The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/01

Q. And you say:

  "The conversations with Herr Keppler today were carried on in
  an atmosphere of complete calm, and they were also extremely
  revealing. I do not believe that things are so ripe for
  discussion as they appear to be from the national side and in
  the Reich."

Then you go on:

  "I should be pleasantly surprised if an initial solution were
  to be found before the end of this year."
What you were really talking about was the handing over of
Austria to the Nazis. Is that not what you had in mind when you
wrote this letter? Is that not the "initial solution"?

A. No. First of all, it does not say that my conversations with
Keppler were secret, but only that they were informative.

Q. It says "in complete calm." I do not know whether that is
secret. I do not know what that means.

A. It means that we talked very realistically. The Reich was very
insistent. We might have discussed the possibility of applying
some diplomatic pressure, but the aim was to strengthen the
National Socialists in Austria, with the intention, however, of
achieving the ultimate goal of the Anschluss.

The contents of the Hoszbach document were not mentioned at all,
and I am convinced that Keppler had no knowledge of them. Keppler
did not have a very strong position with the Fuehrer at all.

Q. Yes. You recall you wrote Keppler a letter a little later, in
January of 1938. Do you remember that?

A. Yes.

Q. You wanted to give up your mandate or your trust or your
responsibility or whatever the proper expression is.

A. Yes.

Q. What kind of mandate did you have from Keppler or from Goering
to which Keppler refers in his letter?

                                                       [Page 160]

A. I wanted to give up the Austrian State Councillorship, as well
as the task of investigating the conditions necessary for
obtaining the co-operation of the national opposition. I did not
receive any mandate at all from Keppler, and I could hardly have
accepted one.

Q. You know the document that is in evidence, 3397-PS. It is
Exhibit USA 702. And Keppler says that he informed Goering of the
situation and that Goering told him to keep you at your task, or
that is the sense of it.

Now, my question is: Why should Goering be interested in this
mandate if it only had to do with your position as State
Councillor in Austria? He was not an official of the Austrian
Government, and you were.

A. In this case may I have the document?

Q. Yes, indeed. You will also find reference in here to Dr. Jury,
the very man concerning whom we talked a few minutes back, and to
whom you wrote that letter on 11th November.

A. Which passage do you mean, Mr. Prosecutor?

Q. I am sorry; I did not understand that. Which what?

A. Which passage do you mean in this letter?

Q. Well, my question about it is this: I am wondering why Keppler
would go to Goering with your desire to withdraw from whatever
position it was that you occupied with respect to the Nazis, or,
as you put it, with respect to your place as State Councillor.
What did Goering have to do with that?

A. Yesterday I stated that Dr. Schuschnigg had given me the task
of investigating conditions for co-operating with the national
opposition. I always told Schuschnigg that the Austrian National
Socialists would not accept any offers without Hitler's
agreement. With the knowledge of Zernatto and Dr. Schuschnigg I
visited Goering and Hess. Both the latter knew that I not only
had contact with the Austrian National Socialists, but also with
important people in the Reich, through Keppler, and they were
interested. Naturally if I suddenly said: "I am through, I am not
going on with it," then I considered it my duty to inform these
gentlemen in the Reich that they could no longer count on my
co-operation. That, I believe, is a matter of course. One could
not do otherwise.

Q. Yes, and the letter that you wrote to Jury on 11th November
was after your meeting with Hess and Goering too, was it not? Of
course it was, you saw Hess and Goering in July 1937.

A. Yes, the Reichsmarschall has testified to that already.

Q. Well, all right. Now I will ask you a little bit about this
meeting with von Papen in Garmisch. As I understood you, that
just happened casually and was not planned. You talked about the
possibility of the place of the Minister of Security being filled
by a member of the Nazi Party. What I want to know is, did you
also talk about the possible trip of Schuschnigg to
Berchtesgaden, which was made not long after this meeting? Was it

A. No, we did not discuss the question as to whether a meeting
between Dr. Schuschnigg and Hitler should take place, and whether
this should be accomplished through diplomatic channels and so
forth, that was not discussed by us.

Q. Was it not discussed at all, that is all I want to know? Was
there not any discussion about it?

A. A meeting between these two State leaders was not discussed.

Q. When did you learn for the first time about the proposed
meeting between Schuschnigg and Hitler, and from whom?

A. I think two days - On or about 10th February, I received
information from Rainer or Globocnik telling me that this meeting
was expected to take place. At about the same time Zernatto asked
me to come to Vienna, but he still did not tell me what it was

Q. Actually, is it not a fact that you prepared notes for Hitler
which were the basis of his discussions with Schuschnigg in

A. I did not quite hear. What was it that I was supposed to have

                                                       [Page 161]

Q. My question is, is it not a fact that you prepared notes, or,
if you prefer to call it so, a memorandum for Hitler which he
used as the basis of his discussions with Schuschnigg at

A. I made a written proposal for clearing up the matter, and I
gave it to Zernatto as well as to Dr. Rainer. It is perfectly
possible that Rainer passed it on to the Reich.

Q. You know very well, do you not, that Muhlmann was sent up
there that night by you and your associates, and he got to
Berchtesgaden ahead of Schuschnigg and von Papen with that
memorandum, is that not a fact?

A. Dr. Muhlmann is -

Q. Yes, the same gentleman you referred to as having been in
Holland with you, and in Berchtesgaden.

A. Dr. Muhlmann went to Berchtesgaden at that time and was
informed about my last conversation with Dr. Schuschnigg. He will
probably have noted that down.

Q. Do you not know that he did, and Schuschnigg did not know, and
that the important thing is what Muhlmann was doing up there
ahead of him with the notes or the conditions that you had
presented to Schuschnigg the night before. Schuschnigg did not
know that, did he, when he went there like a lamb to

A. I am convinced Schuschnigg did not know that Muhlmann was in
Berchtesgaden and had quite probably informed Keppler, who in
turn had informed the Fuehrer Schuschnigg certainly did not know
that. When I talked to Dr. Schuschnigg, I did not know Muhlmann
would go.

Q. When did you find out that Muhlmann would go?

A. After the discussion with Dr. Schuschnigg I returned to my
office and there I found Dr. Rainer and perhaps someone else, and
I told Dr. Rainer about our conversation. Possibly Muhlmann was
present, and then we - I say we, because I do not want to exclude
myself from this - we decided to inform Keppler * of the nature
of our conversation. [N.B. Interpreter transmitted "Keppler" to
Mr. Dodd as "Hitler."] In the meantime, Dr. Schuschnigg had
probably gone to the station. I really did not see any reason for
informing him directly at this time.

Q. And so you did want to inform Hitler then - did I hear you
correctly - of the nature of your conversation with your
Chancellor Schuschnigg that night?

A. At that time I had no opportunity or reason to inform Dr.
Schuschnigg of the fact that Muhlmann was going there.

Q. I know you may not have seen any reason, but what I am trying
to make clear is that you did want to let Hitler know that you
had had this conversation with Schuschnigg, and what you had said
to Schuschnigg.

A. Yes.

Q. Why in the world were you notifying the head of another State
about your conversation with the head of your own State, to which
you owed allegiance?

A. I do not see that this is a breach of faith. It was giving
information to heads of two parties with whom I was negotiating
an agreement.

Q. Do you say that it was correct to negotiate between your
country and Germany at that time without notifying your own
Chancellor? Schuschnigg did not know that you had sent that note
on to Hitler, did he? Now be frank about it?

A. Yes, it is certain that Dr. Schuschnigg did not know this. But
Dr. Schuschnigg did know very well that I was in constant contact
with the Reich through Keppler, and that the outcome of our
conversations was always passed on to the Reich, for the Reich
also had to express an opinion. I always said there could be no
internal political understanding unless Hitler agreed with it.
That was a fact, and nothing could be done about it; whether it
was morally right or

                                                       [Page 162]

not, that was the position. Otherwise there could have been no
attempt at carrying through a policy of understanding.

Q. That was not the only tune that you did not play completely
fairly with Schuschnigg, was it? Do you remember when you gave
him your word of honour that you would not make known his plans
to hold a plebiscite? Remember when he first told you and asked
you on your word of honour to keep quiet and you told him that
you would?

A. Yes.

Q. You went right from that meeting to the Regina Hotel, and do
you remember what your associates asked you and what answers you

A. Mr. Prosecutor, I cannot help you; I think you are confusing
two events. At that time I did not go to the Regina Hotel. It was
on the evening of 10th March, and it was an entirely different
matter. First of all, it was wrong for Dr. Schuschnigg to ask me
for my word of honour, for he himself employed me as liaison man
in connection with the agreement of 12th February. Had I known in
advance what he wanted of me, I would have turned it down, for on
the basis of the agreement of 12th February it was my duty to
inform the Reich of this. But I kept my word. On the same evening
Jury came to me. He had heard about the plebiscite from other
sources, and I did not mention a single word to Jury of my
knowing about it. I did not take part in these negotiations until
nearly midday. During the forenoon of the following day, Rainer
came. Rainer says that it was in the forenoon, but it was really
towards noon.

Q. Well, I will accept the correction as to the time, but I do
not think it is very important. The point is -

A. It is very important in my opinion.

Q. Very well, if you think it is, we will settle the matter. I
want you to read what Rainer says about your keeping your word.

  "Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only
  a few hours, but that he could not talk about it because he
  had given his word to keep silent on this subject. However,
  during the conversation he made us understand that the secret
  information we received was based on truth, and that in view
  of the new situation, he had been co-operating with National
  Headquarters from the very first moment."

Now, certainly, that is not keeping silent or keeping your word
as both you and Schuschnigg understood it, is it?

A. In this case, it was absolutely impossible to do otherwise. It
was getting on towards noon on the day on which my pledge of
silence expired. The gentlemen sat in front of me and told me all
the details. I could not suddenly say that it was all a bunch of
lies, for I did not promise Schuschnigg to lie either. Instead, I
kept silent about it, and from that the others deduced that it
was probably true.

Q. You knew when to keep silent and you knew when to make
observations in order to give information to your associates what
Schuschnigg had asked you to keep confidential.

Now, when did you learn the true facts of what happened at
Berchtesgaden, about the threats and about the terrible way that
Schuschnigg was treated there?

A. That I heard from Zernatto. I think it was on 13th February.
Then I heard it from Foreign Minister Schmidt, and Dr.
Schuschnigg told me more or less the same thing. It was therefore
probably on 13th or 14th February.

Q. Well then, you had a rather complete picture of the way that
Schuschnigg was threatened and I suppose you knew about Keitel
being called in to frighten him, and all the threats relative to
marching in by sundown. You had a rather full knowledge of what
happened up there, did you not?

A. I do not remember the story of Keitel, but Schuschnigg told me
that the generals were up there, and obviously military pressure
was to be exercised.

Q. And you knew, too, that Hitler had demanded your inclusion in
the Government as Minister of Security. Schuschnigg told you
that, did he not?

                                                       [Page 163]

A. Yes, I believe that Hitler had demanded that the National
Socialists should have the Ministry of the Interior and Security
at their disposal, and Schuschnigg acquiesced. Schuschnigg was
supposed to have mentioned my name, but all this was rumour and
hearsay and I do not know any details. At any rate, that happened
in the course of these very dramatic conversations.

Q. I think this is rather important, because you have a witness
coming here who was there at that meeting, Dr. Schmidt. Are you
now telling this Tribunal that it was Schuschnigg who suggested
your name, and not Hitler who demanded that you be appointed?

A. I do not want to tell the Tribunal any stories; I merely want
to make my contribution to clear up the background of events as
far as the Charter allows. I say explicitly, I have heard that it
was so. If Schmidt was there and says that it was otherwise, then
of course I will believe him.

Q. Can you tell us who told you that, because we have the sworn
testimony of President Miklas, who says Hitler demanded it. We
know that Schuschnigg says Hitler demanded it and Dr. Guido
Schmidt is going to tell you that Hitler demanded it. Now, who
told you that it was Schuschnigg?

A. Dr. Muhlmann told me that. But I wish to say that the facts
are as you state them, Mr. Prosecutor, for this is just a
tactical detail. If the Fuehrer forces Schuschnigg to name the
Minister of the Interior, and then there is a play of words and
he states my name first, then I do not want to draw the slightest
conclusion from that for my defence.

Q. Well, I think that is very brave. The fact of the matter is
that it was all arranged; you knew it, and so did Hitler, that
you were to be included in their government, and that anything
that went on there as to who actually mentioned your name first
was unimportant.

A. That is correct. But I did not know for sure that on that day
Hitler would demand the Ministry of the Interior and would
nominate me, because Herr von Papen did not inform me about the
outcome of his conversation with Hitler. I only supposed that
things would take that course. I was by no means such a persona
grata in Berlin that Berlin would certainly decide on me.

Q. Now, not many days after that so-called agreement which was
reached in Berchtesgaden, Hitler broke it, did he not?

A. On 17th February, yes.

Q. He broke it before the 17th, did he not? Do you remember when
he appointed Klausner as the Head of the Party, despite the fact
that he had agreed with Schuschnigg that no such thing would be
done and that there would be no such political organization? You
knew about that, did you not, when it was done?

A. I beg your pardon, but I think perhaps I misunderstood your
first question.

Q. Maybe it is a little involved. The point is that a few days
after this meeting in Berchtesgaden, Hitler appointed Klausner as
the Head of the illegal Nazi Party in Austria; is that not so?

A. I believe that happened after 17th February, because I myself
suggested to Hitler that he ought to agree to Klausner being the
leader of the Nazis in Austria. It was perfectly clear to me that
no National Socialist in Austria would follow anybody unless
Hitler approved.

Q. Would you accept the recorded history of Guido Zernatto, whose
book you have offered to the Tribunal? Would you accept his
record of when it happened?

A. Yes, I would.

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