[page last updated 12 Jan 2012]
Witness Interview with CRN:
(Interview conducted in English)
Q. Your name is?
Q. And your age?
A. Thirty Six years
Q. And what do you give your occupation as?
A. Land Owner and Gentleman Farmer
Q. I understand CRN, that you have knowledge of certain events which occured in the Château grounds on the night of the fifth, sixth June last?
Q. Will you please tell the Court exactly what occured?
A. Do you want me to tell you all what happened during the night or only what concerns the killing of the parachutists by the Germans?
Q. Whatever you yourself feel is relevant; I want the story in your own words of everything that attaches to the proceedings of that night?
A. Well, we went to bed as every night without having heard anything. There were a lot of planes as usual. The German troops were to manoeuvre during that night. I knew it because I am Mayor of the country, so I had requisitioned for the Germans all the donkeys to go to that manoeuvre to take all the munitions.
Q. You are the Mayor of the District?
Q. So that is why you had been informed that there were manoeuvres by the German troops on that night, because you had a requisition for donkeys?
A. Yes, they had requisitioned donkeys in the district.
Q. Do you know what time the manoeuvres were due to begin?
A. I didn't. Donkeys had to be brought to the Germans for six o'clock in the evening, but I didn't know it at the time.
Q. On the evening of the fifth of June?
A. On the fifth of June. So we went to bed about eleven o'clock, and about half past eleven my wife woke me up, because I am very hard of hearing and I was sleeping very hard, telling me that there was a great lot of planes passing, much more than usual, and they were passing very low and there was a hard bombing that seemed to be near us.
Q. Had there been a great number of planes over and had there been bombing on previous nights?
A. Oh, yes, we had nearly every day. All the planes that were going over here were passing over here. We had very often bombing here at night.
Q. At the same time at night?
A. Oh, any time, day and night. So I woke up; of course I noticed that there seemed to be something unusual in the country and especially bombing that was much nearer than usual.
Q. How near was the bombing to you approximately?
A. Well, I know it now, I didn't know it that night. I know that it was about three kilometres from here in a direct line, because I know where the bombs fell. So I woke everybody up in the house and told them all to go down to the cellar as we said we would do if there was something abnormal in the country.
Q. You assumed that the conditions were abnormal?
A. Yes, we thought it was unusual by the planes that were so low. Generally we had formations that were passing, but this night they were very low. We went to the cellar, everybody was down about midnight, and then all was the same until half past midnight. At half past midnight the gardener and his wife and his little boy came to the cellar. It was the place where we thought there was the most security and when they came in they said to us....
Q. Will you tell us exactly who was there?
A. Yes, there was my wife, the sister of my wife, the nurses of my children, both the young nurse of my children and the old lady, that is the nurse of my oldest children and my children of course.
Q. How many children have you?
A. Well one of ten years, one of five years and one of ten months; they were then about a year younger. Then I had the maid and her husband that was working in the garden.
Q. Is that witnes MRB?
A. No, a maid in the house and her husband who was working in the garden. Witness MRB came after, with his wife and his son. She is about the same age as my wife.
Q. Does that comprise the whole of the household?
A. Yes, then when they came they said to us that they heard fire, gun fire in the park, firing of shots in the park.
Q. Who said this?
A. Witness MRB, when he came in.
Q. What time was that?
A. About half past midnight.
Q. Will you continue?
A. We listened ourselves and we heard that there was shots from time to time that we all heard.
Q. Had there been firing previous to this firing of shots?
A. That is the first time that we noticed it. In any case, when they came to the house, they heard and we noticed it then.
Q. That is the first time you heard firing other than the bombing and the noise of the planes?
Q. And did you take any action, did you do anything about it?
A. No, here there were Germans that were living in here. We couldn't do anything. We had no arms or anything.
Q. Do I understand that there were Germans in the house?
A. None sleeping in the house; since there were great bombing, they didnt stop anywhere in the house. They were afraid that the house would be bombed. They had digged holes that they had completely prepared and they were living there.
Q. Where were these holes?
A. Oh, at one hundred metres from here.
Q. In which direction?
A. There, you see them under all the pine trees there, in the direction of the stables. We must understand that the Germans were living there but...
Q. The Germans were living actually in the shelters near the stabes at about one hundred metres from this house, is that correct?
A. Yes, that is correct.
Q. The firing which you heard was all around and in no particular direction?
Q. Will you continue?
A. Well, I haven't remembered when the first plane fell. The first plane fell about a quarter to two. He fell before the people were out.
Q. How do you know that?
A. Because we heard it and saw the light of it.
Q. Am I right in saying that the next thing of interest after half past twelve was that you saw a plane fall about a quarter to two?
A. Yes, about a quarter to two. We thought he was falling on the Château and when a plane falls it seems to be falling directly upon you and I give you that indication because that plane was charged, (we knew it after) with shells and with a lot of cartridges. So by the burning of the plane that split all the night long and we couldn't know if there was gun fire in the park or if there was shelling because we heard about fifteen shells that burst, what we could hear.
Q. Did you take any action when the plane fell?
A. No, we had here all the strict order by the troops to stop in the house. We had it from the general order in the country. We had, if there was anything unusual, we had the order to stop in the house with all the windows and doors shut but not locked.
Q. And you followed those order?
A. Since I had troops around, I couldn't do otherwise.
Q. What was the next thing that happened after the falling of the plane at a quarter to two?
A. After, at two o'clock, Witness MRB and his wife went to their house.
Q. Am I right, at two o'clock Witness MRB and his wife went back to his house?
A. Went back to his house. They were afraid of falling of the plane.
Q. Where does Witness MRB live?
A. In the house at about one hundred metres.
Q. Is that next to the stables?
A. Next to the stables.
Q. Could you give us a rough sketch? Would you look at this sketch and tell us whether that is a true plan and to scale?
A. It is a true plan; that is the plan that is made.
Q. Is this an official work? Is this a plan taken from an officially recognised map of the country?
A. It is from the official map of France.
Q. (this will be entered as Exhibit "A")
A. The Château is here, it is not complete.
Q. Will you please insert the position of this house? (Witness does so). Here is the Château I will write in here Château. Is that correct?
A. Yes, Château .
Q. Now, would you indicate where the stables and the house of Witness MRB are situated?
A. Here, and the house of Witness MRB here.
Q. I write here 'stables', is that correct?
A. Yes, the doors are in this side. Here is the house if you please. The house where he lives is exactly here.
Q. Where is the entry?
A. Here, that is important, because when he saw the prisoners, yes. It is of interest because they were going to the house, because in going home they saw the prisoners.
Q. The last you said was that Witness MRB and his wife returned to their house at about two o'clock, is that right?
Q. What was the next thing that occured?
A. The next thing was that they came back at about half past two.
Q. Did they have anything to say to you when they returned?
A. Yes, when they came back they said that the Germans had prisoners.
Q. Which Germans were they referring to?
A. The Germans that were living here, of course.
Q. Would you please put in the plan where the Germans were located?
A. (Witness does so). Here is where they were living and here were stables, and they had also the horses in the stables here.
Q, Would you please help me write those in CRN? (Colonel Genn does so). Germans living quarters, is that correct?
A. Yes, and this was where they had the horses stables used by the Germans, yes.
Q.Would you continue?
A. Then when they arrived they said to us that they had seen prisoners. I asked them how many. They answered us, that they were seeing enough outdoors, the gunfire and the bombing everywhere, they had seen eight of them.
Q. Did both Witness MRB and his wife say this?
A. Yes, they said this; it came out of the things interesting they had to say. And one of the prisoners had asked them if they were French, when they passed when they came back from the house.
Q. Is this Witness MRB or his wife speaking now?
A. Both of them, they are speaking both.
Q. Am I right in saying that on their return they had been addressed by one of the prisoners?
A. They had asked them if they were French. They answered, yes.
Q. And what was the prisoner's reply?
A. The German's Adjutant, Unteroffizier, ordered them to shut up and pointed his pistol to the prisoner that had spoken.
Q. We are going to see Witness MRB?
A. I tell you what he said when he came. That is what he told us that they ordered him to shut up and said to Witness MRB to come back and not to go out any more. Then about one or five minutes, very soon after, the German Unteroffizier came here to the kitchen and told us, especially me, as I am also speaking Germanm that he thought there was a landing and that we had to stop in the house and especially not to go out because though he knew us, in the dark his men could fire at us.
Q, Who told you this?
A.The German Unteroffizier that was ordering the troops here.
Q.Was he in charge of the German detachment in your grounds?
Q. What was his rank?
A. Stabsfeldwebel, the highest rank below officer.
Q. Would you please give a description of his shoulder strap?
A. He had a green shoulder strap and all around a silver ribbon and the three white stars.
Q. Do you know his name?
A. Yes, Hermann Vieseler, I remember his name because he said to me, you remember the German Specialist plane that was called the Fieseler, you know perhaps this name, the name of a combat plane.
Q. And he told you that his name was spelled with a 'V' instead of an 'F'?
Q. Was he in complete charge of the German detachment here?
A. Yes, he ordered the detachment that was taking care of the horses of the regimental headquarters.
Q. Do you know which regiment it was?
A. Well, I gave the number, I have the number on the requitistion that they have, so I have their post number.
Q.You have their field post number?
A. I gave it already, I don't remember it, but you have it.
Q. Was that number taken from an official requisition given to you by the German unit?
A. Yes, an official requisition
Q. Would you recognize this number if you saw it written?
A. Yes, in any case I have it in the papers of my...
Q. Are they available easily?
A. Yes, they are available easy.
Q. Would you please let us have them now? (Papers are to be procured). In the meantime, would you be good enough to put your own drawing of the Château and immediate surroundings, the stables and the location of the Germans on this piece of paper? (Witness does so). ( A book is brought to the witness by a servant).
Q. What is this book?
A. The book is the book on which I have written all that concerns all the requisitions of the German troops during the war with each requisition, how many times, what they ask, which found, the requisition with the number for the unit, every day, which they are coming.
Q. Will you produce to the Court a requisition from the regiment to which Hermann Vieseler belonged?
A. The unit did not give a requisition because they requisitioned only once; we had only the number of the troops to have them to pay their quarter here.
Q. Can you produce any record of the requisition given you by this unit or any member of the unit?
A. No, they had no stamp because it was not an officer that was ordering. They were a part of the headquarters and the stamp with the number was at headquarters.
Q. Does that book contain any of your personal records of such a number?
A. No, we have that number because they had put officers in the field of a farmer here where they had officers; they were to pay themselves, so they gave us their number just for these houses.
Q. Who gave the number?
A. The Adjutant that was ordering them.
Q. Was he the Adjutant of the unit to which Vieseler belonged?
Q. Did he give you his unit number?
Q. Is it recorded in that book?
A. Yes, here is the number written.
Q. Then does that book contain a number belonging to the German unit to which Vieseler belonged which was given to you by Vieseler or a member of that unit?
A. Yes, my secretary reminds me that the Germans had a new order when they requisitioned at the end. The stamp was to be the stamp of what they were calling the Standartenkommandantur. It was no more to be used that was giving the unit.
Q. Is this number, the field post number, of the unit, given by a member of the unit for purposes of your record?
A. Yes, not by a member of the unit, the chief of the unit.
Q. What rank was he?
A. That was Vieseler.
Q. Then this number was given to you by Vieseler who was in charge of the unit for your own records of a requisition made by that unit?
A. Yes, (The Court notes that the number is 42171) and if what I think is right, I have said to you, this is the number of the headquarters of the regiment.
Q. By whom was this number written?
A. By MMH (CRN's secretary)
Q. Can you , yourself, swear that that is the number of that unit?
A. I can swear that he gave it to me as being the number of that unit.
Q. That he gave it to you?
A. Hermann Vieseler.
Q. That is sufficient?
A. I can't say if he said a lie or not.
Q. I would like to dispose of this field post number before we go on to the sketch that you are doing?
Q. Was the unit of Herman Vieseler the only one that was here at the 5th of June 1944?
Q. Any other unit that is recorded in the book which you produced has gone?
A. Yes, they had gone because we had companies that were in barracks hereafter and since about four months before they were all going underground.
Q. Was Hermann Vieseler associated with any of the other units which are recorded in your book to your knowledge?
A.There were companies of his regiment, but he was only under the orders of the headquarters. He was not under orders of the companies that was here.
Q. Your understanding is that that field post number is of the regimental headquarters?
A. Yes, it concerned business of all the numbers of the troops. Thinking that it could be used one day, I conserved all the numbers of the units that passed here.
Q. Can you tell us when the last unit previous to June fifth was concerned with your household grounds?
A. If I understand well, when the last unit that was here went away and Vieseler stayed alone with his?
A. Well, I see the last one here 30 April 1944 (refers to book).
Q. And to your knowledge, no other unit was concerned with your household grounds after the 30th of April 1944?
A. No there were none here in the house. Even there were none of the civilians who were making holes in that other part.
Q. But none of those people were concerned with the unit that was here?
A. None, because the last time that I had troops in the house was 30 April 1944 and you can see them the unit were giving their own stamp on the requisitions and since they come, they couldn't give it any more, but we had the stamp of standartenkommandantur. There was no more the ones of the troops. Before of all of these ones we had the numbers, and after we had the order that didn't give the number but I managed to have their number because I ordered to have them, in asking for the unit. (witness completes sketch). I made it a bit short, but it is all I can tell you.
Q. It seems to cover what I think we need; Château ? Stables?
A. Here is the lodging of the gardener, all the lodging of the people.
Q. Then, this is Witness MRB's house?
A. No, this here. Here was the German's kitchen.
Q. This is the part requisitioned by the Germans?
A. They requisitioned only the kitchen. Here is the house of Witness MRB, the door of Witness MRB's house, and MMH's house.[the secretary]
Q. Then this is MMH's house?
A. That is the German's kitchen.
Q. Kitchen requisitioned by Germans, is that correct?
A. Yes, and here's a terrace. The terrace is interesting because they shot one of the prisoners there. I will be able to go with you there exactly and point to where it is. And here, Witness MRB's house and after, the stables. But it is one long house and they were here when they saw them.
Q. And here, stables? (marking them on plan).
A. Yes, and here the Germans were lodging, exactly here were the horses and their lodgement was about here. (indicating).
Q. German living quarters? (Marking them).
Q. German Stables? (marking them)
Q. Direction of North?
A. North here. (marks it).
Q. Suppose we take that distance, would we agree on 110 metres?
A. About that, yes, 110-120, about that. (Distance is marked on plan). I made it by hand and cannot give my word that that is the exact proportion. Here you can have the exact proportion because here I can bring you the plan, the official plan. (Indicating Exhibit 'A').
Q. This serves our purposes excellently. (This will be entered then as Exhibit 'B'). all right we reached the point in your story where Unteroffizier Vieseler came here to the cellar?
A. And he told me that he, that it was a landing; I think he even had a telephone message.
Q. Do I understand that he had had warning that an Allied landing had taken place?
A. Yes, he had received word from his regiment that it was an Allied landing, and he was battling in the park with parachutists. That he didn't know at all how it was going; that for the moment he has control of the situation in the park with his troops, but he couldn't tell how it would go in the hours that were following and he said to me that he had at that moment eight prisoners.
Q. Did he say how long ago he had taken those prisoners?
Q. Did you form any impression of how long they had already been prisoners?
A. My impression can be only what Witness MRB had said to me. They had said to me that when they went home at two o'clock that these prisoners were lying there; that they...
Q. Did Vieseler give you any impression of how long the prisoners had been in his custody?
A. Since an hour ago, I suppose.
Q. Did you have an indication of how long the fighting had been going on between Vieseler's unit and the paratroopers?
A. The only notice was that we heard shots in the park about half past midnight. Now I forgot to tell you something. I had power to question Vieseler because I was Director Adjoint. There was somebody over me, but I was the Director Adjoint of the Red Cross for all the Calvados.
Q. It would be as well for us to have a record of your official status, will you tell us? You are Mayor of the district of Grangues?
Q. Am I right, you are Mayor of the district of Grangues?
Q. You are agricultural advisor of the district of ...?
A. I am, I don't know how you call it; I went to the school of agriculture where you learn for farms about the lands.
Q. Have you any official appointment?
A. I am not for the state, I am a private engineer for the land. I am having farms that I look out for myself and the field is to myself.
Q. Now your official functions are Mayor of the District of Grangues and departmental director of the Red Cross for Calvados?
A. There is an unofficial director, and you see that there is an officer that was adjoint to him. I am Directeur Départementale Adjoint des l'équipe d'urgence pour le Calvados. So that official position in the Red Cross entitled me to question him. He was asking me why I was asking and I answered that I had the Red Cross card and I was intending to allow for a lot of things, to nurse the wounded bandages.
Q. Did you infact, question him at this time?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. We are speaking of about a quarter past two?
A. Yes I asked how it was going, if I had anything to do for the Red Cross or anything and he said he was continuing to battle, and that is was better, that I wouldn't go out, because they were firing. He told me when the moment would be ready I could nurse the wounded; that I would be told. He said to me at that moment that he would come to say to me from time to time how it was going on, so I would know exactly.
Q. Did you question him about the prisoners?
A. Yes, he said that he had prisoners. I asked him who they were. He said they were parachutists and said to me that they were made prisoners. I did not ask him how they were made prisoners. He would have answered probably that they were fallen by the gliders so that they were probably a bit knocked out.
Q. But they didn't require your attention at that moment?
A. No, he said he had prisoners. He had nothing more to say about them.
Q. Was anything else said by him at that time?
A. I don't remember.
Q. Can we go on to the next incident?
A. Well after that, about some moments after, we had a great shock in the house, the Château was completely knocked by big bombs. We knew that they were bombs that fell about four hundred metres from here.
Q. You found that out afterwards?
A. After yes; and all the time we were hearing these shell shots and like machine gun shots.
Q. When you speak of shell shots, do you mean heavy gunfire, big guns?
A. Yes, what I mean exactly is shells of 75[mm] that were bursting in the plane that fell on fire, so we thought that it was that.
Q. When you say that, is it beause you thought that or is it because you afterwards found that out?
A. I found it out. We thought that it was a German gun that was firing or that it was the English artillery that was firing at us.
Q. You found out afterwards that it was shells bursting in a crashed plane?
A. There were also cartridges of machine guns that were bursting, so we thought that there were a great battle very near. But we found after that it was those cartridges in the plane. That can explain that we didn't notice when they shot the prisoners. This we heard, all that. It was in the same direction.
Q. What was the next incident that you remember during the night?
A. Another great big bombing that came the other side of the Château about half past four in the morning. I can't say exactly.
Q. Did you find out afterwards what that was?
A. I found out that it was a five thousand kilo bomb that fell on the other side of the Château.
Q. Did you hear any other plane crash?
A. We heard the planes that were all night passing directly among the trees, but we didn't notice anything special. In the morning about seven o'clock, I can't say exactly, Vieseler came to tell us that we couldn't yet go out, that there was always battling.
Q. Did you learn any more at that time about the eight prisoners?
A. Yes, he said that he had them; he didn't insist and I didn't insist either. I asked if he had any new prisoners. He said no. I asked to attend the prisoners. He said he would come back directly he could. He came back about, I suppose, about eight o'clock or half past eight, telling me that they were bringing the wounded, that the situation when he came in the morning, he said to me that he seemed to be....
Q. Just a moment, you are talking about eight o'clock or seven o'clock?
A. About seven o'clock, when he came he said to me, he said he had the situation in hand. He was quiet. He came after about half past eight to say that I could nurse them.
Q. Then, just to make it quite clear, am I right that when he came at seven o'clock, that he told you that he still had the prisoners?
A.Yes, I asked him about the prisoners and he didn't insist and the fact that he seemed....
Q. Is it correct that he told you that he still had the prisoners; that they didn't require your attention and that he would let you know when there were wounded that would require your attention; and that he returned somewhere between eight and eight thirty?
A. He told me that I could go to nurse the wounded soldiers; that his men were bringing them; that I had all possibility to nurse all wounded.
Q. Did you understand that they were....
A. Other wounded.
Q. Did he tell you how many there were of other wounded?
A. Yes, I went there with the nurse of my children, that I had given lessons in nursing. She was officially nurse of the Red Cross.
Q. What was her name?
A. Therese Anne. Then we went to nurse them. We were controlled by a sentinel, a guard. They told us that he could speak English; that we had only to speak to the soldiers about nursing. It was forbidden to tell them anything about the place here, or anything of the firing; that if we said a word of it, they would prevent us to continue to nurse them.
Q. Where were these wounded?
A. These wounded were outdoors directly under the trees in the field.
Q. Would you mark approximately on the plan? (Witness does so) How many of them were there?
A. I didn't count exactly, I nursed about thirty eight. When we went to the wounded, there were no doctors, but medical orderlies. One was nearly not wounded and could help us a lot and the other could help us very little. But there was one that was in good state, that was even knowing better medical matters than we did, and we nurse with him and he had all his medical things, which the Germans left him.
Q. He was himself, one of the wounded?
A. Yes, but nearly not, he could nurse.
Q. Were these wounded properly attended to?
A. They were brought by the Germans. I said directly to the Adjutant that there were great great wounded; that we could do was nothing for them, and asked him to have a sanitary car to take them to the hospital.
[ A Sanitary Car was a vehicle such as a bus or truck, converted to an ambulance transporter role, and could carry several stretcher cases at the same time.]
Q. May we say that of those wounded, the thirty-eight or so, that the treatment was perfectly correct, so far as you saw, and that they were subsequently taken to the hospital on your request?
Q. Can we revert to the eight prisoners, do you know anything of them?
A. When I had finished nursing the wounds, I asked the Adjutant that I was from the Red Cross that I could see what was happening to their prisoners, to see how they were treated.
Q. At what time was this?
A. Directly after I had finished nursing the wounded.
Q. Approximately eleven or twelve o'clock?
A. Eleven or twelve. So he seemed annoyed, then he said all at once, "I had to shoot them". So that is what is said, "I had to shoot them". So I was astonished, "You are shooting prisoners now". And he said to me "They had given to me their word that they had no more arms. They threw away their arms for me and they had given me their word that they had no more arms and I left them only to be seen after by one soldier, because there was only twenty-five altogether" that is what he said to me. He had two patrols to fight in the park.
Q. Could you, as far as possible, give us exacty the words that he used?
A. What I tell you, what I remembered most, that he said that he had only one man to keep them, and directly when this man was alone for two minutes he called them back, the Adjutant and the other soldiers, and he said to the Adjutant that the prisoners had a queer way of looking about them. The Adjutant then looked again at them and he found that they had again arms.
Q. He said he had actually looked again for arms?
A. Yes, that he had looked. The first time he had asked them to give their word that they had no more arms on them. After when they were alone with one soldier keeping them, he came back with the others and searched them and then he found arms on them, then one ran away and he ran after him, the Unteroffizier Vieseler, immediately after. That one fired at him on the terrace and missed him. And then he fired, the German fired at him, and killed him and that he was dead. Whether he tell me that he shot them himself , or gave the order to shoot I can't tell you. Whether he said then " I shoot them myself" or "I had them shot", at the moment I didn't pay attention. In any case he said, by the result they were shot.
Q. Did he indicate whether any of the others had tried to run away?
Q. Do you mean that he indicated that they had not or he didn't say anything at all about them?
A. He said to me that one run away, so I suppose the others didn't.
Q. Did he say anything to suggest that any of the others had also resisted or attempted to use arms when they were shot?
A. No, he didn't say anything. It was very hard for myself to keep calm when I know that they were shot, so I speak as little as possible to him, so I didn't say more things.
Q. Did he tell you anything more about the circumstances in which they were shot?
A. He said only to me the place where they were graved, he showed me.
Q. When you say 'graved'- buried?
A. Buried, he asked me when I should bury others, to bury them at the same place so as to have only one grave.
Q. Did you say that you would do that, that you would bury them altogether?
A. Yes, so I remembered the fact that a bit before while I was finishing to nurse the wounded soldiers, one asked me if they were going to be shot, and I was most astonished, I said "Well, I don't know what you mean, I am nursing you and there is no reason to be shot, I have all facilities to nurse you. I asked for ambulance to take you to the hospital and there is no reason that you would be shot". I didn't understand at all why the wounded man had asked me at that moment. After the Adjutant said that he has shot the prisoners, I thought perhaps this wounded man have known the fact, so that is why he asked me that question.
Q. What else did you say to the man who asked whether he was going to be shot?
A. I said that he would be completely quiet.
Q. Did he give you any reason for having asked you the question?
A. No, he didn't give me any reason. At that moment I was perfectly sure that the prisoners were living and that I would see them; and nearly all the wounded except the sanitary [medic] man were broken with bones coming out of the skin. Perhaps you have seen the gliders; the gliders fell on the top of the trees.
Q. There were thirty-eight of them altogether?
Q. How many were seriously wounded?
A. Nearly all except three, I noticed three that could help us a bit to nurse. He said that they could have all facilities to nurse them. I made them tea, I made all that I could. Only when they questioned me and some of them asked where they were, all I answered was that I was forbidden to answer you that.
Q. Is there anything else about the eight prisoners whom he told you he had shot, that occured during that morning?
A. Well, no, after he had.....
Q. Did you form any impression of what time they had been shot?
A. I am really sure that they were shot before the day light.
Q. Why are you sure of that?
A. Well, because after the daylight there was on the same passage the man that was milking the cows, that passed to milk them. He brought me back the milk about eight o'clock. I am sure that he passed the Mairie beforehand. The people there were living in the corner. Here they stopped in the home at the time.
Q. You mean, had it been later, that other peope would have noticed it or heard the shooting?
A. Yes, I suppose it must have been about six o'clock.
Q. But, you said that when Vieseler came to see you in the Château at seven o'clock and about half past eight o'clock, on both occasions he talked about these eight prisoners.
Q. Did you not assume then, that they were still alive?
A. I thought that they were alive. I asked to see them when I had finished nursing.
Q. From what you know, since, do you now think that they were not alive at that time?
A. Yes, I do not think they were alive at that time.
Q. Have you any other reason for thinking that, except for what you have just told us?
A. Well my own opinion is that they were very few. That they were afraid to leave all these prisoners with only one man, and they killed them because they thought they would escape. That is why they shot them in the night while they could escape. They were most excited against the English and surely they were pleased to find an occasion to shoot them.
Q. After the last big crash of bombing which you heard, which you said was about 0430, was there a lot of noise of firing and bombing going on?
A. Well, of course we heard all the planes that were passing directly over the trees that were making a great noise.
Q. It would have been impossible to hear individual shots at that time?
Q. You have described Herman Vieseler as Adjutant?
A. Yes, he was a professional soldier.
Q. But what do you mean by the term 'Adjutant'?
A. It is in the French Army we call the highest Unterofficier, we call them Adjutant a Chief Adjutant.
Q. When you speak about him as Adjutant, you mean that he was a highest grade of warrant officer?
A. Highest grade of Unterofficier. In the German Army the Unteroffizier for the region around except the place where...
Q. What do you describe in the German Army as an Adjutant?
A. In the German Army they call him Adjutantfeldwebel.
Q. I ask because an Adjutant in other forces, in Allied Forces usually means an Officer and a Captain?
Q. When you speak of the highest rank, you mean of the highest non-commissioned rank?
Q. Now, could you give us a description of Herman Vieseler?
A. Yes, very easily. He was a very tall man, bigger than I am.
Q. About how tall would you say?
A. He was about a metre 82-83, very dark, black hair, and a dark face. [ 5ft 11in to 6ft tall]
Q. When you say dark face, do you mean dark complexion?
A. Brown, he had not red skin like a fair man.
Q. He had a dark complexion and a heavy beard, is that what you mean?
A. No, he had none, he was shaved, but one saw that he has a very black beard and we were calling him Chinese.
Q. His eyes were Chinese looking?
A. Yes, in the house when we spoke of him we were saying the Chinese, and it is a man that was completely broken to pieces. He told us that he had a motor accident that he had for a year, two years hospital, that he was completely broken by every sign.
Q. He showed signs of that?
Q. What signs were there?
A. He had on his face.
Q. He had scars on his face?
A. He has some.
Q. Can you give us any idea of what sort of scars?
Q. Were they cuts, definite marks?
A. Definite marks, yes.
Q. Of what sort?
A. Well, scars.
Q. And he had several scars on his face?
Q. What would you say his weight was; could you say how heavy he was?
A. He was very thin.
Q. And very light do you think?
A. I don't suppose, he was certainly much weight for his height.
Q. What was the colour of his eyes?
Q. Is there anything else about his appearance in particular?
A. I couldn't show you, I think he had a lot of golden teeth.
Q. A lot of golden teeth?
Q. Had he a moustache?
A. I don't remember. If he had one he had a very tiny one like Hitler, I can't say for sure.
Q. What sort of age was he?
A. About forty. His appearance was about forty. He received the cross for his shooting of the prisoners some days after.
Q. How do you know that?
A. Because he said it to me.
Q. Did you see him after?
A. Yes, he stayed ten days after the landing of the troops.
Q. What cross did he tell you he received?
A. The Iron Cross
Q. Before this, did he wear any other decorations?
A. Yes, but old decorations of other services.
Q. Can you identify any of them?
A. No, he battled in Russia.
Q. He had fought in Russia?
Q. For how long?
A. I can't tell you.
Q. Do you know anything else about him that he told you that woud be of interest in identifying him?
A. No, I tell you, all that I can give you, I suppose.
Q. There is nothing else that occurs to you that would assist us?
A. Nothing comes in my brain to tell you know.
Q. Did you at any time identify where the thirty-eight wounded that you attended had come from?
A. They come from the gliders.
Q. When you speak of the gliders, which gliders do you mean?
A. Two gliders that broke down in my park.
Q. Were there any markings on those gliders to identify them?
A. I didn't know anything about them.
Q. Do you know whether anybody has a record of any numbers or marks of identification of those gliders?
A. The headquarters of General Flevell, Brigadier. [ Brigadier Edwin William Conquest Flavell DSO MC- Commander of the 6th Airlanding Brigade]
Q. Which force did he belong to?
A. I suppose ordering the airborne.
Q. Whose Airborne?
A. English Airborne
Q. He was commander of the English Airborne troops?
A. Yes, they landed here.
Q. And his name was Brigadier Flevell?
A. Yes, the gliders that fell here were of his Brigade, so I suppose he can identify them.
Q. Do you know of anybody here either yourself or anybody of your household or anybody locally who can identify those gliders?
A. No, I don't know anything, but from what officers of his headquarters said to me, I believe he identified them.
Q. Did you see wounded from any other; do you know that the thirty eight wounded all came from those two gliders?
A. I suppose they all came from these two gliders.
Q. Did any bodies or wounded come from the plane which crashed?
A. No, they were all burned in it.
Q. Did you see the bodies?
A. Yes I saw them.
Q. Have you any identification of that plane?
A. Yes, I had identification, a number was given to a Major of the unit of General Flevell, a Scotch Major, that came with me and took the identification.
Q. Have you any record of it?
A. I didn't keep it.
Q. Do you know of anybody that has a record of it?
A. I think you can find it on the plane.
Q. The plane is still there?
A. Yes, it was a Lightning. That is what I remember. [perhaps he meant Stirling ?]
Q. Am I right in saying that all of the Allied soldiers that you saw came either from those gliders or one plane that crashed in your grounds?
A. All the wounded came from gliders. There were other gliders that fell around.
Q.Do you know where the eight parachutists came from, the eight prisoners that you have talked about?
A. I suppose from the glider; they were wounded.
Q. But that is only an assumption?
A. I don't know them and I have no trace of parachutes. I have no trace that there fell any parachutists here.
Q. But you describe them as parachutists?
A. They are coming out from gliders. At the beginning, we were calling them parachutists.
Q. So far as you know, those eight prisoners were in fact glider borne troops?
A. Yes, gliderborne as far as I know they were from the two gliders that fell in the park because the other glider fell about a mile from here and they wouldn't have the possibility to come and the balance be taken.
Q. Since so much of the evidence relies on conversations that you have had with Hermann Vieseler, I think that there should be on the record what your knowledge of German is or what his knowledge of French is.
A. What sort of mentality he is?
Q. Do you speak German?
A. I speak German.
Q. How well do you speak German?
A. I don't speak German as I do English. I learned German in the school and in having Germans for five years, at the end I was living, I could understand with them.
Q. Do you speak German well enough to be sure that anyone will understand you correctly?
Q. And your conversations with Vieseler were in German?
A. In German. I wasn't gossiping with him, I was speaking only in service.
Q. I have a question or two I would like to ask. How long had this detachment been on your grounds, this detachment that had been commanded by Vieseler?
A. About six months.
Q. About how many did he have under his direct command here?
A. Twenty five men about.
A. With myself I think there were twenty-five, but they were not all Germans. They were three or four Poles that were with him.
Q. They all wore the German uniform,however?
A. Yes, but I know in a sure way that there was one of the poles that was the cook that flew away from the Germans on 21st August. He put a civilian costume on him, and he had himself made prisoner by the English troops.
Q. And he was one of Vieseler's detachment here on June 6th 1944?
A. He was the cook and what I could understand of his speaking he was hating the Germans and waiting an occasion to get away from them.
Q. Had the Germans established any place in the nearby vicinity as a prisoner of war stockade?
A. No, they had not prepared anything for prisoners.
Q. I understand, sir, that you are a cavalry officer of the French Army?
Q. In your opinion as an Officer, did Vieseler have enough troops under his command to properly have guarded his prisoners?
A. Well, I suppose that as he had guarded them a long time before shooting them, he could continue.
Q. What kind of night was it, was it a clear night or was it a dull stormy night?
A. Rather clear, not a big moonlight, but rather clear.
Q. I understand you to say that Vieseler spoke of one of the prisoners trying to escape and shooting at him and then Vieseler shot the prisoner, that is correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. And that he gave that as an excuse for shooting the rest of the prisoners?
A. He said that he shot other prisoners because they had kept arms after giving their word that they hadn't any. He didn't say he shot them because one of them fired at him. He said that one of them shot at him in any case.
Q. Vieseler never said that his men had searched the prisoners?
A. No, he never said. I was personally even astonished since the men who were all soldiers with him had all been in battle already and I couldn't understand that they would have kept prisoners without searching them especially that they kept them a long time.
Q. Vieseler's troops were experienced men enough to have given the prisoners a thorough search?
Q. And did not have to depend on the prisoners merely saying "I have no arms".
A.Yes, when Witness MRB went home they were lying on the ground and there were many soldiers with them so they had penty of time to search them and they were lying quietly there without moving. They had nothing else to do. They could search them if they wanted.
Q. Do I understand at about eleven or twelve o'clock in the morning of the sixth you went up the road and saw the grave where they had been buried?
Q. And that grave was all completed and covered over as the time you saw it?
A. Yes it was. Did you see the place of the graves, sir? Well the grave was already made before. It was the place where they were going to build a stable again. So it was already digged and when they were shot they were only then with very few around over them.
Q. Did Vieseer tell you what kind of arms he believed the prisoners had, pistols, rifles or something of that kind?
A. I think he meant grenades, but he said that one that run shot at him with a pistol.
Q. Did Vieseer at any time express anything but certainty as to the type of prisoners that he had?
A. Well, in the night when he said to me I didn't know that there were gliders that fell, i thought they were parachutists and he said to me that they were parachutists. He spoke of parachutists.
Q. But he never gave any sign of doubt as to the fact that they were combat soldiers?
A. No, he was personally sure that they were combat soldiers and he knew himself that there were gliders.
Q. And that he had them as prisoners for a period of several hours before they were executed?
Q. You've said that you can't give any idea of the time at which these eight prisoners were shot?
Q. Except that you think it was during the night?
Q. I think that in the previous statement which you made you did name a time?
A. Yes, I said it was about six o'clock in the morning.
Q. And did he say that to you?
Q. Was that Vieseler that spoke to you?
Q. Vieseler said that he had shot them at six o'clock in the morning, is that right?
A. Yes, I think he said that. He drove that in my head.
Q. You don't know the reason, but from what Vieseler said to you, you have the impression that they were shot at about six o'clock?
Q. Just one other point, the dead who were buried by you, can you tell us what burial parties there were and how many were buried each time?
A. Well, we didn't bury them all in the same time. The first day...
Q. When you speak of the first day , you mean the 6th of June?
A. Yes the 6th of June we couldn't go to fetch them. There was a lot of speaking here. There were people of my country here coming to see me; coming here telling that the English were coming- it was a question of hours that they were frightning. The first day we didn't bury them. We buried the second day.
Q. The 7th of June?
A. The 7th of June we had to stop after burying about four or five because there was shelling on the park and we couldn't continue.
Q. Could you tell me just how many were buried, in what graves?
A. How many were buried in the graves here? Well, in the graves there was a direction on the papers. I had papers for the Red Cross for burying, so I had a little nurse from the Red Cross who had orders to take identification with the nurse that I had, reading and writing perfect English, to find the papers to help us, these ....
Q. These two ladies did the identification of the bodies?
A. Yes, we were with the men, with Witness MRB and his son; his elder son was not here in the night of the 6th of June. He was taken by the Germans to work on the post and he look after him and came only at six o'clock in the afternoon.
Q. Can you just give me the actual figures of the bodies that were buried?
A. Yes, we buried eight from the gliders at the big grave and two from the gliders on the second grave, and I think we found a third one that was crushed in the trees that we buried after, so it makes that we are sure of 11. I have the papers of ten, surely.
Q. When you say you had the papers, did you have identification?
A. Identification, but one we couldn't identify.
Q. And they were buried on the 7th or the 6th?
A. Some on the 7th, some on the 8th, some on the 9th.
Q. Altogether eight?
A. Altogether I am sure of eleven. Of ten we had the papers, then my gardener Witness MRB said he brought a 11th one that was crushed in the trees. It was a shelling. I said we must have him buried if it stops too long. We buried him in the same grave. The nurses didn't go out.
Q. Were they buried all in one grave?
A. All in one grave.
Q. Is that separated from the grave of the eight prisoners?
A. The same grave.
Q. So, in that grave there were buried at least eighteen and possibly nineteen?
Q. And what happened to the paper which identified the men that were buried?
A. I gave them to the man of the Red Cross of Paris that came here as we were very shelled and we didn't know if we were going to be needing them or not, so I give them; they must be at the French Red Cross in Paris.
Q. You gave them to a representative of the French Red Cross?
Q. Can you identify at all to what sort of unit, what sort of regiment, Hermann Vieseler belonged?
A. He belonged to an infantry regiment that was guarding the wood here. There were three battalions that were on the coast and one in reserve and on the six weeks there were one that was on the coast, and one in reserve and Vieseler, himself, kept the horses of the regiment.
Q. Is it right that Vieseler's duties were to look after the horses of the regimental headquarters?
A. Yes, he was with his men here. It wasn't a fighting company. They didn't have any machine guns. They had only their rifles and pistols, and after they were all armed with the machine pistols of the Airborne's that they had taken, and they really fought because there were three men of his unit that were killed.
Q. On the night of the 5th-6th of June?
Q. When did they finally leave here?
A. about the 15th or 16th of June, perhaps a bit later, about 20th.
Q. Why did they go?
A. Because they find there was too much shelling here for the horses, so they went in the village behind. [ He means further away from the channel ie.south east]
Q. Can you identify by name or otherwise any other NCOs of Vieseler's unit?
A. I can identify the cook that was called George Koureck, but I can't remember the names of the others.
Q. Do you know whether Koureck had anything to do with these eight prisoners?
A. Well, he was living with the Germans and he was with them during all the night, he surely knows exactly what happened to them.
Q. Can you give us a description of him?
A. Yes, he was rather small?
Q. About what height?
A. About a metre 60-62 [5ft 3in to 5ft 4in tall]
Q. Any idea of his weight?
A. He was thick.
Q. He was heavy?
A. Heavy, yes. Perhaps 65 or 70 kilos, [10-11 stones] he was heavy for his height.
Q. Was he fat?
A. Fair, blue eyes and very peculiar skin. He has a skin a bit pink but pale, but with thick lines.
Q. He had very thick lines all over his face?
A. Yes, it was particular of his skin. He had the nose a bit hooked, and he was a pork butcher, a cook in civil life.
Q. What was his rank?
A. Second class soldier, I suppose, I can't tell, surely.
Q. He had no rank?
Q. He was a pole or a Czech?
A. A Pole
Q. He is now a prisoner of War?
Q. How do you know that?
A. I knew it by a maid that was working in the cooking with them that said he was a prisoner and then I made an inquest with the Lieutenant that was here.
Q. Do you know exactly how he was made a prisoner?
A. We made that inquest together and the place where he was taken.
Q. From where did you get that information that he was taken?
A. From the French civil people who saw him at that moment and said to us that he gave himself prisoner and at place at that day and that moment.
Q. Do you remember where that was and when?
A. It was on the 21 August 1944 in the evening at the place called Forge Moisy.
(The witness withdraws)
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