Oral History Interview from the video "Memories of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials" by Nate Wauda

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Record 43/959
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
Admin/Biog History Nate Wauda is a native of Neenah and was born July 29, 1912. He graduated from Neenah High School in 1930. In 1931 he joined the National Guard and was in the Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 127th Infantry, 32nd Red Arrow Division. In 1942 he was at Ft. Sheridan as a Sergeant Major. He then attended OCS, officer candidate schoolat Camp Davis, NY. Nate worked for Kimberly Clark for 45 years. He had a few years off during his army career. He spent five years in the army in World War II and had the rank of Captain at the time that he left the service. He worked with the Paper Industry Hall of Fame, helping get that established. He's a long time member of the Neenah Historical Society.
Classification Archives
Collection World War II Oral History Project
Dates of Accumulation April 30, 2003
Abstract Oral history interview videotaped by Learning In Retirement Production at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and copied to audio tape with the permission of Nate Wauda. Nate was in the military during World War II and was involved in the trials of former Nazi leaders after the war.

Memories of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials.
By Nate Wauda,
From a video production at the UW Oshkosh.

{N: indicates Mr. Wauda during this audio transcription. Q: indicates a questioner from the audience. Empty brackets [ ] indicate a word or phrase not understandable. Brackets around words indicate that transcriber is unsure of spelling.}.

Introduction by Master of Ceremonies: We'll get started here. We have a very good program today. I'm sure that most of you will remember or recognize Nate Wauda. He spoke to us before on a couple different topics. Today is a very special one because he had the experience of being there during the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War. The program today will be videotaped and made available to other learning and retirement groups around the state. If you have a question for Nate, I'm sure he'll be very happy to answer it. Just raise your hand and when he acknowledges you, speak clearly and loudly so it gets recorded.

Nate is a native of Neenah. He didn't tell me exactly when he was born but he said he was 88 years old and doing a little math, we can figure that out. He graduated from Neenah High School in 1930. Joined the National Guard and was in the 32nd Red Arrow Division. Spent some time in Louisiana chasing the snakes and frogs. I'm sure one of our other members would relate to that. Clarence Jungwirth was talking about his experiences this afternoon.

Nate worked for Kimberly Clark for 45 years. He had a few years off during his army career. He spent five years in the army in World War II and had the rank of Captain at the time that he left the service. He worked with the Paper Industry Hall of Fame, helping get that established. He's a long time member of the Neenah Historical Society and is very prominent in doing our cemetery walks, fifteen years of those. And Nate has written every one of the scripts. So he does a fantastic job there.

I think that's all I'm going to say now and I'll turn it over to Nate. (Applause).

N: Good Morning. {Audience responds in kind}. Thank you. Ten years ago, or rather ten years after I returned from Europe, I couldn't have done what I'm going to do today. And when I'm finished, I think you'll know why.

I remember very clearly November 11, 1918. I was six years old. My brother was with the 32nd Division in Germany, er, in France rather. The war had ended. A Soo Line train coming down Norwegian Hill. The engineer had a son over there. He was Jim Dollard from Fond du Lac. He tooted Yankee Doodle on the locomotive whistle. My mother said, "What in the world is that for!" We found out because his son was, he heard the news at Stevens Point that the war was over and he tooted that whistle all the way from Stevens Point to Fond du Lac. "Yankee Doodle."

I remember that very clearly and that very day my dad took me downtown and bought me a little soldier suit. They were knickers. They weren't long trousers in those days for kids. But a little coat and a little hat and so forth with a flag. And I felt very patriotic. I believe I have been that way all my life. And today I certainly am. Because at stake here is a great description of patriotism and its direct opposite. I remember over there near the end of the war with the Third Army. I was an artillery observer at the time. There was a big [krieg gefangenlager], that's a war camp for prisoners at [Mussberg] in Austria where there were 28,000 American Air Force people of all ranks. I think you've heard of the place.

Well, we were given orders to get over there early one Sunday morning before daylight and line up. So we opened up a ring of fire. This camp was out in the fields away from the town so we could do this. We didn't want to harm too many innocent people. But we put a ring of fire, 240 and 150-millimeter artillery shells, and they're pretty big, to scare the daylights out of the SS who were running that Mussberg camp with all of our good American boys. I can still see it. That went on for 15 minutes and we really pulverized Mother Earth. The white flag went up by the gate. And then the cheer. I can hear it yet.

So as we gathered there on the grounds, out they came. First those who could run, then who could walk, and then those who could crawl. And the first thing, they grabbed us by the knees while they were on the ground, "Give me a cigarette." And those that could stand, the same thing. But that was a great day. Mussberg, Germany. The liberation of Stagluft Sieben. Army Air Force Prison Camp No. 7. There were 14 of them in Europe during World War II. \

So I had my first taste of victory there for us. And it was good, a good shot in the arm, not knowing that a few days later, not too far from there, a matter of 20 miles. A little village, a little town of Dachau would forever be in my memory.

So up on the board here on my left are some famous people in the great German Reich, the Third Reich. And may I say that if you folks are interested in good reading material for this, what I'm talking about today, here it is. William Shirer is one of the best-known war journalists that we had. He's now dead. He lived in Boston, Massachusetts. He had many personal encounters and conversations with Adolph Hitler. But he has an excellent coverage of the whole story from beginning to end and it's good reading.

The other book over here is one that was given to me by a nice man in the little town of [Herdman], Germany one Sunday afternoon when we were going through that area to take over the country. He said, after we were all through, first when we got there he said, "Please don't smash my glass doors," and all that business. "Please don't take my silverware." Well no man under me ever did a thing like that. Anyway he said, "Before you go, please, I want to give you something." He went to his library. "That's Mein Kampf." That's the textbook that Adolph Hitler wrote back in 1934 in the [Landsburg] Prison, when he was a prisoner. And it's a terrible thing to read. I can't read too much German like that. It's a lot of very foul, disoriented language and it's a… The evidence the man's mind was crazy at times and normal at other times. Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf; "My Struggle." His plan for the formation of the Aryan only world. Pure Aryan. Someone not a descendant of a Jew. That's what Aryan means. So the hatred was back there in 1934 already.

So up here on the board is his [ ] about 1889, 1945. And then the man on the right up there, Adolph Eichmann, the architect of death in the death camps. Down below Hitler is his most feared assistant among the even the enlisted men and the officers of the Reich - Heinrich Himmler. Heydrich, who was responsible for the continuation of the death in the concentration and everything else that was bad about it. And there they are. The four big ones.

And the concentration camps most memorable - there are many of them - but these are the big ones: Dachau, the biggest one. Some of you people have been there, I'm sure. And if you haven't been, you probably will be someday. Buchenwald, that's the dirtiest one of all of them. Auschwitz; let me read something to you. I had a very good eye doctor, Barbara Geldner. Ever hear of her? They weren't put to death. This is what she says, "I would be very grateful if you would inform your readers that 50 years ago on April 15, 1945, during the final land assault of the allied land forces on the Third Reich, the troops of the British/Canadian 21st Army Group liberated the Bergen-Belsen, the notorious Nazi concentration camp. The liberators found 35,000 unburied corpses in every state of decay. Lying around piled up on top of each other in heaps. And 30,000 more starving, sick and dying prisoners. The captured SS men were made to carry those corpses with their bare hands and bury them in the mass graves. Jeering crowds collected around them and they had to be kept under a strong guard of MP's." This is what Barbara says, "This is the plain and simple truth. I was there. I was sent to Bergen-Belsen from Auschwitz on January 6, 1945 and I survived as a witness." There is a very direct voice from the past.

Barbara is still living. She has retired to some other part of the state of Wisconsin but I noticed when she was fixing my eyes one day, the identity of her sorority, if you want to call it, the numbers on her left arm. They were put there with indelible ink. That was her serial number as a prisoner of war, or as a Jewish prisoner for death at that camp.

Well, all right, Let's go to some of these other people here. Adolph Hitler. Peculiar man. Shirer said that he was so different, changeable. At times he was oh, almost divine in some of the things he could say. And he loved poetry and he loved music. He loved the German opera. I think Die Meistersinger was one of his favorites and so was many of those of Wagner. In fact during his career as Der Fuhrer, they would rent, not rent, they would take over the opera house in Berlin and he was the sole person sitting in the seats as the famous orchestras would go on through a wonderful Wagner opera for him. And he would Ohhh, he would raise his hands, Ohhh, so wonderful! So good!

And yet, on the other side of his character he could put death millions of people and laugh about it. A very mixed up man. He was born on April 20th 1889 in a little town in Bavaria, or rather in Austria. [Braunau]. He was born of a Jewish mother. Now isn't that strange. She was not married. He was born out of wedlock but he was adopted by a man named Hitler. Only his name at that time was Schickelgruber.

And he was a retail storeowner in this little town. It was right on the German border. And he was also a customs official so there was a little bit of government there. But his adopted mother was a German. And not a Jewish woman. So they adopted him and he lived with them as a boy. Grew up.
And he was a good student in elementary school. Got good marks and behaved pretty well. The teachers all thought he was peculiar. He was odd. He was retiring. He was not very friendly. He'd take the back seat. He tried to be an artist and he had some ability. If you want to see it after while, there's a little thing up here that he drew that was saved.

But he just couldn't make it. He failed in his other studies and came to Vienna to live and that's where he started to hate the Jews, they say. That's where he developed a hatred against the non-Aryan people. They were good people. They still are good people. And so he got along with the racists. He read a lot of racist books and they had them in those days too back there, even before that. And then he became a very fanatical German nationalist. Ohhh, the Reich, the Third Reich, ohh.

In 1913 he was in the war, the First World War as a Lance Corporal and he did a pretty good job, they say. He was twice decorated for bravery. Believe it. But he, and I guess he was wounded twice and finally taken out of the service.

Then he got busy. And he was, oh this association with racism was very paramount in his character. And his mind and personality were developing their hatred. Oh, sinister thing that it was, against the Jewish people. That was born in his mind way back in the early 30's already. And that book tells about it. The story of it. Mein Kampf. My struggle to make the world Aryan and nothing else. What an ambition.

So he became very well known then in what they call the NSDAP. That's the long term for Nazi. I don't think you like that word any more than I do. Nazi. It meant National Socialist German Workers Party. He was one of the originators of the German Workers Party which was the basis of Nazism. Somewhat similar to Communist. That's not very unusual. He had another friend across the way in the east whose name was Stalin who had the same kind of ideas he did. So he got started and ah, [National Socialist Deutche Arbeitist Party]. That's the way they would scream it out. Be a Nazi. And they wore the swastika on their arm.

So he organized, early in his life, in his early twenties, the brown shirt storm troopers of Germany. The people that weren't in that category, and their were lots of em, still are; they couldn't understand why this fairly good looking young man was so violent and so full of hate. But he'd get up there and he would just scream his head off. I don't know if any of you ever heard his voice. I heard it on the radio plenty of times. And it's not nice to listen to. And yet, as Shirer says, at times he was eloquent. He could quote poetry and he was, little children, he'd love to give them a coin or a piece of candy. He loved little girls. Not in a sexual way but in a fatherly way shall we say. Unusual man. So that's the man Adolph Hitler.

Heinrich Himmler. Oh, one of the most hated men in the history of the country of Germany. He was second to Hitler in command. His lifespan was just 45 years, 1900 to 1945. He had a title of Reichfuhrer. As you know Hitler was called Der Fuhrer. Heil Hitler. Mmm.

He was the architect of the Waffen SS. The Waffen [Schutzstsaffel]. Better known short title, SS. When you went to the school to become an SS officer or enlisted man, you had only one way to get out. You had to graduate. If you didn't graduate you were dead. Supposing you had a son that had to go through that. You go that place where you learn all kinds of mayhem and hatred and murder and all. You could write a terrible story about that. But that's what he started. The head of it. Actually the SS was a private army. When Hitler sees it, he was very proud of it. It was his private army. And Heinrich Himmler was the man that organized it and kept it going for him. And so they were very close together. And yet this man, Himmler was a very oh ah, retiring timid kind of personality. But he did a lot of things of course, being where he was in command of all the rotten things that happened over there under Hitler, that Hitler didn't have to worry about because Heinrich Himmler did it. When the war ended May 8th or May 9th, 1945, he escaped and he got rid of his uniform that he was wearing so proudly all those years. He put on some peasant's clothes and they caught him. And he broke out of hand. He ran and they couldn't catch him. He took a cyanide pill out of his coat and he took his own life. So he missed what happened at Nuremberg and he can be glad he did.

He was the founder of the execution system too. He started the first labor camps. [ ] mention the name Workers Party. Well they had these original plans. Original plans. One of them was of course Auschwitz in Poland and Buchenwald in Germany. Dachau. That date 1936 is incorrect. That's 1933 is when Dachau started as a workers camp. Some of you people that have been there, it was increased in size and in function as I'll explain later on in time.

But the first one actually started in Austria. They had a place named [Mauthausen] in 1938. That was a workers camp, a labor camp. That was pretty rough. They had one meal a day. A little slice of bread, a little butter on it or something else. And very little drinking water. If you got sick, you died. There was no help for you.

In 1933 they started a political prisoner camp idea. From 1933 to 1939, six years, there were 26,000. This is the original group now. This is the graduating class shall we say of these labor people. 26,000 of em and they were, hah, this is what they were. They were tramps, gypsies, prostitutes, homosexuals, Freemasons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Oh yes? Indeed. Adolph Hitler, God, "Oh I'm God. There is no God." "I'm Der Fuhrer." And that spirit went on for many years as you know.

In 1941 the Gestapo got busy and they arrested 15,000 of these German citizens. And that grew to 220,00 people. That was in 1941. 220,000 Aryan people this time. And of course some Jews mixed up. And that's when the death camp idea started. At first it was the work camp. Auschwitz was a work camp. But it also was a death camp. People were shot. That was the method of death at Auschwitz.

They didn't have gas chambers then yet. So they would dig a big trench, perhaps as long as this room. And half as wide. People were told to undress right down to their "September Morn." And stand facing a deep pit 15 feet deep. And not more than 50 feet away there were squads of German SS men with machine guns. And at the command, they opened fire. And those people were shot to death and they plunged into that deep hole. The hole that was dug in the earth would probably hold thousands of people, corpses. And when it was filled up, not knowing whether they were all dead or not, they covered it with earth with bulldozers. They had bulldozers back therein those days in Germany. And that's the way they covered up those victims.

There was a woman, a Jewish woman who survived. I don't know her name but she traveled around the world talking about her experience at Auschwitz. When she went into the pit and she wasn't dead. But she was lying among people that were. But she waited until she knew it was dark and it was nighttime and she worked her way out through those corpses. Got out and escaped and surrendered to some British forces and they took her in and they protected her because of what she was and what she held in store for the world to know. And she's gone around. And she may come around here sometime. If you ever hear her, for goodness sakes, hear the story. Of how those people, hundreds of thousands of them went through that terrible experience. Standing along this pit, naked as the day it was live and wait for those guns to rapid, brrrrrrr. And down they go. And they were just, the Auschwitz death is two million. Two million people total at Auschwitz. At first it was not that many but that went on.

Not only was Auschwitz noted for that. It was for people who died of sickness. If you got sick, you had no doctor, you had no medical trouble, or no medical help at all. You couldn't even have an aspirin. So people died by the hundreds and thousands. Men, women and children from sickness and from starvation. That was the scourge of the work camp. Auschwitz was the first one.

Now we come to another one here. And this is a man most hated but he was also very smart. He was very well dressed and he was a good officer, polished from the toes of his boots to the top of his hat. Proud of all his medals. :He was with the German Navy at first and he got in trouble. He was quite an eager young fellow and one of the commanding officers above him in the navy had a beautiful daughter and he got, went to bed with her I guess and they caught him and they kicked him out of the navy.

So he went to the army. Himmler heard of him. "Aha, I want that man." Can you see folks, what kind of people were qualified, wanted to take these jobs over there. Thank God they weren't like you. You're better. You're the other kind.

Anyway, so he started out with the SS again, this Waffen Schutzstaffel. I said before that the school that the SS were trained at was second to none in the world's history. If you didn't graduate, you died. You had to either make it on your feet or they put you in the ground. It was quite an elaborate school back in the southern part of Bavaria. So that's where he got going; In the security office. And then he also had a lot of conversations with Hitler and he said to him, "Let's start a war. Let's go after some of these other countries. We were building up an army."

By the way, it's a mystery to this day, ladies and gentlemen, how Adolph Hitler could have created an army of men and tanks and all the rest of it, and artillery pieces in the time that he did. That's a mystery, really. Military experts still can't determine how he did it but he did. We're gonna talk in a few moments about Nuremberg. About that great stadium that held 25,000 people. And how they had great things going on there. All that sort of thing. And you'd be surprised, oh, I beg your pardon, I said 25,000. 250,000 capacity on the ground that is, not seats.

So this is Heydrich. And the problem came up. He had a conversation, which goes in the record according to Shirer, with Adolph Hitler. "What do we do with these Jews? What do we do with them? This is so slow. It hasn't gone fast enough. We can't get rid of em. We can't ship them out, you know."

By the way, you know, the first trick they tried back there in those days; they'd take a van, truck, or a truck like a semi. Not as big as a semi. And they would hook up the exhaust to the inside of the truck. And they'd take maybe 25-30 people, put em in the truck, shut the door tight, turn on the engine. That was the first very primitive gas chamber ladies and gentlemen. Nothing like what happened later on.

But that sort of thing he got mixed up in. Heydrich. And January 1942, he and Hitler's high command, Goebels and Goering and all the rest, and Von Ribbentrop, they sat down and oh, they had a man I'll tell you about in a few minutes too. They had a man that knew exactly how to go about this. In 1942 was the official start of the gas chamber, the real gas chamber. Those of you who have been at Dachau, and I'll tell you about it in a moment, I saw it. I'll never forget it. He always said to his friends and compatriots, "I'm gonna succeed the Fuhrer because he's gonna die. Somebody's going to kill him. He's gonna get sick. He's sick in the head." Oh, that's the kind of a man he was. "Oh, I'm going to take his place and if you think things are bad now for the Jews, wait." Hatred, no name for it.

The next man is really the character that, oh you could write a book about him. Adolph Eichmann. Of Austrian Jewish nationality. The architect of the gas chamber. The designer of the most insidious way of putting people to death you ever heard of. You'll know about it in a moment. But he was a shining example of brutality. Popular though. Oh, he was a great guy socially and all that sort of thing. Adolph Eichmann. And Hitler made him the head of the Gestapo. Now the Gestapo was the civilian police. They were men and women, men mostly, who could not qualify for military service because of some physical defect.

So they were civilian police. They had a weapon. A cat-o-nine tails. The bamboo handle was that long. There were six strings of raw leather, strips of leather going out, with steel barbs every two inches. And they used that to punish people who wouldn't do what they wanted them to do. There were hundreds of thousands of people in Germany who suffered terrible injuries and sometimes death because of that. The Gestapo was forwarded and promoted by Adolph Eichmann. He was born in 1906. He died in 1962. And he had Jewish relatives and while he was in the war over there, in the blitzkrieg as they call it, he had a Jewish mistress who shacked up with him. That's the kind of a man he was. We're getting to the point aren't we, eh?

Well, when the fracas was over in May of 1945, he got out quick on a submarine to South America. A submarine. Not only Eichmann went, but several more. And maybe some of them are still down there. That submarine got to Buenes Aires and that's where he landed. And he took off all of his insignia and all that stuff and became a civilian and lived a great life down there. Oh my, he was popular and changed his name and all that sort of thing. But Israel, because of what had happened, and they were certainly justified, and they did really have the chance to do it. Were trying to get some kind of revenge on what the terrible catastrophe had done to their country. When you think that six million of them, men, women and children; men and women like you; little kids; had been put to death in terrible ways. Can you blame them for trying to find somebody who had something to do with it. They're still doing it. They're still finding them now and then. Well they found this guy. And they tried him in Jerusalem and he was put to death in 1962. In '62, Adolph Eichmann came to his death. We had a great time down there.

Now Hitler said to him, and so did Heydrich and so did Himmler, "Adolph, have you got any good ideas about how we can get rid of these Jews quicker that what we're doing?" "Ohhh yes. I have a plan and if you'll give me the word, I'll put it into operation." "Prussic acid." "Oh, what did that do?" "I tell you what it does. It goes down. It doesn't go up, it doesn't go sideways. It goes straight down. You take a human body and wet it, get it wet and expose it to prussic acid and there's five minutes of terrible agony and then death. Quick." Dachau was the first place where they inaugurated it. Now those of you that have been there will remember that that's a very large outlay there in Dachau. They built it in 1933. They had two large buildings at the far end of Dachau. One long building three times the size of this building and another one just like it. No windows. We're at the far end. In the first room, there were showers in the ceiling. Faucets in the ceiling. Hundreds of em. Before you got to that room, there was a dressing room where everybody took all their clothes off and put them on a nail with a number.

And that, they were told that that was a [krankenhaus] The name on top of the Dachau concentration camp when I saw it in May of 1945 said [Deutches Krankenhaus]. German Hospital. There was a moat around it about 20 feet wide and a bridge that went in to the front door. Deutches Krankenhaus. High stone walls all around the front part so that you wouldn't know what it was. You'd think it was a hospital. But these rooms, these two big buildings were way at far end. It was a pretty big layout by the way.

So now that's the first room now. Let's say it's the size of this one. And it's got those faucets in the ceiling. So people go in there unclothed and they're told that they are going to have a bath because they're going to be tried by doctors to see whether they're sick or not. And be given a, you know, medical treatment. No indication at all of what's going to happen.

So when they're in there, and I think the room held about 400 people, and at a command the water comes down from the faucets, a nice lukewarm and they enjoy it. And they smile and have a good time. They think they're taking a bath. Although the physical situation isn't acceptable to them, you know what I'm talking about. So they get good and wet. At the far end there was a big door, about the size or bigger than that door at that part of the wall back there. It's three feet thick. Have to be operated by an electric motor, it's so heavy. That moves aside. "Now you go in the next room for another bath," they're told.

So they go into the next room and the door slams shut. In the ceiling are the same kind of receptacles. They look like, like shower equipment. But they're not. They're six inch diameter and the bottom part has a steel section, which has holes in it. And it's thick steel so that it's good and solid. And those cylinders go up through a one-foot thick roof of the gas chamber. Now up on top of the gas chamber, by each hole there is an SS man. And he has in his hands, his gloves rather, a canister of prussic acid just a little bit bigger than this water pitcher. At the bottom of that is a plastic cover. Very thin. When that is, and that filter is heavy. When that drops down for that foot or so through that tube and hits that bottom thing with the holes, that gas goes through that and comes down. Clouds of it. Clouds of it. And what happens, I don't want to even try to think, nor do you.

But the time of ten minutes it takes to execute 400 people. The men that I interviewed and processed afterward, the ones that I sent down to Nuremberg, they used to enjoy the screaming and the hollering and the crying agony of that. The capacity of Dachau's daily extermination was 1500 people. Because after the first 400 had been put away to eternity, they had to blow all the, they opened another big door at the back and had some big powerful fans that blew all that out into the air. And within an hour, the gas was gone.

So then they could remove the victims to a large conveyor at the back of the room. And they were tossed into the conveyor and that went down into the basement. Men, women and children, ghastly. Down there in the bottom, in the basement there was a room where they had stone tables about this long with a drainage in the center, and there with [ ] practical tools, they pounded out the gold and silver fillings in the teeth. Another room, they sheared off the head, the hair rather, of the women mostly; because they had the long hair. I saw, when I was there before I got sick, the rooms where the boxes and boxes of hair were stored. I saw the boxes where the fillings of the teeth were stored.

But the thing that made me ill was the big warehouse room, bigger than this, where the shoes of men, women and children were piled to the ceiling; half that room. Almost unbelievable.

And that's what we saw back there in 1945. I was with the 4th Armored Division. I was an artillery observer at the time. We were trying to knock him out, the Nazi machine, heading south toward Bertchesgaden, his last retreat as you know. So we were then confronting the SS at their toughest time. And we had some pretty rough battles going down. But that's what it was all about, moving them that way, and that's how we happened to come across this place - Dachau.

I can't go on any more about that because it brings back bad memories but as I said before at the very beginning, ten years after the war, I couldn't have talked to you like this. But that insidious, the worst one of all. Now the other ones, Buchenwald, dirty as it was, they say about a million, maybe more people were put to death there by all means, but mostly by cruelty and starvation. They'd make them go without food and drink until they died. And if they got sick they just left em alone. And they had other very insidious means, physical means of working on them.

Although the other one that was worse than that was Ber… it's not on, it's Belsen, Bergen-Belsen. The woman who was the manager of the Belsen concentration camp at that time, they called her, if you will forgive me, even the German SS men called her the "bitch of Belsen." A female dog. Belsen. Her means of putting, oh you're adults, you're wise and good people. One of her stunts was to make a Jewish man have intercourse with a woman until he died. And she just loved that. She would have her surgeons take the upper portion of a woman's body and make a lampshade of the breasts, the pair of breasts of the dead woman. She would take the genital organs of a man and do the same thing. Oh she turned those things out by the thousands and people bought them. Believe it. People that were real died-in-the-wool Nazis.

That's the sort of insidious minds those people had. And she was a civilian really. But that was who she was. Well, she was not, she was put away somewhere. Somebody murdered her I guess. I don't know who it was. But she did get to the trials at Nuremberg. But that was Belsen, Bergen-Belsen. And Buchenwald, the dirty one.

And I told you about Auschwitz. The first death method there was shooting. And others as well. Your story, the Diary of Anne Frank is a fairly reliable source of knowledge of what took place at that time. Because she was, as you know, at Auschwitz. And what Dr. Geldner had said about it.

So there we are. The total victims, this is kinda the way, it has to be corrected. I should do that. The figure is eleven million people died. A lot of them not Jewish. Six million Jewish, but the rest, the other five million were a mixture of French, German and other things. People who would not go along with the Nazi idea. Any questions so far of these four men? Yes.

Q: What exactly is the Aryan?

N: Aryan? The word?

Q: Yeah.

N: The word means someone who is a Caucasian. Not a relative or a descendant of a Jewish person. That's a library or dictionary Aryan. That means the opposite of… no Jewish blood. And Adolph Hitler and his crowd wanted his nation to proceed in the world and the history of the world as nothing but that. And if you weren't that, you're out.

Even if you weren't Jewish, if you didn't go along with him you were taken too, as many were. But five million people were political prisoners. And no-goods, and a combination of all kinds of individuals. A lot of retarded people, mentally ill, they were put away the same way. They were done away with very quickly. Because Adolph Hitler had no use for a person who was mentally retarded, although he was one himself, I believe.

Alright, well, now then. If I were to give a title to my talk today, and I'm so thankful for your attention, it would be: "Eyewitness to judgment." Having seen this and having worked at it as I did afterward when the war ended in May, I was out cleaning up artillery shells in the woods and things down in southern Germany and Bavaria in Patton's army. And we were eating but we were moving pretty fast too, but old Georgie was alright when I got a call to go to Division Headquarters. And there I met with some people from the high-ranking officers of the ComZ or the headquarters of the Allies in Paris and in Germany.

And ah, I was selected to be the commander of a prisoner of war camp for the German prisoners this time, but not for death. For disposition, near Wurzburg. The little town of Ochsenfurt on the Main River. The Main River that flows through Frankfurt. Nice little village. This had been a small death camp before that. And we came to it, I came to it all alone one day when I got this assignment, to find it in pretty tough shape. But we got it cleaned up. They gave me I think from 26 English-speaking German men who could typewrite. And they gave me a place to start an infirmary and some German medical officers who would help, and so on.

And so we started in May, processing, well the total processing, after I left it went on, I don't know how long. Two, three year, I guess. And I was called away to go to Japan before I got the job done. But ah, they processed while I was there, 18,000. And we'd have about maybe 3-4 thousand a day to get through. And we had everything. We had the Wehrmacht which is the German regular army, not the Waffen SS.

And we had the SS. It's amazing to me, it was amazing to me that the SS, as tough as they were, when they were in action and these things they did and the kind of military life they lived, were so cooperative when they got to where we were. Of course they were stripped of rank and I had means given to me by the military tribunal to process according to records. They had a roster of war criminals. It was surprising; they had it already before the war was over. And we checked the people against that with their military record.

But here's one thing that we always had to find. Under their left armpit was, of the SS people now, the Nazis that we were, the bad ones, had, you've seen it - the lightning strike. The pair of lightning shafts that was tattooed in the skin under the left armpit. So I had all my good old boys, "Take off your shirt. I want to see what's under your left arm." "Varroom? (why). "Do it!" And we found a lot of em. That's how we had a way to enter them into our records and get them going down to Ansbach and Nuremburg. Some of them that we found under the shirts had already had skin grafting done to hide, quite a few. You'd be surprised. Oh we had some very interesting people there at that time.
A man I'll talk about later, Field Marshall Jodl, J O D L. Probably the most insidious military leader of the Nazi military forces over there. Who paid his price at Nuremburg. And Keitel.

I don't know how they got there. But the trains would come in. The Russians had a camp like mine and they would send German people, and German soldiers. In a 40 and 8 boxcar. Have you ever seen that kind of a car? You've seen pictures of it. They only have four wheels and there was a little place at the back, a little, oh like a little house at the back of the car. 40 men and 8 horses. That's the [ ]. Those trains in Germany, Nazi Germany, would be maybe forty- fifty cars and each car, people would be jammed in in the erect position. They had to stand up because there was no place to lie down. And they would travel for days without water and without toilet facilities in those cars. Going to the death camps. The procession of cars - I was told this when I was there - into Dachau handled 150 carloads a day sometimes. People coming in to be processed. And they had been, well some of them were already dead from standing. Can you imagine standing up for four days without food and water and the other? Hideous. Almost hard to believe.

So, anyway, let's get over to the story now of…Del, please turn my chart around.

Before I go to this, are there any questions about these leaders, the system of the concentration camp, remembering as I said that the first start was the work camp. You were placed in a camp and you had to work, work hard. And the idea was to get some work done yes, but also eliminate the people by natural deaths. And so a lot of people were, millions of people died of starvation and so forth. Yes.

Q: Did any of Hitler's cronies know that he came from a Jewish mother?

N: Did Hitler know that?

Q: Yeah. I mean like when this was all happening?

N: No. From what I understand and from what Bill Shirer says, he didn't know of his origins. When he was a boy. He found it out later on. He found it later on but it didn't make any difference to him. That's the kind of a man he was. But when he was a young boy, a teen-ager, he didn't realize that he was born an Austrian Jew. Because he was adopted by Aryan parents.

Well I hope you enjoy my sense of humor on this. "Reserved seats, Nuremburg, November, 1945" I think I must have sent, I had to, it was my official duty. I was trained for it, educated for it by high intelligence of the United States Army at headquarters. And how to detect these people. How to find out if they're questionable or suspicious. Send em. Ansbach was a little town about eight miles from Dachau. Or from Nuremburg rather. And that's where they had the detention camp. All these people were sent there first before they went for trial at Nuremburg.

So I want to tell you about, oh yes, I got to tell you this story. When I was given this assignment, at this war camp there at Ochsenfurt, Germany, I had everything coming in. SS and people that had been on duty at Dachau, in fact the man I sent to Nuremburg, I didn't send him there but they did. From what I, I started him on his way. was the executioner. He was an enlisted man. A master sergeant. [Obergruppefuhrer]. This man, he was 24 years old. It was his duty on the top of the roof of the death room, that when he got by each of those holes with the SS soldier with his hand holding this cylinder of gas waiting for the signal. And this man, his name was Alfred Mueller, he was up there and he was in charge. He stood on a kind of a pedestal so they could see him. And he would give the command to drop the canisters. And I know when I interviewed him he said, "Oh, that was a good feeling. Oh, that was a good feeling when I could say, [down mitt} drop the cylinders." I said to him, I said, "Would you do this to your father and mother?" "Ja. Heil Hitler."

So that's the way it was. My goodness, if I get off the track here please forgive me. I get wound up on this thing but we had to send them to Ansbach if they were suspicious or suspected to be a war criminal, that was one thing. Now how did we find this out? By the end of my first month at this camp at Ochsenfurt, I was given to, by high command, a roster of the war crimes suspicion people in the military Nazi forces. A list was about 180,00 if I remember.

When I left and turned my duties over to my good master sergeant from Minneapolis, Dick [Pershman], he used to manage WCCO, the radio station in Minneapolis, a nice Jewish boy. He was my assistant. He was a master sergeant. And he wrote to me to tell me about it. He said "When I left, there were over 3 million people on that list." And it took a lot of people to keep track of those. Oh yes, he was my assistant at Ochsenfurt. I had to have some American help.

And the other boy was Willard Bauman, a Jewish boy from Philadelphia. He played first violin in the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. And he was in the army, both of them, like I was, doing their duty, handling the situation.

And by the way, the people, the regular army German people that they gave me to help me with my bookwork and all that, the typing and so forth were fairly decent people. I had one man in my camp who was 60 years old. He was a professor of English at Leipzig University. And he was inducted, drafted by the military forces in 1943. And he told me a lot. He spoke perfect English. And he gave me the real inside track of what happened before Hitler came to power and what he believed was the cause of it, but all the rest of the details. I finally had to say goodbye to him and I didn't like to do it but I did.

Oh, here's a good story for you people. I know this is one you're going to like. As I say, hundreds and hundreds of people came through all the time. One day a nice young Wehrmacht, well he probably wasn't young. He was probably in his forties, a Wehrmacht soldier, came in, red-haired I remember. And he in his German told me who he was: Aug Schmidt. "I'm a [ ]." That's a minister. "I have a church up in Dortmund. Northern Germany." And he says, "I was in my garden mitt mein frau (my wife) one day when they came and take me away to go in the army. I had a, I can't be, I can't kill anybody. But they made a soldier out of me. But I was taken from her and not even a chance to say goodbye." And Dortmund was bombed heavily by the 9th Air Force. And he says, "I don't know. Could you help me? Maybe I could find my wife?" So I initiated immediately with the American Red Cross.

And by the way, let me say folks, that the American Red Cross performed many wonderful duties for us overseas, during and after the war. Really. And they had a tremendous job. If you can imagine the interruption of identity, if you can put it that way. I went out, I didn't have a letter from June until November in 1945, from home. In which time my sister almost died of pneumonia and my No. 1 son was born in October. My wife Marion was also a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Force as a nurse. She was chief nurse at Lawry Field in Denver, Colorado. And I said goodbye to her before I went overseas and didn't see her again until March of 1946. And in that time a lot of things happened. And the interruption of identity is one of the things you had to live with. I sent 48 wires, telegrams to the 'states. She got them and always asked for an answer and I never got the answer. And she sent as many as 48 back but one day they came in the mailbox, wrapped up in a box.

So here we are at Ochsenfurt. This nice minister. He, and I said, "Will you help me? I need clerical help." "Ja." "Can you type?" "Ja." By the way folks, the German typewriter is the same as the American typewriter except z and x are transposed. That's the only difference. So if you can remember that when you type with a German typewriter, you're alright. So it was no problem. And they caught on real quick. But these, these German regular army soldiers were so glad that the war is over. Oh, my, my, my.

Oh, yes and let me go back and tell you what. I had to report to the top brass before I was assigned this position. And Omar Bradley, you've heard of him with his soprano voice, a nice man. And he was echoing the words of Dwight Eisenhower, another wonderful man, who did not have an affair with that girl in the car. I can promise you that. By the way, in Louisiana in 1941 when I was with the 32nd Division, I was at Regimental Headquarters, the 127th Infantry, one of the finest infantry outfits in the world. And I had a lot of clerical work and one day they said to me, "Can you type?" "Yes." "You know shorthand?" "Yes." "You got a job." So I was military secretary in the evening to Dwight Eisenhower, then Lt. Colonel. We had a maneuver activity in Louisiana before the war involving many divisions. 500,000 men altogether. The Red Army and the Blue Army. Lear was the head of the Red Army. They called him "Yahoo." They called him "Yoo-hoo Lear." Walter Krueger was the head man when I was in the Blue Army. And the 32nd Division was Blue. That was quite an effort. That maneuver thing was done for logistics only. We hadda practice with broomsticks and stovepipes for weapons and stuff like that. But we, Division lost 17 men on snakebite in the swamps of Louisiana. That wasn't so good.

But so, at the headquarters, I was given all the instructions. We all were. There were about maybe two dozen of us that had the same kind of position. And this is what Mr. Bradley said, ah General Bradley; "Gentlemen, you have a very sacred responsibility. You're going to be dealing with a defeated enemy. One of the greatest enemies this world has ever had against society and humanity.
But this is what we are going to do. You are going to do all you can to rehabilitate those people to a normal civilian life like you, when you get out of this army. Do it for the religion, trying to get them to go back to God, for one. You're to look after their physical needs. Give them medical help if they need it. Give them exercise, entertainment. Teach them brotherly love and take away their insignia and burn it. They are no longer military. They are civilian like you're going to be someday. This is what the general wants is Eisenhower. Wants to be done. He doesn't want any infliction of animosity by you against the enemy, because you could have good reason to do that. You've lost a lot of friends on the battlefield. Yes, we did. But no, they are a human like you are."

We were given the best possible incentive in those days at that meeting in headquarters. Of what to do, and we carried it out. My outfit, now I'm not blowing my horn ladies and gentlemen. But I got the highest award of any of the processing camps. And the reason I got it was because my commanding general came to see my place one day, unknown to me. Just a spot inspection. He went through the sleeping quarters.

I had a tobacco warehouse where 300 men slept every night on beds they had made from wood and straw ticks and so forth. They had two excellent meals a day. They had roast beef and potatoes, kartofeln and fleisch. They loved it. And they got medical attention. At night we had a big bandstand out in the front part of the area. And we had entertainment. We had the piano out there. Then they would sing songs. They would sing that Lili Marlene. You ever heard that? I can still hear it. Oh how they sang that. And the old German songs of long ago. And the men that played the piano. The men that played the piano were artists. They were really were. They were good at it. And so every day we would let them go down to the Main River and take a bath. Swim in the water. And that was something they just loved.

But on a side remark I might say as I worked for Kimberly Clark afterward back in the, oh probably in the late 50's or so. A new fellow came to work out at the engineering department and he looked familiar. He was tall and stout, blond and he walked, looked like a German. One day he collared me. He says, "What is your name?" And I told him. He says, "I seen you before. I seen you before. You sent me home from Ochsenfurt, Germany. You remember?" "Oh, and I had such a good time while I was there. And you gave me candy." Bon-bon, they called it. Little packets of candy. "Cheese." Cheese in a container. "And tabac." Tobacco. "And you put me on a truck and I got off only two kilometers from where I live." And so that's how we treated those men. They never forgot it. And that's the way it went.

But of course those that were not, this is the guy again, I go back to him when he, when I interrogated him, all, he was so, he was out of this world. And he was very undisciplined. He made a lot of trouble in the barracks where we had him. He hurt some men and oh he got pretty bad so I had to put him under guard. Got to the point where he was so disobedient I said, "I'm going to punish you Otto." I think his name was Otto. Anyway, "Out there on the ground in the middle, you dig a hole ten feet square and five feet deep. And you dig until it's done. And don't wear your shirt. Now I'm not going to hurt you. It's not going to hurt you one bit. You're gonna get strong. I'll see that you get fed and you'll get some sleep. But that's what you're gonna do." And so there he was, digging away like that. Throwing the dirt.

And in the evening about 6 o'clock or so, Pershman, my assistant said, "There's somebody, there's a crowd of people out here by the fence. And they're ohhh, they're angry" so I walked out to the big fence at the edge of this compound. Here was the mayor of the town plus a lot of people. And he said to me, "What are you doing to that poor German soldier? The war is over. Why are you punishing him? You shouldn't do that. We understood this is a good place to be. Look what he's doing?" I said, "You wanna know why he's doing that?" "Ja." "Alright, I'll bring him up here. He'll tell you."

So I went and got my man out of the pit and I said, "Now you don't have to do this. You won't be punished if you don't do it. If you say no, I won't punish you. But I want you to answer questions I ask you up there by the fence where all those German people are." So he came out and walked over by the fence. And so I said, "Bitte." That's when you say, 'please listen'. This man gave his name. "Now were you the man that said when they should drop the gas at Dachau to kill hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people?" "Ja." "Did you tell me when I interviewed you that you just loved to do it?" "Ja." "Did you also tell me that you would do it to your father and mother?" "Ja. Heil Hitler." So I took him away. I said, "Go back to your hole." Then I went to the burgermeister and said, "That's why the man in being punished. He's undisciplined. He's making trouble right here. He's going to go further away from here but while he's here I'm going to have to punish him for what he's doing." I went back to my office. It wasn't long after that and Dick came back to me. He said, "The crowd is back. You gotta go see em again." And the crowd was bigger. "We want that man." These are now German people like you are. "We want that man. We want you to give him to us. We're gonna tear him apart inch by inch."

So you see, there was a resistance. It was going out after the war. It couldn't dare come out during the war. You said one word about the Nazi system, why you're kaput.

Judgement at Nuremburg. It's a large city in central Bavaria. A beautiful city once upon a time. A city of art and music. Die Meistersinger was written there, and other things of great note in those fields. Quite historic. Very old town when it was peacetime. But when I was there, it was pretty well bombed out. It had been hit pretty hard. 24 hour 9th Air Force bombardment, Nuremburg. One day. They did nothing but fly over it with B-17's and 24's and just let it have it. But by some strange providence, the prison section, the tribunal house they called it was not affected. I think you might have seen it sometime or other, that great sports arena in Nuremburg where Hitler had his grand mass meetings and 250,00 people and soldiers standing up. And on top of the back wall, the architecture of the stadium was a big eagle. And they all, he'd go up and stand by that eagle and they would, "Sieg Heil!" You could hear that for miles, and miles and miles.

Well it wasn't like that when I saw it. It was pretty bomb smashed to the dickens. One commanding officer of the 4th Armored Division went up there with a can of TNT and he blew it off. Just for [ ] you know. Well anyway, that was Nuremburg.

The prison contained everything that it had to have. A tribunal, a courtroom just about as big as this, no bigger. At one end there was a stepped up dock, rows of things. The dock itself was two rows where the prisoners sat. And then the people who were the legal end of it, who were doing the judgement were at the other side. And then spectators. But spectators weren't allowed and military police were in very much abundance. You had to be accompanied, when you went in there you had to have a military policeman, armed, with a gun on his shoulder right with you. Because there was still a lot of worry about what might happen.

There was, there was the dock, two rows where these men who were the people that promoted this terrible thing over there were tried.

I'm going to say something here and I forgot it. Oh yeah. The city, 90% of it was bombed out. I remember the streets were torn up. The beautiful cathedral there was smashed up but by some act of God, there stood this tribunal. Now the tribunal was made up of course of Allies, the United States, England, Russia and France.

The justice who presided was a British judge who was very well known and a very likeable man. Very impressive. His name was Lord Justice Jeffrey Lawrence. He was the man who was the top man. He sat at the back facing the victims in the dock. Beside him sat the American, Judge John Jay Parker. He was a federal judge in the states and he was the one who spoke for the United States or who participated for the United States. And another one, his good friend and a very fine man in our government, I wish he was alive today, Francis Biddle. You might have of him. He was the US Attorney General over there. That's what he was over there.

If you recall Judgement at Nuremburg, the moving picture, how many people saw that? If it ever comes again, please see it because Spencer Tracy did a beautiful job of playing the part of Judge Parker. The other fellow who was a movie actor was very sharp [ ] was Lord Jeffers, he was the French judge. It was a very impressive group. There was no talking. [ !] It means, "Listen, No talk." [ ] Signs all over Germany; "[ ]" "Listen, be quiet. Enemy is around." That's what Hitler had all over the place. So that's they way the group looked up there in their seats.

And of course there were many other assistants. Many of them, of the Judge Advocate General's Division of the United States Army, and other armies as well. And all the other people, there weren't spectators now. The only people allowed in that courtroom were somehow connected with what took place. And my humble position, and it's humble to this day, was that I was there to, to corroborate what the executioner at Dachau had told me. He had gone to Ansbach, I had sent him there. There he had met another tribunal who questioned him and he was qualified as a war criminal, and he certainly was for what he had done. So my coming there that day, two days, I was asked officially and legally to give my name and serial number and so forth and so on. And what I did. "Do you know that man, 'his name is so and so'?" "Yeah." "Can you point to him?" "Yeah." "The record shows that this man says he was executioner at the concentration camp at Dachau and he explained to you how it was done. Is that true?"{Nate speaks here with a German accent when recounting the prosecutor's questions}. "Yes, that's all I have to say." "That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" "Yeah."

And that's where we came into the picture. There were lots of men that had the same opportunity I had. I was just an officer in the United States Army. I'm nobody. But I certainly wouldn't turn down that responsibility to identify him or anybody else that did such a thing as he did to humanity. Even in the year 2000, so help me. I learned a lot about this country, the American people. God bless you, every one of you. After being over there.

So there they are. And that day, let's see, what day was that? I'll tell you when they started. I got the names up there. Yeah. You'll forgive me for being a little bit … It began on almost 50 some years ago. Tuesday, November 20th, 1945 at 9:30 in the morning. Everybody was present. You could hear a pin drop. Oh yes. Absolute silence. No conversation, social or otherwise, no. Only speak when you're spoken to. And the tribunal men came in solemnly. Took their places. Then in walked the 22 men. There they are. Those are the men who are, were responsible for the terrible holocaust, World War II. And they came in all stripped of insignia. Herman Goering, from Hitler's top committee as you know, also the head of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force. The man who stole so much of French art and hid it. Stole so much money and this and that and the other thing. And had been told by his followers, "Do something to improve the [ ] operation and utility of your combat airplanes. And he said, "Oh, they're good enough, they're good enough."

Sure they started out by bombing Britain as you know. In the Battle of Britain from 1939 to 1942. Look what happened to London. I was coming out of the hospital there one night when a buzz bomb landed just a few, not far from where I was. And I was knocked out unconscious. And they picked me up. A woman hauled me along the sidewalk, a city block, and put me in her little shack. She had lost her family in the bombing but she brought me back to health so I could breathe. And she had done something to my head, put a cold cloth on my head. White haired lady who probably saved my life. And I was so frightened I went back, I wanted to get back to the American Red Cross at Piccadilly Circus and I didn't stop enough to say thank you to her. I should have taken her name and address and written to her or something. But that's the way it was.

So here we are. And they come in. They slowly walk in and they sit down in their seats on the dock. Herman Goering, now thin, gaunt. He was so big and fat, and I don't know what the word is but he was not pleasant. Quite a playboy too at that. But now the rank was gone and he sits there in his crumpled old uniform. The first one on the left in the first row. Herman Goering. He was the top man of the German air force of course and one of Hitler's assistants and advisors and so forth and so on. But he sat there with his head down.

Next to him a man you've heard about. Rudolph Hess. He was supposedly Hitler's best aide and he was ranked at one time as the No. 3 man. But there that day in Nuremburg he was broken, wilted. He crouched down. He didn't even look up.

The third one was Joachim Von Ribbentrop. He was the man who handled all the propaganda in the German high command. He is the man who told, no that was Goebels, excuse me. He was also close to Hitler as his aide in the conduction of the warfare that he was trying to do. And he was the one who tried to discourage him of the Russian event. But Hitler wouldn't listen. No the man that I should have, that was the head of the propaganda was Joseph Goebels. And he was in the bunker in Berlin. He had a wife and two beautiful children. And he was a man that, on the day before, it was March the 6th, May the 6th with the Russians right there in Berlin and right on top of the bunker, ready to take it apart, he said to the German people over the short-wave radio, "We are winning the war. Tomorrow we have victory! Everybody get up and clap and joy because we're gonna be the victors in this war!" And 24 hours later he shot his children with a pistol, and shot his wife and took a cyanide pill and took his life in the bunker.

And I say all this, I know this for a fact because one of my clients, if you want to call her that, who surrendered to the American forces in the 4th Armored Division, not too long before the end of ;things in Berlin, was a girl from Munich, Germany, Mildred - can't think of her last name now. But she was secretary to Joseph Goebels. And so ah, I had a great time talking with her and learned a lot. And one thing I did learn from [ ], "I'm so glad to be here. Oh, I'm so glad. I don't care what you do with me. I'm so glad to be here. I want to get away from that place. I gotta forget it." And Mr. Goebels, he says, he always told me, "If things go bad, I'm going to shoot myself and my family." "And I just…"

She wrote a 38 page typed report of the life in the bunker which is on file today in the Congressional Library, or the Congressional Archives in Washington, D.C. It's ah, private property of, it's at the Pentagon right now. But it told everything. I haven't got time to tell you here what that thing covered but it was quite conclusive and told a great story. But she did that and she was willing to do it so that was a great assist to me.

But she told me about Von Ribbentrop, I remember. He often came down to the bunker and he would fight with Adolph Hitler. He said Adolph Hitler was a very temperamental person. He'd have a fit. He'd lie on the ground and wave his arms and kick his feet. And he had migraine headaches so often. "I got a headache," he'd say. And then he'd go away. I might say that on D-Day in 1944, that migraine headache came in handy. [ ] he developed a headache in the bunker. And the night before, our great friend Rommel and a few others that knew what was going on knew that there was going to be an invasion, where it was going to be. And they tried to talk with him. He thought the invasion would be farther north along the coast. But no, they said no. Oh, Fuhrer, oh, oh. He went into his quarters and slammed the door and locked it. And while he remained there for 24 hours trying to get over his migraine headache, you know what happened on D-Day. And act of God, eh? Who knows what might have been if he had been alert and had followed the advice of his military men there at that time.

Keitel. They could write a book about that man. He was the most hated, most feared man even among the stoic, the most stoic Nazi people in the high command and otherwise. Even Hitler himself was afraid of him. And he was the one that really wanted to get the [ ]. He wrote a very terrible epistle about why the Jews should be put to death. It's a classic. I don't have a copy of it. But it's in the, I think the government has it. It was taken from him before he was put to death.

Julius [Streiker], a very mean hated person.

And of course here we come with the military. I won't forget the way these two men sat there in the dock. Wm. Keitel was the chief of the Supreme Command of the Nazi military forces. Navy, Army and Air Force. He was the top guy. He was the one who had the last word to say about what we do here, what do we do there? Who we bomb and who we don't bomb and so forth and so on. He ah, in North Africa is where he really became very popular.

Alfred Rosenberg. The National Socialism movement took some educational help and some intelligence and ah, they needed it. And Rosenberg was the man who knew how to do it. So this Nazi movement, that includes the death camps, the whole story, the extermination of the Jewish people was in that bit of work that he, …quite a bit of work that he did. So that was his job; Alfred Rosenberg.

And the great lawyer, they needed a lawyer of course to carry on their illegal work. Hans Schreck. And he was the person who was most involved in Auschwitz in Poland. That was on the other side as you remember. Time, story of Anne Frank, before the [ ] began on the continent away from Poland was that awful debacle in Poland. He was the legal person who backed it all up and designed it. And they went to him for advice on how to put it over.

And Frick, he was the Minister of the Interior and one of Hitler's best friends, apparently. Socially they got along pretty good together.

And then they had to have money of course and don't we wonder where they got the money to put this thing over? When you think of what it cost. With an army of millions of men, really, when they started. And the airplanes, and the tanks and the ships, and all. So Walter Funk was, what's that, Greenspan? Is that his name? Anyway he was the Greenspan of the German Nazi business. And his assistant who did more to bring, he helped Hitler get money so he could climb to power was Dr.Horace Greeley Schacht. S C H A C T. Now that's in the first dock was over here. Now they come down that's, he's the last one, way over on the right.

Now we come to two men sitting back of Goering. Admiral Donitz and Admiral Raeder. They were not put to death. They were not actually guilty of war crimes but it was, the tribunal agreed that they were following closely the orders of their commanding officer. In military life, you do what your commanding officer tells you to do, whether you like it or not. You may not agree with what you're supposed to do but by golly, you better do it. Whether you're a second lieutenant or a four star general.

And that was the case with these two men. Donitz was a very good navy man. Raeder was the better one. Donitz had the submarines by the way. He had command of all the German submarines that sank totally 2100 vessels in World War II. Into the depths of the ocean and English Channel. And the other man Raeder was the land, er not the land but the ships in the navy.

Let's see, I've got so many people here, I don't know who to start with first. But those were the two men that were with the navy. Now [Shirach], what did he do? He was put to death too. No he was not. He was freed. He had ah, he didn't have a very important job and he wasn't quite so mean as some of the rest of em. He was the oh, yeah missed thinking about him.

There was an organization made by Hitler way back before the war even started called the Hitler Jugend, the Hitler Youth. And this man Schirach, he would have been a good Boy Scout leader if you know what I mean. He had a way with young people. And he influenced them and inspired them to go on and follow the militaristic attitude and objective of the great Nazi Reich. The Third Reich. And to [ ] and salute, "Heil Hitler" whenever the Fuhrer was around, so forth and so on. He had a very demonstrative ability to make these young kids toe the line.

And there was a very strong element in the Hitler Jugend. Many of them went to the SS school and became very effective SS soldiers and officers. Some of the people that ended up in the death camps were a result of the Hitler Jugend that this man Shircach, Schacht, not, Schirach. The German names get to me once in awhile.

Then of course, they had a slave labor boss. That was the man over here, Saukel. He was put to death. Slave labor was quite a thing during the Nazi power over there. Forcing men and women to do what they had to do. And making them do until they died from lack of food and so forth and so on.
And then here's a man that was the man closest to Adolph Hitler from a military standpoint. A man that Hitler respected, often listened to him, never argued with him. A tall strapping excellent West Point type guy. That was General Alfred Jodl, J - O - D - L, who I had the privilege of interviewing at Ochsenfurt. I was quite surprised. These people came from all different outfits. I was supposed to only take my division and my army, 4th Armored, er the Third Army, but Germans came from all over. And I won't forget him, when he walked in and stood at my desk. He had all his insignia on, clicked his heels and he saluted me with the American salute. Sat down and answered every question crisply. Never cracked a smile.

But he said this one thing I'll never forget. He said, "I know that you are doing your duty like I have done my duty for Deutschland since I was 18 years old. That's when I started. You know what it means to be in the military. You know what it means to take orders. And you know what it does, what it means to give orders. You have to have to have an ideal. You have to have a leader you look to for advice, for direction - which I did. I, I didn't know sometimes what was actually going on behind the scenes. But I was more concerned with what was going on on the battlefield. North Africa, Italy and so forth." Alfred Jodl.

And he had a very distinct characteristically good attitude rather, and appearance. But in action, in the promotion of the Nazi idea by Adolph Hitler and his crowd of crooks, He played the military role when the Fuhrer was wondering what we were gonna do about the…"Oh ja, that's Czechoslovakia, ah ja." "Bomb em, clean em up, [recht] get em out." That was the kind of man he was. He was an advisor of what the best movements were. But the trouble was that toward the end, Hitler wouldn't listen to his high command any more. He had ideas of his own as you probably know. And that caused his downfall.

Another man, Fritz von Pappen, another one of Hitler's buddy-boys who promoted him and polished his, you know what I mean. And in court was a traitor. He had trouble with the Dutch people and was responsible for the deaths of a lot of Dutch people [ ].

So it was quite an experience, and as I say, that room was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. And I can still hear those, everybody was in place. The tribunal, and the command was given, "Silence please." And you could hear the click of their heels as they walked in one by one and took their place. Goering first and then in that order down. And so forth.

And I have told you what I was sent there for and ah, that man was put to death. Not at the, in the, the first execution, but later on. He paid with his life. I don't have the number of persons that were executed at Dachau or at Nuremberg. I only have those on the first time. The first day. And now let's see if I can give you that - here somewhere.

Yeah. The trials went on for about a year because there were an awful lot of war criminals. I told you before only were on the list. So that was quite an extensive effort and it so happened that I was called during the very first part to testify for this man. I was there actually three different days and ah, until it came to my turn. That was the third time.

Almost a year. And the verdict came down on October the 1st, 1946. See, it's just about a year after it started. And the verdicts were unanimous. And up there on the board you see a red sign after each person's name. Those are the men who were condemned to death. And ah, they were nine who were hanged, and three who were gave life in prison. And there were three, Schacht, von Pappen and Fritzche that were acquitted.

So the first phase of the trial at Nuremberg is over. Nowadays when you see, or rather if you're in a courtroom at a court hearing or whatever or on the jury, you know how it goes. There's a lot of additional conversation that goes on and sometimes is permitted. Not here. No, the chief justice up here, the man at the top let us know right away that only the official questions and answers would be permitted. And when they would ask a person in the dock what, a question for instance, he had the right to refuse to answer. They all had head phones on. And they had a little microphone in front of them. Not the kind I have but the other type. So it was austere and it was bitter. It was odd but it was still, what it was doing to those of us that were there, would, did on the battlefield; it was a relief finally, to know that these perpetrators of the worst crime in the history of the world had come to justice.

And so on that night in October in 19… let's see, her was it, yeah, October 16th. A moon was shining, starlight night. All the doors of the prison, or of the tribunal were locked and there was SS guards, I mean military police guards over everything. The place was deathly still. The only sound was the footsteps of the nine men from their quarters going to the gallows. And the first man up to the top of the gallows was von Ribbentrop. He walked up those 13 steps, 13 steps to this elaborate gallows platform [ ] the platform. Of course you know what it does. Well, they fastened the rope around his neck. There were no words said. There was no say, "Do you have anything you'd like to say before we spring the trap?" There wasn't anything like that. The signal, the raise of the hand, the trap sprung and all you could hear was a slam of the bottom of the trap as [ ] fell down, straight down. \

So one after the other, they took their place. It was quite a scene. I talked to men who were there and so on. But I of course wasn't at that time.

Possibly the greatest feeling was when Keitel, who was a very outstanding Nazi person; when he walked up the steps, none of them spoke. It took about 28 minutes for those nine men to get sprung into eternity. Their bodies were whisked away and buried in potter's fields in Germany. No relatives, no funerals, just put away.

It was quite an experience really, having fought with it, seen it, heard it, visited one of the worst camps there was, to finally come to this time when death is prevailed. As I say, ten years ago, I couldn't have told you all of this. But I'm thankful to God I'm an American. I think you are too.

I like Kipling. So if you'll abide with me for a moment, "God of our fathers, known of old, lord of our far flung battle line; beneath with awful hand we hold dominion over pond and pine. Lord God of hosts be with us yet lest we forget, lest we forget. The tumult and the shouting dies. The captains and the kings depart; still stands thy nation's sacrifice. And humbled and the contrite heart. Lord God of hosts be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget." God Bless You. Thank you. {Applause}.
Event World War II
Category 6: T&E For Communication
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Object ID OH2001.3.48
Object Name Tape, Magnetic
People Wauda, Nate
Subjects World War II
Military personnel
War crime trials
European Theater of Operations
Concentration camps
Title Oral History Interview from the video "Memories of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials" by Nate Wauda
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009