From PRO file WO.208/4178.
C. S. D. I. C. (U.K.)
Report on information obtained from Senior Officer PW on 2 -- 7 Aug 45
Generalmajor Bassenge (GOC Air Defences, Tunis &
Generalleutnant von Schlieben, (Comd., Cherbourg)
Generalleutnant Heim (Commandant Boulogne)
Oberstleutnant von der Heydte (Comd.,
Fallschirmjäger Kampfgruppe von der Heydte)
General der Infanterie Röhricht (OKW Pool,
formerly Comd., LIX AK,
Generalmajor a D. von Pfuhlstein (Former Comd.,
[Website note: These passages below are extracts only from a long report, 14 pages; only those prisoners quoted in the extracts below are included in the list above. For more on Dornberger and Von Braun see The Mare's Nest, free download]
BY C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
M.I.19.a War Office
Generalleutnant Walter Dornberger, 'Beauftragter z b V der Heereswerke GmbH', and Inspector of the Long-Range Rocket Arm (Inspekteur der Fernraketentruppe), has now arrived at No. 11 Camp.
Dornberger is 49 years old and a Protestant; his home is in Berlin. He was captured at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on 2 May 45.
Some details of his career are as follows:
1914-1918 served as an artillery officer. [etc]
The story of rocket development as seen by a PW who served under Dornberger and described by him in interrogation has been published as SRM.1264.
III POST-WAR GERMANY [not copied here...]
IV THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE [not copied here...]
V THE ATOM BOMB [not copied here...]
1. Generalleutnant Dornberger gave to SS-Obergruppenführer v Herff and Generalleutnant Heim the following account of German attempts to split the atom.
[Website note: His account is wildly inaccurate and it can't be discounted that it is deliberately so, designed to deceive the listening British. See The Virus House, free download.].
1. Generalleutnant Dornberger stated as below to Generalleutnant Heim that Hitler had publicly apologised for his failure to appreciate the full worth of the 'V 2' weapon:
Dornberger: The following incident was interesting: When I saw the Führer the last time, which was in May 1943 [sic. in fact July 9, 1944?], after I'd shown him a film about us, he was quite taken aback. Formerly the Führer had always turned the V-2 business down 100%. He said: "If only I' d believed in it!" If it really comes to anything, Europe is too small for the war", and all kind of things like that. Then he said: "There are two people in my life whose pardon I must ask. One is Generalfeldmarschall v Brauchitsch, who said at the end of each report he made to me: "My Führer, think of Peenemünde!", and the other is you, general, for not having believed in you."
Heim: It's incredible that he admitted it.
Dornberger: he admitted it in front of Keitel and the others.
Heim: I believe that really is the only thing he ever admitted in his life.
2. Dornberger claimed, on the other hand, that he had begged the Führer to stop the V-weapon propaganda, because nothing more could be expected from just one ton of explosive. To this Hitler had replied that Dornberger: might not expect more but he himself certainly did.
3. Dornberger alleged in the following passage with Generalmajor Bassenge that the Russians had made offers to men concerned in "V 2" development and had undertaken to double any bids from the American side:
Dornberger: The Russians sent one of my engineers to me when I was with the Americans, who told me under the seal of secrecy that he had such and such an offer to make to us on behalf of the Russians. We were to go back to Peenemünde. Peenemünde would be rebuilt and a parallel factory in Russia, and they offered us double what the Americans were offering us, and we could move our families with us and all that sort of thing. We turned it down flat. They tried again to kidnap our leading lights from us -- [Prof Dr Wernher von] Braun at Witzenhausen(?). They appeared at night time in English uniform; they didn't realize it was the American zone. They came to us and wanted to come in. They had a proper pass. But the Americans were quick to realize it and wouldn't let them in. So they got into cars and drove off again. That's how the people work. Real kidnapping, they don't stick to the boundaries at all.
4. Dornberger spoke to Generalleutnant Heim as below about his intention to sell his services to the best bidder:
Dornberger: If the English make me a better offer than the Americans within the next fortnight, I'm preparing to work for them at Vancouver. I have given instructions that nothing is to be signed yet., Actually I don't want to work for the English at all, I only want to play them off against the Americans.
5. Asked by Generalmajor v. Pfuhlstein whether he spoke English, Dornberger replied that with the Englishmen he did not do so on principle. He could understand them quite well but it gave him more time if he pretend otherwise. To Pfuhlstein's suggestion that he should not weaken his position by giving too much away, Dornberger replied that he intended to reveal no real technical secrets noting of decisive value. Asked by Generalleutnant Heim whether he was going to America to work there, he replied that he was, or rather that he did not know whether, as a 'general' he would be allowed to go there.
6. Dornberger stated to General Fink that [SS Gruppenführer Hans] Kammler had been ordered by the Führer not to let Braun, Dornberger and the 450 scientists and technicians at Peenemünde fall into Anglo-American hands but to liquidate them all beforehand.
7. Dornberger, in conversation with Generalmajor Bassenge, made the following miscellaneous remarks dealing with the 'V 2'. He said that:
a. 720 persons were killed in the first raid on Peenemünde [August 17, 1943] and all the work there suffered two months' delay.
1. Oberstleutnant v.d. Heydte stated to other senior officer PW that to him it was no favour, but a punishment, to have to see the atrocity films. it was just clumsy propaganda, and he would no more yield to pressure on that issue than he had formerly done as regards reading the 'Völkischer Beobachter' or 'Vorwärts.'
2. Generalleutnant Dornberger, after maintaining to Generalmajor Bassenge in the following passage that the Concentration Camp stories were one-sided, went on to blame Kammler for some very definite atrocities:
Dornberger: Look, what a fuss they've made about all those concentration camps. In the first place, one can counter them simply, because all the [anti-Nazi?] ministers and officials have been in concentration camps, and if things had gone as badly as that with them, they wouldn't be alive. Of course, swinish things [Schweinereien] did happen. At Nordhausen Standartenführer Behr (?) said: "We've got 6000 people who are ill and cannot be taken away; what shall we do with them?" Kammler said: "Get rid of them!" He said: "How am I supposed to get rid of 6,000 people?" "Oh, take them to that rock and then blow it up over them, and then the matter's settled." That's how he dealt with people. The Allies are very much after him. The fellow was ruthless. In Holland, he made Dutchmen build the sites for the V 2, then he had them herded together and killed by MG fire. He opened brothels for his soldiers with 20 Dutch girls. When they'd been there a fortnight they were shot and new ones were brought along, so that they couldn't divulge anything they might discover from the soldiers.
[Website note: The above must be taken with a pinch of salt. Dornberger's memoirs, Der Schuss ins Weltall, reveal that he had an active imagination. Kammler vanished at the end of the war and was not found. Stories about his fate abound. At the end of this report, Section XI has a comment that Generalleutnant Neuffer stated to other senior officer prisoners of long standing at Camp No. 11 "that he did not entirely trust Dornberger. The people coming to it from other PW camps, and particularly those coming from Germany now, were notorious lineshooters." The report adds, in this connection, "Dornberger himself stated that he was arrested by Himmler on 27 Apr for failure to carry out orders."]
Generalleutnant Dornberger gave to Generalmajor Bassenge the following description of what he saw when he went to report to Fromm on 21 Jul 44:
Dornberger: On 21 Jul I went to make my report to Fromm. I arrived at 8:30 in the morning and Stauffenberg and Co were lying out in the courtyard. I had no idea what was going on.
Bassenge: Did you see him lying there?
Bassenge: With any signs of maltreatment?
Dornberger: No, shot. They were lying near the sand heap, just at the door.
Bassenge: Not even covered over?
Dornberger: Nothing at all. Shortly afterwards they were taken away -- there were four of them. General Olbricht was one of them -- they'd torn off his shoulder badges. I then went up. I had no idea at all what was happening. They said Fromm wasn't there; I waited two hours and then Himmler came. Only then we realized what was up. Himmler addressed the nation. They shot Fromm, quite recently, perhaps a fortnight before the collapse. Himmler had a persecution mania. He had me arrested on 27 Apr, for not carrying out orders. I only got away thanks to Kammler, who was also to be arrested. We both drove off to Garmisch.
General Röhricht gave to various other Senior Officer PW the following picture of the background against which the decision to attack Russia in 1941 was taken:
Schlieben: How was it that we actually came to attack Russia?
Röhricht: We ourselves [the General Staff] at Fontainebleau [GS headquarters in France, summer 1940] were very surprised when it turned out that this GAF attack on England had proved an absolute failure, and we had to draw the conclusions of the whole prosecution of the war. "England cannot be defeated now; in order to bring the GAF and the Navy up to the pitch necessary to defeat England, we must forfeit a great part of the army. As long as the army is still available let's quickly make one last big effort and form the new 'Divisionen'." That very pleasant and unbiased man Siewert (PW) here, will confirm that at that time Hitler sent for Fromm to come to the Obersalzberg, and discussed with Fromm the possibility of forming further 'Divisionen', before von Brauchitsch heard anything about it. Brauchitsch was told about it by Fromm. Even if the army had a higher opinion of Russia's power than the Party did, it didn't estimate it nearly high enough. Kinzel, who was Chief of General Staff 'East', [Fremde Heere Ost] always said, even in his report before the Russian campaign, when it was primarily for the OKH a question of concentrating: "e have no definite information. The only means we have at the moment, apart from diplomatic sources and what we find out by devious means, is wireless interception, and according to that the situation looks thus and thus; how much of that is true, and how much they are bluffing us, I don't know. The frontier is hermetically sealed." As well as that there was the fact that the campaign against Finland had not made any overwhelming impression on us. When Halder expressed his opinion of the affair, he said something which gave us a terrible shock: "There will be surprises, perhaps on a tremendous scale." One of those was the Russians' improvised strategic concentrations brought up by rail for the move into Poland. Halder said that was an achievement of which no-one would have thought the Russians capable. That is illustrated very well by the personal memories of Heim (PW); the idea was rampant that if we defeated the Russians at the front the State would collapse anyhow, and that in winter we would simply advance into Russia and change over to form strongpoints there from which to suppress any risings. Heim said that this order was issued more or less at a time when they were in the midst of heavy fighting, and all the suppositions proved false.
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