The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Now, if you notice, that is quite early, on the 14th of
March, 1937, four years after the Concordat, and he says in
the second sentence - well, at the beginning:

  "It discloses intrigues which from the first had no other
  aim than a war of extermination. In the furrows in which
  we had laboured to sow the seeds of true peace, others -
  like the enemy in Holy Scripture - sowed the tares of
  suspicion, discord, hatred, calumny, of secret and open
  basic hostility to Christ and His Church. They, and they
  only, along with their silent or vocal protectors, are
  responsible for the fact that on the horizon of Germany
  there is now to be seen not the rainbow of peace but the
  threatening storm-clouds of destructive religious wars."

Now, defendant, what I want you to tell the you
agree with that?

A. Yes.

Q. If you agree with these statements of the head of the
Church, how could you possibly write to Hitler, two years
after the Concordat, in July 1935, that he had "eliminated
political Catholicism without touching the Christian
foundations of Germany"? It was absolutely wrong, was it
not, that Hitler and the Nazis had not touched the Christian
foundations of Germany? They had uprooted them and were in
process of destroying them?

A. Sir David, you are confusing two completely different
things, political Catholicism -

Q. Defendant, I do not want to interrupt you, but I have
made that point quite clear. The point I am putting to you
is not the elimination of political Catholicism. I am not,
for the moment, dealing with the relations between you and
Msgr. Kaas. What I am dealing with is your other statement,
that it had been done without touching the Christian
foundations of Germany. What I am putting to you is what His
Holiness is saying that the Christian foundations of Germany
were being destroyed. I do not mind, for the moment, about
the views that Msgr. Kaas had of you or you had of Msgr.
Kaas. I know what they are.

A. Let me explain these things to you. The attacks on the
Church and its institutions, against which His Holiness the
Pope inveighs in his encyclicals in the years 1937 and 1945
and in which he recognized the intensification of the
situation during the war - all of these things were an
attack on the Christian foundations of Germany, an attack
which I always condemned most strongly. But this has no
connection at all with the elimination of so-called
political Catholicism for which I hoped and which I
demanded. These are two completely different things. Perhaps
it is hard for you to understand, since you are not familiar
with conditions in Germany.

Q. Please believe, defendant, that I have spent a great deal
of time in pursuing the troubles between you and Msgr. Kaas.
I am not going to bring them out

                                                  [Page 368]

before the Tribunal because they are not important. I
appreciate and understand - not as well as you do - but I
appreciate the position of political Catholicism and I am
not asking you about that. I am asking you about your
statement. Why did you say to Hitler that he had not touched
the Christian foundations of Germany? That is what I want to
know. You must have known in 1935 that that was not true?

A. But, Sir David, that is a complete distortion of the
contents of this report. I am telling Hitler that the
Christian foundations of Germany must not be weakened and
that may still be read in the report today:

  "Political Catholicism must be eliminated without
  weakening the Christian foundations of Germany."

Q. Well, you appreciate how it begins. You say that "the
clever hand which eliminates it without touching ..." Just
let me remind you. Did you not say, in your interrogation,
that your trouble - part of your trouble in the summer of
1934 before you made the Marburg speech, was due to the
non-fulfilment of the Concordat, that after it had been
signed, with the consent of Hitler, "he treated it just as a
scrap of paper and I could not do anything." Then there was
the persecution of the Churches and the Jews at the same
time. That was late in 1933 and 1934 Is that your view in
1934, that there had not only been treating of the Concordat
as a scrap of paper but persecution of both the Churches and
the Jews?

A. I do not know which document you are quoting from, Sir

Q. This is your interrogation on the morning of 19th
September, 1945.

A. Yes, of course. When I delivered the Marburg speech, I
believed that the State was violating all these things,
otherwise, I would not have made the speech. But in this
speech, Sir David, I again expressly emphasized the fact
that no European occidental State could exist without a
Christian foundation and that by disregarding our Christian
basis, we would cut ourselves off from the group of
Christian peoples and from our mission in Europe. I could
scarcely say it more clearly than that. And perhaps I can
tell you something else on the subject of political
Catholicism. You have -

Q. Do as you want to. I especially want to avoid burdening
the Tribunal with the exchanges between you and Msgr. Kaas,
because both of you used harsh language and it might not
sound very good if I repeated it now. If you want to go into
it, do, but do not open it up unless you must.

A. I regard this accusation which you are making against me
as most serious.

Q. Defendant, you remember you told the Tribunal just before
the adjournment that you had introduced Cardinal Innitzer to
Hitler when you went into Austria. You remember that, after
the statement to which Dr. Kubuschok has referred, Cardinal
Innitzer in a broadcast from Rome made clear that he was
only accepting the Nazi rule of Austria on certain
conditions. Do you remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, I would just like to see what happened to Cardinal

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: This is a new document, my Lord,
903-D, which becomes Exhibit GB 5o8. My Lord, this is a
statement in the form of an affidavit from a priest, Dr.
Weisbacher, which I only got from Vienna on the 7th of June.

Q. (Continuing): You will see that this priest - well, at
any rate I take it he is a priest; he is the Archbishop's
secretary in the cathedral chapter. Let us just look at it.

  "On 8th October, 1938" - that is a little over six months
  after you had arranged for Cardinal Innitzer to meet
  Hitler - "a serious attack was made by youthful
  demonstrators on the Archbishop's palace in Vienna. I was
  present during the attack and can therefore describe it
  from my own experience."

Then he describes how they smashed window panes, broke in
the gate. The priests took the Archbishop into an inner room
and hid him there. They took the Cardinal to safety in the
personalia archive and locked the iron door behind him, and

                                                  [Page 369]

  "Then we two priests, seeing ourselves opposed by a crowd
  of invaders, took up a position at the entrance to the
  Cardinal's house chapel in order to prevent any
  destruction from being wrought there."

My Lord, this is about ten lines from the foot of the page.

  "Shortly after we had reached the chapel, the invaders
  stormed into the Cardinal's rooms adjoining the chapel.
  As soon as they reached the door we warded them off.
  Pieces of wood came flying into the chapel; I received a
  push that knocked me over; but we managed to prevent them
  from entering the chapel. The demonstrators were youths
  aged from fourteen to twenty-five and numbering about a
  hundred. After we had warded them off, we opened up the
  tabernacle and consumed the consecrated wafers so as to
  prevent the most holy from being desecrated. But new
  invaders were already storming in; and we warded them
  off. In the meantime an indescribable orgy of destruction
  of all the fittings was going on in the remaining rooms.
  With the brass rods holding the carpet in place on the
  staircase, the youths destroyed tables and chairs,
  candelabras and valuable paintings and, in particular,
  all the crucifixes."

Then it describes the plate glass doors and so on, and there
was an alarm when the Cardinal was discovered. This priest
himself was dragged from the chapel by about six people and
dragged across the anteroom to the window with shouts of "We
will throw the dog out of the window."

And then, eventually, the police came, and you will notice
their idea of what was proper reparation.

  "Then a lieutenant-colonel of police arrived and
  apologised. He was followed by a representative of the
  Gestapo who expressed his regret that the police had not
  been very active in their intervention."

Meanwhile other demonstrators attacked the cathedral
rector's house at 3 Stefansplatz, where they threw the
cathedral curate, Krawarik, out of the window into the yard.
This priest lay in the hospital until February with both his
thighs fractured.

Now I ask you to look at the penultimate paragraph:

  "That the demonstration was not the result of youthful
  wantonness or embitterment, but a well-laid plan known to
  official quarters, is obvious from the speech of
  Gauleiter Burckel, who, on 13th October, in the
  Heldenplatz, in the basest possible manner, represented
  the Cardinal as guilty."

Now, Herr von Papen, you had a great responsibility in
relation to Cardinal Innitzer, had you not? You had
introduced him to Hitler. You must have learned from the
ramifications and communications of the Catholic Church of
this attack on the Cardinal's house six months after the
Anschluss, did you not? You must have learned of this.

A. I heard about it later, of course.

Q. What protest did you make when you heard of this
disgraceful attack on a Prince of the Church, the throwing
of the cathedral curate out of the window and breaking both
his thighs, the desecration of the chapel, the breaking of
crucifixes? What protest did you make about it?

A. I should like to remind you, Sir David, that I had
resigned from office more than six months before and no
longer had anything whatsoever to do with these matters.
Naturally, the details of the incident were in the highest
degree regrettable, End, indeed, amounted to criminal
attacks; but the details did not appear in the German Press,
so that I am probably seeing them for the first time in this
form here. But let me add -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): But, defendant, you have
not-answered the question. The question was: What complaint
did you make about it?

THE WITNESS: I made no protest, for I was no longer in an
official position at the time. I was a private citizen, and
all I learned officially about these things was what the
German papers were allowed to publish.

                                                  [Page 370]


Q. Oh, defendant, surely you have told us that you were one
of the leading Catholic laymen in Germany. You are not going
to tell the Tribunal that in the Catholic Church it was not
known to every bishop in Germany, and probably to every
parish priest, that this abominable and sacrilegious insult
had been offered to a Prince of the Church in his own house
in Vienna. Surely it would circulate through the Church in a
few days.

A. That is quite possible, Sir David, but would you expect
me, a private citizen, to do anything? What could I do? The
Tribunal did not take notice of the discussion which I
brought about between Cardinal Innitzer and Hitler. You
mentioned that for the first time here today.

Q. That is exactly why I am putting this incident to you,
that you were responsible for bringing about the meeting
between Cardinal Innitzer and Hitler in March of 1938. When
His Eminence is attacked in October, I should have thought -
it is not for me to express my thoughts - that you might
have taken the trouble to protest to Hitler, and all that
you do is to take another job under Hitler within six
months, in April 1939.

What I am asking you is why you didn't make a protest. You
could have written to Hitler. The defendant Goering has
expressed his great religious interests. A number of the
other defendants have said that they had great religious
sympathies. Why could you not have got in touch with them?

A. Because in autumn 1938 I retired from political life; I
was living in the country and was no longer taking active
interest in politics. But perhaps I may say just why I was
responsible for promoting a meeting with Cardinal Innitzer.

Q. No, that is not the point that I am interested in at the
moment, the meeting on the 15th of March. I am interested in
the fact that this took place, you knew of it and made no

Now I am going to come to another point. Dr. Kubuschok can
raise it later on, if he wants.

Defendant, you have heard a number of your co-defendants
giving evidence and saying that they did not know of the
terrible repressive measures that were taking place in
Germany. You knew very well about these repressive measures,
did you not? You knew about the action of the Gestapo, the
concentration camps, and later you knew about the
elimination of the Jews, did you not?

A. I only knew this much, that in the years 1933 and 1934
political opponents were interned in the concentration
camps. I very frequently protested against the methods used
in concentration camps. In various cases I liberated people
from these camps; but at that time I was quite unaware that
murders had been committed in them.

Q. Well now, just let me take that up. It is good to get
down to a concrete instance.

A. Yes.

Q. You remember that at the beginning of 1935 your
secretary, Herr von Tschirschky, was ordered to return from
Vienna to Berlin for examination by the Gestapo. Do you
remember that?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And you remember that he refused to go and he sent you a
detailed report of his reasons for not going? Do you
remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. Just let us look at that together very shortly.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is Document 685-D,
which will become Exhibit GB 509, and your Lordship will
find it on Page 87 of Document Book IIA, and it is on Page
60 of the German version.


Q. Now, on Page 87 there is Herr von Tschirschky's own
letter to you in which he says at the end of the second

                                                  [Page 371]

  "I am not in a position to comply with the Gestapo demand
  to report to Berlin for interrogation."

And then he says - to quote his own words - that he has been
influenced only by the "human, understandable desire to
live," and then he sends a report, he encloses a report to
you of what had happened to him on the 30th of June, which
got him into the bad books of the Gestapo. Do you remember

A. Yes.

Q. And summarising the beginning of it, which would be
almost humorous if it did not show such a dreadful state of
affairs, your secretary, Herr von Tschirschky, was arrested
simultaneously by two competing groups of Reich policemen, I
think the criminal police and the Gestapo, and there was a
severe danger of Herr von Tschirschky and some of the police
being shot before they could decide who was to take him into

But I want you to come to when he is taken into custody.

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