Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 2: NINTH DAY, Friday, 30 November 1945, Morning Session
COL.AMEN: Was the Wehrmacht ever asked to furnish any assistance for the Polish campaign?
COL.AMEN: Did that undertaking have any special name?
LAHOUSEN As is recorded in the diary of my division the name of this undertaking which took place just before the Polish campaign, was "Undertaking Himmler".
COL. AMEN: Will you explain to the Tribunal the nature of the assistance required?
LAHOUSEN The affair on which I am now giving testimony is one of the most mysterious actions which took place within the Amt Ausland-Abwehr. A few days, or sometime before-I believe it was the middle of August-the precise date can be found in the diary of the division-Abwehr Division I, as well as my division, Abwehr Division II, were given the task of providing Polish uniforms and equipment such as identification cards and so on, for an Undertaking Himmler. This request, according to an entry in the
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diary of the division which was kept not by me, but by my adjutant, was received by Canaris from the Wehrmacht Operations Staff or from the National Defense Department. I believe the name of General Warlimont is mentioned.
COL. AMEN: Do you know where this request originated?
LAHOUSEN: Where the request originated I cannot say, I can only say that it reached us in the form of an order. It was, to be sure, an order on which we, the divisional chiefs concerned, already had some misgivings without knowing what, in the last analysis, it meant. The name Himmler, however, spoke for itself, and that is also evident from entries of the diary which record my question why Herr Himmler should come to receive uniforms from us.
COL.AMEN: To whom was the Polish material to be furnished by the Abwehr?
LAHOUSEN: These articles of equipment had to be kept in readiness, and one day some man from the SS or the SD-the name is given in the official war diary of the division-collected them.
COL. AMEN: At what time was the Abwehr informed as to how this Polish material was to be used?
LAHOUSEN: The real purpose was unknown to us then; we do not know its details even today. All of us, however, had the reasonable suspicion that something entirely crooked was being planned; the name of the undertaking was sufficient guarantee for that.
COL. AMEN: Did you subsequently find out from Canaris what in fact had happened?
LAHOUSEN: The actual course of events was the following: When the first Wehrmacht communique spoke of the attack of Polish units on German territory, Pieckenbrock, holding the communique in his hand, and reading it aloud, observed that now we knew why our uniforms had been needed. On the same day or a few days later, I cannot say exactly, Canaris informed us that people from cσncєnтrαтισn cαмρs had been disguised in these uniforms and had been ordered to make a military attack on the radio station at Gleiwitz. I cannot recall whether any other locality was mentioned. Although we were extremely interested, particularly General Oster, to know details of this action, that is, where it had occurred and what had happened-actually we could well imagine it, but we did not know how it was carried out-I cannot even today say exactly what happened.
COL. AMEN: Did you ever find out what happened to the men from the cσncєnтrαтισn cαмρs who wore the Polish uniforms and created the incident?
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LAHOUSEN: It is strange. This matter has always held my interest, and even after the capitulation I spoke about these matters with an SS Hauptsturmfuehrer-he was a Viennese in the hospital in which both of us were staying, and I asked him for details on what had taken place. The man-his name was Birckel -told me: "It is odd, that even our circles heard of this matter only very much later, and then only by intimation." He added: "So far as I know, even all members of the SD who took part in that action were put out of the way, that is, killed." That was the last I heard of this matter.
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 3: TWELFTH DAY, Tuesday, 4 December 1945, Morning Sessionhttps://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-01-45.asp
DR. NELTE: Did Admiral Canaris not tell you that the Chief of the OKW, Keitel, when informed by the SS of the demand for Polish uniforms and military equipment, had given the clear order that the Abteilung Abwehr should have nothing to do with this game?
LAHOUSEN: As I stated yesterday, this matter was handled very mysteriously and secretly also in our circle. Not only myself, but the others also, knew absolutely nothing about the game which was being played until after it actually happened. The War Diary of the Department makes this very clear. It records that one day, quite suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, a demand was received, by order of Canaris, for so and so many uniforms for an undertaking known as "Himmler". My amazement and my enquiry as to how Himmler came to have anything to do with an undertaking which required Polish uniforms is also recorded in the War Diary, not by me, but by the officer who kept this diary. In reply I was merely told that these articles of equipment would be picked up by a certain person on a certain day, and no further explanation was given. And there the matter ended. Of course, when the name of Himmler was mentioned, besides being mysterious, the thing immediately began to appear suspicious to us. By us, I mean everybody who had to do with it in the course of his duty, right down to the ordinary sergeant, who, of course, had to procure these uniforms by some means or other and deliver them to a certain Hauptsturmfuehrer SS-the name is recorded in the War Diary. These people had their misgivings. That was a thing which could not be forbidden.
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 3 Fourteenth Day Thursday, 6 December 1945 Morning Session https://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-06-45.asp
On the 23rd of August 1939 the Danzig Senate passed a decree whereby Gauleiter Forster was appointed head of the State of the Free City of Danzig, a position which did not exist under the statute setting up the constitution of the Free City. I put in the next docuмent, which is taken from the British Blue Book, only as evidence of that event, an event that was, of course, aimed at stirring up the feeling in the Free City at that time. That is TC-72, Number 62, which becomes GB-50.
At the same time, frontier incidents were being manufactured by the nαzι Government with the aid of the SS. The Tribunal has already heard the evidence of General Lahousen the other day in which he referred to the provision of Polish uniforms to the SS
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forces for these purposes, so that dead Poles could be found lying about the German side of the frontier. I refer the Tribunal now to three short reports which corroborate the evidence that that gentleman came and gave before you, and they are found in the British Blue Book. They are reports from the British Ambassador in Warsaw.
The first of them, TC-72, Number 53, which becomes GB-51, is dated 26th of August.
"A series of incidents again occurred yesterday on German frontier.
"Polish patrol met a party of Germans one kilometer from the East Prussian frontier near Pelta. Germans opened fire. Polish patrol replied, killing leader, whose body is being returned.
"German bands also crossed Silesian frontier near Szczyglo, twice near Bybnik, and twice elsewhere, firing shots and attacking blockhouses and customs posts with machine guns and hand grenades. Poles have protested vigorously to Berlin."Gazeta Polska, in an inspired lead article today, says these are more than incidents. They are clearly prepared acts of aggression of pare-military disciplined detachments, supplied with regular army's arms, and in one case it was a regular army detachment. Attacks more or less continuous.
"These incidents did not cause Poland to forsake calm and strong attitude of defense. Facts spoke for themselves and acts of aggression came from German side. This was the best answer to the ravings of German press.
"Ministry for Foreign Affairs state uniformed German detachment has since shot a Pole across frontier and wounded another."
I pass to the next report, TC-72, Number 54, which becomes GB-52. It is dated the same date, the 26th of August.
"Ministry for Foreign Affairs categorically deny story recounted by Hitler to the French Ambassador that 24 Germans were recently killed at Lodz and eight at Bielsko. The story is without any foundation whatever."
And lastly, TC-72, Number 55, which becomes GB-53, the report of the next day, the 27th of August.
"So far as I can judge, German allegations of mass ill-treatment of German minority by Polish authorities are gross exaggeration, if not complete falsification.
"2. There is no sign of any loss of control of situation by Polish civil authorities. Warsaw, and so far as I can ascertain, the rest of Poland is still completely calm.
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"3. Such allegations are reminiscent of nαzι propaganda methods regarding Czechoslovakia last year.
"4. In any case it is purely and simply deliberate German provocation in accordance with fixed policy that has since March"--since the date when the rest of Czechoslovakia was seized and they were ready to go against Poland--"that has since March exacerbated feeling between the two nationalities. I suppose this has been done with the object:
"(a) Creating war spirit in Germany, (b) impressing public opinion abroad, (c) provoking either defeatism or apparent aggression in Poland.
"5. It has signally failed to achieve either of the two latter objects.
"6. It is noteworthy that Danzig was hardly mentioned by Herr Hitler.
"7. German treatment of Czech Jєωs and Polish minority is apparently negligible factor compared with alleged sufferings of Germans in Poland where, be it noted, they do not amount to more than 10 per cent of the population in any commune.
"8. In the face of these facts it can hardly be doubted that, if Herr Hitler decided on war, it is for the sole purpose of destroying Polish independence.
"9. I shall lose no opportunity of impressing on Minister for Foreign Affairs necessity of doing everything possible to prove that Hitler's allegations regarding German minority are false."
And yet, again, we have further corroboration of General Lahousen's evidence in a memorandum, which has been captured, of a conversation between the writer and Keitel. It is 795-PS, and it becomes GT-54. That conversation with Keitel took place on the 17th of August, and from the memorandum I quote the first paragraph:
"I reported my conference with Jost to Keitel He said that he would not pay any attention to this action, as the Fuehrer had not informed him, and had only let him know that we were to furnish Heydrich with Polish uniforms. He agrees that I instruct The General Staff. He says he does not think much of actions of this kind. However, there is nothing else to be done if they have been ordered by the Fuehrer; that he could not ask the Fuehrer how he had planned the execution of this special action. In regard to Dirsehau, he has decided that this action would be executed only by the Army."
That then, My Lord, was the position at the end of the first week in August--I mean at the end of the third week in August.
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 4: TWENTY-FOURTH DAY, Thursday, 20 December 1945, Morning Sessionhttps://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/12-20-45.asp
I now offer in evidence Docuмent 2751-PS, which is Exhibit USA-482. It is an affidavit of Alfred Helmut Naujocks, dated November 20, 1945. This affidavit particularly refers to the actual occurrences in connection with the Polish border incident. I believe it was referred to by the Witness Lahousen when he was on the stand:
"I, Alfred Helmut Naujocks, being first duly sworn, depose and state as follows:
"1. I was a member of the SS from 1931 to 19 October 1944 and a member of the SD from its creation in 1934 to January 1941. I served as a member of the Waffen-SS from February 1941 until the middle of 1942. Later I served in the Economics Department of the Military Administration of Belgium from September 1942 to September 1944. I surrendered to the Allies on 19 October 1944.
"2. On or about 10 August 1939 the Chief of the Sipo and SD, Heydrich, personally ordered me to simulate an attack on the radio station near Gleiwitz, near the Polish border, and to make it appear that the attacking force consisted of
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Poles. Heydrich said: 'Actual proof of these attacks of the Poles is needed for the foreign press, as well as for German propaganda purposes.' I was directed to go to Gleiwitz with five or six SD men and wait there until I received a code word from Heydrich indicating that the attack should take place. My instructions were to seize the radio station and to hold it long enough to permit a Polish-speaking German, who would be put at my disposal, to broadcast a speech in Polish. Heydrich told me that this speech should state that the time had come for the conflict between the Germans and the Poles and that the Poles should get together and strike down any Germans from whom they met resistance. Heydrich also told me at this time that he expected an attack on Poland by Germany in a few days.
"3. I went to Gleiwitz and waited there a fortnight. Then I requested permission of Heydrich to return to Berlin but was told to stay in Gleiwitz. Between the 25th and 31st of August I went to see Heinrich Muller, head of the Gestapo, who was then nearby at Oppeln. In my presence Muller discussed with a man named Mehlhorn plans for another border incident, in which it should be made to appear that Polish soldiers were attacking German troops .... Germans in the approximate strength of a company were to be used. Muller stated that he had 12 or 13 condemned criminals who were to be dressed in Polish uniforms and left dead on the ground at the scene of the incident to show that they had been killed while attacking. For this purpose they were to be given fatal injections by a doctor employed by Heydrich. Then they were also to be given gunshot wounds. After the assault members of the press and other persons were to be taken to the spot of the incident. A police report was subsequently to be prepared.
"4. Muller told me that he had an order from Heydrich to make one of those criminals available to me for the action at Gleiwitz. The code name by which he referred to these criminals was 'Canned Goods.'
"5. The incident at Gleiwitz in which I participated was carried out on the evening preceding the German attack on Poland. As I recalls war broke out on the 1st of September 1939. At noon on the 31st of August I received by telephone from Heydrich the code word for the attack which was to take place at 8 o'clock that evening. Heydrich said, 'In order to carry out this attack, report to Muller for "Canned Goods."' I did this and gave Muller instructions to deliver the man near the radio station. I received this man and had
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him laid down at the entrance to the station. He was alive, but he was completely unconscious. I tried to open his eyes. I could not recognize by his eyes that he was alive, only by his breathing. I did not see the shot wounds, but a lot of blood was smeared across his face. He was in civilian clothes.
"6. We seized the radio station as ordered, broadcast a speech of 3 to 4 minutes over an emergency transmitter, fired some pistol shots, and left."
Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 10: NINETY-NINTH DAY, Wednesday, 4 April 1946, Morning Sessionhttps://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/04-04-46.asp
DR. NELTE: Did you know of the so-called minimum demands on Poland?
KEITEL: I believe that I saw them in the Reich Chancellery, that Hitler himself showed them to me, so that I knew about them.
DR. NELTE: As you saw them, I would like to ask whether you considered these demands to be serious?
KEITEL: At that time I was always only a few minutes in the Reich Chancellery and as a soldier I naturally believed that these were meant perfectly honestly.
DR. NELTE: Was there any talk at that time of border incidents?
KEITEL: No. This question of border incidents was also extensively discussed with me here in my interrogations. In this situation and in the few discussions we had at the Reich Chancellery in those days there was no talk at all on this question.
DR. NELTE: I am now having Docuмent 795-PS brought to you, notes which deal with the Polish uniforms for Heydrich.
KEITEL: May I add...
DR. NELTE: Please do.
KEITEL: ... namely, that on 30 August, I believe, the day for the attack, which took place on 1 September, was again postponed for 24 hours. For this reason Brauchitsch and I were again called to the Reich Chancellery and to my recollection the reason given was that a Polish Government plenipotentiary was expected. Everything was to be postponed for 24 hours. Then no further changes of the military instructions occurred.
This docuмent deals with Polish uniforms for border incidents or for some sort of illegal actions. It has been shown to me, I know it; it is a subsequent note made by Admiral Canaris of a conversation he had with me. He told me at that time that he was to make available a few Polish uniforms. This had been communicated to him by the Fuehrer through the adjutant. I asked: "For what purpose?" We both agreed that this was intended for some illegal action. If I remember rightly I told him at that time that I did not believe in such things at all and that he had better keep his hands off. We then had a short discussion about Dirschau which was also to be taken by a coup de main by the Wehrmacht. That is all I heard of it. I believe I told Canaris he could dodge the issue by saying that he had no Polish uniforms. He could simply say he had none and the matter would be settled.