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Introduction

General Nicolaus von Falkenhorst, formerly the Commander of German Forces in Norway, was tried for war crimes by the British at Brunswick, in Germany, from 29 July to 2 August 1946. The court was convened by the Commander 30 Corps District.

The Court Members

The court consisted of a President and four members. A Judge Advocate was present to advise the court on legal considerations.

President

Major-General I.S.O Playfair, CB, DSO, MC.

Members

Captain C.S.B. Swinley, DSO, DSC, Royal Navy.

W/Cmdr F.E. McDonnell, Royal Air Force.

Maj. E.F. Gosling, 1st (The Royal) Dragoons.

Gen-Maj. G. Meyer, Norwegian Forces.

Judge Advocate

C.L. Stirling, Esq, CBE, KC.

Defence Counsel

Dr. R.G. Müller.

The Charges

The accused pleaded not guilty to the nine charges presented before the court. Falkenhorst was charged with committing a War Crime in that he:

1st Charge

At OSLO, in the Kingdom of Norway, when as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway in an order dated on or about 26 October 1942, in violation of the laws and usages of war, incited members of the forces under his command not to accept quarter or to give quarter to Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen taking part in Commando operation, and further in the event of any Allied soldier, sailor or airman taking part in such Commando Operations being captured, to kill them after capture.

2nd Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the month of October 1942, in violation of the laws and usage’s of war, was responsible as C-in-C of the Armed Forces for the handing over by forces under his command to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of two British Officers and six British Other Ranks, Prisoners of War, who had taken part in Commando Operations, with the result that the said Prisoners were killed.

3rd Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway in or about the month of February 1942, in violation of the laws and usages of War, when as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway was concerned in the killing of 14 British POWs.

4th Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the month of November 1942, in violation of the laws and usages of war, was responsible as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway for the handing over by the forces under his command to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) on 9 British POWs who had taken part in Commando Operations, with the result that the said Prisoners were killed.

5th Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the month of January 1943 in violation of the laws and usages of war, was responsible as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway for the handing over by forces under his command to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of Seaman Robert Evans, a British POW who had taken part in Commando Operations with the result that the said Seaman Robert EVANS was killed.

6th Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the moth of May 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, was responsible as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway for the handing over by forces under his command to the Sicherheitdients (Security Service) of one officer, 1 NCO and 5 Naval Ratings, British POWs, who had taken part in Commando Operations, with the result that the said prisoners were killed.

7th Charge

At OSLO, in the Kingdom of Norway, when as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway in an order dated 15 June 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, incited members of the forces under his command not to accept quarter or to give quarter to Allied soldiers, sailor and airmen taking part in Commando Operations, and, further, in the event of any Allied soldier, sailor or airman taking part in such Commando Operations being captured, to kill them after capture.

8th Charge

In the Kingdom of Norway, in or about the month of July 1943, in violation of the laws and usages of war, was responsible as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway for the handing over by forces under his command to the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of one Norwegian Naval Officer, five Norwegian Naval Ratings, and one Royal Navy Rating, POWs, with the result that the said prisoners were killed.

9th Charge

At OSLO, in the Kingdom of Norway, when as C-in-C of the Armed Forces Norway in a document dated 19 July 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, ordered troops under his command to deprive certain Allied POWs of their rights, as POWs, under the Geneva Convention.

Verdict and Sentence

The accused was found guilty of seven charges: one, three, four, six, seven, eight and nine. The accused was found not guilty of two charges: two and five.

The court sentenced Falkenhorst to death by shooting. Despite being confirmed by the GOC in C BAOR, the sentence was commuted to 20 years’ imprisonment on 4 November 1946. Due to ill-health, Falkenhorst was released as an act of clemency in 1953. He died in 1968.

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