Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-20-04 Last-Modified: 1997/06/16 Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV [Page 1025] E. VON NEURATH'S PART, AS PROTECTOR FOR BOHEMIA AND MORAVIA, IN THE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST 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 The confirmation may be withdrawn.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 interest. "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  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 indicated: "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 assimilation. "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.) F. CONCLUSION. 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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