[page last updated 29 May 2015]
Witness Interview with MET:
Q. What is your name?
A. MET [Not used full name to protect identity]
Q. And where do you live?
A. I live here. I work here.
Q. And how old are you?
A. Sixteen years of age.
Q. And what is your occupation here?
A. Farmer. I work on the farm.
Q. How long have you lived here?
A. It has been a year on the first of June.
Q. And where do your parents live?
A. They live at Orbec.
Q. Is Orbec near here?
A. About sixty kilometres from here.
Q. Where on the estate do you sleep?
(Witness looks on the sketch) Can you point it out from the window?
A. I can tell you that I sleep in a room of the pavillion.
Q. Where is that?
A. Near the Mairie.
Q. Is that near Witness MRB's house?
A. Just beside. My room is near the room of his son.
Q. I believe you know something about eight prisoners from the Allied forces who were on this estate on the night of 5th and 6th June. Will you tell the Court what you know?
A. I know that on the 6th of June the Adjutant, Hermann, told me that he had shot eight English prisoners.
Q. When you speak of the Adjutant, Hermann, whom do you mean?
A. I mean the chief.
Q. Does that mean of the Germans?
Q. Was Hermann his first name or his second name?
A. Hermann is his first name and Vieseler his family name.
Q. As you use his Chrsitian name, did you know him well?
A. I know him for the last year.
Q.You say that he told you that he had shot eight prisoners on the sixth of June; when did he tell you?
A. On the 6th of June at 3 o'clock
Q. In the Afternoon?
A. Yes in the afternoon.
Q. Was that the first time you had heard about prisoners?
A. Yes, it was the first time that day.
Q. In what circumstances did he tell you about these prisoners?
A. As I was coming back from work he asked me if I had seen the English and I said "No", and he told me that he had shot eight in the morning.
Q. Did he tell you why he had shot them?
A. Yes, because when they were captured they were locked up in the stable and about half an hour after when he went back he found out that they all had a sub-machine gun or tommy gun in their hand.
Q. Did you ask him any more about these prisoners?
A. No, he only told me that he took them to the grave, meaning where they are buried, and he had shot them.
Q. Did he tell you whether they were guarded when they were locked in the stable?
A. No, he went back after and the door was locked.
Q. "He went back after" Meaning....?
A. Meaning Vieseler went back there and the door was locked; the door of the stable where they were was locked.
Q. Did he say who had locked them up in the first place?
A. I know that he told me that when they were captured that they were locked in the stable.
Q. He didn't say by whom they were locked up?
A. Yes, it is himself. They were locked up by himself.
Q. Did he say whether they had their submachine guns when he locked them in the stable?
A. No, he told me that the man in charge of the paratroopers had sworn that they had no more weapons on them.
Q. Did he tell you what sort of soldiers the prisoners were?
A. Yes he said paratroopers.
Q. Did he say whether they were NCOs or privates?
A. He told me that they were seven soldiers and one leader.
Q. When you say leader, do you mean that one of them was a non-commissioned officer or an officer?
A. An officer.
Q. Were you ever told what rank the officer was?
A. No, I never was told at all.
Q. Were you told how the eight men were shot?
A. He told me that he had shot the seven soldiers with a sub-machine gun and the leader was shot by a revolver.
Q. Did he tell you why seven were shot in one way and the leader in the different way?
A. Yes, because when he marched them to the grave to shoot them the leader escaped.
Q. Did he tell you anything else that you can remember about the shooting?
A. No, I don't remember anything.
Q. Can you tell us what Hermann Vieseler looked like?
Q. How tall was he?
A. About a metre eighty. [approx. 5ft 11]
Q. How heavy would you say he was?
A. About sixty to seventy kilos. [9½ to 11 stone]
Q. How old was he?
A. Probably thirty-five years.
Q. What color hair had he?
A. It was fair, not exactly fair.
Q. What colour were his eyes?
A. Green Eyes
Q. Would you say that his hair was a light brown or a dark blond?
A. Dark blond
Q. Had he any particular distinguishing marks?
A. He had only scars
Q. Where were the scars?
A. One on the forehead over the left eyebrow and one under the left eye.
Q. Were there any other scars?
A. No he had only two
Q. What sort of scars were they?
A. It was when he had a motor accident. He ran in to a magpie, and hit his head.
Q. Was there anything else about him at all that you can remember?
A. There are lots of things, but I don't remember just now.
Q. Did you speak to anybody else apart from Vieseler about the shooting of these eight prisoners?
A. I spoke to other non-commissioned officers, but not regarding that matter. I did not talk about the shooting of the prisoners to the other non-commissioned officers.
Q. Did you talk to anybody else at all about the shooting of the prisoners?
A. Only the people here, and civilians.
Q. How many non-commissioned officers were there with Hermann Vieseler?
Q. Do you know their names?
Q. What were they called?
A. there was one called Wilhelm Nieburg, the other Fritz and the other Ricard.
Q. Are Fritz and Ricard christian names?
A. That I don't know. That's the way they were called.
Q. Taking them in turn, first Wilhelm Nieburg, what was his rank?
A. He was a NCO
Q. What did he wear on his shoulder as a badge of rank?
A. He had a silver strip on his epaulette.
Q. Do you mean around his epaulette?
A. Yes around his epaulette.
Q. Was there anything else on the epaulette?
A. No, there was nothing else, there was no star.
Q. What did he look like; how tall was he?
A. Maybe a metre 70 to a metre 75 [5ft 7in to 5ft 9in]
Q. How heavy was he?
A. About 80 kilos [12½ stone]
Q. How old was he?
A. About 38 I believe.
Q. What about the colour of his hair?
A. He was blond, nearly red.
Q. What was the colour of his eyes?
Q. Had he any particular distinguishing marks or scars?
A. No, I don't believe.
Q. Now Fritz, what was his rank?
A. He was an NCO, they all had the same rank.
Q. When you say all, do you mean Nieburg, Fritz and Ricard?
A. Yes, that is right.
Q. Did any of the other German soldiers have the same rank as Nieburg, Fritz and Ricard?
A. No, there were two. They were Corporal leaders.
Q. Which two were they?
A. Two soldiers, one named Wilhelm and the other Fritz.
Q. But neither of them was a non-commissioned officer?
A. No they were Corporal leader.
Q. What was NCO Fritz's height?
A. A metre 70 [5ft 7in]
Q. What did he weigh?
A. 85 kilos he was big [just over 13 stone]
Q. When you say he was big, do you mean he was big in bone or fat?
A. He was fat.
Q. How old was he?
A. Thirty three
Q. What was the colour of his hair?
A. They were blond, nearly red. You asked me that question before.
Q. I asked a question about Nieburg, I am now asking about Fritz?
A. That is right, they were blond, nearly red.
Q. Was Nieburg blond and nearly red as well?
A. Nieburg had fair hair and Fritz had blond hair nearly red.
Q. What was the colour of Fritz's eyes?
A. That I don't remember very well. I cannot say.
Q. Had he any distinguishing marks or scars?
A. Yes, he had a scar on his chin.
Q. What sort of scar?
A. That I don't know.
Q. Was it a cut or was it something permanent in the skin?
A. Yes it was a cut it had been sewn.
Q. Where exactly was that on his chin?
A. (the witness indicates a horizontal cut approximately an inch long immediately under the lower lip.)
Q. Now Ricard, what was his height?
A. About a metre 60 [5ft 3in]
Q. His weight?
A. 70-75 kilos [11 to 12 stone]
Q. How old was he?
Q. What colour was his hair?
A. Blond very fair.
Q. What was the colour of his eyes?
A. Blue, he had blue eyes.
Q. Did he have any particular distinguishing marks?
A. Yes, he had a scar, he had a vertical scar on the left side of his chin.
Q. What sort of scar was it, did it look as if it had been made with a knife or a sword?
A. I don't know. It appeared to have been sewn.
Q. Were all three of these NCOs aways with Hermann Vieseler?
A. Since I know them, yes.
Q. How long had you known them?
A. About a year and a half.
Q. How long had they been in the grounds of the Château de Grangues?
A. Three months.
Q. Where did you know them before they came to Château de Grangues?
A. I met them on a farm at Madam R. they were coming there to get some butter.
Q. Do you know to what unit they belonged?
A. No, that I don't know.
Q. Was Herman Vieseler in charge of the detachment that was in the grounds of the Château de Grangues?
A. Yes, he was ordering all his men.
Q.Then was Ricard senior in rank to Nieburg and Fritz?
A. They had the same rank.
Q. But Ricard was the senior in behaviour?
A. He was better considered by his leader and other officers.
Q. Do you know a man called Koureck?
Q. Who is he?
A. He was a cook here, a Pole.
Q. When you say he was a cook here, do you mean he was a cook to the German unit?
Q. Do you know where he is now?
A. No I don't know. I was told that he was in Caen.
Q. Do you know whether he had any connection with this case of the eight prisoners who were shot?
A. No, but he certainly knew about it.
Q. How do you know that he knows?
A. He was always there and he talked to me about it and did not like his leader for that.
Q. Do you mean that you talked to Koureck about the shooting of these eight prisoners?
A. Yes, I talked a little, but we could not say very much when the Adjutant was here.
Q. Do you remember what Koureck told you about it?
A. Yes, he told me that it was not right for his chief to have done a thing like that. If we had been alone probably we could have talked more.
Q. Did you understand why he didn't think his leader should have done this?
A. I don't know very well, but he was not for his leader.
Q. Do you know why he was not for him?
A. Because he was very very hard for him. He told me that if ever he had gone to the front with him that he wouldn't have stayed an hour with his leader.
Q. Do you mean that he would not have remained with his chief or that he would have done something to his chief or what do you mean?
A. Yes, he would have done something. He would have killed him.
Q. Do you know any reason in particular why Koureck should have felt like that about Vieseler?
A. He couldn't do a thing right and as soon as he did something wrong he was in jail.
Q. Did he feel like that about any of the other Germans?
Q. Do you know anything else at all about the shooting of these eight prisoners that you can tell the court?
Q. Take a moment or two to think and see if there is anything that occurs to you that you might tell the Court?
A. No, I don't know anything to add.
Q. When Vieseler told you that he had shot the prisoners, did he tell you what time of day it was that he shot them?
A. Yes he said six o'clock in the morning.
Q. You spoke of Vieseler telling you of having to shoot the prisoner officer with a pistol and shooting the other men with a sub machine gun because the officer tried to escape, will you repeat as near as you can just what Vieseler said to you about that officer trying to escape?
A. When he took the prisoners to the grave he was just counting them as it was not very clear. The leader escaped, and he shot the seven soldiers and he ran after the officer who he caught on the terrace of the pavillion and shot him in the head with his revolver. The Englishman fired on the Adjutant, but missed him.
Q. Where were the English officer and Vieseler at the time that the English officer shot at him?
A. Near the terrace of the pavillion.
Q. How far away is that from where the other prisoners were shot?
A. Approximately two hundred metres.
Q. From what Vieseler told you, he had already taken all eight prisoners up to some place to shoot them and then one had escaped?
A. That is right.
Q. And where were Vieseler and the eight prisoners at the time that this prisoners' leader escaped?
A. The other prisoners were dead, he had shot them, then he ran after the officer
Q. Did the the officer escape while he was shooting the other prisoners?
A. No, while he was counting them to find out if they were all there.
Q. Do I understand that the place where Vieseler stopped to count these prisoners and where he shot seven of them and where the officer prisoner tried to escape is the place where they are now buried?
A. Yes, that is right.
Q. Did Vieseler take you to that spot on the afternoon of the sixth of June when he told you about this shooting?
A. No, anyway they had been covered with ground and we wouldn't have been able to see anything.
Q. How do you know where they were buried?
A. Because when we buried the soldiers recovered from the gliders he told us that it was there.
Q. Who told you?
A. The Adjutant Hermann
Q. Is anything that you have just told us about the way these eight men were shot what you were told by anybody other than Hermann Vieseler; you have just told us how these eight men were shot and about one escaping and being shot further away, is all of that what was told to you by Hermann Vieseler?
A. Yes on the sixth June.
Q. Are you certain that none of the details which you have given us are things which you have been told since then by other people or which you have assumed from what you have been told by other people?
A. Those details were told by Hermann Vieseler.
Q. When he told you the story, did anything strike you as strange about it?
A. Yes I was astonished and it did something to me.
Q. Did you believe it?
A. Yes, the same day I did not believe it, but the following day I was forced to believe that it was right.
Q. Did you believe the story of how it happened which Herman Vieseler told you?
A. No at the time I did not believe it. I did not want to believe it. After hearing so many people talk about it, I was forced to believe it.
Q. When you say you were forced to believe it, you mean you were forced to believe that the men were shot, is that right?
A. Yes, because they told me that they were in the grave.
Q. But did you believe, for instance, that the men had arms when they were shot?
A. He took their weapons away. Near his barracks was a pile of weapons.
Q. When you say near his barracks, where do you mean?
A. Near the stable. Near the stable where he slept.
Q. Herman Vieseler told you that when he went back to the prisoners the second time they all had sub-machine guns, is that right?
Q. Did you, for instance, believe that?
A. No I did not believe it because usually when we make prisoners we search them.
Q. Was there anything else that Herman Vieseler told you that you didn't believe?
A. While working here he told me many many lies, but...
Q. You spoke of the scars that Vieseler had on his face, do I understand he had one over his left eye?
Q. Indicate where it started and where it ended?
(Witness indicates a semi circular scar beginning about a centimeter above and to the left of the top of the nose and extending to opposite the outer edge of the left eye. You also spoke of another scar that he had below his left eye will you descibe that?
A. An oblique scar (witness indicates an oblique scar about one centimetre long beginning opposite bridge of nose and extending towards left cheek bone.)
Q. Now, you noticed Vieseler's shoulder straps and that he had silver around them, did you notice whether he had any colour, red, blue, green something of that kind around on the outside of the silver.
A. He had only three stars.
Q. I am talking about the colour of the piping on the edge of his shoulder straps?
A. No the stars were silver, all silver there were no other colours and stars were silver also.
Q. Did any of the three NCOs have any colour?
Q. Do you know where their regimental headquarters was?
A. No, I don't know.
Q. Did you ever see any German officer come in here to inspect the place?
A. Yes, many.
Q. They were Vieseler's direct commanding officers?
A. Yes, many; the Captain came often.
Q. Where did the Captain come from?
A. I don't know, He was living in Gunville, but did not always stay there. [possibly Gonneville-sur-mer]
Q. Did you know the Captain?
(The Witness Withdraws)
The Court adjourned at 1300 hours.
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