The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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For this decree unequivocally expresses that the German
Security Police, and thereby also the Gestapo, was not
subordinated to the Reich Protector. This is already evident
in itself from the fact that the decree completely separates
the two departmental spheres - administration and police -
by dealing in Part 1 with the building up of a German
administration in the Protectorate subordinated to the Reich
Protector, and then dealing entirely separately in Part II
with the German Security Police. This Security Police is not
under the jurisdiction of the Reich Protector but, as was
already reserved in Article V, paragraph 5 of the decree of

                                                  [Page 316]

16th March, 1939, is taken over by the administration of the
Reich itself, that is to say, it receives its orders direct
from the Chief of Police in Berlin, i.e.; Himmler, and m
part also from the Higher SS and Police Chief in Prague. The
second sentence of paragraph 11 describes the relationship
of the police toward the Reich Protector. Its wording is as
follows:

  "The organs of the German Security Police are to collect
  and make use of the results of their investigations, in
  order to notify the Reich Protector and his subordinated
  offices accordingly about important events and to keep
  him informed and give him suggestions."

This signifies that the Reich Protector legally and actually
did not have the possibility of influencing the activities
of the police in any form whatsoever. He could not oppose
their orders, emanating from Berlin, prior to their
execution; quite apart from the fact that he never saw them,
he had no authority whatsoever to oppose them. He had but
one claim and that was to be subsequently informed by the
police about measures already taken by them and even that
happened - as was proved by the evidence - only in the
rarest cases.

He did not have any right or any possibility whatsoever of
issuing orders to the police themselves.

In consequence of this separation of powers and in view of
the totally different attitude of Frank toward the Czech
people as compared to Herr von Neurath's, the sharpest
differences and contradictions were inevitably bound to
result. For Frank, as a Sudeten German and one of the
leaders of the Sudeten Germans, was filled with hatred and
revenge against anything that was Czech. He did not want to
hear of a reconciliation or an understanding between the
German and the Czech peoples, and, gave free rein to this
anti-Czech frame of mind from the first day of his activity.

At first, that is to say, up to the time of the outbreak of
the war, the activity of the police was actually slight, so
that these opposing viewpoints were not so apparent. Herr
von Neurath could consequently assume that this opposition
would gradually diminish, and that Frank would conform to
his wishes and aspirations and would show himself to be
accommodating and he, the defendant, did not yet recognize
the necessity of exerting a lawfully-founded influence upon
the police through Frank. When, however, he finally realised
- from the gradually increasing activity of the police and
their excesses - that his expectations were not being
fulfilled, he protested to Hitler orally and by letter, time
and time again - as confirmed by the testimony of the
witnesses Dr. Volkers and von Holleben - and implored him to
alter this ominous state of affairs and to subordinate the
police to him, and him only.

However, all Hitler's promises and assurances proved to be
false, and the subordination of the police to Herr von
Neurath did not take place. Yet, he did not want to
relinquish the fight so soon, nor despair of the task taken
over by him. Now, more than ever, he wanted to try to impose
his ideas and policy, and, should he not be successful, at
least to diminish and alleviate subsequently the
consequences and harshness of the measures taken by the
police. That for this purpose he had the most detailed
account given to him personally in all cases of measures and
action taken by the police, such as arrests and other
excesses in so far as he received information about them,
mostly from Czech sources, and that, wherever he could, he
exerted his influence for the release of arrested persons
and for other mitigations is evident from the testimony of
all witnesses produced by me; above all, from the testimony
of Dr. Volkers, who, as head of the defendant's office, was
continually engaged in receiving such complaints.

This is moreover evident from documents submitted by the
prosecution itself, such as the notes of the defendant about
his conference with President Hacha of 26th March, 1940 - -
App. 5 to supplement No. 1 USSR 60 - and even from the
testimony of Bienert, which is attached to the special
accusation, who himself was

                                                  [Page 317]

arrested by the police but released in a very short time
upon the intervention of the defendant.

With the one exception of the testimony of Frank of 7th
March, 1946, submitted during the hearing of evidence, the
testimony of all witnesses corresponds on the question of
responsibility of the defendant for the measures taken by
the police. Frank's testimony, however, is an indirect
contradiction to his own earlier testimony.

At his interrogation on 30th May, 1945 - Document Book V,
No. 153 - Frank said the following, and I quote:

  "The police, however, was not under the control of the
  offices of the Reich Protector. Both, Gestapo and
  Security Police, received their directions and orders
  directly from the Reichssicherheitshauptamt in Berlin."

Frank's statement of 5th May, 1945, concerning the student
riots - Document Book V, No. 152 - is also typical for the
manner in which the police received their instructions
directly from Berlin, over the head of the Reich Protector.
Frank speaks therein of the report about the first
demonstrations which he had sent to Berlin and in which he
had asked for instructions; he had received them by return
mail from the Fuehrer's headquarters through the Security
Police in Prague, to which office they had been sent by
Berlin directly; and he, Frank, received them from there.
There is no mention whatever of the person or even of the
office of the Reich Protector during the entire proceedings,
it is an internal affair of the police involving Frank and
the Higher SS and Police Leader. Because of the importance
of this point, I would like to refer explicitly to the
statements made by the witnesses von Burgsdorff and Volkers,
who both were, on the basis of their official position,
thoroughly conversant with this question during the entire
time the defendant was in office. Burgsdorff testified that
the police were under Frank, who received his orders
directly from Himmler. Volkers, said that the defendant had
no influence on Frank's activities, and thereby on the
police. In practice, from the very start; the police and,
therefore, also State Secretary Frank took their measures
completely independently of the defendant. This was legally
confirmed later through the ordinance of 1st September,
1939. All witnesses also in their written testimonies
testify that the relations between the defendant and Frank
had been as bad as can be imagined.

It is entirely impossible in such a state of affairs that
the chief of the SD and the Security Police should have been
active as political adviser to the defendant. The defendant
cannot at all remember a decree of May, 1933, about the
appointment of this man, to which reference is made in the
document by the chief of Security Police (USSR 487). In any
case, according to his definite statement, he never
performed any duties. The document USSR 487 therefore does
not appear to be conclusive as evidence. The copy handed to
me by the prosecution is dated 21st July, 1943. That alone
proves that the SD leader, if his appointment occurred at
all, did not carry out any duties during the defendant's
entire time in office. Apart from the date, however, the
"Reference" of the letter shows that this appointment does
not at all concern a political adviser to the Reich
Protector himself but to the State Secretary for the
Security Service, that is, Frank. The address "Der Herr
Reichsprotektor" is not to be understood to mean the person
but rather the office. In German Government circles it was
customary to speak of the Herr Reichsminister, etc., even
though he was not meant personally but some department of
his office. It is entirely credible and probable that the SD
leader was appointed political adviser to the State
Secretary, who at the same time was State Secretary to the
office of the defendant and the independent State Secretary
for the Security Service.

Precisely from the so-called "warning" given at the end of
August, 1939, with which the prosecution charged my client,
it can be seen how he himself felt about the ways and means
of easing the minds of the population and of hindering, that
is, preventing acts of violence and insubordination on their
part. According to his sworn testimony, the defendant
thereby intended to discourage the population

                                                  [Page 318]

from committing acts of violence and especially to prevent
acts of sabotage, which were to be expected in this time of
political high tension before the war, thus preventing harsh
police or legal measures which would only serve to embitter
the population even more. It is doubtless more human to
issue such a warning and thereby to prevent the committing
of crimes, instead of allowing crimes to be committed
without previous warning and afterwards meting out severe
punishment. The fact that acts of sabotage, if it was
impossible to prevent them, had to be severely punished in
those times, would certainly have been acknowledged also in
any other country and is taken for granted.

As the defendant testified, the warning fulfilled its
purpose. No special punishments were threatened or
determined; it contained no special threats of punishment
whatever, but referred, as the wording proves, to criminal
law already in force.

The sentence, that the responsibility for all acts of
sabotage affected not only the culprit but the entire Czech
population, is, of course, concerned only with the moral
responsibility and not the penal one, as was also confirmed
by the defendant.

It means that in the case of repeated serious acts of
sabotage, general measures would be taken in the respective
territories, as for example, earlier curfew, ban on going
out, or general stoppage of traffic or electric current,
under which the entire population would have to suffer. A
responsibility in the penal sense would have had to be
formulated much more concretely. It was expressly mentioned
at the beginning of the proclamation that everyone who
committed the cited crimes thereby proved himself to be an
enemy of the Reich and would be punished accordingly. This
sentence especially shows that the penal treatment of such
sabotage acts was to be applied individually.

At that time nobody in Prague, not even the chief of police,
would have thought of the idea to decree collective
punishments, or even, as the prosecution asserted without
any evidence whatever, to introduce the hostage system. In
this connection, I also wish to refer to the statement made
by the witness von Holleben, Document Book V, No. 158, in
which he states:

  "Neurath, therefore, always refused to make a person
  responsible for acts committed by somebody else."

From all that has been said previously, we see that the
defendant von Neurath cannot be made responsible for the
arrests made at the time of the occupation of the Czech
territory nor for the arrests made at the outbreak of the
war of, as the prosecution asserts, 8,000 prominent Czechs
as hostages and their removal to concentration camps, or for
their execution.

These arrests, according to the defendant's testimony, with
which Frank's testimony agrees, were made on direct order
from Berlin without knowledge and information of not only
the defendant, but also of Frank himself.

Bienert's contradicting testimony presented by the
prosecution is factually incorrect and is based on
completely illogical and false deductions. His deduction
that this entire action was under the defendant's direction,
because his order for Bienert's release had been issued only
four hours after his arrest, is without any logic and is
objectively wrong.

Finally, on the basis of the evidence, it is irrefutable
that the defendant is also not responsible for the order to
shoot nine students and to arrest approximately 1,200
students during the night from 16th to 17th November, 1939;
that these measures, rightly to be called terror actions,
had been ordered during his absence from Prague without his
knowledge by Hitler personally and had been carried out on
his direct order by Frank, and that also the proclamation of
17th November, 1939 announcing it, was neither issued nor
signed by him, that on the contrary his name under it had
been misused.

It is definitely proved by the testimony of the defendant
himself, and by that of the witness Dr. Volkers, who
accompanied the defendant on his trip to Berlin on 16th
November, 1939, the day after the student riots, and had
returned from Berlin

                                                  [Page 319]

to Prague with him only on the afternoon of 17th November,
furthermore by the written testimony of Herr von Holleben
and finally by the affidavit of the defendant's secretary,
Fraulein Friederich (Document Book V, No. 159) and of the
Baroness Ritter, that the defendant, during the night of
16th to 17th November, when the shootings and arrests took
place, was not even in Prague but in Berlin, and, the
publication of these incidents was already posted on the
house walls of Prague when the defendant returned to that
city.

The defendant is not in the least responsible for these
atrocities. The order for them as well as the simultaneous
order for the closing of the universities had, on the
contrary, been given direct to Frank by Hitler in Berlin and
this, as the witness Volkers expressly affirms, in the
absence and without the knowledge of the defendant. What
value can, in consideration of this, be ascribed to Dr.
Havelka's testimony, presented by the prosecution, is self-
evident.

The credibility of this witness Havelka, as well as of all
the other Czech testimony submitted by the prosecution, must
in general be examined with the very greatest caution. It is
subject from the first to two very serious objections.
Firstly, all these witnesses are members of the former
autonomous Czech Government, i.e., the so-called
collaborationists who are in jail today for this reason and
are awaiting sentence. It is humanly only too readily
understandable if today they not only see the conditions
prevailing then in a different light, and judge them
differently from what they really were and involuntarily
confuse the terrible things which happened after Herr von
Neurath had left Prague with the events while he was there.
This results in a confused memory. We must also not overlook
the fact that, as is quite natural, they hope by
incriminating Herr von Neurath to clear themselves. Added to
this is the fact, which is almost more important still, that
they had no knowledge whatsoever and could have none of the
internal factual and legal conditions and competences within
the office of the Reich Protector, and that they, therefore,
are not able to judge to what extent the defendant himself
was really the man who issued the individual decrees and
orders or brought them about. One example shows this very
clearly.

In the witness Kalfus's testimony it is alleged that the
defendant was responsible for the customs union between the
Protectorate and the German Reich. I hereby wish to refer
only to the fact that already in Hitler's decree of 16th
March, 1939, it had been expressly announced that the
Protectorate belonged to the customs district of the Reich.
The witness Bienert further asserts that it was Herr von
Neurath who subordinated to the Germans the political
administration of Bohemia and Moravia, which means State as
well as communal administration. This is, however, also
objectively wrong. As I have already proved, this
subordination was ordered by the decree of 1st September,
1939, which was not issued by the defendant but by the
Council of Ministers for the Defence of the Reich.

These examples should suffice to show how little credibility
can be attached to all these testimonies and how little the
witnesses were informed about the actual conditions of
organization and authority within the office of the Reich
Protector.

The repeated assertion of the witnesses that the arrests and
many other measures of force by the Gestapo against the
Czech population were carried out on the order or
instruction of the defendant personally is, for example,
either a deliberate falsehood or proof of their ignorance of
even the published decrees announced in the Czech official
gazette.

For the Gestapo, as I have already proved, was not under the
jurisdiction of the defendant. The conclusions to be drawn
from this, as to the credibility of all the witnesses, are
self-evident. It is obvious that in contrast thereto the
sworn testimony of the defendant and of the witnesses
presented by me, together with the submitted decrees
pertaining thereto, deserve far more credibility.

The allegation of the Czech Indictment and of the testimony
on which it is based that Herr von Neurath, in the middle of
November, 1939, ordered the closing of the universities has
thus been disproved as objectively wrong. In fact, the
closing

                                                  [Page 320]

of the universities took place on the express order of
Hitler. As the evidence has shown beyond any doubt, the
defendant immediately protested to Hitler and succeeded in
obtaining his promise to reopen the universities after one
year instead of only after three years. The defendant cannot
be blamed for the fact that Hitler did not keep his promise.
His efforts for the revocation of the closing of the
universities prove, however, how much he was interested in
maintaining the educational standard and the intellectual
classes of the Czech nation.

And just as in this case the defendant did whatever he could
for the Czech nation as a whole and for the individual. This
applies especially to the harmful activity of the Gestapo as
far as he received information about it. According to his
own testimony, which is confirmed by that of the witness Dr.
Volkers, immediately after the arrest of the students in the
middle of November, 1939, he used all his influence
energetically and continually for their release, and, as we
have heard here, not only out of his own mouth, but also
from Dr. Volkers, he succeeded in obtaining the release of
almost all the students up to the time he left Prague on
27th September, 1941. And he worked in the same way
continuously for the release of about 8,000 prominent Czechs
who were arrested at the beginning of the war. As proved by
his own testimony, these arrests were ordered by Berlin
direct, and not by the defendant, as the Czech witnesses
Bienert, Krejci, and Havelka untruthfully maintain, nor even
by Frank or by any other Higher SS or Police Chief in the
Protectorate. 


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