The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/09/04

Now, that original memorial plaque, if the Court please, to-
day is rubble, like so much of Nuremberg, but we found a
photograph of it in the National Library in Vienna. I should
like to offer that photograph in evidence, taken on this
occasion four years later, the Nazi wreath encircling the
plaque, the memorial tablet, and with a large wreath of
flowers with a very distinct Swastika Nazi symbol laid
before the wreath. I offer that photograph in evidence,
identified as our 2968-PS. I offer it as exhibit USA 60. You
will find that in the document book, and I know of no more
interesting or shocking document that you could look at. We
call that murder by ratification, celebrating a murder four
years later.

As that photograph shows, this plaque which was erected to
celebrate this sinister occasion reads: "One hundred and
fifty-four German men of the 89th SS Standarte stood up here
for Germany on 26th July, 1934. Seven found death at the
hands of the hangman." The Tribunal may notice that the
number 154 at the top of the plaque is concealed in the
photograph by the Nazi wreath surrounding the plaque. I must
confess that I find myself curiously interested in this
tablet and in the photograph which was taken and carefully
filed. The words chosen for this marble tablet, and surely
we can presume that they were words chosen carefully, tell
us clearly that the men involved were not mere malcontent
Austrian revolutionaries, but were regarded as German men,
were members of a paramilitary organisation, and stood up
here for Germany. In 1934, Hitler repudiated Doctor Rieth
because he dragged the German Reich into an internal
Austrian affair without any reason. In 1938, Nazi Germany
proudly identified itself with this murder, took credit for
it, and took responsibility for it. Further proof in the
conventional sense, it seems to us, is hardly necessary.

Next the programme culminating in the act of 11th July,
1936. In considering the activities of the Nazi conspirators
in Austria between 25th July, 1934, and November, 1937,
there is a distinct and immediate point, the act of 11th
July, 1936. Accordingly, I shall first review developments
in the two-year period, July, 1934, to July, 1936.

First, the continued aim of eliminating Austria's
independence, with particular relation to the defendant von
Papen's conversation and activity. The first point that
should be mentioned is this. The Nazi conspirators pretended
to respect the independence and sovereignty of Austria,
notwithstanding the aim of Anschluss stated in "Mein Kampf."
But in truth and in fact they were working from the very
beginning to destroy the Austrian State.

A dramatic recital of the position of defendant von Papen in
this regard is provided in Mr. Messersmith's affidavit, from
which I have already quoted, and I quote now from page nine
of the English copy, the second paragraph.

                                                  [Page 221]

THE PRESIDENT: What is the number?

MR. ALDER.MAN: Document 176o-PS, which is exhibit USA 57-
   "That the policy of Anschluss remained wholly unchanged
   was confirmed to me by Franz von Papen when he arrived
   in Vienna as German Minister. It will be recalled that
   he accepted this assignment as German Minister even
   though he knew that he had been marked for execution in
   the St. Bartholomew's massacre on 30th June, 1934. When,
   in accordance with protocol, he paid me a visit shortly
   after his arrival in Vienna, I determined that during
   this call there would be no reference to anything of
   importance, and I limited the conversation strictly to
   platitudes, which I was able to do as he was calling on
   me in my office. I deemed it expedient to delay my
   return call for several weeks in order to make it clear
   to von Papen that I had no sympathy with, and on the
   other hand was familiar with the objectives of his
   mission in Austria. When I did call on von Papen in the
   German Legation, he greeted me with 'Now you are in my
   Legation and I can control the conversation.'
   In the boldest and most cynical manner he then proceeded
   to tell me that all of South-East Europe, to the borders
   of Turkey, was Germany's natural hinterland, and that he
   had been charged with the mission of facilitating German
   economic and political control over all this region for
   Germany. He blandly and directly said that getting
   control of Austria was to be the first Step. He
   definitely stated that he was in Austria to undermine
   and weaken the Austrian Government, and from Vienna to
   work towards the weakening of the Governments in the
   other states to the South and South-east. He said that
   he intended to use his reputation as a good Catholic to
   gain influence with certain Austrians, such as Cardinal
   Innitzer, towards that end. He said that he was telling
   me this because the German Government was firmly
   resolved on this objective of getting this control of
   South- eastern Europe and there was nothing which could
   stop it, and that our own policy and that of France and
   England was not realistic.
   The circumstances were such, as I was calling on him in
   the German Legation, that I had to listen to what he had
   to say, and, of course, I was prepared to hear what he
   had to say although I already knew what his instructions
   were. I was nevertheless shocked to hear him speak so
   boldly to me, and when he finished I got up and told him
   how shocked I was to hear the accredited representative
   of a supposedly friendly State to Austria admit that he
   was proposing to engage in activities to undermine and
   destroy that Government to which he was accredited. He
   merely smiled and said, of course this conversation was
   between us, and that he would, naturally, not be talking
   to others so clearly about his objectives. I have gone
   into this detail with regard to this conversation as it
   is characteristic of the absolute frankness and
   directness with which high Nazi officials spoke of their

And again, reading from the same document on page ten,
beginning at the last paragraph at the bottom of the page:-

   "On the surface, however, German activities consisted
   principally of attempts to win the support of prominent
   and influential men through insidious efforts of all
   kinds, including the use of the German Diplomatic
   Mission in Vienna and its facilities and personnel.
   Von Papen as German Minister entertained frequently and
   on a lavish scale. He approached almost every member of
   the Austrian Cabinet, telling them, as several of them
   later informed me, that Germany was bound to prevail in
   the long run, and that they should join the winning side
   if they wished to enjoy positions of power and influence
   under German control. Of course, openly and outwardly he
   gave solemn assurance that Germany would respect
   Austrian independence, and that all that she wished to
   do was to get rid of elements in the Austrian Government
   like the Chancellor, Schuschnigg and Starhemberg, as
   head of the Heimwehr, and others, and replace them by a
   few nationally minded Austrians, which of course meant
   Nazis. The whole basic effort of von Papen was to bring
   about Anschluss.
                                                  [Page 222]
   In early 1935, the Austrian Foreign Minister, Berger-
   Waldenegg, informed me that in the course of a
   conversation with von Papen, the latter had remarked
   'Yes, you have your French and English friends now, and
   you can have your independence a little longer.' The
   Foreign Minister, of course, told me this remark in
   German, but the foregoing is an accurate translation.
   The Foreign Minister told me that he had replied to von
   Papen, 'I am glad to have from your own lips your own
   opinion which agrees with what your chief has just said
   in the Saar, and which you have taken such pains to
   deny.' Von Papen appeared to be terribly upset when he
   realised just what he had said, and tried to cover his
   statements, but according to Berger-Waldenegg, kept
   constantly getting into deeper water.
   Von Papen undoubtedly achieved some successes,
   particularly with men like Glaise-Horstenau and others
   who had long favoured the 'Grossdeutschtum' idea, but
   who nevertheless had been greatly disturbed by the fate
   of the Catholic Church. Without conscience or scruple,
   von Papen exploited his reputation and that of his wife
   as ardent and devout Catholics to overcome the fears of
   these Austrians in this respect."

May I inquire if the Court expects to take a short recess?

THE PRESIDENT Yes. We will adjourn now for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal wishes to make it clear, if I
did not make if clear when I spoke before, that, if defence
counsel wishes to put interrogatories to Mr. Messersmith
upon his affidavit, they may submit such interrogatories to
the Tribunal in writing for them to be sent to Mr.
Messersmith to answer.

DR. KRANZBUEHLER (Counsel for defendant  Donitz): I do not
know whether my question has yet been answered or whether it
has been made known to the President of the Court.

In the testimony of Mr. Messersmith, Donitz' name was
mentioned. It appears on page four of the German version. I
should like to read the whole paragraph:-

   "Admiral Karl Donitz was not always in an amicable frame
   of mind. He was not a National Socialist when the
   National Socialists came to power" -

THE PRESIDENT : This passage was not read in evidence, was

DR.KRANZBUEHLER: No, only the name was mentioned.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't think the name was mentioned, because
this part of the affidavit was not read.

DR.KRANZBUEHLER: The name was read, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well; go on.


   "Nevertheless, he became one of the first high officers
   in the Army and Fleet and was in complete agreement with
   the concepts and aims of National Socialism."

As an introduction to this paragraph, Mr. Messersmith said,
on page 2, the last sentence before the Number 1 -

THE PRESIDENT: Which page are you on?

DR. KRANZBUEHLER: I am reading out of document 1760.


DR.KRANZBUEHLER: Page 2, last sentence before the Number 1.



   "Among those whom I saw frequently and to whom I have
   referred in many of my statements were the following."

Then after Number 16 Donitz' name appears. My client has
informed me that he has heard the name Messersmith today for
the first time; that he does not know the witness
Messersmith, has never seen him, nor has ever spoken to him.

I therefore request that the witness Messersmith be brought
before the Court to state when and where he spoke to the
defendant Donitz.

                                                  [Page 223]

THE PRESIDENT : The Tribunal has already ruled that the
affidavit is admissible in evidence, that its probative
value will of course be considered by the Tribunal, and the
defendants' counsel have the right, if they wish, to submit
interrogatories for the examination of Messersmith; and of
course defendants will have the opportunity of giving
evidence when their turn comes, when Admiral Donitz, if he
thinks it right, will be able to deny the statements of the


MR. ALDERMAN: I want to call the Court's attention to a
slight mistranslation into German of one sentence of the
Messersmith affidavit. In the German translation the word
"nicht" crept in when the negative was not in the English.

The English statement was:

"I deemed it expedient to delay my return call for several
weeks, in order to make it clear to von Papen that I had no
sympathy with, and on the other hand was familiar with the
objectives of his mission in Austria."

The German text contains the negative:
"Und dass ich anderseits nicht mit den Zielen seiner
Berufung in Oesterreich vertraut war."

The "nicht" should not be in the German text.

The continued existence of Nazi organisations was a
programme of armed preparedness. The wiles of the defendant
represented only one part of the total programme of Nazi
conspiracy. At the same time Nazi activities in Austria,
forced underground during this period, were carried on.

Mr. Messersmith's affidavit at pages 9 and 10, the English
text, discloses the following. Reading from the last main
paragraph on page 9:

"Nazi activities, forced underground in this period, were by
no means neglected. The Party was greatly weakened for a
time as a result of the energetic measures-

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. The French translation isn't
coming through.

MR. ALDERMAN: Apparently it is a mechanical difficulty and
not the interpretation.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you try again then

MR. ALDERMAN: Nazi activities, forced underground-

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment.

MR. ALDERMAN: I am informed that the French line is
electrically dead and that it will take some little time to
restore it.

THE PRESIDENT: We think it could be translated to the French
member of the Tribunal, but we feel there may be some
difficulty with the shorthand writers.

MR. ALDERMAN: That would be the main difficulty, yes, unless
the shorthand writer could take one of the transcripts in
one of the other languages and put it into French.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, that seems to be possible. Very

MR. ALDERMAN: The French prosecutor may object at not being
able to hear.

(Pause: Mr. Alderman then began to speak.)

THE PRESIDENT: Speak up, Mr. Alderman, I couldn't hear.

MR. ALDERMAN: The French prosecutor states that not only
would he object to not being able to understand the
proceedings, but that the French Press is present and he has
an interest in the French Press understanding what is going

Colonel Dostert thinks a five-minute recess will enable him
to fix it.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, we will adjourn then.

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: I was just reading from the bottom of page 9
of the Messersmith affidavit:

   "Nazi activities, forced underground in this period,
   were by no means neglected. The Party was greatly
   weakened for a time as a result of the energetic
   measures taken against the 'putsch' and, as a result of
   the public indignation, reorganisation work was soon
   begun. In October, 1934, the Austrian Foreign Minister,
                                                  [Page 224]
   Waldenegg, furnished me with the following memorandum
   which he told me had been supplied to the Austrian
   Government by a person who participated in the meeting
   under reference."

I quote the first paragraph of the memorandum:

   "A meeting of the chiefs of the Austrian National
   Socialist Party was held on the 29th and 30th of
   September, 1934, at Bad Aibling in Bavaria."

Then skipping four paragraphs and resuming on the fifth one:

   "The Agents of the Party Direction in Germany have
   received orders in every Austrian district to prepare
   lists of all those persons who are known to actively
   support the present Government, and who are prepared
   closely to co-operate with it.
   When the next action against the Government takes place
   these persons are be proceeded against just as brutally
   as all those other persons, without distinction of
   party, who are known to be adversaries of National
   In a report of the Party leaders for Austria the
   following Principles have been emphasised:
      A. The taking over of the power in Austria remains
      the principal duty of the Austrian National Socialist
      Party. Austria has for the German Reich a much
      greater significance and value than the Saar. The
      Austrian problem is the problem. All combat methods
      are consecrated by the end which they are to serve.
      B. We must, on every occasion which presents itself,
      appear to be disposed to negotiate, but arm at the
      same time for the struggle. The new phase of the
      struggle will be particularly serious, and there will
      be this time two centres of the terror, one along the
      German frontier and the other along the Yugoslav
That ends the quotation from the memorandum.

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