30 Nov. 45

I must also name here a man who did not belong to this group but who knew of the actions designed to prevent the execution or issuing of orders for murder and other atrocities, namely, Admiral Bürckner who was Chief of the Ausland Division at that time. Those, in the main, are the leaders of the first group called the Canaris circle.

The second and much smaller group was centered around General Oster as its spiritual leader. This group included members of the Ausland-Abwehr who, as early as 1938--I recognized this clearly by 1939-40 and later on--were actively concerned with schemes and plans designed to remove the originator of this catastrophe, Hitler, by force.

COL. AMEN: What was the purpose of the group to which you belonged; that is, Canaris' inner circle?

LAHOUSEN: On its political motives or aims, I was not informed. I can only reiterate the thoughts and considerations which I, since I was one of Canaris' most intimate confidants, knew well. His inner attitude, which influenced and moulded not only my own actions but also those of the other men whom I mentioned, can be described as follows:

We did not succeed in preventing this war of aggression. The war implies the end of Germany and of ourselves, a misfortune and a catastrophe of very great extent. However, a misfortune even greater than this catastrophe would be a triumph of this system. To prevent this by all possible means was the ultimate aim and purpose of our struggle.

The sense of what I have just said was often expressed by Canaris among the group of which I am speaking.

COL. AMEN: Now, did this group of which you and Canaris were members meet frequently?

LAHOUSEN: I must explain that his group or circle was not to be regarded as an organization in the technical sense, or as a sort of conspirators' club. That would have been quite contradictory to Canaris' nature. It was rather a spiritual organization of men holding the same convictions, of men who had vision and knowledge--their official functions provided them with knowledge --of men who understood each other and acted, but each in his own way and in accordance with his own individuality.

This is also the reason for the differentiation of which I spoke earlier. The same demands were not made on each individual, but Canaris always approached the person whose attitude he knew from personal knowledge to be the most suitable to carry out a certain task.