Interrogation record of General Weidling, Commandant of Berlin (II)
Questions regarding Generalfeldmarschall Schörner
20 November 1951
Weidling, Helmut, born 1891
native of the town of Halbertstadt (Germany)
German, German national, former
commander of the defense of Berlin, General
Interrogation beginning at 1120 hours
------ “ ------ ending at 1650 hours
German translator Makeev has been advised regarding his responsibility for conducting a correct translation according to Article 95 of the Criminal Code of the USSR.
Question: Do you know the former Generalfeldmarschall Schörner, Ferdinand?
Answer: Yes. I know Generalfeldmarschall Schörner of the former German Army.
Question: When and under what circumstances did you become acquainted with him?
Answer: I first met Schörner in January 1941, when he was the commander of the 6th Mountain Division, which was deployed near the Semmering pass in the Alps. The 6th Mountain Division had come under the command of the XL Panzer Corps at that time. As the artillery commander of the XL Panzer Corps, I headed off to meet Schörner in order to establish direct contact and check on the condition of division's artillery. I was then struck by the model order and harsh discipline, which Schörner had established in his division.
Question: What kind of relations did you have with Schörner?
Answer: I had normal relations with Schörner.
Question: Did you and Schörner take part in the criminal war against the Soviet Union as members of the same corps?
Answer: No. I did not serve with Schörner in the war against the Soviet Union. I only saw Schörner during the first weeks of the war in the Balkans, in April 1941. As part of my duties I had to spend time with his division. Schörner's division left the XL Panzer Corps shortly before the war with the Soviet Union and I no longer encountered Schörner.
Question: It is known, that in 1945 Schörner was in command of Army Group 'Center,” while you were the commander of the LVI Panzer Corps. Is it not true that your corps was part of Schörner's army group?
Answer: In April 1945, Hitler ordered me to take command of the LVI Panzer Corps, which was part of the 9th Army. The 9th Army, however, reported directly to Hitler and was not part of Army Group “Center”. The 9th Army most likely had dealings with the northern Army Group “Vistula”, while Schörner's group was located on the right flank of the 9th Army. Generalfeldmarschall Schörner's army group subsequently fought somewhere in Silesia and Czechoslovakia.
Question: What German crimes did Schörner and those forces under his command commit in the territory of the Soviet Union?
Answer: I do not know.
Question: What reputation did Schörner enjoy among the German generals?
Answer: I heard at various times from many acquaintances among the generals (I do not remember the names), that Schörner was a fervent national socialist according to his political convictions and was a fanatic admirer of Hitler. I heard little regarding his military skill, but he was known for his love of strict discipline and textbook order among the troops.
Question: Schörner's fascist convictions and admiration of Hitler played a large role in his advance in the service. Is this not true?
Answer: Many generals told me at the time that Schörner owed his career to Hitler, who knew about his fanatic admiration for National Socialism and thus assisted in his rapid rise in the service. Schörner also had some success as a military commander.
Question: What did Hitler have to say about Schörner?
Answer: I do not remember if Hitler spoke about Schörner in my presence. However, the fact that Hitler in his will and testament appointed Schörner to the post of War Minister in the new government speaks for itself. If Hitler did not value Schörner highly, then his name would naturally not have appeared among the members of the proposed government.
Question: Can you provide a more detailed account of this?
Answer: On the evening of 30 April 1945, I was summoned to Hitler's personal bunker where I met Goebbels, Bormann and Krebs.
The latter informed me in a somber tone that Hitler had killed himself and that he had appointed a new government in his will and testament: Grossadmiral Doenitz was appointed Reichsprasident, Goebbels as Reichschanceller, Bormann – Minister for Party Affairs, Generalfeldmarschall Schörner as Minister of Defense and Seyss-Inquardt as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I did not personally see Hitler's political testament.
Question: Was Schörner officially announced as the new German Minister of Defense on 30 April 1945?
Answer: All those who were located in the bunker near the Reich Chancellery during the final days of the battle of Berlin were completely isolated from the outside world.
Thus, Hitler's testament was not officially announced in Germany. Moreover, Goebbels, Bormann and others were afraid that news of Hitler's death would have a negative influence on the crumbling morale of the German Army. Thus, as far as I know, Schörner was not officially recognised as the German Minister of Defense.
Question: Did you encounter Generalfeldmarschall Greim of the Luftwaffe in Hitler's bunker?
Answer: Yes. I saw Generalfeldmarschall Greim of the Luftwaffe in the bunker several days before Hitler's death. Hitler had ordered that Greim be appointed as head of the Luftwaffe in place of Goering. Greim was in Berlin for only a few hours and then flew out with the pilot Hannah Greitsch to an unknown destination.
Question: During the interrogation on October 30 this year, the prisoner Schörner testified that you enjoyed a great deal of trust on the part of Hitler and worked out military plans with him. Do you corroborate this?
Answer: Yes. I certainly enjoyed Hitler's trust, otherwise he would not have appointed me as the commander of Berlin's defenses. It stands to reason, that I took part in working out the plans for the defense of Berlin alongside Hitler, as I have already related to the investigation.
Question: During the same interrogation, the prisoner Schörner stated that during the battle of Berlin you were found to be under the significant influence of the then Berlin Defense Commissioner, Goebbels. Is this true?
Answer: I do not deny that there were normal relations between me and Goebbels, which the latter did not enjoy with Reymann. As is known, my predecessor in command of the defense of Berlin, General Reymann, was unable to work with Goebbels and was removed from his post.
I was not, however, under the influence of Goebbels and could not be under his influence, as he had no understanding of military questions.
Interrogator: Dep[uty] Ch[ief] of the Section, 2nd M[ain] Adm[inistration] MGB USSR, Sen[ior] Lieutenant LISOVETS
Translator: Translator for the same section, Lieutenant MAKEEV