The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Constantine von Neurath's part in the consolidation of the Nazi
conspirators' power and in the preparation and realization of aggressive
plans is a remarkable one.

Over a period of many years, whenever traces had to be covered up, or
acts of aggression veiled by diplomatic manipulations, it was von
Neurath -- Nazi diplomat and SS general -- who came to the help of the
Hitlerites, bringing them his great experience of world affairs.

I will recall the official evaluation of Neurath's activity, as it
appeared in all the newspapers of Fascist Germany on the 2nd February,

     "The departure from the Geneva disarmament conference on 14th
     October, 1933, the return of the Saar territory, and the
     proclamation and denunciation of the Locarno treaty will rank among
     the most outstanding political events since the coming to power of
     the Nazi regime. In these, Baron von Neurath played a decisive part
     and his name will always be connected with them."

In his capacity of Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia Neurath
represented to the Nazi conspirators those " firm and reliable hands "
of which General Frederici wrote in his memorandum, and which were to
transform the Czechoslovak Republic into an "indissoluble part of
Germany." In order to attain that object, Neurath established the
notorious "new order," the nature of which is now known to all present.

Neurath attempted to assert, here, that all the atrocities were
committed by the police and Gestapo, upon Himmler's direct order, and
that he knew nothing of them. It is quite comprehensible that Neurath
should say so, but one can hardly agree with him.

Interrogated on 7th March, 1946, Karl Frank testified that Neurath
received regularly the reports of the Chief of Security Police, as well
as those of Frank himself, regarding the "most important events in the
Protectorate, pertaining to the Security Police." He stated also that it
was possible for Neurath to issue directives to the Gestapo, and that he
did indeed do so; whilst, as far as the SD was concerned, his rights
were still more vast, depending in no way upon the consent of the Main
Reich Securityoffice (RSHA).

I wish also to recall to your memory paragraphs 11, 13 and 14 of the
order issued on 1st September, 1939, by the Reich Defence Council, which
proves that the Reichsfuehrer SS and Chief of the German Police carried
out administrative measures in Bohemia and Moravia with the knowledge of
the Protector, and that the German Security Police agencies in the
Protectorate were obliged to inform the Reich Protector as well as the
offices subordinated to him, and to keep them aware of all major events.

If I add that, on 5th May, 1939, the defendant Neurath appointed an SD
Fuehrer and Plenipotentiary of the Security Police to the post of
political case reporter; if we recall the testimony of Richard Wienert,
the former Premier of Bohemia and Moravia under Neurath, which has been
read before the Court, to the effect that the Gestapo carried out
arrests on orders of the Reich Protector, we can hardly have any doubt
but that Neurath gave his sanction to the mass arrests, summary
executions and other inhuman acts committed by the Gestapo and police in

I will pass on to the events of 17th November, 1939, when nine students
were shot without trial, whilst over a thousand were hurled into
concentration camps and all the Czech high schools and universities were
closed for three years.

Neurath said that he heard of these acts of terror post factum. But we
have submitted to the Tribunal a report on the shooting and arrests of
the students, which bears Neurath's signature. Neurath then seeks
another loop-hole: he declares that Frank signed this report in his,
Neurath's name, and to be more

                                                               [Page 68]

convincing, he even adds that later he heard from an official that Frank
often misused his name in documents. Are Neurath's statements to be
credited? One has only to analyse briefly the actual facts, in order to
answer this question in the negative: Neurath says that Frank misused
his name. What did Neurath do in answer to this? Did he demand Frank's
resignation or his punishment for fraud? No. Did he, perhaps, report
this forgery officially to somebody? No. On the contrary, he continued
to collaborate with Frank as before.

Neurath says that he heard of Frank's misuses "from an official." Who is
that official? What is his name? Why was not any application made to
call him to the witness stand, or, at least to secure his written
testimony? Simply because nobody spoke to Neurath of Frank having forged
his signature on the documents and nobody could have done so, for there
was no forgery.

On the contrary, the Tribunal has evidence which confirms the fact that
the report of 17th November, 1939, was signed by Neurath and that the
terroristical measures mentioned therein were actually sanctioned by
Neurath. I am speaking of two statements of Karl Frank, who directly
participated in these bloody events.

During his interrogation on 26th November, 1945, Karl Frank testified:

     "This document was dated 17th November, 1939, and was signed by von
     Neurath, who did not protest either against the shooting of the
     nine students or against the deportation of numerous students to
     the concentration camps."

I quote Karl Frank's second testimony on this matter, dated 7th March,

     "By countersigning the official reports which informed him of the
     shooting of the students, the Reich Protector von Neurath
     sanctioned this action. I informed von Neurath in detail of the
     course of the investigation and he signed the report. Had he not
     agreed and had he demanded a modification of the penalty or its
     mitigation, and he had a right to do so, I would have been obliged
     to give in to his opinion.
     In August, 1939, in connection with the "special decree" by which
     he proclaimed Bohemia and Moravia to be an "integrant part of the
     Greater German Reich," Neurath issued a so-called "warning,"
     wherein he stipulated that "not only single persons but the entire
     Czech population would be responsible for all acts of sabotage."
     Thereby he established the principle of collective responsibility
     and introduced the hostage system. The eventsof 17th November,
     1939, considered in the light of this directive of Neurath, supply
     more irrefutable proof against the defendant.
     Starting from 1st September, 1939, some 8,000 Czechs were arrested
     as hostages in Bohemia and Moravia. The majority were sent to
     concentration camps, many were executed or died of hunger and
     torture. On this subject you have heard, your Honours, the
     testimonies of Wienert, Kreitchi and Gavelka.
     There is no doubt that these terror acts against the Czech
     intellectuals were carried out in conformity with Neurath's

I do not need to relate in detail all the events which took place at
Lidice, and later in the village of Lejaki, as they are already well
known. Were not the German occupants acting in accordance with Neurath's
" warning, " did they not conform themselves to his principle that the
entire Czech population, and not the individual persons, must bear the

It was Neurath who initiated mass terror against the Czechoslovak
population in August, 1939. He has on his hands the blood of many
thousands of women and men, children and old people, murdered and
tortured to death. And I see no difference between Baron von Neurath and
the other ringleaders of the criminal Nazi r‚gime.
The defendant Hans Fritzsche's part in the conspiracy, the War Crimes
and the Crimes Against Humanity, is certainly greater than it might
appear at first glance.

The criminal activity of Friesche, who was Goebbels's closest assistant,
carried out systematically, day after day, was a very important link in
the general plan or con-

                                                               [Page 69]

spiracy and it contributed singularly to the creation of the conditions
under which the numerous crimes of the Nazi were conceived and

All the attempts made by the defendant himself and his counsel in order
to minimize his importance and the part he played in the perpetration of
these crimes have clearly failed.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler describes the very special part attributed to
mendacious propaganda in Nazi Germany.

He writes: "The problem of the revival of German might is not 'How we
will make weapons' but 'How we will create the spirit which will make
our people capable of bearing weapons.' If this spirit pervades the
people, the will-power shall discover thousands of ways, and each of
them will lead to weapons" (I am quoting from Pages 365-366 of Mein
Kampf, 64th edn. 1933).

Neither is it by chance that the following slogans were proclaimed at
the Congress of the Nazi Party in 1936 at Nuremberg:

     "Propaganda helped us to come to power";
     "Propaganda will help us to keep power";
     "Propaganda will help us to conquer the world".

Owing to his position, the defendant Fritzsche was certainly one of the
notorious propagandists and also one of the best-informed persons in
Nazi Germany. In addition he enjoyed Goebbels's particular confidence.

As we know, from 1938 till 1942 Friesche was head of one of the key
departments of the Propaganda Ministry, that of the German Press. And
ever since 1942 and until the defeat of Nazi Germany, he was head of the
German radio.

Having grown up as a journalist of the reactionary Press of Hugenberg,
Friesche, who was a member of the Nazi Party since 1933, in his capacity
of Goverment spokesman, played, with his personal propaganda, an
important part in the dissemination of Nazism throughout Germany, and in
the political and moral depravation of the German people.

This was testified to, in detail, by witnesses such as former Field-
Marshal Ferdinand Schoerner and former Vice-Admiral Hans Voss.

The defendant Fritzsche's broadcasts, intercepted by the BBC, and
submitted to the Tribunal as Document 3o64 and USSR Exhibit 496, fully
confirm these charges of the prosecution.

German propaganda in general, and the defendant Fritzsche in particular,
made good use of provocative methods, lies and slanderous statements,
and this was especially the case when Nazi Germany's acts of aggression
had to be justified.
Did not Hitler himself write in Mein Kampf, Page 302:

     "that with the help of a propaganda skilfully and continuously
     applied even heaven can be represented as hell to the people and,
     on the contrary, the most miserable life can be represented as

Fritzsche turned out to be the best man to carry out this dirty work.

In his declaration to the Tribunal on 7th January, 1946, Fritzsche gave
a detailed description of the provocative methods applied on such a vast
scale by German propaganda and by him, personally, in connection with
the acts of aggression against Austria, the Sudetenland, Bohemia and
Moravia, Poland and Jugoslavia.

On 9th April and 2nd May, 1940, Fritzsche broadcast mendacious
explanations of the reasons which led to the occupation of Norway by
Germany, He declared: "Nobody was wounded, not one house was destroyed,
life and work continued unhindered as before."

Meanwhile, the official report presented by the Norwegian Government

     "The German attack against Norway on 9th April, 1940, brought war
     to Norway for the first time in 126 years. For two months, war was
     fought throughout the country, causing destruction. Over forty
     thousand houses were damaged or destroyed and about a thousand
     civilians were killed."

German propaganda and Fritzsche, personally, spread insolent slander in
connection with the sinking of the British passenger steamer Athenia.

                                                               [Page 70]

But German propaganda was particularly active on the occasion of Nazi
Germany's treacherous attack upon the Soviet Union.

The defendant Fritzsche has attempted to assert that he first heard of
the attack upon the Soviet Union when he was called on 22nd June, 1941,
at 5 a.m. to a Press conference held by Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop.
As far as the aggressive purposes of this attack were concerned, he
allegedly had learned of them only through his personal observations in

However, these statements are refuted by such documentary evidence as
the report of defendant Rosenberg. This document establishes the fact
that a long time before the attack upon the USSR Fritzsche knew of the
appropriate measures which were being taken, and that in his capacity of
representative of the Propaganda Ministry, he participated in the
working out of propaganda measures for the East by the Ministry for the
Occupied Eastern Territories.

In answer to the questions put to him by the Soviet prosecution, during
his cross-examination, Fritzsche stated that he would not have gone with
Hitler had he had knowledge of the Nazi Government's criminal orders, of
which he heard for the first time here in Court. And here again
Fritzsche told the International Military Tribunal a lie.

Thus he was compelled to admit that he had knowledge of the criminal
Nazi orders regarding the extermination of Jews and the shooting of
Soviet commissars as early as 1942. And yet he continued to remain at
his post and to spread mendacious propaganda.

In his broadcasts on 16th June and Ist July, 1944, Fritzsche advertised
largely the utilization of new weapons, doing his best to rouse the army
and the people to further senseless resistance.

And even on the eve of the collapse of Nazi Germany, on 7th April, 1945,
Friesche broadcast an appeal to the German people to continue their
resistance to the Allied armies and to participate in the Werwolf

Thus, the defendant Fritzsche remained true to the last to the criminal
Nazi regime.

He gave his entire self to the task of realizing the Nazi conspiracy and
of perpetrating all the crimes which were planned and carried out with
the object of putting that conspiracy into effect.

As an active participant in all the Nazi crimes, he must bear the
fullest responsibility for them.

Your Honours, all the defendants have passed before you-men without
honour or conscience; men who hurled the world into an abyss of misery
and suffering and brought enormous calamities upon their own people.

Political adventurers, who stopped at no evil deed in order to achieve
their criminal designs; cheap demagogues, who concealed their predatory
plans behind a veil of mendacious ideas; henchmen, who murdered millions
of innocent people, these men joined in a gang of conspirators, seizing
power and transforming the German State machinery into an instrument of
their crimes.

Now, the hour of reckoning has come.

For the past nine months, we have been observing the former rulers of
Fascist Germany. In the dock, before this Court, they have suddenly
become meek and humble. Some of them, even, actually condemned Hitler.
But they blame Hitler, not for the launching of a war, nor for the
extermination of peoples and the plundering of States; the only thing
that they cannot forgive him is -- Defeat. Together with Hitler, they
were ready to exterminate millions of human beings, to enslave the elite
of mankind in order to achieve their criminal aim of world domination.

But fate ruled otherwise: victory did not follow upon the steps of
crime. Victory came to the freedom-loving nations. Truth triumphed and
we are proud to say that the justice which is meted out by the
International Military Tribunal will be the justice of the righteous
cause of peace-loving nations.

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