, but, on an average,
it must liave been about twice a week that I went there.
Mr. Flood. Other than official connections, what was the relationship
between Colonel Bedenk and yourself, personally?
General Oberhaeuser. We were on very friendly pei-sonal terms.
Mr. Flood. Will you describe generally, with some reasonable detail,
the surroundings of this so-called Dnieper Castle, Bedenk's headquarters
Just a moment. What are you looking at?
General Oberhaeuser. It is a rough sketch map of the Katyn ai-ea
which I prepared already for the Nurnberg hearings.
Mr. Flood. Will you step up here and let the committee take a look
at that for a minute? (Whereupon, the witness approached the
General Oberhaeuser. This is the highway from Smolensk to
Mr. Flood. The witness indicates, on the right of the map, the city
of Smolensk, and, on the left of the map, the city of Vitebsk.
General Oberhaeuser. This is the Dnieper River [indicating] and
this is the so-called Dnieper Castle [indicating] on the left side of the
sketch map. There is the Dnieper River [indicating] and on the
north bank, the little Dnieper Castle.
Mr. Flood. The witness has so indicated and the river and the
castle appear on the map.
General Oberhaeitser. Dnieper Castle was approximately 400 to
600 meters' distance from the highway, with a winding secondary
road branching off from the highway and leading up to the building.
Mr. Flood. As I understand it, the main liighway then in that area
ran from Smolensk to Vitebsk and it was about 400 meters from that
highway to the Dnieper Castle.
General Oberhaeuser. That is correct.
Mr. Flood. Did that main highway seem to be a new highway, a
new surface, or an old one?
General Oberhaeuser. As far as I recollect, the surface of this
highway was asphalt, and it was in a very good condition and was
also kept in a good condition by our troops.
Mr. Flood. What was the condition of the forest or woods, if any,
in the 400 meters between the main highway and the Dnieper Castle?
General Oberhaeuser, It was a narrow forest road. It was so
narrow that it was actually difficult for two vehicles to pass each other.
It was really onl}^ suitable for one-way traffic.
Mr. Flood. That's the branch rond which led off the main highway,
through the forest, in the direction of Dnieper Castle?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes.
I want to state that at the spot where the secondary road branched
off from the highway, there was a signal flag put up. There is a drawing
of that [indicating].
Mr. Flood. The witness indicates on his sketch the drawing of a
signal flag, black and jellow with black numbers on the stripe through
General Oberhaeuser. The number was 537.
Mr. Flood. What does that indicate?
General Oberhaeuser. Indicating the signal regiment which was
billeted there. That was in order to direct dispatch riders and other
persons looking for the regiment, and I presume that the local civilian
population thus got to know about the number of the regiment because
it was quite easily seen from all sides.
Mr. Flcod. Was that regimental flag on the main highway at the
junction of the side road all the time, as far as you know?
General Oberhaeuser. In the beginning, in 1941, and, to my recollection,
for about 1 year, this flag was always there. Later on, when
more and more camouflaging instructions were issued, it might have
been removed, but on this question. Colonel Ahrens will be able to
give more details.
Mr. Flood. Well then, during 1941, if that flag was up there, there
was apparently no mystery about the kind and type of unit that was
in Dnieper Castle, is that it?
General Oberhaeuser. I would put it this way : it was evident from
the flag that a unit with the number of 537 was billeted there. It is
not said with that that people would realize it was Signal Eeginient
537, but a unit with the number of 537.
Mr. Flood. Wiat was the condition of the woods between the main
highway and Dnieper Castle in the area ?
General Oberhaeuser. It was a forest with high trees but not very
dense. On the left-hand side, when going to the castle from the highway,
the forest was more dense than on the right-hand side of the
Mr. Flood. What are riiese other markings here on the map to the
general left of the mark for the castle?
General Oberhaeuser. This spot [indicating] was billets of the
first company of the regiment which was in charge of the telephone
exchange which was located there.
Mr. Flood. Is this billet of that company I am pointing at on the
map in the Katyn Forest?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes; these billets were still located in the
forest. On one occasion, they had a heavy air raid and suffered considerable
losses on that occasion. The Russians evidently knew we
Mr. Flood. How far is that billet of that company in the regiment
from the Dnieper Castle in the forest ?
General Oberhaeuser. Approximately 1 1/2 to 2 kilometers.
Mr. Flood. What was the nature of that Russian air attack—fighters
or fighter bombers or both, if you remember?
General Oberhaeuser. Fighter bombers.
Mr. Flood. What is this next mark indicated further to the left
of the billet for the company?
General Oberhaeuser. Underneath is my staff headquarters, and
this [indicating] was a small wooden building of Field Marshal
Mr. Flood, How far is that from Dnieper Castle?
General Oberhaeuser. Approximately 3 kilometers.
Mr. Flood. What are these next indications to the left of the field
marshal's headquarters ?
General Oberhaeuser. The technical central exchange for telephone
and teletype communications. This exchange was put into a building
which had to be constructed, and, as a matter of fact, it was constructed
by the advance unit to accommodate the exchange.
Mr. Flood. Thank you. Be seated, please. [Whereupon, the witness
resumed his seat.]
Mr. Flood. The committee would be very grateful if you would
prepare a similar map, with a little more care or atteutiou, in order
that the committee might have it photostated, or if you will prepare
an exact copy of what you have just described for the records of this
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I certainly would take pleasure in
doing so, but I wish to point out that I drew this sketch only from
memory in Nuremberg and I cannot absolutely guarantee that all the
distances will be quite correct, but, on the whole, it is fairly correct.
Mr. Flood. Under those circumstances and conditions we would
still be glad to have a copy of that map.
Note.—Refer to exhibit 74.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever take any walks with your friend Colonel
Bedenk in the woods surrounding Dnieper Castle at any time?
General Oberhaeusek. Yes. When 1 want to see Colonel Bedenk
at the castle, we used to go for walks to the forest to get some fresh
air and some exercise.
Mr. Flood. In those walks, did you ever see any mounds of earth
that might resemble graves, any place in the area up to 500 or 1,000
meters surrounding the castle ?
General Oberiiaeuser. No, I never noticed anything of that kind,
although to the left of this secondary road leading from the highway
to the castle, the forest was not so dense, but I never noticed any
mounds of earth or anything which might have been graves.
Mr. Flood. Were you in the Smolensk area in April 1943, when the
Germans announced they had discovered the Katyn graves?
General Oberiiaeuser. Yes, I was.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever visit the graves after the discovery was
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I went there after the graves had been
opened on about three occasions. Afterward, I did not go there
any more because the sight was so dreadful that, if possible, I kept
away. 1 only went there then when I absolutely had to.
Mr. Flood. How far from Dnieper Castle Mere the graves when
you saw them in April 1943?
Creneral Oberiiaeuser. Approxinuitely 250 meters from the castle.
Mr. Flood. Weren't you surprised that in all your walks in 1941
vou hadn't seen such graves or mounds of earth if thev were close to
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I was very taken aback and shocked
abont the discovery.
Mr. Fr.oOD. That may be. What I want to know is, weren't you
surprised yourself that you didn't observe or see anything that might
resemble anything like mounds of earth so close to the castle when
you were walking in that area between July and December 1941, with
your friend, Colonel Bedenk?
General Oberhaeuser. Once something has been published and yon
have been to the town hall, then you always know more abont things.
We never expected anything. We had no idea that such a thing could
have been, and so, that's whv the thonght never occurred to us.
Mr. Flood. When did Bedeiik leave command of the regiment?
General Oberhaeusek. November lOil.
Mr. Flood. General, you told us that you went into the Katyn-
Smolensk area about a week after the combat troops, which would
be in July 1941, and that you traveled around about 30 square kilometers
in the area, looking for a connnunications and army group
headquarters. In your travels, so soon after the fighting, did you see,
first, any Polish prisoners of any kind or, second, any Russian prison
General Oberiiaeuser. To answer question one, I never saw any
Polish soldier, right through the campaign there, dead or alive. As
to question two, in that area I never saw any POW camps. In the
rear, around about Wjasma, we were advancing and we did see some
former camps which were very dilapidated and half in ruins, with
typical watchtowers on the corners, but these camps were very old
and were absolutely in disrepair, and mostly in ruins. However, they
were further in the rear, hundreds of kilometers in the rear.
Mr. Flood. They were, then, twenty-five to a hundred kilometers
General Oberhaeuser. These old dilapidated camps could be found
all along the highway from Vyazma to Smolensk and up to Minsk
Borisow and Minsk—and it was assumed that these old camps had
accommodated workers who had been working on the highway. These
old dilapidated camps were actually, later on, reconstructed and used
for the German units and their laborers who kept the highway in
Mr. Flood. Did you ever hear, in the area, of a Russian prison camp
named Kozielsk ?
General Oberiiaeuser. At that time I never heard the name. Later
on, after the graves had been o])ened and the Katyn case became
public, I did hear the name of Kozielsk occasionally in that connection,
that Polish officers had been wmfined to the camp of Kozielsk
prior to being taken to Katyn.
Mr. Flood. Well now, you told us that you were in a position to
intercept—to see that your operations were working properly —
and that you frequently did intercept communications from the supreme
command and from the army group commander to the Army,
isn't that so?
General Oberhaeuser. Technically, yes. Technically that possibility
existed, but in fact it happened very seldom; only when I received
complaints from the field marshal or some very high-ranking
officer, and when I couldn't hear well or understand well the man at
the other end, then I went in and switched in and checked on this
report and saw to it that the defects were remedied.
Mr. Flood. Well, you yourself are a pretty high-ranking officer,
lieutenant-general, and you were in command of communications for
the army group. That being so, what do you know about a German
command order, if there was one, to kill Russian prisoners?
General Oberhaeuser. At the time this order was issued
Mr. Flood (interposing). There was such an order?
General Oberhaeuser. I learned later on that such an order to kill
commissars did exist, but at that time, at the time it was issued, I
did not know about it in view of tlie fact that as a communications
unit we had no connection with the front line and consequently never
got in touch with any captured commissars or other Russian prisoners.
Mr. Flood. You indicate that such an order from a supreme command,
which I suppose would be unusual, passed through your hands
as commanding officer of communications for the entire army group,
and you didn't know about it and hadn't heard about it until later on?
General Oueriiaeuser. An order existed, directly issued by Hitler,
that any such matter which did not directly concern a certain army or
corps or division or unit was not to be transmitted to these units.
Mr. DoNDERO. General Oberhaeuser, did you cause to be erected in
the Katyn forest area any notices that any persons found without a
pass in that area would be shot on the spot ?
General Oberhaeuser. No ; I did not.
Mr. Dondero. That is all.
Mr. Flood. Did you trust Colonel Bedenk?
General Oberhaeuser. Absolutely.
Mr. Flood. Do you think that Colonel Bedenk would take any orders
from any SS generals or—in view of the faction politics in the Wehrmacht,
as in any army—from any other generals, the kind of orders
that would produce the execution of 4,000 Polish officers, without
letting you know about it ?
General Oberhaeuser. That is aboslutely out of the question.
Mr. Flood. Under all of the circumstances surrounding your relationship
with Bedenk and his regiment and the proximity of your
headquarters to his in the Katyn forest, would it have been possible
at any time between July and November of 1941 for the execution of
4,000 Polish officers to have been carried out, either by Bedenk or anybody
else, without your knowing about it ?
General Oberhaeuser. That would have been quite impossible in
every respect, particularly in a technical respect, because the tasks
of these communication troops were so manifold that any such large
action would have upset the whole schedule of duties and it could not
have remained a secret.
Mr. Flood. Did you talk to any generals of the Wehrmacht or of
any other categories, SS or otherwise, or any German civil, political,
or propaganda officials of any rank with reference to Poles or the
disposition of Polish prisoners at any time when you were in command
in the Solensk area ?
General Oberhaeuser. Never.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever give anv orders to Bedenk or to any subsequent
commanders of the 537th Regiment to execute Polish officer
General Oberhaeuser. Never.
Mr. Flood. Did you ever, yourself, see or participate in the execution
of Polish officer prisoners at the Katyn forest between July
and December of 1941 ?
General Oberhaeuser. No, never, because such a thing never
Mr. Machrowicz. Could you tell me what your present occupation
(leneral Oberhaeuser. I am retired.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you any connection whatsoever with the
General Oberhaeuser. No, none.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you been advised, instructed, or coached
in any way by anyone before you came to this committee as a witness ?
General Oberhaeuser. Nobody told me about it ; nobody ever advised
me; nobody ever even mentioned to me that I would appear
"before this committee.
Mr. Machrowicz. Were you a witness at the Nuremberg trial?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I was.
Mr. Machrowicz. That was in 1946 ?
General Oberhaeuser. That is correct ; yes.
Mr. Machrowicz. Before you were called as a witness there, were
you called by anyone and instructed, ordered, or coached as to how
to testify there ?
General Oberhaeuser. I was in the Allendorf prison camp, and
when they came to fetch me to take me to Nuremberg by jeep I didn't
-even know where I was going.
Mr. Machrowicz. And your testimony there was on the very same
matters that you testified here, is that correct?
General Oberhaeuser. In Nuremberg? Yes, in the same manner.
Mr. Machrowicz. To the best of your knowledge, was the testimony,
in substance, the same as that given here ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, it was materially the same. If you
wish, I will submit the affidavit which I have with me.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, in the course of your testimony today, on
one or two occasions, you referred to certain notes which you have
in your pocket. Could you tell the committee what those notes are ?
Genera 1 Oberhaeuser. Those are the affidavits I submitted for the
l^uremberg trial, the notes.
Mr. Machrowicz. Before whom did you prepare those affidavits?
General Oberhaeuser. I had to hand them to Dr. Stahmer, and I
do not know what lie did with them.
Mr. Machrowicz. Dr. Stahmer was the defense counsel, is that
General Oberhaeuser. Dr. Stahmer was defense counsel for Goering,
and the Katyn case formed part of the whole case against Goering,
it was treated or dealt with in connection with the Goering case.
Mr. Machrowicz. May I see those notes ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes.
(Documents submitted to the committee.)
Mr. Machrowicz. These notes are dated "Nuremberg, June 26,
1946," is that correct?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes; that is correct.
Mr. Machrowicz. And they are entitled, "Eidesstattliche Erklae-
rung." What does that mean ?
General Oberhaeuser. That means "statement in lieu of an oath."
That is the ordinary heading that is generally used in the heading of
all such statements.
Mr, Machrowicz. Did anyone give you any information upon
which you base the information contained in this statement?
General Oberhaeuser. No, because there was nobody to whom I
could have talked and gotten information from, in view of the fact
that the other officers who were at Katyn were free, while I was a
Mr. Maciirowicz. Is this, then, the correct statement as given by
you to the person who took your oath?
General Obejuiaeusek. I wish to make a statement.
Mr. Machrowicz. Go ahead.
General Oberhaeuser. On a Friday, which was prior to the Monday
wlien 1 had to appear as a witness, Dr. Stahnier told me that I would
probably not have to take the stand, and he asked me whether I would
write out an affid ivit. Among other things, we prisoners learned that
on this subsequent Monday the matter of Katyn would be brought
forward. To my surprise, at 8 o'clock the next morning 1 was called
and told that I would have to appear before the court.
i\[r. Maciirowicz. Before the tribunal?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes; before the tribunal. The first questions
were put by Dr. Stahmer, and then came the cross-examination
by the Russian, Smirnow. In the course of this cross-examination
totally different questions were put to me than are contained in this
affidavit, but the questions I was asked by Dr. Stahmer are contained
in the affidavit, mostly, more or less.
Chairman Madden. You might explain who this Smirnow is, the
General Oberhaeuser. To my knowledge he was the Russian representative,
or delegate who represented the accusation, the Russian
Chairman Madden. Spell it, please.
General Oberhaeuskr. S-m-i-r-n-o-w.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, according to the first statement in this affidavit
of yours, you were in connnand of that area until about October
1943, is that correct?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, that is correct. Yes, up to October
1943 I was in command of that area. The area changed subsequently
because the German troops had to fall back, and then of course our
staff lieadquarters and other staff headquarters had to be moved back,
but up to October 1943 I was chief of comnuinications of the Center
ISIr. Maciirowicz. Was thei'e an^^ break in time in that command
since September 1941?
General Oberhaeuser. Except for normal leave, furlough, there
was no break whatever, I was always there, and this furlough was due
once a year.
Mr. Machrowuz. Did you know Colonel Ahrens?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I do.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was he under your command?
General Oberhaeuser. He was directly under my command as successor
to Colonel Bedenk, and was the commanding officer of Signal
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, the statement which you prepared in Nurnberg
in June 1945 declares that Colonel Ahrens took the command over
in November 1941, is that correct?
General Oberhaeuser. That is correct.
Mr. Machrowicz. Do vou know. Where he was before November
General Omeriiaeuser. Tip to that time Colonel Ahrens was instructor
at the training regiment of the Army Communications School
in Halle, Saxonv.
Mr. Machrowicz. That is approximately how far from Smolensk ?
General Oberhaeuser. 1,200 kilometers, approximately.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you read the Russian statement made regarding
the Katyn Forest?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, I read the protocol, and also the statements
of the three Russian witnesses, but that was only about 2 years
Mr. Machrowicz. Tlie affidavits contained in the Russian statement
include an affidavit that the murders were committed some time
between July and November, 1911, and that at that time Colonel
Ahrens was in command. Is that a true statement of fact?
General Oberhaeuser. That is quite incorrect, that statement, because
I clearly remember in November, when Colonel Ahrens took
over, I had the regiment, or the companies that were available on that
day, march up tliere, and they were standing in an open square and I
introduced—I thanked the old regimental commander for all he had
done, and welcomed the new reg-imental commander. That was in
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, do you have in your possession any written
orders or any documents which would show the whereabouts of
Colonel Ahrens in the period between July 1941 and November 1941 ?
General Oberhaeuser. I believe that Colonel Ahrens himself lost all
his documents and papers in Halle when his apartment was destroyed,
but I believe it possible that in the files of the German Army, which
are in the hands of the American Army at present, something might
be found to that effect.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, did you, wldle you were in the Smolensk
area, know of an order allegedly given by the German command in
about August of 1941 ordering the civilian population to turn over
to the Germans all escaped Polish prisoners?
General Oberhaeuser. I know nothing about such an order.
Mr. Machrowicz. Who was Commander von Schwetz? Do you
General Oberhaeuser. I do not know that officer.
Mr. Machroavicz. Is it possible that there would be anyone by a
name similar to "von Schwetz" that might have given such an order?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not know, but I suggest that General
von GersdorfF might know something.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, did you know a Herschfeld, who was
allegedly the Sonderfuehrer of the 7th Division of the German
General Oberhaeuser. No, I don't know him.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was there anyone in the Smolensk region among
the higher German officers at the time that you were there by the name
of Herschfeld ?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not recollect any such name, and I
don't know any such name.
Mr. Machrowicz. I might state for your information, witness, that
it is alleged by the Russians that one Herschfeld, Sonderfuehrer of
the 7th Division of the German Command, was the one who always
gave an order that all Polish prisoners be captured and brought to
the German Command. Does that refresh vour recollection?
General Oberiiaeuser. I never had anything to do with the 7th
Division. I never heard the name of Herschfeld, and I don't know
anything about the whole matter.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, in about May of 1943 was there published
in the Smolensk area by anyone in the German Command a request
to the local population for information regarding the Katyn massacre?
General Oberiiaeuser. I do not know anything about that.
Mr. Machrowicz. Do you remember Lieutenant Voss of the Field
General Oberhaeuser. The name came back to me now in these few
days while I was here. I remember having heard the name at that
time, but I couldn't even say what the man looks like.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was he working in connection with Oberleutnant
Braund, who was commander at Katyn?
General Oberhaeuser. The name of Oberleutnant Braund does not
convey anything to me ; I do not know him.
Mr. Machrowicz. Under the Russian version, I might say Oberleutnant
Braund was a commander at Katyn in May 1943.
General Oberhaeuser. May 1943?
Mr. Machrowicz. Yes.
General Oberiiaeuser. It is possible that in the course of the retreat
such an officer might have been local commander in Katyn, but
at that time I v:as already in Austria with my unit.
Mr. Machrowicz. "Well, the Russians have furnished a so-called
"appeal to local population" signed May 3, 1943, by Voss, Lieutenant
of the Field Police, who had allegedly been working under the command
of Oberleutnant Braund. Does that refresh your recollection ?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not know anytliing about that, because
that was absolutely beyond my jurisdiction. I was in communications
and had nothing to do with intelligence, so I don't know.
Mr. Machrowicz. Have you ever heard of Prison Camp No. 126,
somewhere in the Smolensk area?
General Oberhaeuser. No.
Mr. Machrowicz. Was there any road work done between July
and November 1941 on the Smolensk-Vitebsk Highway?
General Oberhaeuser. Well, repairs were carried on all the time
on the road, chiefly by the Organization Todt, and they were also
using Russian prisoners. But even driving over the highway I did
notice that work was going on, but I never paid attention to it or to
the people doing it.
Mr. Machrowicz. Such work would not be under your jurisdiction,
would it ?
General Oberhaeuser. No; in no way whatever. I had nothing
to do with that.
Mr. Machrowicz. Are you familiar with the Polish uniform, the
uniform of tlie Polish officers?
General Oberhaeuser. I know the Polish officers wear four-cornered
caps, and besides, I saw Polisli uniforms on the bodies exhumed
Mr. Machrowicz. Would you be able to distinguish a Polish uniform
from a Russian uniform—a Polish officers' uniform a Russian
General Oberhaeuser. I believe that I could distiiiguisli between
the uniforms of the Polish officers and Russian officers because at the
beginning of each campaign we were shown pictures of the uniforms
and what the opposing soldiers would look like, although I never
saw one alive. In the Polish campaign in 1939, of course, I did see
Polish prisoners, but none in Russia later on.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you, between July and November of 1941,
see any officers in Polish uniforms used by the Germans on road work
in the Katyn area ?
General Oberhaeuser. No, never.
Mr. Machrowicz. Are you aware of the fact that the Russians
claim that the Germans had been using these Polish officers for road
repair work in the Katyn area, the same ones who later were found
in the Katyn graves?
General Oberhaeuser. I did hear some very vague rumor to that
effect later on, but nothing definite.
Mr, DoNDERO. General, you saw the bodies at the Katyn graves,
did you ?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes ; on my two or three visits to the gi^aves
I saw the dead bodies lying in the graves and a few single ones that
had been taken out. An autopsy was being performed on them by
Professor Butz. However, I never stayed long.
Mr. Dondero. How were tliey dressed?
General Oberhaeuser. As far as I can recollect, to my great astonishment
the dead bodies were very well clad, in good uniform, all of
them still had either their greatcoats or capes on, and very good boots,
so that it gave me the impression that the killings must have been
done in a hurry, in view of the fact that wallets and all sorts of
valuables were found on the bodies. It is quite unusual, according
to my experience, that the Russians, after executing people, would
bury them with all their good clothes on. That astonished me.
Mr. Dondero. Do you mean "overcoat" by "greatcoat"?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, overcoats and capes.
Mr. Dondero. You were in that area from August, at least, until
November of 1941. What kind of weather do they have?
General Oberhaeuser. In July it was still very hot, but then fall
set in very suddenly, with lots of rain and very much mud, and it was
very cold and early winter in that year.
Mr. Dondero. What would it be in the month of August ? Because
I think there is something in the record to the effect that the Russians
claim the Germans shot these men during the month of August,
General Oberhaeuser. Normal, warm summer weather.
Mr. Dondero. That is all.
Mr. Machrowicz. I have a few more questions.
Did you notice any unusually heavy truck movement in the Katyn
forests in the months of August and November 1941 ?
General Oberhaeuser. Traffic was not particularly heavy, although
Signal Regiment 537 had a fairly heavy traffic every day with
material, building construction material, being taken away to the
various companies and food and other things being transported all
the time, so the traffic of the regiment itself was fairly lively, but not
Mr. Machrowicz. The affidavits of some of the Russian witnesses
claim that in August and September and October of 1941 there was
an unusual number of heavy trucks loaded with many prisoners coming
into the Katyn area. Did j^ou notice any such movement?
General Oberiiaeuser. No ; no such thing ever happened. It is pv.>ssible
tliat the truck loaded with soldiers of Colonel Ahrens now and
again drove through the forest on duty, but that was all.
Mr. Machrowicz. Did you yourself hear, or did you hear froa
anyone else, about an unusual amount of shooting going on in the
forest during those months that I have mentioned?
General Oberhaeuser. I never noticed any tiring, and besides, firing
was to be prevented at all costs so as not to attract attention of guex*-
rillas, and so on.
Mr. Machrowicz. Can you tell us by whom these graves were discovered,
and under what circumstances, and when ?
General Oberhaeuser. To my laiowledge the graves were discovered
some time in March 1943, and as to how the discovery was made, that
knowledge only came to me later. I was told about it later. But some
Polish auxiliary volunteers, who w^ere working for German divisions,
marching toward the front line, and who had spent a clay or two in
that area on the march to the front line, had inquired from the local
population whether any Polish prisoners or officers had been killed
and buried in that area. Then, in addition, that wolf story of Colonel
Ahrens also came up.
Mr. Machrowicz. Then, to the best of your knowledge, the first
information the German command had of these graves was about
March of 1943?
General Oberhaeuser. To my recollection, in March of 1943 the
first preparations were made to investigate more closely the many
rumors going around about these graves.
Mr. Machrowicz. When did these rumors about the graves start,
as far as you know ?
General Oberhaeuser. I myself never heard any such rumors; I
only got to know about the whole thing when, in March of 1943, the
first preparations were made to make a thorough search in the forest.
Mr. Machrowicz. During the Nuremberg trial you were cross-examined
by Smirnow on the alleged knowledge by the Germans of these
graves as far back as November 1942. Do you remember that?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not exactly recollect having been asked
that question in Nuremberg. At any rate, in 1942 I never had an inkling
of the graves. I suggest that Colonel Ahrens or Lieutenant Eichborn
might be questioned about that.
IVIr. Machrowicz. Now, you testified previously that these graves
were such a horrible sight that you never went to them unless you had
to go. Is that correct?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes; that is correct.
Mr. Machrowicz. Well, when and why did you have to go and see
General Oberhaeuser. Well, as I say, in view of the fact that my
regimental staff was billeted right next to the graves and many people
were busy digging there, I couldn't help passing right through this
thing; and, of course, when I passed through I also looked at these
things and I couldn't help seeing that.
Mr. Maciiroavicz. Were you ever ordered to go there and see the
graves and make a report on them ?
General Oberhaeuser. No.
Mr. Machrowicz. Were there any trees in the immediate vicinity
of where the graves were found?
General Oberhaeuser. In the spot where the graves were found
there was sort of a clearing with tiny birch trees about 3 feet high
whether they had been planted there" or not I do not knov/—and there
was some heather on the ground, but, on the whole, it was a fairly
clear sandy place, sort of a clearing.
Mr. Machrowicz. Now, these young saplings, or these young trees
that you are talking about, were they right over the graves ?
General Oberhaeuser. I am not able to say whether these small
birch trees were right on top of the graves because I only saw them
after they had been opened, but the whole spot was covered with these
small birch saplings, or birch trees, more or less.
Mv. Machrowicz. Did it appear to you then that someone, whoever
it was who dug these graves, after digging these graves, grew young
sapling or birch sapling trees over them? Is that the impression
General Oberhaeuser. Afterwards I had the impression that probably
these trees had been planted there for camouflage purposes.
Mr. Machrowicz. By "camouflage purposes" you mean by someone
who wanted to conceal the location of the graves, is that what you
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, exactly.
Mr. Machrowicz. And might not that have been the reason why
these graves were not noticed by you or by the others in that vicinity
General Oberhaeuser. Yes, that is quite correct. That is one of
the reasoiiR why we probably never noticed the spots where the graves
were. And besides, similar fairly clear spots were also in other portions
of the forest, so this particular spot didn't distinguish itself
much from the others.
Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.
Mr. Dondero. General, was the wood in the vicinity of the graves
thick or thin?
General Oberhaeuser. On the north side of the secondary road leading
from the highway to the castle the forest was not very dense. On
the other side of this road it was much denser.
Mr. Dondero. Was that near the graves ?
General Oberhaeuser. The graves were on that side where the
forest was not dense.
Mr. Dondero. Would they be thick enough or dense enough so that
a man could hide and see the shooting if the men were shot near the
General Oberhaeuser. Single trees might have been there which
were thick enough so that a man could have hidden and looked on,
but the majority of the trees were rather thin.
Mr. Dondero. Were they tall trees, or were they just a low height?
General Oberhaeuser. The trees were fairly high, about 40 to 50
years old, pines ; the size of trees about 40 to 50 years old, pine trees.
I am no forester, I don't know very much about this.
Mr. DoNDERO. Do you think, (Jleiieral, that a man, or two men,
could have hidden in those pine trees that 3'ou have described, and
near enough to the graves so they couki have seen what was going on
if the men were shot very close to where they were buried?
General Oberhaeuser. Yes; in my opinion it would have been
possible for one or two men to hide, because there were also single
bushes standing about, so it would not have been impossible to hide
there and look on.
Mr. DoNDERO. Well, could they have hidden themselves by climbing
the trees so they could not have been seen ?
General Oberhaeuser. I do not think tlint is very likely, because
these pine trees, as usual, are quite bare, without l)ranches.
Mr. Doxdero. That is all.
General Oberhaeuser. They only have foliage on top.
Chairman Madden. Any further questions ?
Chairman Maddeist. General, I just want to ask two questions.
The Russians, in 1943, made an investigation, as you know, and
then presented a written report of their investigation.
General Oberhaeuser. I know about this report of the Russians,
and a few days ago I read in the East Berlin Communist paper,
Taegliche Rundschau the story which covers, more or less, this Russian
Chairman Madden. Yes. Now, General, among the various conclusions
or statements which they made in their report was the following
The mass sliootiugs of Polish prisoners of war in the Katyu Forests were carried
out by a German military organization hiding behind the conventional name
of Headquarters of the 537th Engineering Battalion, which was headed by Lieutenant
Colonel Arnes and assistants, First Lieutenant Rokst and Second Lieutenant
Now, what do you have to say about that conclusion of the Russian
General Oberhaeuser. It was, in my opinion, quite easy for the
local population to find out about the name of the unit, and Ahrens
is quite impossible because he did not take over the regiment before
November 1941. And the names of those two ollicers, Rokst and
Hodt, Avere also fairly easy to be found out by the local population
because these young officers engaged women from the civilian population
to work in the kitchen of the staff headquarters and to do other
housework and chores, and so naturally the names of these officers
were much in evidence, and they must have become known to the
civilians as well.
To my recollection the Russians also named this unit engineer battalion
or construction battalion and I believe that that may come from
the fact that formerly in the Russian Army and, as far as I know,
also in the French Army, engineer and communication troops were
The allegations by the Russians, in my opinion, that Colonel Ahrens
and these two lieutenants, Rokst and Hodt, were responsible for the
shootings are absurd, because Ahrens was not even there at that time.
Chairman Madden. Now, one more question.
The Russian report also concluded—and I will repeat this and the
interpreter can convey it to the witness as I go along:
The German occupation authorities, in tlie spring of 1943, brought in from
other places bodies of Polisli war prisoners whom they had shot and put into the
open graves in the Katyn Forest, calculating on covering up the traces of their
own crimes and on increasing the number of victims of Bolshevik atrocities in
the Katyn Forest.
General, what do you have to say about that statement of the
General Oberhaeuser. All I have to say about that is that the Russians
seem to have a lot of imagination.
Chairman Madden. All right. Now, the Russians, in their report,
after their investigation, also concluded:
"Preparing for their provocation, the German occupation authorities
started opening the graves in the Katyn Forest in order to take out
documents and material evidence which exposed them"—that is, documents
from the bodies, letters, and so on—"using for this work about
500 Russian prisoners of war who were shot by the Germans after this
work was completed."
General Oberhaeuser. It is correct that the exhumations were
made by Russian prisoners of war, but it is absolutely out of the question
and impossible that these allegedly 500 Russian POW's should
have been shot by the Germans.
I want to point out one fact, that from the letters and documents —
particularly from the letters—found on the dead bodies by the Germans,
it emanates quite clearly that all these letters stopped around
about a certain date, May 1940, and not one letter was dated later
Количество сообщений : 4322
Localisation : Москва / Троицк
Дата регистрации : 2009-05-26
|Тема: Re: Показания О. Оберхойзера комиссии Мэддена (юнит 5) Сб Окт 27, 2012 10:15 pm|| |
Упоминание о вопросе, заданном Смирновым Оберхойзеру, имеет исключительно важное значение и дает гораздо более глубокое представление о состоятельности и тактике советского обвинения.
Ведь получается следующая картина. Согласно немецкой версии, впервые могилы обнаружили польские тодтовцы, которые прибыли в тот район 6 января 1942 г. А до того ходили якобы неясные, неверные слухи среди местного населения, которым оккупанты якобы не придавали значения, хотя могилы видели буквально постоянно, поскольку они находились буквально перед их носом.
В Амтлихес Фосс указал, что возбудил следствие по делу в феврале 1943 г. после получения многочисленных сигналов от местных жителей. В сборнике также публикуется протокол допроса Киселева от 27 февраля 43 г., где сообщается, что польские тодтовцы приходили к нему летом 42 г., он указал им местонахождение могил, где поляки нашли трупы офицеров.
По Мадайчику, польские тодтовцы находились в Смоленске всего 3 месяца, после чего их перевели в другое место. На этом основании он заключает, что они нашли могилы перед своим отъездом в марте 1942 г. Далее он указывает, что Фосс начал зондаж и раскопки 18 февраля 1943 г.
Т. Рубасиньский свидетельствует, что Киселев указал ему и его товарищам могилы в апреле 1943 г.
Аренс указывает, что это произошло в конце января - начале февраля 1943 г. Но тогда, по Мадайчику, польских тодтовцев там уже давно не было.
Если история с обнаружением трупов в могилах тодтовцами вовсе не выдумана (а выдвигать такую версию вполне правомерно из-за широкого расхождения дат в разных свидетельствах), то остается заключать, что это могло произойти в период с 6 января по апрель 1942 г., когда там находились польские рабочие.
Предположим, что так оно и было. Тогда получается, что немцы дознались до этого очень не скоро и очень не скоро начали реагировать.
Мадайчик утверждает, что немцев побудило к активным действиям в решающей мере поражение под Сталинградом. Но в первой половине февраля они там еще довольно крепко держались.
Как же тогда объяснить заявление Оберхойзера о том, что впервые о захоронениях он узнал не ранее того, как началось следствие Фосса, и датировку находки Аренсом концом января - началом февраля 1943 г.?
Выходит, что советское обвинение смогло врубиться в это глубокое противоречие, которое, за большим множеством фактов, относящихся к делу, выявить было очень даже непросто. И у советских обвинителей явно имелся ответ на этот вопрос, который нам, к сожалению, до сих пор остается неизвестным.