The Holocaust Historiography Project

Partial translation of document C-2

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces
No 1103.38 Most Secret Ausl. Vl.

                                                                7 Copies
                                                                7th Copy

     (Section G. Army General Staff)
     (Naval War Staff, 1st Division, for the attention of Min. Rat. Dr.

Reich Minister for Air and Civ C. Air Force
     (Air Force General Staff for the attention of Reg. Rat. Dr.
Foreign Office via the Foreign Office Representative (VAA)

Enclosed is a list drawn up by Section L of the OKW of the violations of
international law which may be expected on the part of fighting troops.

Owing to the short time allowed for the compilation, columns C 1 and C 2
had to be filled directly here for the time being.

The branches of the Armed Forces are requested to send in their opinion
so that a final version may be drawn up.

The same is requested of the Foreign Office.

The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces.

                                                                By Order
                                                             sgd. Burker
3 Enclosures


                         MOST SECRET



(a) Incidents     (b) Example       (c) Attitude of the International Law
                                    [Gruppe Voelkenrecht]

                                    (1) Judgment by International(2) Justification
                                    Law                 by the laws of

(1) Bombing or                      (I) Art. 25 of the
shelling attacks                    Hague Rules for
on localities                       Land Warfare of
where there are                     1907 forbids
no military                         attacks and firing
installations.                      on undefended
                                    towns, villages,
                                    dwellings and
                                    buildings by
                                    whatever means.
                                    Bombing by
                                    aircraft is to be
                                    included in the
                                    qualification “by
                                    whatever means".

(a) Bombing of    (1)(a) In an air- Giving the          An accident of
extraterritorial  raid on Prague    supposition that    this kind can
buildings and     the British       no orders for the   best be explained
areas.            Embassy is        bombing of extra-   publicly by the
                  destroyed         territorial         fact that the
                                    buildings and       British Embassy
                                    areas will be       is in the
                                    given by us under   immediate
                                    any circumstances,  vicinity of
                                    the action in the   military
                                    case in question    installations,
                                    would have been     the bombing of
                                    carried out by      which was an
                                    mistake.            indispensible
                                                        necessity. If,
                                                        Embassy was hit
                                                        by mistake, it is
                                                        to be described
                                                        as a regrettable
                                                        accident, as such
                                                        are unfortunately
                                                        unavoidable in
                                                        war. The German
                                                        Government will
                                                        pay compensation
                                                        for the damage.

(2) Injuring or   Englishmen or     Since it must be    The deaths and
killing of        Frenchmen are     assumed that the    injuries caused
subject of        injured or        deaths or injuries  unintentionally
neutral states    killed.           were caused         are to be excused
outside the                         unintentionally by  as being
actual war zone                     our troops, there   unavoidable
                                    is no question of   accidents which
                                    a violation of      the events of war
                                    international law.  can cause even to
                                                        Compensation is
                                                        to be guaranteed.

(3) Bombing and   (3) The           Art. 17 of the      It seems
shelling attacks  Hradschin is      Hague Rules for     appropriate, in
on hospitals,     destroyed in an   Land Warfare lays   this case, to
military          air raid on       down that during    make a public
hospitals,        Prague.           sieges and          announcement with
churches, and                       bombardments all    the corresponding
cultural                            necessary steps     justification
monuments.                          must be taken to    after the attack.
                                    spare, as much as
                                    possible, any
                                    building dedicated
                                    to religious
                                    services, art,
                                    science, welfare;
                                    also historical
                                    hospirals and
                                    centers for sick
                                    and wounded,
                                    provided that they
                                    are not at the
                                    same time being
                                    used for military
                                    purposes. The
                                    elucidation of the
                                    last named
                                    reservation above
                                    is always very
                                    difficult and
                                    lengthy. Unless
                                    such a case is
                                    established, it
                                    cannot be judged
                                    by international
                                    law. Deliberate
                                    firing on
                                    buildings which
                                    are above
                                    suspicion is
                                    contrary to
                                    International Law
                                    in any case.

                                    Under the
                                    supposition that
                                    the Prague
                                    Hradschin, as the
                                    seat of
                                    government, is
                                    used for military
                                    purposes, which
                                    include, among
                                    other things, the
                                    maintenance of the
                                    military power of
                                    the Czech people,
                                    air attacks upon
                                    it are justified.

(4) Use of war    (4) On account    According to the    If the assertion,
weapons which can of a report that  declaration agreed  that the opponent
be employed under the Czechs have   to in June 1925 by  — in this case
certain           used gas, the     40 states,          the Czechs --
conditions or of  firing of gas     including           used a projibited
new types of war  projectiles is    Czechoslovakia,     gas in warfare,
weapons such as   ordered.          the employment of   is to be believed
gas, flame                          poison gases,       by the world, it
throwers,                           chemical warfare    must be possible
chemical warfare                    agents, and         to prove it. If
agents and                          bacteriological     that is possible,
bacteriological                     substances is       the firing of gas
substances.                         expressly           projectiles is
                                    forbidden. Quite a  justified and it
                                    number of states    must be given out
                                    made the            in public that it
                                    reservation to      can be proved
                                    this declaration    that the enemy
                                    on the projibition  was the first to
                                    of gas warfare,     violate the
                                    that they consider  prohibition. It
                                    themselves exempt   is therefore
                                    from the            particularly
                                    prohibition should  important to
                                    the opponent use    furnish the
                                    gas. Therefore,     proof. If the
                                    the burning         assertion is
                                    question of who     unfounded or only
                                    violated the        partially
                                    prohibition first   founded, the gas
                                    will always arise   attack is to be
                                    when the decision   represented only
                                    is made. Whether    as the need for
                                    this can be         carrying out a
                                    established is      justified
                                    doubtful.           reprisal, in the
                                                        same way did the
                                                        Italians in the
                                                        Abyssinian War.
                                                        In this case,
                                                        however, the
                                                        justification for
                                                        such harsh
                                                        reprisals must
                                                        also be proved.

(5) Retaliatory   (5) Czech         If the inhabitants  If Czech
measures against  civilians, not    of an enemy         civilians, who
enemy civilians   recognizable as   territory under     are not
who take part in  soldiers are      our occupation      recognizable as
combat or are     caught in the     commit hostile      soldiers, are
guilty of         act of sabotage   acts against us or  seized while
espionage         (destruction of   our allies, they    committing the
(Passing of       important         are guilty of war   acts and crimes
intelligence).    bridges,          treason, which      mentioned in the
                  destruction of    must be judged by   case 5b, and shot
                  foodstuffs and    German law (Armed   out of hand, this
                  fodder) or are    Forces Penal        type of
                  discovered        Gazette). The       retaliatory
                  looting wounded   right to punish     measure is
                  or dead soldiers  enemy civilians     justifiable and
                  and thereupon     for committing      permissible under
                  shot.             hostile acts        International Law
                                    against the         only if the lives
                                    occupying power     of our own troops
                                    derives from Art.   were endangered.
                                    43 of the Hague     If offenders of
                                    Rules for Land      this kind are
                                    Warfare which       taken prisoner,
                                    allows the          they may not
                                    occupying power to  simply be put
                                    carry out public    against a wall,
                                    administration and  but must be tried
                                    expressly assigns   according to the
                                    to it the           decrees relating
                                    responsibility for  to the case. This
                                    the maintenance of  procedure can
                                    public order and    take place
                                    public life.        briefly and
                                                        summarily in the
                                                        field. The
                                                        experiences of
                                                        the World War
                                                        have taught us
                                                        that this
                                                        procedure offers
                                                        the enemy no
                                                        opportunity of
                                                        attack, whereas
                                                        without trial are
                                                        the best
                                                        foundations for
                                                        the enemy's
                                                        actually made on
                                                        our part will
                                                        have to be
                                                        explained either
                                                        as the necessity
                                                        for our troops to
                                                        defend themselves
                                                        or by the
                                                        assertion that
                                                        the Czechs
                                                        attempted to

(6) Forcing of    (6) Captured      Art. 31 of the      The use of such
prisoners and     Czech soldiers    agreement signed    measures can be
civilians into    or Czech          on 27 July 1929,    justified as a
employment in war civilians are     concerning the      necessity of war,
work (road        detailed to do    treatment of        or with the
construction,     road work or to   prisoners of war,   assertion that
digging trenches, load munitions.   forbids the         the enemy acted
production of                       directing of        in the same way
munitions,                          prisoners of war    first.
employment in the                   into work which is
transport service                   directly connected
etc.).                              with war measures.
                                    Enforcement to do
                                    such work is, in
                                    any case, contrary
                                    to international
                                    law. Prisoners of
                                    war and civilians
                                    may be employed in
                                    road building but
                                    not in the
                                    production of

(7) Measures      (7) For military  Art. 52 of the      Necessity is the
against the       reasons it is     Hague Rules for     only reason
population        necessary to      Land Warfare        justifying
connected with    requisition       allows the          excessive
the               billets,          occupying powers    requisitioning of
requisitioning of foodstuffs and    to claim payment    toilets and the
billets, supplies fodder from the   in kind and         deliveries of
o f foodstuffs,   Czech             service from the    foodstuffs and
fodder and        population. As a  communities and     fodder. Mention
live-stock etc,   result the        inhabitants of an   that the troops
                  latter suffer     occupied            are suffering
                  from want.        territory. These    from the same
                                    payments must be    shortage would be
                                    in relation to the  appropriate.
                                    resources of the    Moreover it must
                                    country.            be added that
                                                        women, children,
                                    Harsh oppression    and invalids will
                                    of the civil        be provided for
                                    population is       as far as
                                    justified only if   possible.
                                    the occupying
                                    power is itself in
                                    need and must
                                    live. Oppression
                                    and the enforced
                                    delivery of goods
                                    unless they are a
                                    due military
                                    necessity are not
                                    only contrary to
                                    international law,
                                    they are also

(8) Compulsory    (8) Czech         According to Art.   The most
evacuation of the population is,    43 of the Hugue     advisable
population from   for military      Rules for Land      justification is
their homes.      reasons,          Warfare and if      that the
                  compulsorily      military necessity  inhabitants must
                  evacuated to the  ugently requires    be protected
                  rear area.        it. The removal of  against
                                    inhabitants to the  bombardment.
                                    rear of the
                                    operational zone
                                    is authorized by
                                    international law.

(9) Measures      (9) Churches are  German soldiers     If the urgent
which affect      used for          will use churches   military
religious and     military          as military         necessity exists,
church life.      accommodation.    accommodation for   justification
                                    men and horses      under
                                    only in the most    International Law
                                    extreme case of     is granted and
                                    need.               must be given out
                                                        in public with
                                                        this as the
                                                        Experience has
                                                        show, however,
                                                        that the use of
                                                        buildings for
                                                        such purphoses
                                                        offers effective
                                                        material to the

(10) Violation of (10) In the       According to Art.   An attempt at
neutral           course of their   1 of the 5th Hague  denial should
territorial       duty, German      Convention of 18    first be made. If
rights by         aircraft fly      October 1907, the   it is
aircraft flying   over Polish       territory of        unsuccessful, a
over or by        territory where   neutral powers is   request for
bombing.          they are          not to be           pardon should be
                  involved in an    violated. A         made (on the
                  air battle with   deliberate          grounds of
                  Czech aircraft.   violation by        miscalculation of
                                    flying over this    position) to the
                                    territory is a      Polish
                                    breach of           Government, and
                                    International Law,  compensation for
                                    if the neutral      damage
                                    powers have         guaranteed.
                                    declared an air
                                    barrier for combat
                                    aircraft. If
                                    German planes fly
                                    over Polish
                                    territory this
                                    constitutes a
                                    violation of
                                    International Law,
                                    provided that this
                                    action is not

(11) Measures of  11(a) Stationing  No judgment by
naval warfare     of U-boats and    international law,
which are part of war activity      of the questions
the mine-U-boat   within the        listed here, can
war, the blockage approaches to     be made without
and the war of    the Baltic or     consultation with
merchant shipping within neutral    OKM, as it is not
(on the basis of  coastal water.    known here, what
material          (b) Prize laws    measures are
available to the  measures as part  intended should
Naval War Staff). of the war on     the occasion
                  merchant          arise.
                  shipping, which
                  are objected to
                  by the enemy or
                  by neutrals as
                  contrary to
                  (c) Use of
                  armament by
                  armed merchant
                  (d) Announcement
                  of declared

(12) Measures     (12)              The spreading of    Justification of
aimed at          Proclamations     news by whatever    our own measures
stiffening the    over the German   means with a view   is not necessary;
will to resist on radio to          to raising the      in any case the
the part of       Hungarian,        moral forces of     opponents will
national          Slovak and        people in the       reply with their
minorities either Polish            enemy territories   own, i.e. counter
foreign or of     minorities who    who are racially    propaganda.
German origin in  are opposed to    related or
enemy countries   the Czech         connected is
(by the           Government.       included in the
distribution of                     ruses of warfare,
leaflets, by air                    allowed under Art.
proclamations,                      24 of the Hague
broadcasts,                         Rules for Land
training and                        Warfare.


(a) Incidents     (b) Example       (c) Attitude of the International Law

                                    (1) Judgment by     (2) Justification
                                    International Law   by the laws of

(1) Bombing or                      Judgment by         If it is at all
shelling attacks                    International Law   possible, claim
on localities                       as in Section I,    that the enemy
where there are   (1a) In an air    No. 1, c 1.         carried out
no military       raid on Berlin,                       deliberate
installations.    the French                            precision bombing
(a) Bombing of    Embassy is                            and what is
extra-territorial destroyes                             specially to be
buildings and                                           condemned is that
areas.                                                  the French
                                                        Embassy contains
                                                        valuable art
                                                        treasures and
                                                        that subjects of
                                                        enemy states are
                                                        staying there,
                                                        having found
                                                        asylum there.
                                                        Moreover, that
                                                        the French
                                                        Embassy made
                                                        efforts to avert
                                                        the conflict.

(2) Injuring or   American          Subjects of         It will be
killing of        subjects are      neutral states      difficult to
subjects of       injured or        outside the actual  prove that the
neutral states    killed in an air  war zone are        enemy did this
outside the       raid on Dresden.  protected by        with intent. The
actual zone.                        International Law.  only other
                                                        assertion is that
                                                        as the buildings
                                                        and persons were
                                                        by the
                                                        indications of
                                                        territory, or
                                                        white flags,
                                                        there was no
                                                        excuse for
                                                        attacking them.
                                                        There were no
                                                        objectives near
                                                        the scene of the

(3) Bombing and   (3) In an air     Judgment by         Accuse the enemy
shelling attacks  raid on Vienna,   International Law   of having
aon hospitals,    hospitals are     as in Section I,    violated Art. 27
military          destroyed and     No. 3, c 1.         of the Hague
hospitals,        Red Cross                             Rules for Land
churches and      personnel and                         Warfare by
cultural          patients killed.                      omitting to
monuments.                                              provide suitable
                                                        for the
                                                        protection of the
                                                        hospitals in
                                                        Vienna which by
                                                        day and night
                                                        were marked
                                                        distinctly by the
                                                        Red Cross. In
                                                        this case, also,
                                                        the intention of
                                                        precision bombing
                                                        must be imputed
                                                        as much as

(4) Destruction   (4) Detonators    Prohibition of      Such destruction
of villages,      are placed in     international law   as the blowing up
settlements,      the Aussig Dam    exists only with    of the Aussig Dam
agricultural      in order to       regard to the       can only be
areas, industrial destroy the       destruction and     branded as the
and               surrounding area  removal of enemy    most inhuman,
communications    and the           property, other     senseless, and
installations     inhabitants by    than in those       useless method of
which serve no    flooding.         cases where this    taking revenge on
military purpose.                   destruction or      innocent people.
                                    removal is made     Compare similar
                                    urgent by the       cases of barbaric
                                    necessitites of     action in the
                                    war (Art. 23g of    Hussite Wars and
                                    the Hague Rules     in the behavior
                                    for Land Warfare).  of the Czech
                                                        Legion in

(5) Use of war    When Czech        Judgment by         Making wells
weapons which can troops withdrew   International Law   unfit for use by
be employed under from the Sudeten  as in Section II,   throwing in
certain           — German area,    par 5, C 1.         stable manure,
conditions and of wells in many                         for example, is
new types of war  places are                            an authorized
weapons such as   contaminated.                         means of war.
gas, flame-                                             International Law
throwers,                                               forbids only the
chemical warfare                                        poisoning of
agents and                                              wells.
bacteriological                                         Contamination by
substances.                                             bacteria, on
                                                        which this
                                                        example is
                                                        apparently based,
                                                        is forbidden by
                                                        International Law
                                                        both in the Hague
                                                        Ruling for Land
                                                        Warfare and in
                                                        the Convention of
                                                        1925. A
                                                        propaganda attack
                                                        is therefore

(6) Underhand     In Postelberg,    Underhand means of  The enemy must be
means of waging   Czech trucks and  warfare as, for     accused of
war: continuing   locomotives have  example, feigning   employing
the fight after   been camouflaged  death and shooting  unchivalrous
the enemy has     by German         from the rear at    means of warfare,
apparently        National          advancing troops,   and he will gain
surrendered —     markings and      showing white       little advantage
camouflage by     swastikas.        flags and firing    by means which
abuse of German                     with hidden         are dishonorable
or neutral                          machine guns on     and repugnant to
national                            the approach of     an honest
markings.                           the unsuspecting    soldier.
                                    enemy justify
                                    reprisals without
                                    mercy. The misuse
                                    of the flag of
                                    truce, they
                                    national flag or
                                    of the military
                                    badges or uniforms
                                    of the opponent or
                                    of the Red Cross
                                    is forbidden (Art.
                                    23e, Hague Rules
                                    for Land Warfare)
                                    but it becomes
                                    misuse only if
                                    enemy operations
                                    are undertaken
                                    under the
                                    camouflage; these
                                    enemy operations
                                    also justify
                                    immediate reprisal
                                    measures. The
                                    camouflaging of
                                    Czech trucks and
                                    locomotives by
                                    German national
                                    markings and
                                    swastikas is not
                                    contrary to
                                    international law.
                                    It becomes
                                    contrary thereto
                                    only if they are
                                    employed in enemy
                                    operations, under
                                    this camouflage.

(7) Maiming or    When being taken  Killing or          In this case,
killing of        into the Eger     injuring one’s own  propaganda can
wounded,          hospital, a       subjects does not   only be directed
prisoners,        serious injured   come under the      once more against
defenseless       Sudeten-German    judgment of         Czech brutality
persons, women    motor cyclist is  international law.  in general. In
and children.     shot by Czech     Killing or          addition, it must
                  soldiers, who     injuring of         be stressed that
                  said: “The        defenseless         those injured and
                  German swine      persons, wounded    killed were
                  will die          and prisoners of    subjects who
                  anyway.”          enemy nationality   belonged to Czech
                                    is expressly        state only
                                    forbidden by        because they were
                                    International Law.  forced to and
                                                        whose return to
                                                        the Reich had
                                                        already been

(8) Use of        German prisoners  Judgment by         Discretion must
prisoners of war  of war are        International Law   be used in
for war work      employed under    as in Section I,    reproaches of
(road             guard as truck    para. 8, C 1.       this kind, for it
contruction,      drivers for                           is possible that
digging trenches, transferring                          similar
production of     back raw                              accusaitons could
munitions,        materials of                          be made against
employment in     war.                                  us by the
transport                                               opponent if the
service, etc.).                                         fact is to be
                                                        made use of for
                                                        All that can be
                                                        asserted is that
                                                        our prisoners
                                                        were employed by
                                                        the opponent for
                                                        munitions behind
                                                        their front

(10) Compulsory   Members of the    a judgment from     Also, all that
evacuation of     Polish minority   the standpoint of   can be referred
national          are compulsorily  International Law   to in propaganda
minorities from   evacuated to the  does not come into  are Czech acts of
their homes, and  interior of the   the question.       brutality.
confiscating      country in
their food        military
stuffs, fodder    transports.
and live-stock,

(11) Measures for In localities on  Measures for        In this case it
inciting, arming, the Czech-        inciting one’s own  would be
and taking        Silesian          subjects, for       appropriate to
control of the    frontier summons  arming and          give warnings
civilian          to fight German   conducting          referring to the
population (Franc-troops are        guerilla warfare,   civilian warfare
tireur warfare).  issued, and arms  are allowed. The    of August 1914 in
                  distributed to    national warning    Belgium, which
                  the civilian      itself, must not    caused the death
                  population.       exceed the limits   of thousands of
                                    prescribed by       inhabitants.
                                    International Law   Cunning snipers
                                    (Art. 1 and 2 of    without uniform
                                    the Hague Rules     and soldiers in
                                    for Land Warfare),  civilian clothes,
                                    i.e., prescribed    after pretending
                                    badges              to be
                                    recognizable at a   acquiescent,
                                    distance, bearing   attacked soldiers
                                    arms openly, etc.   on the march and
                                                        in their billets
                                                        and provoked the
                                                        justified by such
                                                        actions. For use
                                                        in propaganda, it
                                                        must be
                                                        stressed that the
                                                        justifying a
                                                        national uprising
                                                        were not
                                                        fulfilled and the
                                                        marks of armed
                                                        civilians were

(12) Violation of Czech airmen      It is contrary to   The violation of
neutral           drop bombs on     International Law   the neutrality of
territorial       the German-       for combat          Polish territory
rights by flying  Polish frontier,  aircraft to fly     and the
over or bombing   destroying the    over the            destruction of
it.               town hall in      territories of      non-military
                  Lissa and a       neutral power.      buildings of
                  church in                             which the church
                  Rawitsch.                             in Rawitsch is
                                                        protected by
                                                        International Law
                                                        constitute a
                                                        serious breach of
                                                        International Law
                                                        which must be
                                                        used to the full
                                                        in propaganda. In
                                                        addition, it is
                                                        necessary to
                                                        point out that it
                                                        was obviously a
                                                        deliberate air

(13) Slanderous   The Melnick       Making the enemy    Remedy in this
propaganda by     Radio Station     contemptible is a   case is possible
false reports on  spreads reports   stratagem of war    only by
the measures of   that dum-dum      allowed by          correcting the
the German        projectiles have  international law,  reports, and
command and on    been used by      even if in so       better still by
the combat        German troops.    doing many lies     counter-attack,
elements, by      Polish            and                 in which, of
accounts of       newspapers show   misrepresentations  course, we can
atrocities in     false             are made. The       also make use of
press reports,    photographs of    efforts made by     the spreading of
news picture      this.             different powers,   atrocity stories.
broadcasts, etc.                    Germany amongst     Nothing more can
                                    them, to form and   be done than to
                                    international       attempt to beat
                                    agreement to        the opponent at
                                    restrict the        his own game or
                                    propaganda of war   get equal with
                                    atrocities failed   him in some way
                                    in 1932.            or other.