The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV
                                                 [Page 1025]

By accepting and occupying the position of Reich Protector
of Bohemia and Moravia, von Neurath personally adhered to
the aggression against Czechoslovakia. As Protector he
further actively participated in the conspiracy for world
aggression, and assumed a position of leadership in the
execution of policies involving violations of the laws of
war and the commission of crimes against humanity.

Von Neurath's responsibility for these crimes derives from
the legal position which he assumed. Von Neurath assumed the
position of Protector under a sweeping grant of powers.
Article V of the act creating the Protectorate provided:

     "1. As trustee of Reich interests, the Leader and
     Chancellor of the Reich shall nominate a Reich
     Protector in Bohemia and Moravia. His seat of office
     will be Prague.
     "2. The Reich Protector, as representative of the
     Leader and Chancellor of the Reich and as Commissioner
     of the Reich Government, is charged with the duty of
     seeing to the observance of the political principles
     laid down by the Leader and Chancellor of the Reich.
     "3. The members of the Government of the Protectorate
     shall be confirmed by the Reich Protector. The
     confirmation may be withdrawn.
                                                 [Page 1026]
     "4. The Reich Protector is entitled to inform himself
     of all measures taken by the Government of the
     protectorate and to give advice. He can object to
     measures calculated to harm the Reich and, in case of
     danger, issue ordinances required for the common
     "5. The promulgation of laws, ordinances and other
     legal announcements and the execution of administrative
     measures and legal judgments shall be annulled if the
     Reich Protector enters an objection." (2119-PS)

At the very outset of the Protectorate, von Neurath's
supreme authority was implemented by a series of basic
decrees. These established the alleged legal foundation for
the policy and program which resulted, all aimed toward the
systematic destruction of the national integrity of the
Czechs. Among these decrees were:

(1) The decree granting "Racial Germans" in Czechoslovakia a
supreme order of citizenship (2119-PS);

(2) An act concerning the representation in the Reichstag of
Greater Germany of German Nationals Resident in the
Protectorate (13 April 1939);

(3) An order concerning the acquisition of German
citizenship by former Czechoslovakian citizens of German
origin (20 April 1939)

Another series of decrees granted "Racial Germans" in
Czechoslovakia a preferred status at law and in the courts:

(1) An order concerning the Exercise of Criminal
Jurisdiction in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (14
April 1939);

(2) An order concerning the Exercise of Jurisdiction in
Civil Proceedings (14 April 1939);

(3) An order concerning the Exercise of Military
Jurisdiction (8 May 1939).

The Ordinance on Legislation in the Protectorate (7 June
1939) also granted to the Protector broad powers to change
by decree the autonomous law of the Protectorate.

Finally, the Protector was authorized, with the Reich Leader
SS and the Chief of the German Police (Himmler) "to take, if
necessary, such (police) measures which go beyond the limits
usually valid for police measures." It is difficult to
imagine what can be police measures "beyond the limits
usually valid for police measures" in view of the police
measures in Germany between 1933 and 1939. (See Section 4 of
Chapter VII on Purge of Political Opponents and Section 6 of
Chapter XV on the Gestapo and SD.) But presumably such
increase was believed to be pos-

                                                 [Page 1027]
sible, and was given to von Neurath to use for coercion of
the Czechs.

The declared basic policy of the Protectorate was to destroy
the identity of the Czechs as a nation and to absorb their
territory into the Reich. This is borne out by a memorandum
signed by Lt. Gen. of Infantry Frederici (86-PS), which is
headed "The Deputy General of the Armed Forces with the
Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia". It is marked Top
Secret and dated 15 October 1940. That was practically a
year before von Neurath went on leave, as he puts it, on 27
September 1941. The memorandum discusses "Basic Political
Principles in the Protectorate," and copies went to Keitel
and Jodl. The memorandum states:

     "On 9 October of this year [1940] the office of the
     Reich protector held an official conference in which
     State Secretary SS Lt. General K. H. Frank spoke about
     the following:
     "Since creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and
     Moravia, party agencies, industrial circles, as well as
     agencies of the central authorities of Berlin, have had
     difficulties about the solution of the Czech problem.
     "After ample deliberation, the Reich Protector
     expressed his view about the various plans in a
     memorandum. In this, three ways of solution were
     "A. German infiltration of Moravia and reduction of the
     Czech nationality to a residual Bohemia.
     "This solution is considered as unsatisfactory, because
     the Czech problem, even if in a diminished form, will
     continue to exist.
     "B. Many arguments can be brought up against the most
     radical solution, namely, the deportation of all
     Czechs. Therefore the memorandum comes to the
     conclusion that it can not be carried out within a
     reasonable space of time.

     "C. Assimilation of the Czechs, i.e. absorption of
     about half of the Czech nationality by the Germans,
     insofar as this is of importance by being valuable from
     a racial or other standpoint. This will take place
     among other things, also by increasing the
     Arbeitseinsatz of the Czechs in the Reich territory,
     with the exception of the Sudeten German border
     district; in other words, by dispersing the closed
     Czech nationality. The other half of the Czech
     nationality must be deprived of its power, eliminated
     and shipped out of the country by all sorts of methods.
     This applies particularly to the racially mongoloid
     part, and to the major part of the intellectual class.
     The latter can scarcely be converted ideologi-
                                                 [Page 1028]
     cally, and would represent a burden by constantly
     making claims for leadership over the other Czech
     classes, and thus interfering with a rapid
     "Elements which counteract the planned Germanization
     are to be handled roughly and should be eliminated.
     "The above development naturally presupposes an
     increased influx of Germans from the Reich territory
     into the Protectorate.
     "After a discussion, the Fuehrer has chosen Solution C
     (assimilation) as a directive for the solution of the
     Czech problem, and decided that while keeping up the
     autonomy of the Protectorate on the surface, the
     Germanization will have to be carried out in a
     centralized way by the office of the Reich Protector
     for years to come. From the above no particular
     conclusions are drawn by the Armed Forces. This is the
     direction which has always been represented from here.
     "In this connection, I refer to my memorandum which was
     sent to the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed
     Forces, dated 12 July 1939, entitled 'The Czech
     Problem'." (862-PS)

That view of the Reich Protector was accepted and formed a
basis of his policy. The result was a program of
consolidating German control over Bohemia and Moravia by the
systematic oppression of the Czechs through the abolishment
of civil liberties, and the systematic undermining of the
native political, economic, and cultural structure by a
regime of terror. The only protection given by von Neurath
was a protection to the perpetrators of innumerable crimes
against the Czechs. (Proof of this aspect of von Neurath's
responsibility was left for development by the Soviet
prosecuting staff.)


Von Neurath received many honors and rewards as his worth.
It even appears that Hitler showered more honors on von
Neurath than on some of the leading Nazis who had been with
the Party since the very beginning. His appointments-as
President of the newly created Secret Cabinet Council in
1938 was in itself a new and singular distinction. On 22
September 1940 Hitler awarded him the War Merit Cross, First
Class, as Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia. He was
also awarded the Golden Badge of the Party, and was promoted
by Hitler personally from the rank of Gruppenfuehrer to
Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS, on 21 June 1943. Von Neurath
and Ribbentrop were the only two Ger-

                                                 [Page 1029]
mans to be awarded the Adlerorden, a distinction normally
reserved for foreigners. Von Neurath's seventieth birthday,
2 February 1943, was made the occasion for most of the
German newspapers to praise his many years of service to the
Nazi regime. This service, in the view of the prosecution,
may be summed up in two ways:

(1) He was an internal fifth columnist among Conservative
political circles in Germany. They had been anti-Nazi but
were converted in part by seeing one of themselves, in the
person of von Neurath, wholeheartedly with the Nazis.

(2) His previous reputation as a diplomat made public
opinion abroad slow to believe that he would be a member of
a cabinet which did not stand by its words and assurances.
It was most important for Hitler that his own readiness to
break every treaty or commitment should be concealed as long
as possible, and for this purpose he found in von Neurath
his handiest tool.

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