The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 150]

HUNDRED AND SIXTY-THIRD DAY

TUESDAY, 25th JUNE, 1946

DR. NELTE (counsel for defendant Keitel): Mr. President, I
should like to advise the Tribunal that the first half of
the manuscript of my final defence speech in typescript will
be ready tomorrow, and the second half by next Saturday. I
am sorry to say that I personally can furnish only eight
copies, six of which are earmarked for the interpreters to
facilitate their difficult task. I am sorry that I could not
furnish more copies, since I personally have no
mimeographing machine. I hope the Tribunal will appreciate
the fact that after the statement made by the Chief
Prosecutor for the United States on Friday, I cannot make
any claims on the technical assistance of the prosecution.

Therefore, I am asking the Tribunal to decide whether it
would be worth while, in order to expedite the presentation,
to have the translation of my speech put before them. In
this event, I would request that the necessary arrangements
be made. I am prepared to place my manuscript at the
disposal of the Tribunal, under the conditions announced by
you, Mr. President. What applies to me personally would, so
far as I am advised, apply also to the rest, at least to the
majority of the defence counsel. In order to expedite the
proceedings and to reduce the time spent on the presentation
of the final defence speeches, it is important to have this
point clarified.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Nelte, if you would hand in the
manuscript to which you have referred, the Tribunal will
make arrangements to have it translated into the various
languages. I think that will meet the position so far as you
are concerned.

DR. NELTE: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has an announcement upon the
subject, which I am about to read. The announcement is this:

  "In view of the discussion which took place on 13th June,
  1946, on the question of time to be taken by defence
  counsel, the Tribunal has given the matter further
  consideration.
  
  When the defence counsel stated the time they wished to
  take, the Tribunal observed that some of the defendants
  required more time than others, and to this extent they
  did make an apportionment among themselves. The Tribunal
  feels that the suggested times are much too long and some
  voluntary restriction should be made.
  
  Except as to a few of the defendants whose cases are of
  very wide scope, the Tribunal is of the opinion that half
  a day to each defendant is ample time for the
  presentation of his defence, and the Tribunal hopes that
  counsel will condense their arguments and limit
  themselves voluntarily to this time. The Tribunal,
  however, will not permit counsel for any defendant to
  deal with irrelevant matters or to speak for more than
  one day in any case. Four hours will be allowed at the
  beginning for argument on the general questions of law
  and fact, and counsel should co-operate in their
  arguments in such a way as to avoid needless repetition."

I am told that one part of the announcement that I was
making came through in an incorrect shape on some of the
translations; so I will read it again.

                                                  [Page 151]

  "Except as to a few of the defendants whose cases are of
  very wide scope, the Tribunal is of the opinion that half
  a day to each defendant is ample time for the
  presentation of his defence; and the Tribunal hopes that
  counsel will condense their arguments and limit
  themselves voluntarily to this time. The Tribunal,
  however, will not permit counsel for any defendant to
  deal with irrelevant matters or to speak for more than
  one day in any case. Four hours will be allowed at the
  beginning for argument on the general questions of law
  and fact, and counsel should co-operate in their
  arguments in such a way as to avoid needless repetition."

As heretofore stated, the Tribunal would like to have a
translation of each argument in French, Russian and English
submitted at the beginning of the argument. Counsel may
arrange for the translation themselves if they so desire,
but if they will submit copies of their arguments to the
Translating Department, as soon as possible, and not less
than three days in advance of delivery, the translation will
be made for them, and the contents of the copies will not be
disclosed.

That is all.

Yes, Dr. Ludinghausen.

CONSTANTIN VON NEURATH - Resumed.

DIRECT EXAMINATION - Continued

BY DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN:

Q. Last night we had stopped in our treatment of the various
points raised by the prosecution. I should like to continue
now and to put the following question to you, Herr von
Neurath.

The prosecution is charging you with the fact that in the
Protectorate, Germans had a preferential position as
compared with Czechs, and that you were responsible for
that. Will you please comment on this?

A. The position of Germans in the Protectorate was not a
preferential position in any way connected with any real
preference and advantages as compared with the Czechs, but
it was an entirely different one. The Germans had become
citizens of the Reich, and, therefore, had the rights of
Reich citizens, such as the right to vote in Reichstag
elections. The Czechs did not have this right to vote, which
is understandable in view of the existing difference ...
variance between the German people and the Czech people.
There were at no time any actual advantages connected with
the position of the Germans in the Protectorate.

Efforts to have preferential treatment were made, of course,
in the Chauvinistic party and in Nationalist circles. But I
always fought them with all intensity and prevented any
practical realization of such efforts. In this connection,
however, I should like to stress once more that the Czech
people did not consider themselves inferior to the German
people in any way. It was a question simply of a different
people, which had to be treated, politically and culturally,
according to its own characteristics. That was also the
reason for the maintenance of the so-called autonomy, which
meant nothing more than the separation of the two
nationalities with a view towards securing their own way of
living for the Czechs, and it is evident that this autonomy
had to be kept within certain limits, necessary for the
Reich as a whole, especially in times of war.

Q. Now, I should like to deal with the individual points
raised by the Czech prosecution, or rather the points found
in the Czech report, which is the basis for this charge. In
this report, it is asserted that the freedom of the Press
was suppressed. Is that correct, and what role did Herr von
Gregory play in this connection?

A. Herr von Gregory was the Press attache at the German
Embassy in Prague, and was subordinate to the Propaganda
Ministry. Then he came, as chief of my Press department, to
my administration and controlled the Czech Press, according
to the directives of the Propaganda Ministry in Berlin. The
Czech Press, of course,

                                                  [Page 152]

was not free, any more than the German Press. Control of
circulation, and other measures, especially censorship
measures, were the same.

Q. The Czech prosecution report further raises the charge
that the local Czech administrative offices were in many
cases dissolved, and then were set up again with officials
and town councillors who were German or Czech collaborators.
Is that correct?

A. These were communities with a considerable German
minority. That they also had a representation in the local
administration seems to me a natural thing. Prague, for
instance, had a Czech mayor and a German assistant mayor.
This could hardly be objected to. As regards the ambition of
the Germans in the various cities or localities to take a
part in the local administration to an extent that did not
seem justified by their numerical strength, I worked against
this and objected to it. In the municipal administrations of
purely Czech districts, such as in West Bohemia, there were
generally no German representatives at all. But, on the
other hand, there were German-speaking enclaves such as the
region of Iglau where the Germans were dominant in numbers,
and thus, of course, in influence as well.

Q. The Czech prosecution report accuses you of having in
this way, and through the appointment of higher land
councillors (Oberlandrat) - Germanised the Czech
administration, and this report bases its accusations on a
statement which you allegedly made to the former Bohemian
Landesprasident, Bienert, in which you said: "All that has
to be digested in two years' time."

A. I do not recall having made such a statement, nor can I
imagine having uttered it. Here we are concerned with the
co-ordination of the Czechs ... of the Czechs with the
German administration. The Oberlandrat were not appointed by
me, but their office was created as a controlling factor by
the Reich Government by the decree of 1st September, 1939,
in connection with the setting up of German administrations
and the security police. When the Oberlandrat appeared
before me to give their reports, I told them time and again
that they were not to do any administrative work themselves,
but were to supervise only. The Czech method of
administration was frequently superior to the German, I told
them.

Q. In this case I should like to refer to Document 149 of my
document book, the decree on the organization of the
administration and the German Security Police, dated 1st
September, 1939. In paragraphs 5 and 6, the appointment and
the duties of these Oberlandrat are described more in
detail. A quotation of this document might be superfluous.

The Czech report further contains a statement by Herr
Bienert, to the effect that on the problem of the
co-ordination of the Czech administration, you had remarked
to him something like: "That must be carried out strictly;
after all, this is war." At the same time, Bienert stated in
his interrogation that the purpose of this measure, that is,
the co-ordination of the Czech and the German
administration, had been to assure Germany of a peaceful
hinterland during the war. Will you kindly also comment on
this.

A. It is possible that I told Bienert something along these
lines, but I cannot remember it at this date. It can,
however, be taken for granted that in the sphere of
administration, as in every other sphere in the Protectorate
also, the necessities of war were the main concern.
Restrictions of the autonomy in the Czech land
administration have to be considered from this point of
view. That it was my constant endeavour to keep the country
quiet in the interest of the Reich, and thereby in the
interest of all, can hardly be held against me. Apart from
that, I should like to remark that the introduction of
restrictions on the autonomy was already contained
explicitly in the decree setting up the Protectorate.

Q. In this connection, I should like to refer to the order
contained in my Document Book 5, under No. 144. The order
was issued by the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor on the
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and is dated 16th
March, 1939. Under Article II it was even then stipulated
that the Reich

                                                  [Page 153]

could incorporate departments of the administration of the
Protectorate into its own administration. The Czech
prosecution further refers to a statement made by the former
Czech Minister Havelka, dealing with the persecution of the
members of the Czech Legionnaires of the First World War, in
so far as they held public office. What can you tell us
about this question of the Legionnaires?

A. The Czech Legion had been formed in Russia during the
First World War. It was composed partially of volunteers,
partially of what remained of Czech regiments which had
belonged to the old Austro-Hungarian Army, and had become
prisoners of war in Russia. These Czech Legionnaires enjoyed
a certain exceptional position after the founding of the
Czech Republic. In part, they were filled with strong
Chauvinistic resentment toward the Reich, which dated back
to the time of the nationalities' fights. This, the so-
called Legionnaire mentality, was a catchword in Bohemia,
and in times of political unrest, it could signify a certain
political danger. Furthermore, this favoured position which
the Legionnaires enjoyed was fought extensively in the
Protectorate by the Czechs themselves. Therefore an effort
was made, and by Frank particularly, to remove the
Legionnaires from public office. But this took place only in
extreme cases, and only in so far as these Legionnaires had
joined the Czech Legion voluntarily, that is, it did not
apply to those who had been members of the former Austro-
Hungarian Army. From the very beginning, I tried to make
this distinction, which approximately corresponds to the
distinction which today is made in Germany between the
voluntary members of the SS and the Waffen SS.

Q. The Czech prosecution is further accusing you of having
supported the Czech Fascist organization Vlayka. It bases
this charge on a memorandum which you yourself wrote
concerning a discussion which you had with Hacha, the
President of Czechoslovakia, on 26th March, 1940. According
to this memorandum you told Hacha that the personal and
moral qualities of the Vlayka leaders were well known to
you, but, in any case, you had to confirm the fact that this
movement, this organization, was the only one which had
taken a positive stand towards the Reich and towards
collaboration with the Reich. What were the circumstances
here?

A. The Vlayka Movement was the same as the collaborationists
in France. This movement worked to bring about a German-
Czech collaboration, and had, in fact, been doing so long
before the Protectorate was established. But the leaders of
this movement were, in my opinion, rather dubious
characters, as I showed in the words to Hacha quoted above.
These leaders threatened and slandered President Hacha and
members of the Czech Government among others. State
Secretary Frank bad known these men from previous days and
had always wanted to support them because of their co-
operation at that time with him. However, I refused to do
this, just as I refused the various applications of these
people to visit me.

On the other hand, it is possible that Frank supported them
from a fund which Hitler had placed at his disposal without
my knowledge, and which Frank was under obligation not to
tell me anything about.

Q. What attitude, now, did you take to the dissolution of
parties, of political parties, and of trade unions?

A. That was, like the control of the Press, a necessity
which resulted from the system, from the political system of
the Reich. In any event, through this step taken by
President Hacha, and despite the measures taken by Germany,
no country suffered so little from the war as the
Protectorate. The Czech people were the only ones in Middle
and Eastern Europe who could retain their national, cultural
and economic entity almost to its full extent.

Q. Now I should like to turn to the point raised by the
prosecution which is concerned with an alleged cultural
suppression. What can you tell us about the handling of
Czech educational affairs?

A. The Czech universities and other institutions of higher
education, as has been stated before, were closed by
Hitler's order in November, 1939. Again and

                                                  [Page 154]

again, at the request of President Hacha and of the
Protectorate Government, I appealed directly to Hitler to
have these schools reopened. But, because of the dominating
position of Herr Himmler, I had no success. The consequence
of the closing of the universities, of course, was that a
large number of young people who otherwise would have become
university students now had to look for work of a manual
sort. The closing of the institutions of higher learning had
also repercussions on the secondary school level. This had
already been heavily burdened after the separation of the
Sudetenland in the autumn of 1938, for the entire Czech
intelligentsia from this region had returned to the Czech-
speaking area, or what became later the Protectorate. Hence,
for the young people from the secondary schools there was
hardly any employment left. It was about the same situation
which is now appearing in Germany. Concerning the closing of
Czech lower schools and other planned efforts to restrict
Czech youth in their cultural freedom and their educational
possibilities, I know nothing.

Q. Did you yourself approve of the closing of Czech
institutions of higher learning ordered by Hitler?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. von Ludinghausen, he said that he tried
to intervene and get rid of Hitler's order.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: If that is sufficient for the Tribunal
then he need not answer the question further.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you not think that is sufficient?

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, I just wanted to have it
expressed once again in a somewhat stronger way; however, if
the Tribunal is satisfied with the clarification of this
problem, I am completely satisfied.

THE PRESIDENT: It would not make it any better if it was
said twice.

DR: VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, if you ... but it is sufficient.

BY DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN:

Q. Do you know anything about an alleged plan, mentioned in
the Czechoslovak Government report, to turn the Czech people
into a mass of workers and to rob them of their spiritual
elite?

A. No. Only an insane person could have made a statement
like that.

Q. The Czechoslovak report asserts that through your
agencies, that is, with your consent and endorsement,
destruction and plundering of Czech scientific institutions
took place. On Page 58 of the German text, Page 55 of the
English text of this report, Exhibit USSR 60, it says:

  "The Germans seized all colleges and students' hostels.
  They immediately seized the valuable apparatus,
  instruments and scientific equipment in many of the
  occupied institutions. The scientific libraries were
  systematically and methodically damaged. Scientific books
  and films were extracted and taken away, the archives of
  the Academic Senate (the highest university authority)
  were torn up or burned, and the card indexes destroyed
  and scattered."

What can you tell us in regard to this?

A. In this connection, I can only say that I never heard of
any plundering and destruction of the sort described, either
in Prague or later. The Czech Hochschulen, or institutions
of higher education, were closed with the university in the
year 1939 by Hitler's order. The buildings and installations
of the Prague Czech University, as far as I know, were
partly put at the disposal of the German University which
had been closed earlier by the Czechs, since, after the
Czech Hochschulen were closed, they could not be used any
longer for Czech scientific purpose.


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