The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/08/15

Q. How was the general German propaganda brought into line
with the propaganda measures taken by the OKW?

A. Very probably it was just fitted into the propaganda
measures adopted by the OKW, because Dr. Goebbels, was so
strong a personality that he would not have tolerated any
disregard for his propagandist principles.

Q. Very well. I would like to have your answer to the
following question: What relations existed between the.
Ministry of Propaganda and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

A. Sometimes relations were a bit tense, but during the
latter years of the war a representative from the Foreign
Ministry participated in the minister conferences of the
Propaganda Ministry at all times.

Q. What part did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs play in the
carrying out of propaganda measures, especially in
connection with the preparation and execution of aggressive
wars?

A. May I answer as follows: At the very beginning of an
action or a war, a representative from the Foreign Office
used to appear with a completed document book, a White Book.
I am unaware of the origin of these White Books. At

                                                  [Page 278]

any rate, they were not prepared in the Ministry of
Propaganda. In a few cases I later received some knowledge
of their compilation from the Foreign Office.

Q. Would it be correct to make the deduction that the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated directly and
actively in the preparation of propaganda tasks and
directives? - is that correct?

A. No doubt that is true because the Foreign Minister
reserved for himself the decisive word with reference to
propaganda which was connected with foreign policy and also
with reference to any propaganda which went abroad.

Q. Did you have in mind defendant Ribbentrop when you just
replied and when you spoke about the role of the Foreign
Minister?

A. Of course.

Q. Very well. You acknowledge and maintain that defendant
Ribbentrop personally gave out the propaganda tasks in order
to explain the attack on the Soviet Union as a preventive
war?

A. That question cannot be answered with yes or no, but with
a very brief description of the facts. The former Foreign
Minister von Ribbentrop received, in the early morning hours
of the day when the Russian campaign started, the foreign
Press correspondents and the German Press. He put a White
Book before them and he went on to explain in a speech what
the situation was, and concluded with the following emphatic
statement: "For all these reasons Germany was forced to
begin this attack against the Soviet Union in order to
forestall a Soviet attack. I ask you, gentlemen of the
Press, to please present the facts in this manner."

Q. I should like to determine by this that the propaganda
tasks were given by defendant Ribbentrop himself. Do you
admit it?

A. I beg to apologise, but I have admitted exactly what I
have said, and your last question is the result of a
conclusion which is based on what I have just said, and is
one with which I cannot agree.

Q. However, replying to my previous question you spoke about
the decisive role of defendant Ribbentrop in questions
concerning the carrying out of the foreign policy
propaganda; is that correct?

A. Perfectly correct.

Q. Well. It is enough; let us cut out that question. Tell me
now what were the relations between the Ministry of
Propaganda and the so-called Ministry of the Eastern
Occupied Territories?

A. There was a permanent liaison officer who was a member
both of the Ministry for Eastern Affairs and the Ministry of
Propaganda, and beyond that, there was an institution which
had been founded by both ministries jointly, and was jointly
administered by them. It was the institution called
"Vineta," which dealt with the entire propaganda in the
East.

Q. Yes, I understand. Who, specifically, prepared the
propaganda slogans - as you called them in Germany - which
were intended for the occupied territories? Who planned and
prepared them?

A. I cannot tell you under oath, because I am not absolutely
certain, but it is my assumption that they were based on the
existing principles of general propaganda by Dr. Taubert,
who was mentioned, as was his associates, in this Vineta
institute.

Q. Very well. But you are clearly aware of the fact, and
will tell us that the leading influence in all this work was
the Ministry of Propaganda.

A. Quite definitely. Indubitably the Ministry of Propaganda
had the initiative here, and the greatest influence.

Q. That is clear. Now tell me, what kind of influence did
the defendant Bormann have on German propaganda? What role
did he personally play in that?

A. His role was great. I know that it is somewhat frowned
upon when statements are made here about a man who
presumably is dead. In the interests of the historic truth,
however, I shall nevertheless have to tell you the following
-

                                                  [Page 271]

Q. We don't know yet whether Bormann is dead. We only know
that he is not present on the defendants' bench, but he is,
however, one of the defendants.

Go on, please.

A. The influence of the defendant Bormann was unusually
strong in every other sphere as also in the propaganda
sector. It became apparent in the following:

Firstly, in the general type of Party agitation which I
mentioned yesterday that of the most radical outlook. A
teleprint message from Bormann to Dr. Goebbels with, shall
we say, the following contents - I hear complaints from
Party circles regarding this, that or the other - would
always be the cause of a rapid acceleration of Dr.
Goebbels's entire machinery.

Secondly - and this is something which I cannot express
differently under oath - Dr. Goebbels was quite clearly
scared of Martin Bormann.

Finally, he always tried to justify in Bormann's eyes any
actions of his which might have been misinterpreted by
radical elements in the Party.

Q. Perhaps you will tell us who else of the defendants who
were not named here during my cross-examination actively
participated in the propaganda policy, and in what way.
Maybe you would rather not tell us anything about the
defendants who are present here.

A. I certainly would rather not, Mr. Prosecutor, but I shall
give you an answer.

Q. Yes, please.

A. Very favourable influence on propaganda was exercised by
one of the departments under the defendant Kaltenbrunner.
Whether he was responsible for it in person I do not know,
but here are the facts: During the struggle for realistic
news service which I mentioned yesterday, I repeatedly met
with resistance from the Party and the Foreign Office, but I
found most useful the support of a department of RSHA, the
name of which I have forgotten. This department used to
issue reports about the general frame of mind or temper of
the German people, which were sent to various supreme
authorities in the Reich.

In these reports there was frequent praise for realistic
news; the very thing which had been fought against by the
other two sources which I have mentioned.

Q. You just mentioned the office of defendant Kaltenbrunner.
Who else of the defendants could you name?

A. None of the others played a part in German propaganda.

Q. Defendant Hess is not present here, but did he have any
influence or not?

A. Most unfortunately not.

Q. Why do you say "unfortunately"?

A. During the period when lie was still in office, he
fulfilled a very beneficial task. He was, shall we say, the
"complaint department" for all shortcomings in the Party and
the State. I wish he could have continued -

Q. Well; there is no use to speak about it in detail. Now,
let's go into the explanation of your personal participation
and your personal role in the field of German propaganda. I
should like you to state exactly what relations you had with
Dr. Goebbels. Yesterday you spoke about it in detail, but
here I should like you to state it briefly.

A. The briefest formula is this: Personally, little
relationship; officially as time went by, more and more
relationship.

Q. Yes. Do you know the name of General Field-Marshal
Ferdinand Schoerner?

A. Yes, I know the name.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I should like to read into the record an
extract from his testimony. Mr. President, I am submitting
this document as Exhibit USSR 472.

Q. We are going to hand you this document in a minute. In
order to facilitate the reading of it, the paragraphs which
I am going to quote here are underlined in red pencil. I am
going to read Excerpt No. 1. Will you please follow the
text:

                                                  [Page 280]

  "Everybody was aware, including myself, that Fritzsche
  was not only a close associate of Goebbels, but was also
  a favourite of his. He gained Goebbels's sympathy by
  frequently copying him in his political activities and
  quoting him in his speeches. Goebbels, in his printed and
  verbal speeches, referred to the conclusions and
  prognoses made by Fritzsche as having the force of
  official declarations."

Please tell me, defendant Fritzsche, is that in accordance
with reality?

A. May I ask you which quotation you have been reading, 1,
2, or 3?

Q. I have already told you, it is quotation No. 1.

A. According to my text, the first one says:

  "Everybody was aware, including myself, that Fritzsche
  was not only a close associate of Goebbels, but was also
  a favourite of his."

Q. Yes, that is quite correct. That is exactly what I
quoted. I am asking you, is that in accordance with reality?

A. I should not have expressed it like that, and I think it
is a matter of opinion. This statement -

Q. I understand it -

A. Just a moment. I have something to add.

The expression "close associate of Goebbels" is wrong,
objectively seen, and "favourite" - well, I do not think so.

Q. Yes, very well. Let us go further.

You enjoyed the complete confidence of Goebbels and you
carried out your duties in the Ministry of Propaganda
entrusted with wide powers. Do you admit that?

A. Absolutely.

Q. Very well. Thus, enjoying the confidence and disposing of
full powers, in your utterances you fully mirrored the
demands of the Hitler Government which were made tasks of
German propaganda, is that correct?

A. Yes, to the exact extent which I described yesterday.

Q. Now, I should like to read into the record some extracts
from your testimony of 12th September, 1945. I am submitting
this document as Exhibit USSR 474. I am going to read into
the record Excerpt No. 1.

A. May I have the document?

Q. Certainly, it will be handed to you immediately. Will you
please follow my quotation of Excerpt No. 1. It is
underlined in red pencil. I am reading:

  "During a long time I was one of the leaders of German
  propaganda."

I omit a few lines and further read:

  "I must say that Goebbels valued me as a reliable
  National Socialist and a capable journalist so that I was
  considered his confidential aid in the German propaganda
  machine."

Is that correct?

A. Mr. Prosecutor, that is not correct. I know that I signed
this report in Moscow, but at the very moment when I did so
I stated:

  "You can do what you like with that record. If you
  publish it then nobody in Germany will believe it and no
  intelligent person in other countries will believe it
  because this report contains language which is not mine."

I state that not a single one of the questions contained in
this report was put to me in that same form, and I go on to
declare that not a single one of the answers in that record
was given by me in that form and that I signed it for
reasons which I will explain to you in detail if you want me
to.

Q. You therefore deny these statements?

A. Yes, only the signature is true.

Q. All right, let us say only the signature is true.

We should remember, however, that this quotation, which I
just read and which you deny, says that Goebbels valued you
as a National Socialist and a capable journalist and that
therefore you were a trustworthy person in the German

                                                  [Page 281]

propaganda machine. This is the essence of the quotation, is
that right? Do you deny this? Just a minute please. I am
going to remind you -

A. Yes, general, I admit that, I admit these facts.

Q. Well, then the quotation was correct, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Well, then, you do corroborate your statement?

A. I am talking about the record which has been put before
me in its entirety.

Q. At present I am questioning you with particular reference
to this quotation which I just read into the record. You are
not going to deny it, you admit it?

A. I will not confirm your quotation but I will confirm once
more the contents which you have just summarised again.

Q. Very well. The sense is not different from the actual
quotation, but results from it. I should like to remind you
of an excerpt -

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. What is it you are saying,
defendant? Are you saying that you did not sign this
document or that you did?

THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I signed the document, although
its contents did not correspond with my own statements.

THE PRESIDENT: Why did you do that?

THE WITNESS: I signed it after very severe solitary
confinement which had lasted for several months and because
one of my fellow prisoners, with whom I once came into
contact, had told me that once every month a court was
pronouncing sentences based merely on outside records and
without interrogation, and I hoped that in this manner I
would at least achieve being sentenced and thus terminate my
confinement.

So as not to be misunderstood I should like to emphasize
that no type of force was used and that I was treated very
humanely, even if my detention was very severe.


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