The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, but I should like to point out
one thing only: The Land Office, which was acting in the
interests of National Socialism, was re-staffed by the
witness with new personnel after a long struggle. I
considered it important that this was worked out, too.

Mr. President, I should like to make one general remark. I
said yesterday that my examination would last another hour.
But yesterday, when I left the session, I found another
document book to the Indictment which has forced me to deal
in greater detail with individual questions here. And for
this reason, a reason which I could not foresee, I will have
to take additional time.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, the Tribunal has not taken up the
question of time at the moment.

Why have you to go into some questions of - I do not know
what the word is - "amt" - to do with agriculture? Why do
you want to go into that? He, the defendant, said he had
nothing to do with it.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, but in a way he was connected
with it, Mr. President, in so far as these agricultural
efforts were made through the Land Office.

THE PRESIDENT: If he was connected with it let him explain
it. I thought he said the Party and the SS did it.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, but via the Land Office, he
prevented this.

BY DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN:

Q. Perhaps you can tell us briefly about this, Herr von
Neurath.

A. I believe, according to the statements of the President,
that it is hardly necessary any more. As a matter of fact, I
had no direct connection with the Bodenamt. I only succeeded
in having removed a rather unpleasant leader of this office,
who belonged to the SS.

Q. During your period of office as Reich Protector, was
there any compulsory deportation of workers to the Reich?

A. No. In this connection I shall also be brief.

Compulsory labour did not exist at all while I was in the
Protectorate. There was an emergency service law which was
issued by the Protectorate Government and applied to younger
men who were employed in urgently needed work in the public
interest in the Protectorate. Compulsory deportations of
workers to the Reich did not occur in my time.

On the contrary, many young people reported voluntarily for
work in Germany, because labour conditions and wages were
better in the Reich than in the Protectorate at that time.

                                                  [Page 160]

Q. How did your resignation from office - and this is my
last question - your leaving your office as Reich Protector
come about?

A. First of all, I should like to tell you why I remained as
long as I did, in spite of all these occurrences and
difficulties. The reason for it was that I was convinced,
and I am still convinced today, that I had to stay as long
as I could reconcile this with my conscience, in order to
prevent this Protectorate, which was entrusted to Germany,
from coming under the domination of the SS. Everything that
happened after my departure in 1941 I had actually prevented
through my presence, and even if my effectiveness was
extremely limited, I believe that by remaining I not only
did a service to my own country, but to the Czech people as
well, and under the same circumstances I would not act
differently even today.

Apart from this I believed that, in time of war especially,
I should leave such a difficult and responsible office only
in the case of the utmost necessity. The crew of a ship does
not go below and fold their arms if the ship is in danger.

That I could not fully comply with the wishes of the Czechs
is something that will be understood by all who have been
active in politics in a practical, and not merely
theoretical, way. I believe, then, that by my persevering in
office, I prevented much of the misery which afflicted the
Czech people after I left. This opinion was also shared by a
large number of the Czech population, as I could gather from
the numerous letters which were addressed to me by them
later on.

A. And how did it happen that you left, that you resigned
from your office?

Q. On 23rd September, 1941, I received a telephone call from
Hitler asking me to come to headquarters immediately. There
he told me that I was being too mild with the Czechs and
that this state of affairs could not be continued. He told
me that he had decided to adopt severe measures against the
Czech resistance movement, and that for this purpose the
notorious Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich would be sent to
Prague. I did everything in my power to dissuade him from
this, but was not successful. Thereupon I asked permission
to resign, since I could never be responsible for any
activity of Heydrich in Prague. Hitler refused my
resignation, but permitted me to go on leave. I flew back to
Prague, and on the following day I continued my journey
home. At the same hour that I left Prague, Heydrich arrived.

I then wrote to Hitler from my home, and again asked to be
allowed to resign immediately. In spite of the fact that I
did not receive any answer, I again put in another request,
and at the same time I explained that under no circumstances
would I return to Prague, that I had dissolved my office and
I refused to act as Reich Protector from now on. I was not
officially relieved from my office until October, 1943.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, I should like to
conclude my examination of the defendant with a brief
quotation from the Czech Indictment.

THE PRESIDENT: Just one moment, was your going on leave, was
that made public?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, I was just going to quote that,
Mr. President. In the text of the Czech Indictment, it says:

  "When at last in the second half of September the
  underground Czech revolt committees, with the help of the
  BBC, began a successful boycott campaign against the
  German-controlled Press, the German authorities seized
  the opportunity to aim a heavy blow at the Czech
  population. On 27th September, 1941, radio station Prague
  gave out the following report:
  
     "Reich Minister Baron von Neurath, Reich Protector of
     Bohemia and Moravia, has found it necessary to ask the
     Fuehrer for a long leave in order to restore his
     impaired health."

Then in conclusion it says:

                                                  [Page 161]

     "Under these circumstances the Fuehrer agreed to the
     request of the Reich Protector and charged SS
     Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich with the direction of the
     office of Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia during
     the time of the illness of Reich Minister von Neurath."

With this my examination is ended, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: From September, 1941, until October, 1943,
did you live on your own estates, or what?

THE WITNESS: Yes, Mr. President.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: My examination is over.

THE PRESIDENT: Any other ... yes, the Court will adjourn
now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask
the witness any questions?

BY DR. KUBUSCHOK (counsel for the defendant von Papen):

Q. Is it known to you that immediately after Germany left
the League of Nations, von Papen followed Hitler to Munich
to persuade him to remain in the League of Nations?

A. Yes, that is known to me. In fact, I myself induced him
to do so.

Q. During the time he was Vice-Chancellor in 1933 and 1934,
did von Papen protest in the Cabinet against unfriendly acts
of the German policy towards Austria, as for instance the
introduction of the 1,000-mark embargo?

A. Yes, that line was continuously followed by him and by
other Ministers, and naturally by myself, too.

Q. Did Hitler mention to you that this attitude of Papen's
in the Austrian problem induced him to transfer the mission
in Vienna to Papen after the murder of Dollfuss?

A. Yes, Hitler did speak about that.

Q. Did Hitler discuss with you the reasons why he addressed
the letter of 26th July, 1934, to Papen, announcing that
Papen would be sent to Austria?

A. Yes, but the way it happened was as follows: When Hitler
told me about his intention to send Papen to Vienna, I
reminded him that to make it possible for him to exert any
influence, he should first of all, after the events of 30th
June, clear up the relationship between himself - Hitler -
and Papen, and clear it up publicly. This letter, which was
read here in Court, can be traced back to that.

Q. In 1937 you paid a visit to the Austrian Government,
which led to demonstrations. Were you and von Papen
surprised by these demonstrations, and did you sympathise
with them?

A. The demonstrations were a complete surprise to me,
especially because of their tremendous size. They certainly
did not please me, because they cast a certain shadow on the
discussions between Herr von Schuschnigg and myself.

Q. Then, the last question: before Schleicher's Government
was formed, there was a meeting of the Cabinet on 2nd
December, 1932. On the previous day, Papen had been given
orders by Hindenburg to send the Parliament on leave and to
form a new government. Is it correct that Papen reported on
this matter to the Cabinet and that Schleicher, as Minister
for the Armed Forces, made a statement to the effect that
this would lead to civil war, and that the armed forces were
too weak to oppose such a war?

A. Yes, I remember this occurrence very accurately. We were
all somewhat surprised at Schleicher's statement. However,
it was so well founded that we had to accept it as true.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants' counsel wish to ask
any questions?

(No response.)

Does the prosecution?

                                                  [Page 162]

CROSS-EXAMINATION of the defendant von Neurath.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. At the time about which Dr. Kubuschok has just been
asking you, in the second half of 1932, did you know that
President von Hindenburg, the defendant von Papen, and
General von Schleicher were discussing and considering very
hard what would be the best method of dealing with the Nazi
Party?

A. No. As I have already testified, I had no connection in
that respect. I knew absolutely nothing about all these
negotiations.

Q. I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting you were
in the negotiations, but did you not know that the problem
as to how to deal with the Nazi Party was exercising the
minds of the President, and the defendant von Papen and
General von Schleicher; it was a very urgent problem in
their minds?

A. Yes, I knew that.

Q. And again, do you not think, defendant, I am suggesting
that you were in the negotiations. You may take it - well, I
will make all the suggestions perfectly clear.

You knew that, in the end, the method which commended itself
to President von Hindenburg, to the defendant von Papen, and
to General von Schleicher was that there should be a
government with Hitler as Chancellor, but well brigaded by
conservative elements, in harness with conservative
elements; that was the plan that was ultimately resolved on?
You knew that much, I suppose, did you not?

A. Yes, but the plan was not quite like that. At that time,
the time you are talking about, there was only mention of
the fact that we were obliged to bring the Nazi Party into
the Government.

Q. But eventually, when the Nazi Party came in, on 30th
January, 1933, the plan was that it would be well harnessed
to conservative elements. That was the idea in President von
Hindenburg's mind, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you were one of the conservative and stable elements,
if I understand you rightly, is that not so?

A. Yes. It has been explained here that it was the special
wish of President von Hindenburg that I should remain in the
Government.

Q. In order to keep Hitler's Government peace-loving and
respectable. Is that a fair way of putting it?

A. Yes, so as to prevent revolutionary movements in general
headed by Hitler from exercising their methods too much
within the Government, too.

Q. And, defendant, you have told us that up to this time you
had been a diplomatist. When you became a Minister, did you
not think that you had some responsibility for keeping the
Government respectable and peace-loving as a Minister of the
Reich?

A. To be sure, but the question was only how far my power to
accomplish this extended.

Q. I do not want to go into the workings of your mind too
much, I just want to get this clear. You realised that as a
Foreign Minister, and as a well-known figure to all the
Chancelleries of Europe, that your presence in the
Government would be taken throughout Europe as a sign of
your approval and your responsibility for what the
Government did, did you not?

A. I doubt that very much. Perhaps one might have hoped so.

Q. Well, now, just let us consider it. Is it your case that
up to November of 1937 you were perfectly satisfied with the
peace-loving intentions and respectability of the
Government?

A. I was convinced of the peaceful intentions of the
Government. I have already stated that. Whether I was
satisfied with the methods -

                                                  [Page 163]
                                          
Q. What about respectability? By "respectability," I mean
the general standard of decency that is required by any
government, under which its people are going to be
reasonably happy and contented. Were you satisfied with
that?

A. I was by no means in agreement with the methods, above
all, in connection with the domestic policy.

Q. Well, I would just like to look at that for a moment. Did
you know about the "Brown Terror" in March of 1933, some six
weeks after the Government was formed?

A. I only knew of the boycott against the Jews, nothing
else.

Q. Do you remember the affidavit that has been put in
evidence here, made by the American Consul, Mr. Geist,
document 1759-PS, USA 420?

A. May I see it?

Q. Well, just let me remind you. It is a long affidavit, and
there are only one or two parts I want to put to you.

Mr. Geist gives detailed particulars of the bad treatment,
the beating, and assaulting, and insulting, and so on of
Jews, as early as March, 1933. Did you know about that?

A. I knew of these occurrences; I do not recognize this
affidavit, I have not seen it, but I do know about the
occurrences from complaints made by foreign diplomatic
representatives. According to them ... and as concerns my
attitude to these events, I repeatedly applied to Hitler and
urgently implored him to have them stopped. But I do not
know anything more about the details.

Q. Just leaving that affidavit for the moment, as Foreign
Minister you would receive ... you did receive, did you not,
a synopsis or account of what was appearing in the foreign
Press?

A. Yes, that I did, but whether I received all of those
things I do not know.

Q. Just let me take an example. You had been Ambassador at
the Court of St. James's from 1930 to 1932, if my
recollection is right, had you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you realised - whether you agreed with what was in
them or not - that the London Times and the Manchester
Guardian were newspapers that had a great deal of influence
in England, did you not?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Did you know that in April, 1933, both these newspapers
were full of the most terrible stories of the ill-treatment
of Jews, Social Democrats, and Communists in Germany?

A. Yes, that is quite possible. I cannot remember it any
more now, but those were certainly the very cases which I
brought up before Hitler, drawing his attention to the
effect that this was having abroad.

Q. Well, I just want to consider the extent of the
allegations of these papers. As early as 12th April, 1933,
the Manchester Guardian was saying:

  "The inquirer by digging only an inch below the surface,
  which to the casual observer may seem tranquil enough,
  will, in city after city, village after village, discover
  such an abundance of barbarism committed by the Brown
  Shirts that modern analogies fail."

   Describing them as an "instrument of a terror that
   although wanton is systematic - wanton in the sense that
   unlike a revolutionary terror it is imposed by no
   outward necessity, and systematic in the sense that it
   is an organic part of the Hitler regime."

Did you know that this and similar quotations were appearing
in responsible British papers?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is D-911, which is the
collection of extracts, and, with Mr. Wurms's affidavit,
will be Exhibit GB 512.

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