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  • Wehrmacht Generals speak....

    I recently picked up a Russian book containing interrogation reports of several German officers held in Soviet custody after the war, including Field Marshals von Kleist and Schorner, and Generals Weidling, Schobert, Schmidt and Niedermeyer among others. To the best of my knowledge, none of this is yet in English. If members are interested, I may be persuaded in translating some of these interrogation records and posting them here.


  • #2
    Originally posted by skoblin View Post
    I recently picked up a Russian book containing interrogation reports of several German officers held in Soviet custody after the war, including Field Marshals von Kleist and Schorner, and Generals Weidling, Schobert, Schmidt and Niedermeyer among others. To the best of my knowledge, none of this is yet in English. If members are interested, I may be persuaded in translating some of these interrogation records and posting them here.
    Could you give us the citation on the book? Thanks in advance.
    Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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    • #3
      That was a good post about Schorner in the other thread. Some more would be welcome.
      "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
      "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

      "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
      — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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      • #4
        I'm interested! But, wouldn't you personally translating it be very tedious?
        "We have no white flag."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GMan88 View Post
          I'm interested! But, wouldn't you personally translating it be very tedious?
          It is very tedious, but I have some spare time at present.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by R.N. Armstrong View Post
            Could you give us the citation on the book? Thanks in advance.
            Generaly i Ofitsery Vermakhta rasskazivayut... Dokumenty iz sledsvennykh dyel nemyetskikh voennoplennykh 1944-1951.
            Makarov V. G. and V. S. Khristoforov, eds.
            Myezhdunarodniy Fond "Demokratiya".
            Moscow, 2009

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            • #7
              Originally posted by skoblin View Post
              It is very tedious, but I have some spare time at present.
              I would appreciate it. You could cheat and use Google!

              Thanks Skob!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
                I would appreciate it. You could cheat and use Google!

                Thanks Skob!
                I do not use google. Plus, I am translating from a book, so I would have to type everything out word for word in Cyrillic and then insert it into google translator.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interrogation record of General Weidling, Commandant of Berlin
                  Summary of service
                  Events in Berlin
                  Scorched earth policy during the Rzhev withdrawal.

                  Minutes of the Interrogation
                  of the former Military Commandant of the city of Berlin
                  General der Artillerie of the German Army, Weidling, Helmut

                  3 January 1946

                  Weidling, Helmut, born 1891,
                  native of the town of Halbertstadt (Saxony)
                  German, non-party, from a doctor's family
                  secondary school education,
                  in the German Army since 1911
                  from 24 April to 1 May 1945 was Military Commandant
                  of the city of Berlin.

                  Question: Tell us about your service in the German Army.
                  Answer: I entered the German Army voluntarily, upon graduating from the gymnasium [secondary school] in 1911. In 1912, I graduated from the one year military school and received the rank of lieutenant that same year. During the First World War, I took part as an aviation observer and then as the commander of a dirigible. After the First World War, I served in various artillery units, and by the start of the German-Soviet War I had the rank of colonel and was the chief of the 128th Artillery Command of the XL Panzer Corps. My staff was engaged in working out tactical questions regarding the employment of the corps artillery and artillery attached to the corps.
                  Question: You took part in the fighting against the Red Army?
                  Answer: Yes. From the beginning of the German-Soviet War I was located on the Eastern Front.
                  Question: Which units and which sectors of the front did you command?
                  Answer: I was the chief of the 128th Artillery Command of the XL Panzer Corps until December 1941 and took part in the offensive of the central group of German forces. From the end of 1941, as commander of the 86th Infantry Division, I spent more than a year in the forward positions near Rzhev, and then between the towns of Olenin and Byeliy until the spring of 1943. During the summer of 1943, my division took part in the fighting near the “Kursk salient” and then conducted a fighting withdrawal to the Dnieper river following the failure of our offensive. In October 1943, I was appointed commander of the XLI Panzer Corps and defended the sector between the 2nd and 9th Armies, between the Pripyat' and Berezina rivers, until June 1944. In June 1944, on the third day of the Russian offensive in Byelorussia, my corps was transferred to the area near Bobruisk, where I handed over my command to Lieutenant-General Hoffmeister. I had been ordered by Field Marshal Model to assume command of “Blocking Formation 'Weidling'”, which had the task of covering the withdrawal of the 9th German Army. From August 1944, I commanded the reorganised XLI Panzer Corps in East Prussia and after its destruction by units of the Red Army at the end of March 1945, I was appointed the commander of the LVI Panzer Corps, which was situated east of the town of Kustrin. Under pressure by units of the Red Army, I retreated with this corps to Berlin and took part in the city's defense. On 24 April 1945, Hitler appointed me as Military Commandant of the city of Berlin and gave me the task of organising and commanding its defense.
                  Question: Why did Hitler give you this responsibility?
                  Answer: I was appointed Commandant of Berlin due to the removal of Lieutenant-General Reymann as Commandant of Berlin following arguments with Goebbels. Since no experienced combat commanders remained in Berlin by this time, the Chief of Army Staff, General Krebs, suggested my candidacy to Hitler. In any case, the appointment was by sheer chance, as Hitler did not know me. I became acquainted with Hitler afterwards, when I began reporting to him as the commander of the Berlin defense.
                  Question: How often did you report to Hitler?
                  Answer: From April 24 to April 29, I attended meetings with Hitler almost every day, in which I reported on the military situation and took part in discussions regarding measures to be taken in the defense of the city.
                  Question: What do you know about Hitler's fate?
                  Answer: On April 30, between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening, I was summoned to Hitler's bunker where I encountered Goebbels, Krebs and the Chief of the Reich Chancellery, Bormann. They officially reported to me that Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, had committed suicide at 1500 hours on 30 April 1945. I was also notified that their bodies had been burned and the remains interned in the garden of the Reich Chancellery, near the emergency exit from Hitler's bunker.
                  Question: Other than the report from these individuals, were you able to personally make certain that Hitler was indeed dead?
                  Answer: I did not personally witness his death nor did I see his body. However, I did not doubt the veracity of Goebbels, Krebs and Bormann's statement, as Hitler had looked wretched in the last days and appeared like a man who had lost any will to live. I had last seen Hitler on April 29, when there was already no possibility of leaving Berlin. For a more detailed account of Hitler's final days - how he behaved and what he said, which may be of assistance in this investigation - I ask that I be allowed to write this in my own hand.
                  Question: What orders of the German High Command did you know regarding the treatment of the Russian population, and in particular Russian prisoners of war?
                  Answer: I know that at the beginning of the war with the Soviet Union, Hitler had ordered the execution of all political instructors and commissars of the Red Army upon capture. The same instructions were given to the forces fighting partisans in another of Hitler's orders in 1942. In this order, Hitler forbade the use of the word “partisan” and ordered it be replaced with the term “bandit”.
                  Question: How did you carry out these orders from Hitler?
                  Answer: Prior to the end of 1941, I was the chief of the 128th Artillery Command of the XL Panzer Corps and consequently had no dealings with prisoners. When I was given the 86th Infantry Division at the end of 1941, I maintained the orders given out by my predecessor, Lieutenant-General Witthoff, according to which units belonging to the division were obliged to send all Soviet prisoners which had fallen into their hands to collection points for prisoners of war located in the rear. Thus, I followed the example of General Witthoff and declined responsibility for the execution of military prisoners. As for Hitler's order regarding the execution of partisans, I never had the opportunity to carry this out as I spent all my time with my forces at front lines, where the partisan detachments did not operate.
                  Question: How did you carry out Hitler's orders regarding the destruction of Soviet populated centers?
                  Answer: Commencing with the defeat of the German forces near Moscow, we were always reminded that when withdrawing we were to leave behind ourselves a “desert zone,” that is, we were to destroy all populated centers. The withdrawal of the 9th Army from Rzhev in March 1943 may provide the most vivid example of how these instructions were carried out in practice. This withdrawal was prepared beforehand in the minutest detail, with withdrawal zones assigned among the divisions, in which everything was to be destroyed. Thus, upon withdrawing, I was instructed by the headquarters of the 9th Army as divisional commander to burn down all populated centers, blow up all stone structures and to destroy in general all objects which may be of use to the enemy. Along with this, I was assigned an withdrawal zone roughly 20 kilometers wide and 160-200 kilometers deep. In turn, I divided this area between the regiments and assigned them one sapper company each to assist in the destruction of populated centers within the withdrawal zone. The same tasks were given to the roughly 15 rearguard divisions of the 9th Army, which destroyed all the populated centers along a front 300 kilometers wide and 200 kilometers deep during the withdrawal. Later, this order remained in force, but in the majority of the cases where I happened to retreat I was unable to carry out such methodical destruction due to the unexpected and rapid advance of the Red Army. In addition, there was often a lack of explosives for putting this order into practice.
                  Question: How did you deal with the population of the destroyed settlements?
                  Answer: The population of those Soviet settlements subject to destruction were evacuated by the rear services of the 9th Army beforehand.
                  Question: Which awards did you receive for being on the German-Soviet front?
                  Answer: For participation in the fighting on the Eastern Front, I was awarded the German Cross in gold and the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. I received 16 medals in all.
                  Question: Under what circumstances were you taken prisoner by units of the Red Army?
                  Answer: On the evening of 30 April 1945, General Krebs proceeded to the Russian command with an offer for a cease-fire. When Krebs returned on May 1 of the same year and reported that the Russians had refused a cease-fire and had demanded the unconditional surrender of the German forces in Berlin, Goebbels, Krebs and Bormann instructed me accomplish a breakthrough during the night of May 1 and 2 and to save the Berlin garrison from encirclement. During this operation, I was persuaded that this task could not be accomplished and I surrendered that same night along with my forces and was taken prisoner by the Russians.

                  WEIDLING

                  Interrogator: Ass [istant]. Ch [ief] 1 Sec [tion] 2 Dep [artment] GUKR
                  “SMERSH”, Major SIOMONCHUK
                  Last edited by Skoblin; 16 Apr 10, 18:01.

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                  • #10
                    Interrogation record of General Weidling, Commandant of Berlin
                    Statement of charges for war crimes
                    7 September 1951. Moscow

                    Weidling, Helmut, born 1891
                    native of the town of Halbertstadt, German,
                    secondary school education, former Military
                    Commandant of Berlin, General der Artillerie

                    Interrogation conducted in German. Translator for the Investigations Section of the 2nd M[ain] Adm[inistration] MGB USSR, Lieutenant Makeev, had been advised of his responsibility in conducting a correct translation according to Article 95 of the Criminal Code of the USSR.

                    [MAKEEV]

                    Interrogation beginning at 1355 hours
                    Interrogation ending at 1645 hours

                    Question: You have been charged according to points 1 “a” and 1 “b” of Article II, Law No. 10, of the Control Council in Germany*. Do you understand?
                    Answer: I understand the charges.
                    Question: Do you acknowledge yourself guilty of the charges brought against you?
                    Answer: I acknowledge myself fully guilty of the charges brought against me.
                    Question: In what specifically do you acknowledge your guilt?
                    Answer: I acknowledge my guilt first of all in that being a career officer in the German Army and occupying a leading position in it, I carried out in practice Hitler's idea of aggressive wars of conquest conducted by Germany in Europe. Due to the intensive propaganda conducted by the National Socialist party along racist lines and against other peoples, I became a Nazi by conviction, although I was not formally a member of the party.
                    I acknowledge the fact that I participated in the war against the USSR and that this war, which was directed at the destruction of the Soviet people, which took place throughout the occupied territory, was an atrocity.
                    This especially relates to the generals of Hitler's Army, who – in prosecuting the war – carried out the delirious ideas of Hitler and his ruling circle in the destruction of some peoples and the subjugation of others.
                    I was a participant of the First World War and also took part in the war against Poland, France and Balkan countries. I also actively participated in the war against the USSR and thus I can state that the war against Soviet Russia was distinguished from all other wars Germany conducted. This was a war not only between Hitler's Army and the Soviet Army but also a war against the Soviet people. It was conducted with the intention of destroying the Soviet people and eliminating Bolshevism. For four years, Hitler's army – under the leadership of his generals – did everything possible in pursuit of these goals.
                    Question: Describe your active participation in Hitler's aggressive forces, in particular, against the Soviet Union.
                    Answer: In the aggressive war against Poland in 1939, I commanded an artillery regiment of the 20th Division and took part in the fighting against the Polish Army. I took part in the fighting against the French Army as an artillery commander of a panzer corps. I served in this same post during the fighting in the Balkans. I began the war against the Soviet Union as the artillery commander of XL Panzer Corps and then, from January 1942, commanded the 86th Infantry Division. From October 1943, I continued fighting against the Soviet Army as the commander of a panzer corps. On 24 April 1945, I was appointed by Hitler as the Military Commandant of the city of Berlin and under his direction carried out the defense of the Berlin, resisting Soviet forces until 2 May 1945, when I was taken prisoner.
                    Question: In what atrocities did you take part?
                    Answer: I am guilty of the fact that the 86th Infantry Division, under my command, destroyed populated centers during the withdrawal in the area of Rzhev, according to a general plan developed earlier by the German command, and drove the civilian population westwards. I took no part in other atrocities committed against the civilian population or against Soviet prisoners of war.

                    WEIDLING

                    Interrogator: Dep[uty] Ch[ief] of the 5th Section, 2nd M[ain] Adm[inistration] MGB USSR, Major GONCHAROV

                    Translator: Translator for the Investigations Section of the 2nd M[ain] Adm[inistration] MGB USSR, Lieutenant MAKEEV
                    * see: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/ccno10.htm – skoblin
                    Last edited by Skoblin; 16 Apr 10, 22:48.

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                    • #11
                      Interrogation of General Weidling, Commandant of Berlin
                      Questions regarding Generalfeldmarschall Schörner

                      20 November 1951
                      Moscow

                      Weidling, Helmut, born 1891
                      native of the town of Halbertstadt (Germany)
                      German, German national, former
                      commander of the defense of Berlin, General
                      der Artillerie.

                      Interrogation beginning at 1120 hours
                      ------ “ ------ ending at 1650 hours

                      German translator Makeev has been advised regarding his responsibility for conducting a correct translation according to Article 95 of the Criminal Code of the USSR.
                      [MAKEEV]

                      Question: Do you know the former Generalfeldmarschall Schörner, Ferdinand?
                      Answer: Yes. I know Generalfeldmarschall Schörner of the former German Army.
                      Question: When and under what circumstances did you become acquainted with him?
                      Answer: I first met Schörner in January 1941, when he was the commander of the 6th Mountain Division, which was deployed near the Semmering pass in the Alps. The 6th Mountain Division had come under the command of the XL Panzer Corps at that time. As the artillery commander of the XL Panzer Corps, I headed off to meet Schörner in order to establish direct contact and check on the condition of division's artillery. I was then struck by the model order and harsh discipline, which Schörner had established in his division.
                      Question: What kind of relations did you have with Schörner?
                      Answer: I had normal relations with Schörner.
                      Question: Did you and Schörner take part in the criminal war against the Soviet Union as members of the same corps?
                      Answer: No. I did not serve with Schörner in the war against the Soviet Union. I only saw Schörner during the first weeks of the war in the Balkans, in April 1941. As part of my duties I had to spend time with his division. Schörner's division left the XL Panzer Corps shortly before the war with the Soviet Union and I no longer encountered Schörner.
                      Question: It is known, that in 1945 Schörner was in command of Army Group 'Center,” while you were the commander of the LVI Panzer Corps. Is it not true that your corps was part of Schörner's army group?
                      Answer: In April 1945, Hitler ordered me to take command of the LVI Panzer Corps, which was part of the 9th Army. The 9th Army, however, reported directly to Hitler and was not part of Army Group “Center”. The 9th Army most likely had dealings with the northern Army Group “Vistula”, while Schörner's group was located on the right flank of the 9th Army. Generalfeldmarschall Schörner's army group subsequently fought somewhere in Silesia and Czechoslovakia.
                      Question: What German crimes did Schörner and those forces under his command commit in the territory of the Soviet Union?
                      Answer: I do not know.
                      Question: What reputation did Schörner enjoy among the German generals?
                      Answer: I heard at various times from many acquaintances among the generals (I do not remember the names), that Schörner was a fervent national socialist according to his political convictions and was a fanatic admirer of Hitler. I heard little regarding his military skill, but he was known for his love of strict discipline and textbook order among the troops.
                      Question: Schörner's fascist convictions and admiration of Hitler played a large role in his advance in the service. Is this not true?
                      Answer: Many generals told me at the time that Schörner owed his career to Hitler, who knew about his fanatic admiration for National Socialism and thus assisted in his rapid rise in the service. Schörner also had some success as a military commander.
                      Question: What did Hitler have to say about Schörner?
                      Answer: I do not remember if Hitler spoke about Schörner in my presence. However, the fact that Hitler in his will and testament appointed Schörner to the post of War Minister in the new government speaks for itself. If Hitler did not value Schörner highly, then his name would naturally not have appeared among the members of the proposed government.
                      Question: Can you provide a more detailed account of this?
                      Answer: On the evening of 30 April 1945, I was summoned to Hitler's personal bunker where I met Goebbels, Bormann and Krebs.
                      The latter informed me in a somber tone that Hitler had killed himself and that he had appointed a new government in his will and testament: Grossadmiral Doenitz was appointed Reichsprasident, Goebbels as Reichschanceller, Bormann – Minister for Party Affairs, Generalfeldmarschall Schörner as Minister of Defense and Seyss-Inquardt as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I did not personally see Hitler's political testament.
                      Question: Was Schörner officially announced as the new German Minister of Defense on 30 April 1945?
                      Answer: All those who were located in the bunker near the Reich Chancellery during the final days of the battle of Berlin were completely isolated from the outside world.
                      Thus, Hitler's testament was not officially announced in Germany. Moreover, Goebbels, Bormann and others were afraid that news of Hitler's death would have a negative influence on the crumbling morale of the German Army. Thus, as far as I know, Schörner was not officially recognised as the German Minister of Defense.
                      Question: Did you encounter Generalfeldmarschall Greim of the Luftwaffe in Hitler's bunker?
                      Answer: Yes. I saw Generalfeldmarschall Greim of the Luftwaffe in the bunker several days before Hitler's death. Hitler had ordered that Greim be appointed as head of the Luftwaffe in place of Goering. Greim was in Berlin for only a few hours and then flew out with the pilot Hannah Greitsch to an unknown destination.
                      Question: During the interrogation on October 30 this year, the prisoner Schörner testified that you enjoyed a great deal of trust on the part of Hitler and worked out military plans with him. Do you corroborate this?
                      Answer: Yes. I certainly enjoyed Hitler's trust, otherwise he would not have appointed me as the commander of Berlin's defenses. It stands to reason, that I took part in working out the plans for the defense of Berlin alongside Hitler, as I have already related to the investigation.
                      Question: During the same interrogation, the prisoner Schörner stated that during the battle of Berlin you were found to be under the significant influence of the then Berlin Defense Commissioner, Goebbels. Is this true?
                      Answer: I do not deny that there were normal relations between me and Goebbels, which the latter did not enjoy with Reymann. As is known, my predecessor in command of the defense of Berlin, General Reymann, was unable to work with Goebbels and was removed from his post.
                      I was not, however, under the influence of Goebbels and could not be under his influence, as he had no understanding of military questions.

                      WEIDLING

                      Interrogator: Dep[uty] Ch[ief] of the Section, 2nd M[ain] Adm[inistration] MGB USSR, Sen[ior] Lieutenant LISOVETS

                      Translator: Translator for the same section, Lieutenant MAKEEV
                      Last edited by Skoblin; 17 Apr 10, 10:58.

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                      • #13
                        That would be brill
                        "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised"
                        Zap Brannigan. Futurama

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                        • #14
                          Very good thread Skob, well done.
                          "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                          Ernest Hemingway.

                          "The more I learn about people, The more I love my dog".
                          Mark Twain.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Achtung Baby View Post
                            Very good thread Skob, well done.
                            Let me echo AB's words! Thanks for your hard work!
                            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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