4 Jan. 46

rather defies literal translation into English. Literally, the components of the word mean "over-command-holder;" and we can perhaps best translate it as "commander-in-chief."

In the case of the Army, commanders of the army groups and armies always had the status and title of Oberbefehlshaber. In the Air Force the commanders-in-chief of air fleets always had the status of Oberbefehlshaber, although they were not formally so designated until 1944. In the Navy officers holding the senior regional commands and, therefore, in control of all naval operations in a given sector had the status of Oberbefehlshaber.

Roughly 110 individual officers had the status of Oberbefehlshaber in the Army, Navy, or Air Force during the period in question. All but approximately a dozen of them are still alive. The entire General Staff and High Command group, as defined in the Indictment, comprises about 130 officers, of whom 114 are believed to be still living. These figures, of course, are the cumulative total of all officers who at any time belonged to the group during the 7 years and 3 months from February 1938 to May 1945.

The number of active members of the group at any moment is, of course, much smaller. It was about 20 at the outbreak of the war and it rose to about 50 in 1944 and 1945. That is to say, that at any one moment of time in 1944 the group — the active group — would have consisted of the nine individuals occupying the nine staff positions and about 41 Naval, Air Force, or Army commanders-in-chief.

The structure and the functioning of the German General Staff and High Command group has been described in a series of affidavits by some of the principal German field marshals and generals. These affidavits are included in Volume I of Document Book CC. I want to state briefly how these statements were obtained.

In the first place two American officers who were selected for their ability and experience in interviewing high-ranking German prisoners of war were briefed by an intelligence officer and by the Trial counsel on the particular problems presented by this part of the case, the organizational side of the German Armed Forces. These officers were already well versed in military intelligence and were fluent in German. It was emphasized that the function of these interrogating officers was merely to inquire into and establish the facts with respect to the organization of the Armed Forces, to establish facts on which the Prosecution wanted to be accurately informed.

The German generals to be interrogated were selected on the basis of the special knowledge which they could be presumed to possess by reason of the positions which they had held in the past. After each interview the interrogator prepared a report, and from