The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/23

Q. Well, now, I am not going to delay. You understand that
what I am putting to you, defendant, is this: That during
the early months of your chancellorship you tried to get
Hitler to come in with you. When he refused you for the
second time, you then, according to Meissner, were prepared
to use force against him. When that was refused to you
through Schleicher, you resigned. When Schleicher took over
and got into difficulties, you turned around to Hitler
again. That is what I am putting to you, and it was at your
request, was it not, that you and Hitler had the meeting at
the house of Kurt von Schroder on 4th January, 1933?

A. No, that is a completely false idea. Unfortunately, the
Tribunal did not permit me to go into detail about this
meeting on 4th January.

Q. Well, do you disagree with von Schroder that it was at
your request that the meeting took place?

A. Yes, I am of an entirely different opinion. This meeting
took place at Hitler's request.

THE PRESIDENT: Will you ask him to tell us about that
meeting on 4th January?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, certainly; I am going to deal
with it.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Well, now, do you say that Hitler asked for the meeting?
I am suggesting to you, you see, that von Schroder, who was
the intermediary, says that you asked for the meeting. Do
you disagree with that?

A. Yes, I am of an entirely different opinion. What Herr von
Schroder says does not correspond to the facts. Herr von
Schroder -

Q. Well, you tell the Tribunal who arranged it.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I object to the use of the Schroder
affidavit. The document was to be submitted when the
prosecution presented its evidence. I asked that the witness
be called since he is located near by. The Tribunal asked
the prosecution to bring the witness. The prosecution chose
not to call the witness. Now, in cross-examination, the
affidavit is to be used. I do not believe that that is
permissible, since it is contrary to the decision of the
Tribunal. The Tribunal decided on the use of the affidavit
in conjunction with the witness. Now it would be used
without the witness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is quite true. I submit,
however, that it is a different matter, using it in
cross-examination, when Dr. Kubuschok has put in, as part of
his own evidence, an account of this very meeting from
Schulthess' Calendar of European History, which you will
find in Volume I, Page 27, of his document book. Surely, if
this evidence has been put in a document book, I am entitled
to challenge that evidence in cross-examination by the
affidavit of von Schroder

                                                  [Page 330]

My Lord, I am sorry, I should have gone further. My friend
has put in an actual statement from Baron von Schroder,
which appears on Page 26. He says that at the same time
Baron von Schroder, handed the following declaration to the
County Bureau to correct the false Press news:

   "The initiative for bringing about a discussion between
   former Reich Chancellor von Papen, as the representative
   of the widest national conservative circles, and Herr
   Hitler, as the sole leader of the National Socialist
   movement, emanated solely from me personally."

I should have thought that, inasmuch as a statement from von
Schroder, has been put in, I am entitled to challenge that
with another statement of von Schroder.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I say something, Mr. President?

There are two entirely different things here. Sir David is
referring to a document which I produced from Schulthess'
Calendar of History. That is a joint communique of Papen and
Schroder, which was published in the papers at that time. I
object, however, to an affidavit of the witness Schroder,
The prosecution agreed with me that Schroder, was a person
open to suspicion under the Indictment and was involved in
the matter to such an extent that producing an affidavit is
possible only if we have an opportunity to put the
appropriate question to von Schroder, At any rate, what is
here is nothing but a copy of contemporary documents from
the historical calendar by Schulthess. These documents, in
agreement with the prosecution, were accepted by the
Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, can you not put the facts without
relying on the document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I can quite easily, my Lord; I will
do that.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. At this meeting, defendant, did you not suggest I am
sorry, I apologise. I think first we ought to get details of
the surroundings where the meeting was held and who were
present.

It was in Baron von Schroder's house in Cologne, I think, or
his flat in Cologne; is that not right?

A. Yes, but no friend of mine.

Q. Now, as to the people who were present at the meeting:
Hitler's party consisted of himself, the defendant Hess,
Himmler, and Keppler, did it not?

A. That is possible, yes.

Q. Keppler is the gentleman of whom the Tribunal have heard
as being in Vienna in March of 1938, is that not so?

A. He was a man who was always in Hitler's entourage.

Q. Now, the actual discussion took place between you and
Hitler, with von Schroder present. Is that not so?

A. No. Perhaps I might give the Tribunal a shoat account of
the conference as the Tribunal desired.

Q. Well, I think it is easier to put the facts to you. I
will take them quite shortly. I am in the hands of the
Tribunal.

Do you say that von Schroder was not present?

A. Schroder may have been present for parts of the
conversation. I recall that in the main I talked to Hitler
alone.

Q. The meeting started at about 11.30 in the morning, did it
not? The meeting between you and Hitler?

A. Yes.

Q. And the first thing you did was to explain to Hitler
that, although you had not been able to release the two
nazis who had been condemned for killing a communist, you
had tried to get President von Hindenburg to pardon them. Is
that not right?

A. I recall that Hitler strongly reproached me because of
the death sentence against these National Socialists.

                                                  [Page 331]

Q. And then you explained to Hitler that it was not through
any intrigue or machinations of yours that President von
Hindenburg had refused to discuss with Hitler the question
of the latter becoming Chancellor. Was that not the second
matter dealt with, that it was not you who had caused von
Hindenburg to refuse the discussion?

A. Yes. I explained that my offer to him of 13th August,
1932, had been meant absolutely honestly.

THE PRESIDENT: I do not think that was an answer to your
question.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Did you not explain to Hitler that it was not your fault
that von Hindenburg had refused to discuss the question of
making Hitler Chancellor in August of 1932 -

A. No.

Q. - when Hitler had met von Hindenburg?

A. No, that cannot be right, for according to the evidence
of historical documents Hitler had a talk with von
Hindenburg on 13th August, and Hindenburg explained to him
the reasons why he did not agree to Hitler's chancellorship.

Q. What I am putting to you is that you told Hitler on 4th
January, with reference to his meeting with von Hindenburg:
"I want you to understand it was not my fault that von
Hindenburg was not ready to discuss the question of your
being Chancellor." Did you not tell him that, that it was
not your fault, that you thought von Hindenburg would have
been ready?

A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, that is what Herr von Schroder says;
but that is not right.

Q. Well now, what do you say was said about this matter? If
you do not accept what I suggest to you, what do you say?

A. What Hindenburg told Hitler can be read in all the books;
that is a well-known matter of history.

Q. No, no. What we want to know - if I may say so, with
great respect to the Tribunal - is what you told Hitler on
4th January. What did you tell him, if you told him
anything, about the position between President von
Hindenburg and himself?

A. If you had permitted me to make an explanation about the
course of the conference, I would already have explained
that.

In the course of this talk I did nothing but call Hitler's
attention to the fact of how necessary it was to reach an
agreement with Herr von Schleicher, how necessary it was to
enter his government. In other words, I continued those
efforts, which I had made in 1932, to induce the Nazi Party
to co-operate.

Q. Are you seriously telling the Tribunal that you told
Hitler that he should not go into a Schleicher cabinet?

A. On the contrary, I told him he should enter a Schleicher
cabinet.

Q. That is what I put to you. I am suggesting that is
entirely wrong. What you suggested to Hitler was that it
would be a sound thing for the conservatives and
nationalists, whose political views coincided with yours, to
join with Hitler in forming a government; you suggested to
him at this meeting what, in fact, actually happened on 30th
January. Do you say that is untrue?

A. Not one word is true; that is absolutely false. As proof
of this, I state the following:

Immediately after the conversation I wrote a letter to
Schleicher, on 4th January, in the afternoon. He probably
received this letter on the morning of the 5th. However,
even before Herr von Schleicher received this letter of mine
giving an account of the meeting, the morning papers of 5th
January started a tremendous campaign against me, asserting
that this talk with Hitler showed disloyalty to Schleicher.
Returning to Berlin, I went to see Herr von Schleicher
immediately, and I gave him full particulars of the
conversation I had had with Hitler. Herr

                                                  [Page 332]

von Schleicher then published a communique on this subject.
This communique -

Q. But he was not the only person, you know, who published a
communique. You and Hitler published a communique.

I want you to remember, defendant, I put to you that the
suggestion from you was that you and Hitler would form a
coalition with the conservative forces behind you and the
National Socialist forces behind Hitler. Now just look at
the communique which you and Hitler issued.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Will you give the defendant Document
637? My Lord, this is a new document, which will become
Exhibit GB 496.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. Look at the foot of it, defendant, the end of the
document:

  "Adolf Hitler and Herr von Papen publish the following
  joint declaration:
  
  "In answer to false deductions which have in many cases
  been circulated in the Press regarding Adolf Hitler's
  meeting with the former Reich Chancellor von Papen, the
  undersigned declare that the conversation dealt
  exclusively with the question of the possibility of a
  great national political united front and that, in
  particular, the opinions of both parties on the present
  Reich Cabinet were not touched upon at all in this
  general discussion."

Now, defendant, when you have been reminded of what you
published yourself, is it not correct what I have put to
you, that you suggested to Hitler that you should form this
coalition of conservatives and nationalists who agreed with
you, and the Nazi Party under Hitler?

A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, this communique states two things: In
the first place, I point out that we did not speak at all
about overthrowing the Schleicher cabinet or replacing it by
another government, as the Press generally assumed. Then I
state that it is necessary to create "a great national
political united front." Herr von Schleicher headed the same
cabinet that I had headed, with the same political forces.
So if I called on Hitler to enter this cabinet, then that is
exactly the same political combination as if I had asked him
to join my cabinet.

Q. Defendant, I am not going to argue with you. If you say
that that communique is your way of expressing that you had
asked Hitler to take the Nazis into von Schleicher's
government, and that you had not discussed forming the
coalition, if you say that that is what that communique
expresses, I haves no further questions on this, and I will
pass on to another point. I have made my suggestion, and I
maintain the communique bears it out.

But now, let us come to the next action of yours. Do you
deny that during January you were active in making contact
with Hitler, and, on Hitler's behalf, with President von
Hindenburg, in order to bring Hitler into the government? Or
do you agree with that?

A. That is true, and I will say in what respect. I had two
official talks with Hindenburg. On 9th January, when I
returned to Berlin, I went from Reich Chancellor von
Schleicher to Reich President von Hindenburg. Reich
Chancellor von Schleicher, being of the opinion that at the
Schroder meeting I had been disloyal to him, had asked von
Hindenburg not to receive me any more. I informed von
Hindenburg of the actual nature of the Schroder meeting and,
after I had reached an agreement with von Schleicher,
Hindenburg was also convinced that the whole thing had been
a big misunderstanding.

Then, to the best of my memory, I did not talk officially to
Herr von Hindenburg about these governmental matters again
until 22nd January.

Q. Well now, just let us see what the chief of the
Presidential Chancellery says about it, and see whether he
can refresh your memory. Would you look at Herr Meissner's
affidavit, at the second part of paragraph 6?

(A document was handed to the witness.)

                                                  [Page 333]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Document 11A, Page
45, about seven lines from the foot of the page.

BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE:

Q. You see, just after the first section of paragraph 6,
defendant, the second part, it begins:

  "Schleicher first made these suggestions to Hindenburg in
  the middle of January ..."

Then the next sentence is:

  "In the meantime Papen had returned to Berlin, and,
  through arrangements with Hindenburg's son, had several
  talks with the President. When Schleicher renewed his
  demand for emergency powers, Hindenburg declared that he
  was unable to give him such authority and must reserve
  for himself decisions in every individual case.
  Schleicher then said that under these circumstances he
  was unable to stay in the government and tendered his
  resignation on 28th January, 1933."

Then, paragraph 7:

   "In the middle of January, when Schleicher first asked
   for emergency powers, Hindenburg was not aware of the
   meetings between Papen and Hitler - particularly the
   meeting which had taken place in the house of the
   Cologne banker, Kurt von Schroder. In the second part of
   January Papen played an increasingly important role in
   the entourage of the Reich President, but, in spite of
   Papen's persuasiveness, Hindenburg was extremely
   hesitant - until the end of January - to appoint Hitler
   Chancellor. He wanted to have Papen as chancellor once
   more. Papen finally won him to Hitler with the argument
   that the representatives of the other Right Wing parties
   supporting the government would restrict Hitler's
   freedom of action. In addition Papen expressed his
   misgivings that, if the present opportunity were once
   again neglected, a revolt of the National Socialists
   resulting in civil war would be likely."

Is that right?

A. No.


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