MAJOR JONES: I want to turn to another territory so that you can give further information to the Court as to the conditions in the occupied territories because what I am putting to you generally, you see, is that the battles that were going on there were battles between ruthless men struggling for power and that there was totally absent from this scene of Nazi control any person who was pressing for human decency, pressing for human pity. You were not pressing for either of those things, were you?

LAMMERS: I did not hear; what would I not initiate? There are continual disturbances on this channel. Will you please repeat the question.

MAJOR JONES: You, in the situation in which you found yourself, were not acting on the side of human decency in this regime, were you?

LAMMERS: I was always on the side of human decency and pity. I have always done such things. I have saved the lives of perhaps one to two hundred thousand Jews.

MAJOR JONES: All you did was to forward annihilation reports to the Himmlers and Bormanns and Hitlers, was that not so?

LAMMERS: I never transmitted annihilation orders.

MAJOR JONES: There is one matter which went through your hands relating to the Defendant Keitel and the ruthless policy that Terboven was carrying out against the Norwegian people. I draw your attention to the document...

LAMMERS: I only asked Herr Keitel to define his point of view and I objected to the Führer against the shooting of hostages. My subordinates can vouch for that.

MAJOR JONES: I just want to draw your attention to Document 871-PS, which will be Exhibit GB-322, which is a letter from Keitel to yourself and is related to the report by Terboven in Document 870-PS, which my learned friend Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe put in in connection with the Defendant Keitel. Now, you will see that that letter, 871-PS, is a letter from Keitel to yourself and it says in the first paragraph: "In connection with the problem of checking sabotage in Norway, I agree with the view of the Reich Commissioner for the occupied Norwegian territories to the extent that I expect results from reprisals only if they are carried out ruthlessly and if Reich Commissioner Terboven is authorized to have the offenders shot."

LAMMERS: I submitted that to the Führer expressing at the same time my views on the shooting of hostages; and my representations to the Führer were successful.

MAJOR JONES: You were successful in what respect?

LAMMERS: The Führer, in a discussion in which Terboven participated, expressly stated that the shooting of hostages was not to take place on the scale he and some others wanted. Hostages were to be taken only from the offenders' intimate circle.

MAJOR JONES: So the effect of your intervention was that the murders did not take place on the scale that Terboven wanted to commit them, did it?

LAMMERS: Yes, Terboven wanted hostages shot on a large scale but the Führer did not approve of that and I objected to every shooting of hostages. The officials of the Reich Chancellery know that and can vouch for it.

MAJOR JONES: And as a result...

LAMMERS: Yes, it is true that I received this letter. Matters took the following course: First I received Terboven's request and then I wrote to Field Marshal Keitel and told him that I lintended to submit Terboven's request to the Führer. I asked him to comment on it. Then the teletype came from Keitel and the request was submittgd to the Führer. Terboven's request was watered down. The Führer took the position that the most important thing was to apprehend the miscreants and hostages were to be taken only in case of necessity. There was no mention of shooting them.

MAJOR JONES: Witness, you know perfectly well that over all the territory where Nazi power ruled hostages were taken, fathers and mothers were killed for the actions of their sons against the Nazi regime. Are you saying you do not know that?

LAMMERS: No, I did not know that for I was not the controller of the occupied territories and I have never been there myself.

MAJOR JONES: But you were receiving regular reports from there and you were the link between the ministers of the occupied territories and Hitler. Just a minute, you were the link between the -- now will you please listen to my question? You were the link between the ministers of the occupied territories and Hitler, were you not?

LAMMERS: Not in all cases. A great many of them went through Bormann, especially Terboven. My subordinates in the Chancellery can vouch for that. Terboven constantly avoided sending his reports through me and sent them through Bormann.

MAJOR JONES: You were working hand in hand.

LAMMERS: Yes, I had to collaborate with him.

MAJOR JONES: You were working hand in glove with Bormann, you know, were you not?

LAMMERS: Yes, I bad to work with him.

MAJOR JONES: You had to work with him? You were the head of the Reich Chancellery.

LAMMERS: In order to submit proposals to the Führer I had to work through Bonnann. I had to collaborate closely with him in order to have the sanction of the Party in countless instances where the sanction of the Party was prescribed, and for that reason I was forced to work closely with Bormann.

MAJOR JONES: Did you find it distasteful to work with Bormann?

LAMMERS: I did not find it distasteful. It was my duty to work with him.

MAJOR JONES: Of course I am suggesting to you, you see, that the power which you and Bormann exercised was very great.

LAMMERS: Yes; it was also exercised in a very one-sided manner; for Bormann could see the Führer every day and I could see him only once every 6 or 8 weeks. Bormann passed on to me the Führer's decision and had personal interviews with the Führer, but I did not.

MAJOR JONES: You were seeking to the very end to maintain your collaboration with Bormann, were you not?

LAMMERS: I had to work with Bormann; that was the only way in which certain things could be brought to the Führer's notice at all. During the last 8 months of the Führer's regime I had no interviews with him and I could only achieve through Bormann the things which I did accomplish:

MAJOR JONES: You wrote to Bormann, you remember, as late as the first of January 1945, a letter, Document D-753(a), Exhibit GB-323.

LAMMERS: Yes, I remember. The letter contains -- I can tell you that from memory without reading the letter -- my complaints about the fact that I was no longer admitted to the Fiihrw's presence and said that this state of affairs could not go on any longer..

MAJOR JONES: And you say in that letter in the last paragraph but one:
"For our former harmonious co-operation has for a. long time been a thorn in the flesh of various persons who would like to play us off one against the other."
That is the last paragraph but one of your letter, right at the end of it.

LAMMERS: Where is the place?

MAJOR JONES: The last paragraph but one of your letter, the last sentence but three.

LAMMERS: The sentence before the last?

MAJOR JONES: The one before.

LAMMERS: "In conclusion I would like to say", is that the paragraph you mean?

MAJOR JONES: The sentence before that, "For our former harmonious co-operation..."

LAMMERS: Yes, but I would like to add that at the end I repeated my wish for our cordial personal relations and I repeat that it was a New Year's letter and when I write to some one wishing him luck for the New Year, I cannot write that things went badly the year before; so in order to maintain cordial relations I say that everything went well.

IMT II, 120-123,
9 April 1946

NOTE: Hostage-taking is legal under international law and is practiced by all belligerents facing difficult occupation situations. International law does not specifically state that it is legal to shoot them. But if not, how can such a practice act as a deterrent? Thus, all belligerents faced with difficult occupation situations not only take, but shoot, hostages if their military authorities believe it necessary to do so. Where the Germans differed, for example, from the French, was that the Germans, insofar as possible, arrested people for clear acts of illegal resistance, and only shot them when renewed acts of resistance were committed by other people. They preferred to avoid hostage-taking at random.

The Meaning of "'War Crime" and 'War Criminal" in Pre-1945 International Law by C.W. Porter
More on the Illegality of Resistance Movements and Guerrilla Warfare under International Law
The Myth of the Illegality of Concentration Camps by C. W. Porter