A one-of-a-kind relic from the Nuremberg Trials signed by five of its defendants, the file copy of the 'Statement by the Five German Generals' planned for Nuremberg and owned by WALTER WARLIMONT (1894-1976), signed by Warlimont and the other four generals who first assembled the report: WALTHER VON BRAUCHITSCH (1881-1948), ERICH VON MANSTEIN (1887 - 1973), FRANZ HALDER (1884 - 1972), and SIEGFRIED WESTPHAL (1902 - 1982). The file includes 69 typed carbon copies of their original statement, planned to have been given before the military tribunal, each page bearing an official Landsberg Prison handstamp. The statement covers the interwar and World War II periods, and serves as a lengthy apologia of the German army, in which the generals assert the army's distaste of Hitler's anti-Semitism, their unawareness of the horrific conditions in concentration camps, their belief that Hitler alone was responsible for the military aggression of the German state, and their insistence that military officials could do nothing but obey orders from Third Reich leaders. Just a few notable quotes include: ...the persecution of the Jews, the measures against the Jews were taken and carried out by the Reichsfuhrer SS. They took place outside the sphere of influence of the army and without their knowledge...[in 1945,] part of the officer corps started to have doubts but it was too late. The fate that awaited Germany in the event of a surrender left soldiers no choice but to do their duty to the last. After all, it was not up to soldiers to put down their weapons...when Hitler took command of the army in 1941, he told the chief of the general staff: 'The chief task of the commander-in-chief is to train the army to adopt National Socialism. I do not know any general of the army to whom I can entrust this task. As a result, I decided to take command myself.'...Numerous officers who did not agree with the policies of Hitler and the Party respectively, aroused suspicion or displeasure among the party leaders. They were sent to concentration camps...' Much, much more content. Warlimont signs on the introductory page, indicating his ownership of the copy, and also adds numerous hand-inked emendations throughout the document. The second page has been signed by all five generals in black ink. The documentation also bears a scan of a typed commentary by Warlimont, who attests in part: '...The 'Declaration' was prepared at the direction of the late Major General William J. Donovan [former head of the O.S.S.], at the time the #2 prosecutor at Nuremberg...since General Donovan did not get his expected appointment as Deputy Prosecutor, [it] did not get to be used by the Court...possibly 2-3 copies of the 'declaration' were personally signed by the 5 Generals...the copy in my possession (carbon of the original) is personally signed by the 5 Generals (in ink)...' In Nuremberg, Donovan interrogated many high-ranking prisoners and rallied for their fair representation, certainly crafting this statement for their benefit in the court. Yet his superior, Robert Jackson, wished to indict the entire German High Command, not just those men who personally ordered or committed war crimes. Disagreements between the two led to Donovan's ousting, and the dismissal of this declaration. The document also bears an enclosed scan created in Nuremberg on Nov. 22, 1945, also indicates the document is '...a copy of a statement prepared by Generals Brauchitsch, Manstein, Halder, Warlimont, and Westphal for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg...This paper was handed to the named generals as their file copy and is their personal property...'. In near fine condition, and completely readable. A truly unique piece, filled with incredible content that can hardly be accessed elsewhere.

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February 8, 2021 10:00 AM EST
Chesapeake City, MD, US

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