The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-09/tgmwc-09-85.04
Last-Modified: 1999/12/10

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Mr. Dahlerus, will you tell me whether I understood your
last answer to Dr. Stahmer correctly? Did you say "I then
realised that it was on 26th September that his" - that is
Goering's - "aim had been to split Poland and Great Britain
and to occupy Poland with the consent of Great Britain"? Is
that right?

A. Yes, it is correct, but I should like to say it was the
German Government, including Goering.

Q. Wait ... the German Government. Thank you. Now, I just
want you to tell the Tribunal quite shortly why you did not
realise that aim earlier.

DR. STAHMER: As far as I understood the witness's answer
before, he said in answer to my question that that was
Hitler's opinion. The witness did not speak of Goering at
all.

THE PRESIDENT: You will be able to re-examine him.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Now, I want you just to explain to the Tribunal - and
listen to the question I put to you - why you did not
understand that aim at the time. Your original object in
seeing Goering at the beginning of July was to inform him
that British public opinion had hardened and would not stand
another act of aggression; that is right, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. The reason you went to Goering is shown in Page 8 of your
book, if you have the English version.

A. Yes.

Q. And, Mr. Dahlerus, I want you to be absolutely sure that
when I quote your book I do not take anything out of its
context. I shall try to make it as short as I can. Just
before the break on Page 8 you say this:

  "The essence of National Socialism was bellicose and
  aggressive and completely devoid of all moral scruples in
  its dealings with other nations. Hitler and his prot‚g‚
  Ribbentrop thirsted after conquest. It was said that
  Goering had energetically striven for a peaceful solution
  of the Munich crisis, and this had lessened his
  popularity within the German Government."

That was the reason you went to Goering?

A. Yes.

Q. And when you put your point of view to Goering, his first
reaction was that the British Government were bluffing over
Danzig and Poland.

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 223]

Q. And you wanted, and succeeded in arranging, the first
meeting in order  to convince Goering that, according to
British public opinion, the British Government was not
bluffing, is that right?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Now, I just want you to turn to Page 29 of your book, at
the very top of the page, which describes the end of your
conversation with the defendant Goering in the train before
the meeting at the beginning of August. Do you remember?

A. Yes.

Q. Goering explained what his aim was. And if you look at
the second line: "This was a mutual agreement regarding the
holding of an Anglo-German conference..." And note the next
words, Mr. Dahlerus, "with plenipotentiary representatives
from both Governments." One matter which Goering had always
made clear was that he would demand the return of Danzig and
certain rights over the Corridor - the Polish Corridor - is
that not right?

A. Yes.

Q. And from the very start he wanted a plenipotentiary
conference at which territory could, if necessary, be ceded
to Germany, did he not?

A. Evidently.

Q. Now, I want you to come straight on to 24th August, when
you saw Goering and he asked you to go to London. One of the
points that he wanted you to stress was that he and the
German Government thought that there had been a great
improvement in their military situation because of the
German-Soviet Treaty.

A. That is correct.

Q. And the other - if you turn to the bottom of Page 35 in
your book and then look at the top of Page 36:

  "The reason was his disbelief that the German Foreign
  Office would be able or willing to establish a
  sufficiently close contact with the British Foreign
  Office."

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, you remember that day that you had the conversation
with him, and later on he rang you up at 11.30 before your
departure?

A. Yes.

Q. I just want you to tell the Tribunal one or two of the
things that he did not tell you on that day. He did not tell
you, did he, that two days before, on 22nd August, at
Obersalzberg, Hitler had told him and other German leaders
that he - Hitler - had decided in the spring that a conflict
with Poland was bound to come? He did not tell you that, did
he?

A. I never had any indication or disclosure on the declared
policy on 11th April, or 23rd May, or 22nd August.

Q. You never heard of - that is Document 798-PS, the one of
22nd August - you told us you never heard of the "Fall
Weiss" that had been prepared in April, but I want to get it
quite clear about the other one, Document 75-L, of 23rd May.
He never told you that Hitler had said to him on that day
that Danzig is not the subject of the dispute at all. "It is
a question of expanding our living space in the East." And I
think he also did not tell you that Hitler had said on that
day, "Our task is to isolate Poland, the success of the
isolation will be decisive." He never spoke to you about
isolating Poland?

A. He never indicated anything in that direction at all.

Q. But I think he did tell you in the earlier interview that
he was going to see M. Lipski, the Polish Ambassador.

A. Yes.

Q. He did not tell you, as I understand you, that he was
going to inform M. Lipski that the main obstacle to any
diminution of the tension between the two countries was
Poland's alliance with Great Britain. He did not tell you
that, did he?

                                                  [Page 224]

A. No.

Q. That is Exhibit GB 29, Document 72-PS, Page 119. So that,
while he was asking you to go to England to deal with, one
side of the matter, he was dealing with M. Lipski on the
other. I just want to get a clear picture of the situation
on the 24th. Did he tell you that the decision had been made
to attack Poland on the morning of the 26th?

A. No, in no way whatsoever.

Q. Now, you were asked to go with these general purposes, as
I put them to you? You know now, Mr. Dahlerus, that on the
next day the note verbale was given to Sir Neville Henderson
by Hitler, on the 26th.

A. Yes.

Q. And that note, as distinguished from what was said to you
later on, stated in general terms that the Polish question
must be solved, so that the effect of the plans, as they
stood on the evening of the 24th, when Goering rang you up,
was that you were going off in the morning with the
expression of a general desire for a peaceful solution. The
note verbale was to be given to Sir Neville Henderson on the
afternoon of the 25th and at that time the plan was that
Poland would be attacked on the morning of the 26th when you
had delivered your message and Sir Neville had sent on the
note verbale. That was the position?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, did Goering ever tell you why the plan of attack was
changed from the 26th to the 31st?

A. No, he never mentioned anything about the plan of attack;
nor that it was changed.

Q. He did not tell you that - this is Document 90-TC,
Exhibit GB 64 - I quote Goering's own words: "On the day
when England gave her official guarantee to Poland" - that
was the 25th - "the Fuehrer called me on the telephone and
told me that he had stopped the planned invasion of Poland.
I asked him whether this was just temporary or for good. He
said, 'No, I will have to see whether we can eliminate
British intervention.' So then I asked him, 'Do you think
that it will be any different within four or five days?"'
Goering never told you that, at the time you were being sent
to London, all that was wanted was to eliminate British
intervention?

A. Not at all.

Q. Well, now, I just want to state again, quite shortly: you
went and came back with Lord Halifax's letter. I want to
make this quite clear, Mr. Dahlerus: Throughout, Lord
Halifax made it clear that Great Britain was going to stand
by her obligations to Poland, did he not?

A. Yes.

Q. And then on 27th August, the night of 26th to 27th, at
12.30 a.m., you had this interview with Hitler. Now, to you,
Mr. Dahlerus, Hitler for the first time made it clear that
his terms were, that Great Britain should help Germany in
securing Danzig and the Corridor.

A. Yes.

Q. Not "rights in the Corridor," but "the Corridor." Do you
remember that, when you told that to Mr. Chamberlain, he was
surprised at the difference between your account and that
given to Sir Neville Henderson?

A. That is correct.

Q. Now, I am not going to go through it all again, but I
just want you to help me from your own book, which you say
was carefully and objectively written, as to the state of
mind of the rulers of Germany at that time. Now, would you
first of all look, with regard to Hitler, on Page 47? That
is the passage you have already told the Tribunal about,
where he was shouting, "Dann werde ich U-Boote bauen."

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 225]

Q. Now, just let me put it to you - it is quite short - how
you described it at the time, and you tell me if it is
right. "If there should be a war," he said, "Dann werde ich
U-Boote bauen, U-Boote, U-Boote, U-Boote!" And he raised his
voice each time?

A. Yes.

  Q. "The voice became more indistinct and finally one
  could not follow him at all. Then he pulled himself
  together, raised his voice as though addressing a large
  audience and shrieked - shrieked - 'Ich werde Flugzeuge
  bauen, Flugzeuge bauen, Flugzeuge, Flugzeuge, und ich
  werde meine Feinde vernichten.'"

And you go on to say:

  "Just then he seemed more like a phantom from a story
  book than a real person. I stared at him in amazement and
  turned to see how Goering reacted, but he did not turn a
  hair."

Now, would you mind turning to Page 53. No, just one
sentence before the bit I read on Page 47, I just want to
get that clear. You say: "His voice became blurred and his
behaviour was that of a completely abnormal person."

Now, you turn to Page 53? I want you to tell the Tribunal
your impression of the way he treated the defendant Goering.
The Tribunal has heard a lot about the relations between
them. At the bottom of the page you say this:

  "From the very beginning of our conversation I had
  resented his manner toward Goering, his most intimate
  friend and comrade from the years of struggle. His desire
  to dominate was explicable, but to require such
  obsequious humility as Goering now exhibited from his
  closest collaborator seemed to me excessively repellent
  and nauseating."

Would you just turn over to Page 54, the fifth line from the
end?

  "I realised that I was dealing with a person who could
  not be considered  normal."

That was your considered view, was it not, Mr. Dahlerus?

A. It was the opinion I formed the first time I met him.

Q. That was the Chancellor of Germany. Now I want you - for
a moment - to deal more with the Foreign Minister of
Germany, according to the impressions that you formed.
Generally, I think you got the impression that von
Ribbentrop was doing everything he could to interrupt and
spoil your endeavours?

A. That is correct.

Q. But according to Goering he went further than that. Will
you look at Page 76? This is, you remember, when you were
just saying goodbye to Goering, on leaving, I think, for
your last visit to London, after he had drawn the map, which
I will come to in a moment. Did you say this:

  "Before we parted, he again went over the German
  standpoint, saying, finally that if we never met again he
  would like to take the opportunity of thanking me for
  what I had done, and for my tireless energy in the cause
  of peace. I was somewhat surprised by this farewell and
  could not help replying that in all probability we should
  meet again soon. His expression changed and he said
  solemnly: 'Perhaps; but certain people are doing what
  they can to prevent your getting out of this alive.'"

That was said seriously and solemnly, Mr. Dahlerus?

A. Exactly.

Q. And you go on:

   "At a meeting in October of the same year Goering told
   me that Ribbentrop had tried to arrange for my plane to
   crash. Hence Goering's solemn mien when he bade me
   farewell."

[Page 226]

A. Well, he had mentioned Ribbentrop's name just a minute
before, and when he spoke about the plane crashing, he used
the word "he." I assumed he meant Ribbentrop.

Q. That was the Foreign Minister, according to Goering.

I want you now to turn to Page 100, because I want to
correct a few things. This describes events of 1st
September, the afternoon of the day on which Poland had been
attacked, and you saw the defendant Goering, I think, in the
Air Ministry or at one of his offices. Do you see it? It is
just before the second break.

  "To him"-that is, to Goering-"everything was lined up
  according to a plan which nothing could upset. Finally he
  called in the State secretaries Korner and Gritzbach,
  gave them a long harangue, and presented each of them
  with a sword of honour, which he hoped they would carry
  gloriously through the war. It was as if all these people
  were in some crazy state of intoxication."

Are these your words?

A. Yes.

Q. And that is the impression? Of course you mean that they
were mentally intoxicated with the idea of war?

A. They had changed their frame of mind within a short time.

Q. So that, of the three principal people in Germany, the
Chancellor was abnormal, the Reichsmarschall, or the Field-
Marshal as he was then, was in a crazy state of
intoxication, and, according to the defendant Goering, the
Foreign Minister was a would-be murderer who wanted to
sabotage your plane?

(The witness nodded.)


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