The Holocaust Historiography Project

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14. Karl Doenitz


After his appointment in 1935 as commander of the Weddigen U-
boat flotilla — the first flotilla to be formed after the
World War in 1918 — Doenitz, who thus became in effect
commander of U-boats, rose steadily in rank as the U-boat
arm expanded until he became an admiral. On 30 January 1943
he was appointed Grand Admiral and succeeded Raeder as
Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy, retaining his command
of the U-boat arm. Then, on 1 May 1945, he succeeded Hitler
as leader of Germany (2887-PS).

Doenitz was awarded the following decorations: On 18
September 1939 he received the Cluster of the Iron Cross,
first class, for the U-boat successes in the Baltic during
the Polish campaign. This award was followed on 21 April
1940 by the high award of the Knight’s Cross to the Iron
Cross, while on 7 April 1943 he received personally from
Hitler the Oak Leaf to the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross,
as the 223rd recipient.

Doenitz’s services in building up the German Navy, and in
particular the offensive U-boat arm, for the coming war,
were outstanding. An extract from the official publication
"Das Archiv” an the occasion of Doenitz’s promotion to vice-
admiral, dated 27 September 1940, reads as

     “*** In four years of untiring and in the fullest sense
     of the word uninterrupted work of training, he
     [Doenitz] succeeds in developing the young U-boat arm,
     personnel, and material till it is a weapon of a
     striking power unexpected even by the experts. More
     than three million gross tons of sunken enemy shipping
     in only one year achieved with only few boats speak
     better than words of the services of this man.”

An extract from the diary for the German Navy, 1944 edition
(1463-PS) emphasizes Doenitz’s contribution. It describes in
detail Doenitz’s work in building up the U-boat arm; his
ceaseless work in training night and day to close the gap of
seventeen years, during which no training had taken place;
his responsibility for new improvements and for devising the
"pack” tactics which were later to become famous. His
position is summarized further as follows:

     “*** In spite of the fact that his duties took on
     unmeasurable proportions since the beginning of the
     huge U-boat construction program, the chief was what he
     was and always will be, leader and inspiration to all
     the forces under him. *** In spite of all his duties,
     he never lost touch with his men and he showed a
     masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the
     changing fortunes of war.” (1463-PS)

It was not only, however, his ability as a naval officer
which won Doenitz these high honors: his promotion to
succeed Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy; the
personal position he acquired as one of Hitler’s principal
advisers; and finally, earlier candidates such as Goering
having betrayed Hitler’s trust or finding the position less
attractive than they had anticipated, the doubtful honor of
becoming Hitler’s successor. These he owed to his fanatical
adherence to Hitler and to the Party, to his belief in the
Nazi ideology with which he sought to indoctrinate the Navy
and the German people, and to his “masterly understanding in
adjusting himself to the changing fortunes of war” (1463-
PS), which may be regarded as synonymous with a capacity for
utter ruthlessness.


Doenitz’s attitude to the Nazi Party and its creed is shown
by his public utterances. In a speech — subsequently
circulated by Doenitz as a Top Secret document for senior
officers only and by the hand of officers only at a meeting
of commanders of the Navy in Weimar on 17 December 1943,
Doenitz stated (D-443):

     “*** I am a firm adherent of the idea of ideological
     education. For what is it in the main? Doing his duty
     is a matter of course for the soldier. But the whole
     importance, the whole weight of duty done, are only
     present when the heart and spiritual conviction have a
     voice in the matter. The result of duty done is then
     quite different to what it would be if I only carried
     out my task literally, obediently, and faithfully. It
     is therefore necessary for the soldier to support the
     execution of his duty with all his mental, all his
     spiritual energy, and for this his conviction, his
     ideology are indispensable. It is therefore necessary
     for us to train the soldier uniformly, comprehensively,
     that he may be adjusted ideologically to our Germany.
     Every dualism, every dissension in this connection, or
     every divergence, or unpreparedness, imply a weakness
     in all circumstances. He in whom this grows and thrives
     in unison is superior to the other. Then indeed the
     whole importance, the whole weight of his conviction

                                                  [Page 817]

     comes into play. It is also nonsense to say that the
     soldier or the officer must have no politics. The
     soldier embodies the state in which he lives; he is the
     representative, the articulate exponent of this state.
     He must therefore stand with his whole weight behind
     this state.

     “We must travel this road from our deepest conviction.
     The Russian travels along it. We can only maintain
     ourselves in this war if we take part in it with holy
     zeal, with all our fanaticism.

     “Not I alone can do this, but it can only be done with
     the aid of the man who holds the production of Europe
     in his hand, with Minister Speer. My ambition is to
     have as many warships for the Navy as possible so as to
     be able to fight and to strike. It does not matter to
     me who builds them.” (D-443)

In a speech on the same subject by Doenitz as Commander-in-
Chief of the Navy to the Commanders in Chief on 15 February
1944, he had this to say:

     “From the very start the whole of the officer corps
     must be so indoctrinated that it feels itself co-
     responsible for the National Socialist State in its
     entirety. The officer is the exponent of the state; the
     idle chatter that the officer is nonpolitical is sheer
     nonsense.” (D-640)

Doenitz’s position was made unmistakably clear in a speech
which he made to the German Navy and the German people on
Heroes' Day,

     “German men and women!

     “*** What would have become of our country today, if
     the Fuehrer had not united us under National-Socialism
     ! Split into parties, beset with the spreading poison
     of Jewry and vulnerable to it, and lacking, as a
     defense, our present uncompromising world outlook, we
     would long since have succumbed to the burdens of this
     war and been subject to the merciless destruction of
     our adversaries. ***” (2878-PS)

A speech by Doenitz to the Navy on 21 July 1944 shows his

     “Men of the Navy ! Holy wrath and unlimited anger fill
     our hearts because of the criminal attempt which was
     intended to have cost the life of our beloved Fuehrer.
     Providence wished it otherwise — watched over and
     protected our Fuehrer, and did not abandon our German
     fatherland in the fight for its destiny.” (2878-PS)

                                                  [Page 818]

And then he goes on to deal with the fate which should be
meted out to the traitors.

The abolition of the German military salute and the adoption
of the Nazi salute in the German forces was due to Doenitz
along with Goering and Keitel (2878-PS).

When Adolf Hitler was reported dead, Doenitz spoke over the
German radio announcing the Fuehrer’s death and his own
succession. The German announcer made this statement:

     “It has been reported from the Fuehrer’s Headquarters
     that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon
     in his battle headquarters at the Reichschancellery
     fighting to the last breath for Germany against

     “On the 30th April the Fuehrer nominated Grand Admiral
     Doenitz to be his successor. The Grand Admiral and
     Fuehrer’s successor will speak to the German nation.”

Whereupon Doenitz spoke as follows:

     “German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed
     Forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German
     people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had
     recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had
     dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight
     having ended, he died a hero’s death in the capital of
     the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably
     straight and steady life.” (D-444)

Doenitz proceeded to issue an order of the day, to the same
effect (D-444).

                                                  [Page 818]


Apart from his services in building up the U-boat arm, there
is ample evidence that Doenitz, as Officer Commanding U-
boats, took part in the planning and execution of the
aggressive wars against Poland, Norway, and Denmark.

(1) Poland. The distribution list on a memorandum by Raeder,
dated 16 May 1939, shows that the sixth copy went to the
Fuehrer der Unterseeboote, who was Doenitz. This document
was a directive for the invasion of Poland (Fall Weiss) (C-
126). Another memorandum from Raeder’s headquarters, dated 2
August 1939, is addressed to the fleet, and The Flag
Officer, U-boats — this is, Doenitz (C-126). This was
merely a covering letter on operational directions for the
precautionary employment of U-boats in the Atlantic in the
event that the intention to

                                                  [Page 819]

carry out Fall Weiss remained unchanged. The second sentence
is significant:

     “Flag Officer, U-boats, is handing in his operational
     orders to SKL [Seekriegsletung, the German Admiralty]
     by 12 August. A decision on the sailings of U-boats for
     the Atlantic will probably be made at the middle of
     August.” (C-126)

Doenitz proceeded to give operational instructions to his U-
boats for the operation Fall Weiss. These instructions,
signed by him, are not dated, but it is clear from the
subject matter that the date must have been before 16 July
1939 (C-172). These operational instructions gave effect to
Raeder’s directive (C-126).

(2) Norway and Denmark. An extract from the War Diary of the
Naval War Staff of the German Admiralty, dated 3 October
1939, records the fact that the Chief of the Naval War Staff
has called for views on the possibility of taking
operational bases in Norway (C-122). It states Doenitz's
views as follows:

     “*** Flag Officer U-boats already considers such
     harbors extremely useful as equipment-and supply-bases
     for Atlantic U-boats to call at temporarily.” (C-122)

A communication from Doenitz as Flag Officer U-boats,
addressed to the Supreme Command of the Navy (the Naval War
Staff) dated 9 October 1939, sets out Doenitz’s views on the
advantages of Trondheim and Narvik as bases. Doenitz
proposes the establishment of a base at Trondheim with
Narvik as alternative (C-5).

Doenitz then gave operation orders to his U-boats for the
occupation of Denmark and Norway. This Top Secret order,
dated 30 March 1940, under the code name “Hartmut,”

     “The naval force will, as they enter the harbor, fly
     the British flag until the troops have landed, except
     presumably at Narvik.” (C-151)

(3) England. The preparations for war against England are
perhaps best shown by the disposition of the U-boats under
Doenitz’s command on 3 September 1939, when war broke out
between Germany and the Western Allies. The locations of the
kings in the following week, including that of the Athenia,
provide corroboration. These matters are contained in two
charts prepared by the British Admiralty. The first chart
sets out the disposition of German submarines on 3 September
1939. The certificate attached to this chart reads:

     “This chart has been constructed from a study of the
     orders issued by Doenitz between 21 August 1939 and 3

                                                  [Page 820]

     ber 1939, and subsequently captured. The chart shows
     the approximate disposition of submarines ordered for 3
     September 1939, and cannot be guaranteed accurate in
     every detail, as the file of captured orders are
     clearly not complete and some of the submarines shown
     apparently had received orders at sea on or about
     September 3 to move to new operational areas. The
     documents from which this chart was constructed are
     held by the British Admiralty in London.”

It will be apparent that U-boats which were in the positions
indicated on this chart on 3 September 1939 had left Kiel a
considerable time before. The location of the U-boat U-30 is
particularly significant.

The second chart sets out the sinkings during the first week
of the war. The attached certificate reads:

     “This chart has been constructed from the official
     records of the British Admiralty in London. It shows
     the position and sinkings of the British merchant
     vessels lost by enemy action in the seven days
     subsequent to 3 September 1939.”

The location of the sinking of the Athenia is significant.

                                                  [Page 820]


The course of the war waged against neutral and allied
merchant shipping by German U-boats followed, under
Doenitz’s direction, a course of consistently increasing

(1) Attacks on Merchant Shipping. Doenitz displayed “his
masterly understanding in adjusting himself to the changing
fortunes of war” (1463-PS). From the very early days,
merchant ships, both allied and neutral, were sunk without
warning, and when operational danger zones had been
announced by the German Admiralty, these sinkings continued
to take place both within and without those zones. With some
exceptions in the early days of the war, no regard was taken
for the safety of the crews or passengers of sunken merchant
ships, and the announcement claiming a total blockade of the
British Isles merely served to confirm the established
situation under which U-boat warfare was being conducted
without regard to the established rules of international
warfare or the requirements of humanity.

The course of the war at sea during the first eighteen
months is summarized by two official British reports made at
a time when those who compiled them were ignorant of some of

                                                  [Page 821]

actual orders issued which have since come to hand. An
official report of the British Foreign Office summarizes
German attacks on merchant shipping during the period 3
September 1939 to September 1940, that is to say, the first
year of the war (D-641-A). is report, made shortly after
September 1940, states in part follows:

     “*** During the first twelve months of the war,
     2,081,062 tons of Allied shipping, comprising 508
     ships, have been lost by enemy action. In addition,
     769,213 tons of neutral shipping comprising 253 ships,
     have also been lost. Nearly all these merchant ships
     have been sunk by submarine, mine, aircraft or surface
     craft, and the great majority of them sunk while
     engaged on their lawful trading occasions. 2,836 Allied
     merchant seamen have lost their lives in these ships.

     “In the last war the practice of the Central Powers was
     so remote from the recognized procedure that it was
     thought necessary to set forth once again the rules of
     warfare in particular as applied to submarines. This
     was done in the Treaty of London 1930, and in 1936
     Germany acceded to these rules. The rules laid down:

     “(1) In action with regard to merchant ships,
     submarines must conform to the rules of International
     Law to which surface vessels are subjected.

     “(2) In particular, except in the case of persistent
     refusal to stop on being summoned, or of active
     resistance to visit and search, a warship, whether
     surface vessel or submarine, may not sink or render
     incapable of navigation a merchant vessel without
     having first placed passengers, crew, and ship’s papers
     in a place of safety. For this purpose, the ship's
     boats are not regarded as a place of safety unless the
     safety of the passengers and crew is assured in the
     existing sea and weather conditions, by the proximity
     of land, or the presence of another vessel which is in
     a position to take them on board. “At the beginning of
     the present war, Germany issued a Prize Ordinance for
     the regulation of sea warfare and the guidance of her
     naval officers. Article 74 of this ordinance embodies
     the submarine rules of the London Treaty. Article 72,
     however, provides that captured enemy vessels may be
     destroyed if it seems inexpedient or unsafe to bring
     them into port, and Article 73 (i) (ii) makes the same
     provision with regard to neutral vessels which are
     captured for sailing under enemy convoy, for forcible
     resistance, or for giving assistance to the enemy.
     These provisions are certainly not

                                                  [Page 822]

     in accordance with the traditional British view but the
     important point is that, even in these cases, the Prize
     Ordinance envisages the capture of the merchantman
     before its destruction. In other words, if the Germans
     adhered to the rules set out in their own Prize
     Ordinance, we might have argued the rather fine legal
     point with them, but we should have no quarrel with
     them, either on the broader legal issue or on the
     humanitarian one. In the event, however, it is only too
     clear that almost from the beginning of the war the
     Germans abandoned their own principles and waged war
     with steadily increasing disregard for International
     Law, and for what is, after all, the ultimate sanction
     of all law, the protection of human life and property
     from arbitrary and ruthless attacks.” (D-641-A)

Two instances are then set out:

     “On 30 September 1939, came the first sinking of a
     neutral ship by a submarine without warning and with
     loss of life. This was the Danish ship 'Vendia' bound
     for the Clyde in ballast. The submarine fired two shots
     and shortly after torpedoed the ship. The torpedo was
     fired when the master had already signalled that he
     would submit to the submarine’s orders and before there
     had been an opportunity to abandon ship. By November
     submarines were beginning to sink neutral vessels
     without warning as a regular thing. On the 12th
     November the Norwegian 'Arne Kjode' was torpedoed in
     the North Sea without any warning at all. This was a
     tanker bound from one neutral port to another. The
     master and four of the crew lost their lives and the
     remainder were picked up after many hours in open
     boats. Henceforward, in addition to the failure to
     establish the nature of the cargo, another element is
     noticeable, namely an increasing recklessness as to the
     fate of the crew.” (D-641-A)

And then, dealing with attacks on allied merchant vessels,
certain figures are given:

"Ships sunk — 241

     “Recorded attacks                      221
     “Illegal attacks                          112

     “At least 79 of these 112 ships were torpedoed without
     warning.” (D-641-A)

The report continues:

     “By the middle of October submarines were sinking
     merchant vessels without any regard to the safety of
     the crews. Yet four months later the Germans were still
     officially claim-

                                                  [Page 823]

     ing that they were acting in accordance with the Prize
     Ordinance. Their own semi-official commentators
     however, had made the position clearer. As regards
     neutrals, Berlin officials had early in February stated
     that any neutral ship that is either voluntarily or
     under compulsion bound for an enemy port — including
     contraband control harbors — thereby loses its
     neutrality and must be considered hostile. At the end
     of February the cat was let out of the bag by a
     statement that a neutral ship which obtained a navicert
     from a British Consul in order to avoid putting into a
     British contraband control base was liable to be sunk
     by German submarines, even if it was bound from one
     neutral port to another. As regards Allied ships, in
     the middle of November 1939 a Berlin warning was issued
     against the arming of British vessels. By that date a
     score of British merchantmen had been illegally
     attacked by gunfire or torpedo from submarines, and
     after that date some fifteen more unarmed Allied
     vessels were torpedoed without warning. It is clear,
     therefore, that not only was the arming fully justified
     as a defensive measure, but also that neither before
     nor after this German threat did the German submarines
     discriminate between armed and unarmed vessels.” (D-641-

A similar report covering the next six months (D-641-B)
makes these statements:

     “On 30 January 1941, Hitler proclaimed that 'every
     ship, with or without convoy, which appears before our
     torpedo tubes is going to be torpedoed.' On the face of
     it, this announcement appears to be uncompromising; and
     the only qualification provided by the context is that
     the threats immediately preceding it are specifically
     addressed to the-peoples of the American Continent.
     German commentators, however, subsequently tried to
     water it down by contending that Hitler was referring
     only to ships which attempted to enter the area within
     which the German 'total blockade' is alleged to be in

     “From one point of view it probably matters little what
     exactly was Hitler’s meaning, since the only conclusion
     that can be reached after a study of the facts of enemy
     warfare on merchant shipping is that enemy action in
     this field is never limited by the principles which are
     proclaimed by enemy spokesmen, but solely by the
     opportunities or lack of them which exist at any given


     “The effect of the German total blockade is to prohibit

                                                  [Page 824]

     ships from entering an enormous stretch of sea round
     Britain (the area extends to about 500 miles west of
     Ireland, and from the latitude of Bordeaux to that of
     the Faroe Islands), upon pain of having their ships
     sunk without warning and their crews killed. As a
     matter of fact, at least thirty-two neutral ships,
     exclusive of those sailing in British convoys, have
     been sunk by enemy action since the declaration of the
     'total blockade'.”


     “Yet, though information is lacking in very many cases,
     details are available to prove that, during the period
     under review, at least thirty-eight Allied merchant
     ships, exclusive of those in convoys, have been
     torpedoed without warning in or near the 'total
     blockade' area.

     “That the Germans themselves have no exaggerated regard
     for the area is proved by the fact that of the thirty-
     eight ships referred to at least sixteen were torpedoed
     outside the limits of the war-zone.”


     “The sinking of the 'City of Benares' on 17 September
     1940 is a good example of this. The 'City of Benares
     was an 11,000-ton liner with 191 passengers on board,
     including nearly 100 children. She was torpedoed
     without warning just outside the 'war zone,' with the
     loss of 258 lives, including 77 children. It was
     blowing a gale, with hail and rain squalls and a very
     rough sea when the torpedo struck her at about 10 p.m.
     In the darkness and owing to the prevailing weather
     conditions, at least four of the twelve boats lowered
     were capsized. Others were swamped and many people were
     washed right out of them. In one boat alone sixteen
     people, including 11 children, died from exposure; in
     another 22 died, including 15 children; in a third 21
     died. The point to be emphasized is not the unusual
     brutality of this attack but rather that such results
     are inevitable when a belligerent disregards the rules
     of sea warfare as the Germans have done and are doing.”

     “There are hundreds of similar stories, stories of
     voyages for days in open boats in Atlantic gales, of
     men in the water clinging for hours to a raft and
     gradually dropping off one by one, of crews being
     machine-gunned as they tried to lower their boats or as
     they drifted away in them, of seamen being blown to
     pieces by shells and torpedoes and bombs. The enemy
     must know that such things are the inevitable result of
     the type of warfare he has chosen to employ.” (D-641-B)

                                                  [Page 825]

The total sinkings by U-boats during the war (1939 to 1945)
Amounted to 2775 British, Allied, and Neutral ships
totalling 14,572,435 gross tons (D-641-C).

Another example of the ruthless nature of the actions
conducted by Doenitz’s U-boat commanders, particularly as
both British and German versions of the sinking are
available, is the sinking of “S.S. Sheaf Mead.” The British
report, which includes the German account in the shape of a
complete extract from the U-boat’s log, states:

     “The British 'S.S. Sheaf Mead' was torpedoed without
     warning on 27 May 1940 with the loss of 31 of the crew.
     The commander of the U-boat responsible is reported to
     have behaved in an exceptionally callous manner towards
     the men clinging to upturned boats and pieces of wood.
     It was thought that this man was Kapitaenleutnant Oehrn
     of U-37. The following extract from his diary for 27
     May 1940 leaves no doubt on the matter and speaks for
     itself as to his behaviour.” (D-644)

The relevant extract from the log, at 1554 hours, reads:

     “Surface. Stern [referring to the ship which has been
     torpedoed] is underwater. Bows rise higher. The boats
     are now on the water. Lucky for them. A picture of
     complete order. They lie at some distance. The bows
     rear up quite high. Two men appear from somewhere in
     the forward part of the ship. They leap and rush with
     great bounds along the deck down to the stern. The
     stern disappears. A boat capsizes. Then a boiler
     explosion. Two men fly through the air, limbs
     outstretched. Bursting and crashing. Then all is over.
     A large heap of wreckage floats up. We approach it to
     identify the name. The crew have saved themselves on
     wreckage. We fish out a buoy. No name on it. I ask a
     man on the raft. He says, hardly turning his head --
     'Nix Name.' A young boy in the water calls 'Help, help,
     please.' The others are very composed. They look damp
     and somewhat tired. An expression of cold hatred is on
     their faces. On to the old course. After washing the
     paint off the buoy, the name comes to light:
     Greatafield, Glasgow. 5006 gross registered tons.” (D-

"On to the old course” means merely that the U-boat makes

                                                  [Page 825]

The report of the Chief Engineer of the “S. S. Sheaf Mead”
contains this description of the situation:

     “When I came to the surface I found myself on the port
     side, .that is, nearest to the submarine, which was
     only about five

                                                  [Page 826]

     yards away. The submarine Captain asked the steward the
     name of the ship, which he told him, and the enemy
     picked up one of our lifebuoys, but this had the name
     'Gretaston on it, as this was the name of our ship
     before it was changed to 'Skeaf Mead' last January.”


     “She had cutaway bows, but I did not notice a net
     cutter. Two men stood at the side with boat hooks to
     keep us off.

     “They cruised around for half an hour, taking
     photographs of us in the water. Otherwise they just
     watched us, but said nothing. Then she submerged and
     went off, without offering us any assistance whatever.”

The U-boats log at 1444 hours contains a description of the
sighting of the ship, the difficulty in identification, and
then the

     “The distance apart is narrowing. The steamship draws
     in quickly, but the position is still 40-50. I cannot
     see the stern yet. Tube ready. Shall I or not? The
     gunnery crews are also prepared. On the ship’s side a
     yellow cross in a small, square, dark blue ground.
     Swedish? Presumably not. I raise the periscope a
     little. Hurrah, a gun at the stern, an ack-ack gun or
     something similar. Fire! I cannot miss”

The actual documents by which Doenitz and his fellow
conspirators issued their orders in disregard of
International Law indicate that the compiler of the above
reports understated the case. These orders cover not only
the period referred to in the above reports, but also the
subsequent course of the war. It is interesting to note in
them the steps by which the conspirators progressed. At
first they were content with breaching the rules of
International Law to the extent of sinking merchant ships,
including neutral ships, without warning where there was a
reasonable prospect of being able to do so without
discovery. The facts already quoted show that the question
of whether ships were defensively armed or outside the
declared operational areas was in practice immaterial.

A memorandum by the German Naval War Staff, dated 22
September 1939, (C-191) provides:

     “Flag Officer U-boats intends to give permission to U-
     boats to sink without warning any vessels sailing
     without lights. *** In practice there is no opportunity
     for attacking at night, as the U-boat cannot identify a
     target which is a shadow in a way that entirely
     obviates mistakes being made.

                                                  [Page 827]

If the political situation is such that even possible
mistakes must be ruled out, U-boats must be forbidden to
make any attacks at night in waters where French and English
Naval forces or merchant ships may be situated. On the other
hand, in sea areas where only English units are to be
expected, the measures desired by F. O. U-boats can be
carried out; permission to take this step is not to be given
in writing, but need merely be based on the unspoken
approval of the Naval War Staff. U-boat commanders would be
informed by word of mouth and the sinking of a merchant ship
must be justified in the War Diary as due to possible
confusion with a warship or an auxiliary cruiser. In the
meanwhile, U-boats in the English Channel have received
instructions to attack all vessels sailing without lights.”

The War Diary of the Naval War Staff of the German Admiralty
contains the following report by Ia (Staff Operations
Officer on the Naval War Staff) on directive of the Armed
Forces High Command of 30 December 1939:

     “According to this the Fuehrer, on report of the
     Commander in Chief, Navy, has decided:

     “(a) Greek merchant vessels are to be treated as enemy
     vessels in the zone blockaded by USA. and Britain.

     “(b) In the Bristol Channel all ships may be attacked
     without warning. For external consumption these attacks
     should be given out as hits by mines.

     “Both measures may be taken with immediate effect.” (C-

Another report by Ia, refers to intensified measures in
naval and air warfare in connection with “Fall Gelb".

     “In consequence of this Directive, the Navy will
     authorize, simultaneously with the general
     intensification of the war, the sinking by U-boats,
     without any warning, of all ships in those waters near
     the enemy coasts in which mines can be employed. In
     this case, for external consumption, pretence should be
     made that mines are being used. The behaviour of, and
     use of weapons by, U-boats should be adapted to this
     purpose.” (C-21)

A third extract from the Naval War Diary, dated 6 January
1940, states:

     “*** the Fuehrer has in principle agreed (see minutes
     of report of C. in C. Navy of 30 December) to authorize
     firing without warning whilst maintaining the pretence
     of mine hits in certain parts of the American blockaded
     zone.” (C-21)

                                                  [Page 828]

Whereupon, the order is given to Flag Officer, Submarines,
carrying out that decision (C-21). The report for 18 January
1940 states:

     “The High Command of the Armed Forces has issued the
     following Directive dated 17th of January, cancelling
     the previous order concerning intensified measures of
     warfare against merchantmen.

     “The Navy will authorize, with immediate effect, the
     sinking without warning by U-Boats of all ships in
     those waters near the enemy coasts in which the use of
     mines can be pretended. U-Boats must adapt their
     behavior and employment of weapons to the pretence,
     which is to be maintained in these cases, that the hits
     were caused by mines. Ships of the United States,
     Italy, Japan and Russia are exempted from these
     attacks.” (C-21)

An extract from the BDU War Diary (Doenitz’s War Diary)
dated 18 July 1941, reveals a further extension of the above
order so as to cut down the protected categories:

     “Supplementary to the order forbidding, for the time
     being, attacks on U.S. warships and merchant vessels
     in the operational area of the North Atlantic, the
     Fuehrer has ordered the following:

     “1. Attack on U.S. merchant vessels sailing in British
     or U.S. convoys or independently is authorized in the
     original operational area which corresponds in its
     dimensions to the U.S. blockade zone and which does
     not include the sea-route U.S. to Iceland.” (C-118)

As these orders slow, at one date the ships of a particular
neutral under certain conditions could be sunk, while those
of another could not. The attitude to be adopted toward
ships of particular neutrals changed at various times, for
Doenitz conducted the U-Boat war against neutrals with
cynical opportunism. It all depended on the political
relationship of Germany toward a particular country at a
particular time whether her ships were sunk or not.

(2) The Orders Concerning Treatment of Survivors. A series
of orders led up to the issue of an order which enjoined U-
Boat commanders not merely to abstain from rescuing crews
and give them no assistance, but deliberately to annihilate

Among these preliminary standing orders of the U-Boat
Command is Order Number 154, signed by Doenitz:

     “Paragraph (e). Do not pick up survivors and take them
     with you. Do not worry about the merchant-ship’s boats.

                                                  [Page 829]

     Weather conditions and distance from land play no part.
     Have a care only for your own ship and strive only to
     attain your next success as soon as possible. We must
     be harsh in this war. The enemy began the war in order
     to destroy us, so nothing else matters.” (D-642)

In 1942, when the United States entered the war with its
enormous ship-building capacity, the change thus brought
about necessitated a further adjustment in the methods
adopted by the U-Boats. Doenitz accordingly issued an order,
which intended not merely the sinking of merchant ships, not
merely the abstention from rescue of the crews, but their
deliberate extermination.

The course of events is shown by the record of a
conversation between Hitler and the Japanese Ambassador,
Oshima, (D-423) in the presence of Ribbentrop, on 3 January

     “The Fuehrer, using a map, explains to the Japanese
     Ambassador the present position of marine warfare in
     the Atlantic, emphasizing that he considers his most
     important task is to get the U-Boat warfare going in
     full swing. The U-Boats are being reorganized. Firstly,
     he had recalled all U-Boats operating in the Atlantic.
     As mentioned before, they would now be posted outside
     United States ports. Later, they would be off Freetown
     and the larger boats even as far down as Capetown.”


     “After having given further explanations on the map,
     the Fuehrer pointed out that, however many ships the
     United States built, one of their main problems would
     be the lack of personnel. For that reason, even
     merchant ships would be sunk without warning with the
     intention of killing as many of the crew as possible.
     Once it gets around that most of the seamen are lost in
     the sinkings, the Americans would soon have
     difficulties in enlisting new people. The training of
     sea-going personnel takes a very long time. We are
     fighting for our existence and our attitude cannot be
     ruled by any humane feelings. For this reason he must
     give the order that in case foreign seamen could not be
     taken prisoner, which is not always possible on the
     sea, U-boats were to surface after torpedoing and shoot
     up the lifeboats.

     “Ambassador Oshima heartily agreed with the Fuehrer's
     comments, and said that the Japanese too are forced to
     follow these methods.”

An extract from the B.D.U. War Diary of 16 September 1942 is
part of the story in the sense that it was on the following

                                                  [Page 830]

day that the annihilation order was issued. It records an
attack on a U-boat, which was rescuing survivors, chiefly
the Italian survivors of the Allied liner “Laconia,” when it
was attacked by an Allied aircraft (D-446).

A Top Secret order, sent to all commanding officers of U-
boats from Doenitz’s headquarters, dated 17 September 1942,

     “1. No attempt of any kind must be made at rescuing
     members of ships sunk, and this includes picking up
     persons in the water and putting them in lifeboats,
     righting capsized lifeboats, and handing over food and
     water. Rescue runs counter to the rudimentary demands
     of warfare for the destruction of enemy ships and

     “2. Orders for bringing in Captains and Chief Engineers
     still apply.

     “3. Rescue the shipwrecked only if their statements
     will be of importance for your boat.

     “4. Be harsh, having in mind that the enemy takes no
     regard of women and children in his bombing attacks on
     German cities.” (D-630)

The intentions of this carefully worded order are made clear
by an extract from Doenitz’s War Diary which is personally
signed by Doenitz. The War Diary entry for 17 September 1942

     “The attention of all commanding officers is again
     drawn to the fact that all efforts to rescue members of
     the crews of ships which have been sunk contradict the
     most primitive demands for the conduct of warfare by
     annihilating enemy ships and their crews. Orders
     concerning the bringing in of the Captains and Chief
     Engineers still stand.” (D-630).

                                                  [Page 830]

In this connection, a telegram from the Commander of the U-
boat “Schacht” to Doenitz’s headquarters, and the reply, are
significant. “Schacht” had been taking part in the rescue of
survivors from the “Laconia.” The telegram from “Schacht,”
dated 18 September 1942, reads:

     “163 Italians handed over to 'Annamite.' Navigating
     Officer of 'Laconia' and another English Officer on
     board.” (D-630)

The telegram goes on to set out the position of English and
Polish survivors in boats.

The reply from Doenitz’s headquarters was sent on the 20th:

     “Action as in wireless telegram message of 17th of
     September was wrong. Boat was detailed to rescue
     Italian allies and not for the rescue of English and
     Poles.” (D-630)

Such were Doenitz’s plans before the bombing incident ever

"Operation Order Atlantic No. 56,” dated 7 October 1943, con-

                                                  [Page 831]

tains the sailing orders of a U-boat (D-663). Although the
date of this order is 7 October 1943, in fact it is only a
reproduction of an order issued earlier, in the autumn of
1942. The following is an extract from this order:

     “Rescue ships: A so-called rescue ship is generally
     attached to every convoy, a special ship of up to 3000
     gross registered tons, which is intended for the
     picking up of survivors after U-boat attacks. These
     ships are, for the most part, equipped with a shipborne
     aircraft and large motor-boats, are strongly armed with
     depth-charge throwers, and very maneuverable, so that
     they are often called U-Boat Traps by the commander. In
     view of the desired destruction of ships' crews, their
     sinking is of great value.” (D-663)

The Prosecution does not complain against attacks on rescue
ships. They are not entitled to protection. But the point of
the foregoing order to U-boats was that priority in attack
should be given to rescue ships. This order, therefore, is
closely allied with order of 17 September 1942 (D-630): in
view of the Allied shipbuilding program the German Navy had
resolved to take all means to prevent Allied ships from
being manned.

To summarize, it would appear from the War Diary entry of 17
September that orders on the lines discussed between Hitler
and Oshima were, in fact, issued. They have not, however,
been captured. It may be that they were issued orally, and
that Doenitz awaited a suitable opportunity before
confirming them. The incident of the bombing of the U-boats
detailed to rescue the Italian survivors from the “Laconia”
afforded the opportunity, and the order to all commanders
was issued. Its intent is clear when it is considered in the
light of the War Diary entry. The wording is, of course,
extremely careful, but to any officer of experience its
intention was obvious: he would know that deliberate action
to annihilate survivors would be approved under that order.

It may be contended that this order, although perhaps
unfortunately phrased, was merely intended to stop a
commander from jeopardizing his ship by attempting a rescue,
which had become increasingly dangerous as a result of the
extended coverage of the ocean by Allied aircraft; and that
the notorious action of U-Boat Commander Eck in sinking the
Greek steamer “Peleus” and then machine-gunning the crew on
their rafts in the water, was an exception; and that,
although it may be true that a copy of the order was on
board, this action was taken solely, as Eck himself swore,
on his own initiative.

In reply it may be said that if the intention of this order
was to stop rescue attempts, in the interests of the
preservation of

                                                  [Page 832]

the U-boat, it would have been done by calling attention to
Standing Order 154. Secondly, this very fact would have been
prominently stated in the order. Drastic orders of this
nature are not drafted by experienced staff officers without
the greatest care and an eye to their possible capture by
the enemy. Thirdly, if it was necessary to avoid the risks
attendant on surfacing, not only would this have been stated
but there would have been no question of taking any
prisoners at all except possibly in circumstances where
virtually no risk in surfacing was to be apprehended.
Fourthly, the final sentence of the first paragraph would
have read very differently. And fifthly, if in fact — and
the Prosecution does not accept it — Doenitz did not mean
to enjoin murder, his order was so worded that he cannot
escape the responsibility which attaches to such a document.

The instructions given by Admiral Doenitz with regard to the
murder of shipwrecked Allied seamen are described in an
affidavit by Oberleutnant Zur See Peter Josef Heisig (D-
566). (Heisig was called as a prosecution witness in the
case against Doenitz and testified on direct examination to
the same effect, in substance, as the statements in his
affidavit.) In September 1942 Heisig was a Midshipman in a
training course for U-boat officers of the watch. On the
last day of the course Grand Admiral Doenitz, who was then
Commander-in-Chief, U-boats, held an inspection tour and
made a speech to the officers in training. Heisig describes
the content of Doenitz’s speech as follows:

     “*** According to news received from America we were
     bound to reckon with the possibility that in the Allied
     countries more than 1,000,000 net registered tons of
     new merchant shipping space would be brought into
     service monthly. This was more shipping space than
     would be sunk even with good U-boat successes. The
     bottleneck of the Allies lay only in the problem of
     personnel for these newly built ships. The Atlantic
     route was too dangerous for seamen so that they even
     had to be brought aboard ship under compulsion. This
     was the point where we, the U-boat crews, had to take a
     hand. He therefore demanded that we should from now on
     carry on total warfare against ship and crew. That
     meant: so far as possible, no seaman from a sunk ship
     was to get home any more. Only thus could the supply
     line of the British Isles be seriously endangered and
     only thus in the long run could we strike a noticeable
     blow at Allied merchant shipping traffic. In this way
     it would be impossible for the opponent even to make
     use of his newly built ships, since no more crews would
     be available to him. After the sinking of

                                                  [Page 833]

     a ship, every possibility of rescue must be denied to
     the crew, through the destruction of every means of
     saving life. “I later discussed these remarks of
     Admiral Doenitz’s with the others, and all present
     unanimously and unambiguously took them to mean that
     after the sinking of a ship, all possibility of escape,
     whether in boats, on rafts, or by any other means, must
     be denied to the crew and the destruction of the crew
     was to be attempted by every means. This mode of
     warfare was for me as for most of my comrades
     completely new. Owing to Admiral Doenitz's
     authoritative position, it was nevertheless fully and
     completely accepted by many of them. He sought to
     invalidate in advance any doubts which might arise, by
     pointing to the air war and the bombing.” (D-566)

Further light on the real meaning of the Top Secret radio
message sent by the Commander in Chief, U-boats, to all U-
boat and operational flotillas in September 1942 (D-630) is
contained in the statement of Korvettenkapitaen Karl Heinz
Moehle (382-PS). (Moehle was called as a Prosecution witness
in the case against Doenitz and testified on direct
examination to the same effect, in substance, as the
statements in his affidavit.) Concerning this order which
was couched in terms of a prohibition against the rescue of
survivors, Moehle states as

     “This W/T message was without any doubt sent out at the
     instigation of the Commander in Chief U-boats himself,
     i.e. Grand Admiral Doenitz. In view of my knowledge of
     the way in which the Staff of the Chief Command U-boats
     worked, I consider it quite impossible that an order of
     such importance could have been given without his


     “So far as concerns the order itself, it undoubtedly
     states, and in particular for those who know the manner
     in which Commander in Chief U-Boats is wont to give his
     orders, that the High Command regard it as desirable
     that not only ships but also their crews should be
     regarded as objects of attack, i.e. that they should be
     destroyed; at that time German propaganda was
     continually stressing the shortage of crews for enemy
     merchant ships and the consequent difficulties. I too
     understood this order in that way.

     “Had the point of view of the High Command been
     otherwise the order would undoubtedly have been
     expressed in different words. It would then only have
     stated that for reasons of security rescue measures
     were to cease and this order would have passed as a
     normal secret W/T message. It was

                                                  [Page 834]

     perhaps even the intention that this order could be
     interpreted in two ways and the reason may be that in
     the first place, it contravenes international laws of
     warfare and secondly, that it was an order which must
     give rise to serious conflicts of conscience in
     commanding officers.”

     “To conclude, I can only stress that the order of
     September 1942 appeared to me personally to go too far
     and I am in total disagreement with it at heart. As a
     serving officer I had however to carry out the command
     to pass on this order to commanding officers for their

     “During the long time that I was senior officer of the
     Flotilla no single commanding officer mentioned to me
     that he could not reconcile obedience to this order
     with his conscience and that he was therefore unable to
     carry it out.” (382-PS)

Moehle graphically describes Doenitz’s incitement of his men
to the murder of survivors:

     “A type VII boat (600-tonner) reported in her war log
     that when outward bound from a base in France she met
     far out in the Bay of Biscay a raft with five enemy
     airmen, but was not able to take them on board owing to
     shortage of room (she had a complement of 54 and
     carried full provisions for 14 weeks). The boat
     therefore proceeded without taking any notice of the

     “This action of the U-boat was vehemently denounced by
     the Commander in Chief U-boats' staff. It was stated
     that she would have acted more correctly in destroying
     this raft since it was highly probably that the enemy
     air crew would be rescued by the enemy and in the
     meantime might once more have destroyed a German U-

     “This occurrence made the views of the Commander in
     Chief U-boats clear to me.” (382-PS)

As senior officer of the Fifth U-boat Flotilla, it was
Moehle’s duty to transmit orders from the Commander in
Chief, U-boats, to commanding officers of U-boats. In this
connection, Doenitz' ambiguous order against the rescue of
survivors caused difficulties.

     “I was wont to pass on this controversial and serious
     order with more or less the following words: — `I have
     now to inform you of a High Command order concerning
     conduct towards survivors. It is a very ticklish
     matter. Commander in Chief U-boats in September 1942
     gave the following order in an 'officers only' signal
     (*** the exact words of the order were then read out).'

                                                  [Page 835]

     “Since I am myself in my innermost conscience in
     disagreement with this order, I was very glad that in
     most cases commanding officers raised no queries and I
     was therefore relieved of any further discussion on
     this point.

     “Sometimes however queries were raised and I was wont
     to answer somewhat as follows:

     “ 'I will explain the viewpoint of the High Command,
     which gave this order, by reference to the following
     event:' I then mentioned the example of the Type VII
     boat in the Bay of Biscay together with the explanation
     and viewpoint expressed to me by commander in Chief U-
     boats' staff. I then went on to say, 'Gentlemen, you
     must yourselves decide what is compatible with your own
     consciences. The safety of your own boat must always
     remain your prime consideration.' “


     “I also remember that many commanding officers after
     the order of September 1942 had been read said, 'That
     is quite clear and unequivocal however hard it may be.'
     Had this order been given to me as a commanding officer
     I would have taken note of it in silence but in
     practice would always have been able with a clear
     conscience not to carry it out since I consider I would
     endanger my own boat by acting in this way, (i.e., by
     shooting at lift-boats).” (382-PS)

                                                  [Page 835]

Finally, Moehle describes the orders to omit from U-boat
logs the notation of any actions in violation of
International Law:

     “There was an order — I do not remember whether it was
     in the form of a written or verbal instruction — that
     no events during a war patrol which contravened
     established international agreements should be entered
     in the war log. I believe that the reason for this
     order was that eight copies were made of war logs and
     were available to many authorities; there was always
     the danger therefore that events of this nature would
     become known and it was undoubtedly undesirable for
     reasons of propaganda that this should be so.

     “Events of this nature were only to be reported if
     asked for when commanding officers made their personal
     reports; these were invariably made after every patrol
     to Commander in Chief U-boats or later in certain
     instances to Captain U-boats.” (382-PS)

Two cases may be noted in which the order of 17 September
1942 (D-60) was apparently put into effect. The first case
is the sinking of a steam trawler, the “Noreen Mary,” which
was sunk by U-247 on 5 July 1944. The log of the U-Boat
shows that

                                                  [Page 836]

at 1943 hours two torpedoes were fired, which missed (D-
645). At 2055 hours the log reads:

     “Fishing Vessels: [Bearings of 3 ships given].

     “Engaged the nearest. She stops after three minutes.”

There follows an account of a shot fired as the trawler lay
stopped, and then, the final entry:

     “Sunk by flak, with shots into her side. Sank by the
     stern.” (D-645)

The U-Boat Command made this comment on the action:

     “Recognized success: Fishing vessel 'Noreen Mary' sunk
     by flak.”

An affidavit by James MacAlister, who was a deck-hand on
board the “Noreen Mary” at the time of the sinking,
describes the torpedo tracks which missed the trawler, and
continues as follows:

     “At 2110 hours, while we were still trawling, the
     submarine surfaced on our starboard beam, about 50
     yards to the northeast of us, and without any warning
     immediately opened fire on the ship with a machine gun.
     We were 18 miles west from Cape Wrath, on a north-
     westerly course, making 3 knots. The weather was fine
     and clear, sunny, with good visibility. The sea was
     smooth, with light airs.”


     “When the submarine surfaced I saw men climbing out of
     the conning tower. The skipper [of the trawler] thought
     at first the submarine was British, but when she opened
     fire he immediately slackened the brake to take the
     weight off gear, and increased to full speed, which was
     about 10 knots. The submarine chased us, firing her
     machine gun, and with the first rounds killed two or
     three men, including the skipper, who were on deck and
     had not had time to take cover. The submarine then
     started using a heavier gun from her conning tower, the
     first shot from which burst the boiler, enveloping
     everything in steam and stopping the

     “By now the crew had taken cover, but in spite of this
     all but four were killed. The submarine then commenced
     to circle round ahead of the vessel, and passed down
     her port side with both guns firing continuously. We
     were listing slowly to port all the time but did not
     catch fire.

     “The Mate and I attempted to release the lifeboat,
     which was aft, but the Mate was killed whilst doing so,
     so I abandoned

                                                  [Page 837]

     the attempt. I then went below into the pantry, which
     was below the water line, for shelter. The ship was
     listing more and more to port, until finally at 2210
     she rolled right over and sank, and the only four men
     left alive on board were thrown into the sea. I do not
     know where the other three men had taken cover during
     this time, as I did not hear or see them until they
     were in the water.

     “I swam around until I came across the broken bow of
     our lifeboat, which was upside down, and managed to
     scramble on top of it. Even now the submarine did not
     submerge, but deliberately steamed in my direction and
     when only 60 to 70 yards away fired directly at me with
     a short burst from the machine gun. As their intention
     was quite obvious, I fell into the water and remained
     there until the submarine ceased firing and submerged,
     after which I climbed back on to the bottom of the
     boat. The submarine had been firing her guns for a full
     hour.” (D-645)

The affidavit goes on to describe the attempts of the Second
Engineer and others to rescue themselves and to help each
other; they were later picked up by another trawler. The
affidavit continues:

     “Whilst on board the 'Lady Madeleine' the Second
     Engineer and I had our wounds dressed. I learned later
     that the Second Engineer had 48 shrapnel wounds, also a
     piece of steel wire 21/2 inches long embedded in his
     body. *** I had 14 shrapnel wounds.”


     “This is my fourth wartime experience, having served in
     the whalers 'Sylvester' (mined) and 'New Seville'
     (torpedoed), and the Trawler 'Ocean Tide', which ran

     “As a result of this attack by U-boat, the casualties
     were six killed, two missing, two injured.” (D-645).

The next case is that of the ship “Antonico", which was
torpedoed, set afire, and sunk on 28 September 1942, off the
coast of French Guiana. The date of the incident is some
eleven days after the issue of the order (D-630). A
statement given by the Second Officer describes the attack
on the ship, which by then was on fire (D-647):

     “*** That the witness saw the dead on the deck of the
     'Antonico' as he and his crew tried to swing out their
     lifeboat; that the attack was fulminant, lasting almost
     20 minutes; and that the witness already in the
     lifeboat tried to get away from the side of the
     'Antonico' in order to avoid being dragged down by the
     same 'Antonico' and also because

                                                  [Page 838]

     she was the aggressor’s target; that the night was
     dark, and it was thus difficult to see the submarine,
     but that the fire aboard the 'Antonico' lit up the
     locality in which she was submerging, facilitating the
     enemy to see the two lifeboats trying to get away; that
     the enemy ruthlessly machined-gunned the defenseless
     sailors in No. 2 lifeboat, in which the witness found
     himself, and killed the Second Pilot Arnaldo de Andrade
     de Lima, and wounded three of the crew; that the
     witness gave orders to his company to throw themselves
     overboard to save themselves from the bullets; in so
     doing, they were protected and out of sight behind the
     lifeboat, which was already filled with water; even so
     the lifeboat continued to be attacked. At that time the
     witness and his companions were about 20 meters in
     distance from the submarine.” (D-647)

The U-boat’s log in that case is not available, but it may
be surmised, in view of the order that nothing compromising
should be included in entries in logs, that it would be no
more helpful than in the case of the previous incident.

A broadcast by a German Naval War Reporter on the long wave
propaganda service from Friesland, (D-646-A) in English, on
11 March 1943, stated:

     “Santa Lucia, in the West Indies, was an ideal setting
     for romance, but nowadays it was dangerous to sail in
     these waters — dangerous for the British and Americans
     and for all the colored people who were at their beck
     and-call. Recently a U-boat operating in these waters
     sighted an enemy windjammer. Streams of tracer bullets
     were poured into the sails and most of the Negro crew
     leaped overboard. Knowing that this might be a decoy
     ship, the submarine steamed cautiously to within 20
     yards, when hand grenades were hurled into the rigging.
     The remainder of the Negroes then leaped into the sea.
     The windjammer sank. There remained only wreckage.
     Lifeboats packed with men, and sailors swimming. The
     sharks in the distance licked their teeth in
     expectation. Such was the fate of those who sailed from
     Britain and America.” (D-646-A)

This statement shows that it was the policy of the enemy to
seek to terrorize crews. It is a part with the order with
regard to rescue ships and with the order on the destruction
of steamers.

After Doenitz succeeded Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the
Navy he presumably also succeeded to the equivalent rank of
a Minister of the Reich, which Raeder had held (2098-PS).

An official report certified by an official of the British

                                                  [Page 839]

sets out the number of meetings, the dates of the meetings,
and those present, on the occasion of meetings between
Doenitz or his representative with Hitler from the time that
he succeeded Raeder until the end (D-648). The certificate

     “*** I have compiled from them [captured documents the
     attached list of occasions on which Admiral Doenitz
     attended conferences at Hitler’s headquarters. The list
     of other senior officials who- attended the same
     conferences is added when this information was
     contained in the captured documents concerned. I
     certify that the list is a true extract from the
     collective documents which I have examined, and which
     are in the possession of the British Admiralty,

Either Admiral Doenitz or his deputy, Konteradmiral Voss,
was present at each of the numerous meetings listed. Among
hose who were also constantly present were Speer, Keitel,
Jodl, Ribbentrop, Goering, and Himmler or his lieutenants,
Fegelein or Kaltenbrunner. The inference is clear that from
the time that he succeeded Raeder, Doenitz was one of the
rulers of the Reich and as undoubtedly aware of all major
decisions of policy.

                                                  [Page 839]

(3) The Order to Kill Commandos. An internal memorandum of
the Naval War Staff, written by the division dealing with
International Law to another division, discusses the order
of 18 October 1942, with regard to the shooting of Commandos

Doubt appears to have arisen in some quarters with regard to
the understanding of this order. Accordingly, in the last
sentence of the memorandum it is suggested:

     “As far as the Navy is concerned, it remains to be seen
     whether or not this case should be used to make sure,
     after a conference with the Commander-in-Chief of the
     Navy, that all departments concerned have an entirely
     clear conception regarding the treatment of members of
     commando units.” (C-178)

Whether that conference took place or not is not known. The
document is dated some 11 days after Doenitz had taken over
command from Raeder.

But in July 1943, the Navy handed over to the SD Norwegian
and British Navy personnel, whom the Navy decided came under
the terms of the order, for shooting. An affidavit by a
British barrister-at-Law who served as judge advocate at the
trial of the members of the SD who executed the order states

     “The accused were charged with committing a war crime,
     in that they at Ulven, Norway, in or about the month of

                                                  [Page 840]

     1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, were
     concerned in the killing of ***” [there follow the
     names of six personnel of the Norwegian Navy, including
     one officer, and one telegraphist of the British Navy,
     prisoners of war.]


     “There was evidence before the Court; which was not
     challenged by the Defense, that Motor Torpedo Boat No.
     345 set out from Lerwick in the Shetlands on a naval
     operation for the purpose of making torpedo attacks on
     German shipping off the Norwegian coast, and for the
     purpose of laying mines in the same area. The persons
     mentioned in the charge were all the crew of the
     Torpedo Boat.

     “The defense did not challenge that each member of the
     crew was wearing uniform at the time of capture, and
     there was abundant evidence from many persons, several
     of whom were German, that they were wearing uniform at
     all times after their capture.

     “On 27 July 1943, the Torpedo Boat reached the island
     of Aspo off the Norwegian coast, north of Bergen. On
     the following day the whole of the crew were captured
     and were taken on board a German naval vessel which was
     under the command of Admiral von Schrader, the Admiral
     of the west coast. The crew were taken to the
     Bergenhus, where they had arrived by 11 p.m. on 28th
     July. The crew were there interrogated by Leut. H. P.
     W. W. Fanger, a Naval Leutnant of the Reserve, on the
     orders of Korvettenkapitaen Egon Drascher, both of the
     German Naval Intelligence Service. This interrogation
     was carried out upon the orders of the staff of the
     Admiral of the west coast. Leut. Fanger reported to the
     Officer in Charge of the Intelligence Branch at Bergen
     that in his opinion all the members of the crew were
     entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, and that
     officer in turn reported both orally and in writing to
     the Sea Commander, Bergen, and in writing to the
     Admiral of the west coast.

     “The interrogation by the Naval Intelligence Branch was
     concluded in the early hours of 29th July, and almost
     immediately all the members of the crew were handed
     over on the immediate orders of the Sea Commander,
     Bergen, to Obersturmbannfuehrer of the SD, Hans Wilhelm
     Blomberg, who was at that time Kommandeur of the
     Sicherheitspolizei at Bergen. This followed a meeting
     between Blomberg and Admiral von Schrader, at which a
     copy of the Fuehrer order of 18 October 1942 was shown
     to Blomberg. This order

                                                  [Page 841]

     dealt with the classes of persons who were to be
     excluded from the protection of the Geneva Convention
     and were not to be treated as prisoners of war, but
     when captured were to be handed over to the SD. Admiral
     von Schrader told Blomberg that the crew of this
     Torpedo Boat were to be handed over in accordance with
     the Fuehrer order, to the SD.” (D-649)

The affidavit goes on to describe the interrogation by
officials of the SD. These officials took the same view as
the Naval Intelligence officers, that the crew were entitled
to be treated as prisoners of war. Nevertheless, the crew
were taken out and shot by an execution squad composed of
members of the SD. The affidavit concludes as follows:

     “It appeared from the evidence that in March or April,
     1945, an order from the Fuehrer Headquarters, signed by
     Keitel, was transmitted to the German authorities in
     Norway. The substance of the order was that members of
     the crew of commando raids who fell into German
     captivity were from that date to be treated as ordinary
     prisoners of war. This order referred specifically to
     the Fuehrer order referred to above.” (D-649)

The date mentioned is important; it was time “in March or
April, 1945,” for these men to put their affairs in order.

(4) Reasons for Not Renouncing the Geneva Convention. The
minutes of conferences on 19 February 1945 and 20 February
1945 between Doenitz and Hitler read as follows:

     “The Fuehrer is considering whether or not Germany
     should renounce the Geneva Convention *** [the 1929
     Prisoners of War Convention].


     “The Fuehrer orders the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy
     to consider the pros and cons of their step and to
     state his s opinion as soon as possible.” (C-158)

Doenitz then stated his opinion in the presence of Jodl and
a representative of Ribbentrop:

     “*** On the contrary, the disadvantages [of renouncing
     the convention] outweigh the advantages. It would be
     better to carry out the measures considered necessary
     without warning, and at all costs to save face with the
     outer world.” (C-158)

An extract from the minutes of another meeting between
Doenitz and Hitler, on 1 July 1944, — the extract is signed
by Doenitz — states:

                                                  [Page 842]

     “ *** Regarding the General Strike in Copenhagen, the
     Fuehrer says that the only weapon to deal with terror
     is terror. Court martial proceedings create martyrs.
     History shows that the names of such men are on
     everybody’s lips, whereas there is silence with regard
     to the many thousands who have lost their lives in
     similar circumstances without court martial
     proceedings.” (C-171)

(5) Use of Concentration Camp Labor in Shipyards. In a
memorandum signed by Doenitz sometime late in 1944, which
was distributed to Hitler, Keitel, Jodl, Speer, and the
Supreme Command of the Air Force, Doenitz reviews German
shipping losses, and concludes:

     “Furthermore, I propose reinforcing the shipyard
     working parties by prisoners from the concentration
     camps and as a special measure for relieving the
     present shortage of coppersmiths, especially in U-boat
     construction, I propose to divert coppersmiths from the
     construction of locomotives to shipbuilding.” (C-195)

In dealing with sabotage, Doenitz has this to say:

     “Since, elsewhere, measures for exacting atonement
     taken against whole working parties amongst whom
     sabotage occurred, have proved successful, and,-for
     example, the shipyard sabotage in France was completely
     suppressed, possibly similar measures for the
     Scandinavian countries will come under consideration.”

Item 2 of the summing-up reads:

     “12,000 concentration camp prisoners will be employed
     in the shipyards as additional labor (security service
     [SD] agrees to this) “ (C-195) .

It was not for nothing that at these meetings Himmler and
his Lieutenants, Fegelein and Kaltenbrunner, were present.

They were not there to discuss U-boats or the use of
battleships. It is clear from this document that Doenitz
knew all about concentration camps and concentration camp
labor, and as one of the rulers of Germany he must bear his
full share of that responsibility.

(6) Doenitz’s Incitement of Ruthless Conduct By His Men. The
orders issued by Doenitz in April 1945 (D-650) show his
fanatical adherence to the Nazi creed, and his preparedness
even at that stage to continue a hopeless war at the expense
of human life, and with the certainty of increased
destruction and misery to his country:

                                                  [Page 843]

     “I therefore demand of the commanding officers of the
     Navy: That they clearly and unambiguously follow the
     path of military duty, whatever may happen. I demand of
     them that they stamp out ruthlessly all signs and
     tendencies among the men which endanger the following
     of this

     “I demand from Senior Commanders that they should take
     just as ruthless action against any commander who does
     not do his military duty. If a commander does not think
     he has the moral strength to occupy his position as a
     leader in this sense, he must report this immediately.
     He will then be used as a soldier in this fateful
     struggle in some position in which he is not burdened
     with any tasks as a leader.” (D-650)

In the secret Battle order of the day of 19 April 1945,
Doenitz gives an example of the type of under-officer who
should be promoted:

"An example: In a prison camp of the auxiliary cruiser
'Cormorau', in Australia, a petty officer acting as camp
senior officer, had all communists who made themselves
noticeable among the inmates of the camp systematically done
away with in such a way that the guards did not notice. This
petty officer is sure of my full recognition for his
decision and his execution. After his return, I shall
promote him with all means, as he has shown that he is
fitted to be a leader.”

                                                  [Page 843]


Doenitz was no plain sailor, playing the part of a service
officer; loyally obedient to the orders of the government of
the day. He an extreme Nazi who did his utmost to
indoctrinate the Navy and the German people with the Nazi
creed. It is no coincidence that it was he — not Goering,
not Ribbentrop, not Goebbels, not Himmler — who was chosen
to succeed Hitler. He played a large part in fashioning the
U-boat fleet, one of the most deadly weapons of aggressive
war. He helped to plan and execute aggressive wars, which he
knew well were in deliberate violation of treaties. He was
ready to stoop to any ruse where he thought he would not be
found out: breaches of the Geneva Convention or of
neutrality, where it might be asserted that sinking was due
to a mine. He was ready to order, and did order, the murder
of helpless survivors of sunken ships, an action only
paralleled by that of his Japanese ally.

There can be few countries which do not mourn for men of the
merchant navies whose destruction was due to the callow
brutality with which, at the orders of this man, the German
U-boat did their work.

                                                  [Page 844]

Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Article 6.
Vol. I, Pg. 5

International Military Tribunal, Indictment Number 1,
Section IV (H); Appendix A. Vol. I, Pg. 29, 67

[Note: A single asterisk (*) before a document indicates
that the document was received in evidence at the Nurnberg
trial. A double asterisk (**) before a document number
indicates that the document was referred to during the trial
but was not formally received in evidence, for the reason
given in parentheses following the description of the
document. The USA series number, given in parentheses
following the description of the document, is the official
exhibit number assigned by the court.]

*382-PS;  Affidavit of Korvettenkapitaen Moehle, England, 19
July 1945, concerning the interpretation of Doenitz’s order
of September 192. (GB 202) . Vol. III, Pg. 290

*498-PS;  Top Secret Fuehrer Order for killing of commandos,
18 October 1942. (USA 501) . Vol. III, Pg. 416

                                                  [Page 845]

*503-PS;  Letter signed by Jodl, 19 October 1942, concerning
Hitler’s explanation of his commando order of the day before
(Document 498-PS). (USA 542) . Vol. III, Pg. 426

*526-PS;  Top secret notice, 10 May 1943, concerning
saboteurs captured and shot in Norway. (USA 502) . Vol. III,
Pg. 434

*1463-PS;  Diary of the Navy, 1944, by Admiral Doenitz. (GB
184) . Vol. IV, Pg. 45

*2098-PS;  Decree relating to Status of Supreme Commanders
of Army and Navy, 25 February 1938. 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt,
Part I, p. 215. (GB 206) . Vol. IV, Pg. 725

*2878-PS;  Extracts from The Archive. (GB 187) . Vol. V, Pg.

*2887-PS;  Certificate of positions held by Doenitz, 8
November 1945. (USA 12) . Vol. V, Pg. 552

2988-PS;  Affidavit of Gerhard Wagner, Nurnberg, 19 November
1945, who identified document C-158 as expressing opinion of
Doenitz and initialled by him . Vol. V, Pg. 693

3150-PS;  Interrogation of Doenitz, 3 November 1945 . Vol.
V, Pg. 911

3151-PS;  Interrogation of Falkenhorst, 24 October 1945 .
Vol. V, Pg. 912

*3260-PS;  “Churchill Sank the Athenia", published in
Voelkischer Beobachter, 23 October 1939. (GB 218) . Vol. V,
Pg. 1008

*C-5;  Memorandum to Supreme Command of the Navy by Doenitz,
9 October 1939, concerning base in Norway. (GB 83) . Vol.
VI, Pg. 815

*C-21;  Extracts from file on Intensification of U-boat
warfare. (GB 194) . Vol. VI, Pg. 815

                                                  [Page 847]

*C-105;  Extract from German Naval War Diary, 21 December
1940, p. 252. (GB 455) . Vol. VI, Pg. 913

*C-118;  Extract from German Naval file, 18 July 1941,
concerning authorization of attacks on U.S. Merchantmen.
(GB 195) . Vol. VI, Pg. 916

*C-120;  Directives for Armed Forces 1939-40 for “Fall
Weiss", operation against Poland. (GB 41) . Vol. VI, Pg. 916

*C-122;  Extract from Naval War Diary. Questionnaire on
Norway bases, 3 October 1939. (GB 82) . Vol. VI, Pg. 928

*C-126;  Preliminary Time Table for “Fall Weiss” and
directions for secret mobilization. (GB 45) . Vol. VI, Pg.

*C-151;  Details for execution of operation “Weseruebung", 3
March 1940, signed by Doenitz. (GB 91) . Vol. VI, Pg. 965

*C-158;  Minutes of conference of C-in-C of Navy with
Hitler, 19 February 1945 and 20 February 1945. (GB 209) .
Vol. VI, Pg. 971

*C-171;  Minutes of conference between Hitler and C-in-C of
Navy regarding Copenhagen General Strike, 1 July 1944. (GB
210) . Vol. VI, Pg. 1002

*C-172;  Order No. 1 for “Fall Weiss” signed by Doenitz.
(GB 189) . Vol. VI, Pg. 1002

*C-178;  Order of Navy concerning treatment of saboteurs, 11
February 1943. (USA 544) . Vol. VI, Pg. 1012

*C-179;  Hitler’s second decree, 18 October 1942, regarding
annihilation of terror and sabotage units. (USA 543) . Vol.
VI, Pg. 1014

*C-191;  Demands by defendant Doenitz on sinking of merchant
ships, 22 September 1939. (GB 193) . Vol. VI, Pg. 1018

*C-195;  Report signed by Doenitz, 1944, giving support to
Navy and Merchant Marine. (GB 211) . Vol. VI, Pg. 1022

                                                  [Page 847]

*D-423;  Memorandum of conversation between Hitler and
Oshima, 3 January 1942. (GB 197) . Vol. VII, Pg. 53

*D-436;  Citation on promotion of Doenitz to Vice Admiral,
published in The Archive, 27 September 1940. p. 550. (GB
183) . Vol. VII, Pg. 54

*D-443;  Speech by Doenitz to Naval officers at Weimar, 17
December 1943. (GB 185) . Vol. VII, Pg. 54

*D-444;  Order of day and speech of Doenitz on death of
Hitler, 1 May 1945. (GB 188) . Vol. VII, Pg. 55

*D-446;  Extract from B.d.U. War Diary, 16 September 1942.
(GB 198) . Vol. VII, Pg. 57

*D-566;  Affidavit by Peter-Joseph Heisig, 27 November 1945.
(GB 201) . Vol. VII, Pg. 72

*D-630;  Extracts from B.d.U. War Diary and Order to all U-
boat commanders; telegram from Schacht and in reply to
Schacht. (GB 199) . Vol. VII, Pg. 100

*D-638;  Affidavit of Doenitz concerning sinking of Athenia,
17 November 1945. (GB 220) . Vol. VII, Pg. 114

*D-640;  Speech by C-in-C of Navy to Commanders in Chief, 15
February 1944. (GB 186) . Vol. VII, Pg. 116

*D-641-A;  Extracts from official reports concerning German
attacks on merchant shipping, 3 September 1939 to September
1940. (GB 191) . Vol. VII, Pg. 116

*D-641-B;  Extracts from official reports concerning German
attacks on merchant shipping, 1 September 1940 to 28
February 1941. (GB 191) . Vol. VII, Pg. 120

*D-641-C;  Sinkings by U-boats during the war, 1939-1945.
(GB 191) . Vol. VII, Pg. 124

*D-642;  Extract from Befehlshaber der U-bootes; Secret
Standing Order No. 154 signed by Doenitz. (GB 196) . Vol.
VII, Pg. 124

*D-644;  Report of sinking of “Sheaf Mead". (GB 192) . Vol.
VII, Pg. 124

*D-645;  Report on sinking of “Noreen Mary"; affidavit by
survivor. (GB 203) . Vol. VII, Pg. 128

*D-646-A;  Wireless talk by German naval reporter concerning
Windjammer sunk by U-boat. (GB 205) . Vol. VII, Pg. 133

D-646-B;  Extract from War Diary of U-105, 12 January 1943.
. Vol. VII, Pg. 133

*D-647;  Statement on sinking of SS “Antonico", which was
torpedoed, set afire and sunk, 28 September 1942. (GB 204) .
Vol. VII, Pg. 134

*D-648;  List of Hitler-Doenitz meetings. (GB 207) . Vol.
VII, Pg. 136

*D-649;  Affidavit by Judge Advocate, 28 December 1945. (GB
208) . Vol. VII, Pg. 145

*D-650;  Orders issued by Doenitz, 4/11/1945. (GB 212)*D-
663;  Operation Order “Atlantic” No. 56 for U-boats in
Atlantic, 7 October 1943. (GB 20) . Vol. VII, Pg. 148

Statement I;  The Laconia Case and German Submarine Warfare,
by Karl Doenitz, Nurnberg, 7 October 1945 and 19 October
1945. Vol. VIII, Pg. 657

Statement IX;  My Relationship to Adolf Hitler and to the
Party, by Erich Raeder, Moscow, fall 1945. Vol. VII, Pg. 707