The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                         [Page 29]

The Henleinists terrorised the non-Henlein population and the Nazi
Gestapo crossed into the border d1stricts to carry Czechoslovak
citizens across the border into Germany. In several cases,
political foes of the Nazis were murdered on Czech soil. Nazi
agents murdered Professor Theodor Lessing in 1933, and Ing. Formis
in 1935. Both men were anti-Nazis who had escaped from Germany
after Hitler came to power and had sought refuge in

Sometime afterwards, when there was no longer need for pretence
and deception, Konrad Henlein made a clear and frank statement of
the mission assigned to him by the Nazi conspirators. I offer in
evidence Document 2863-PS, an excerpt from a lecture by Konrad
Henlein quoted in the book Four Fighting Years, a publication of
the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I quote from
Page 29. This book has been marked for identification Exhibit USA
92, but without offering it in evidence, I ask the Tribunal to
take judicial notice of it. I shall read from Page 29. This
lecture was delivered by Henlein on 4th March, 1941, in the
auditorium of the University of Vienna, under the auspices of the
Wiener Verwaltungsakademie. During a thorough search of libraries
in Vienna and elsewhere, we have been unable to find a copy of the
German text. This text, this volume that I have here, is an
English version. The Vienna newspapers the following day carried
only summaries of the lecture. This English version, however, is
an official publication of the Czech Government and is under the
circumstances, the best evidence that we can produce of the
Henlein speech.

In this lecture on "The Fight for the Liberation of the Sudetens"
Henlein said:

    "National Socialism soon swept over us Sudeten Germans. Our
    struggle was of a different character from that in Germany.
    Although we had to behave differently in public we were, of
    course, secretly in touch with the National Social1st
    revolution in Germany so that we might be a part of it. The
    struggle for Greater Germany was waged on Sudeten soil, too.
    This struggle could be waged only by those inspired by the
    spirit of National Socialism, persons who were true followers
    of our Fuehrer, whatever their outward appearance. Fate sought
    me out to be the leader of the national group in its final
    struggle. When in the autumn, 1933, the leaders of the
    N.S.D.A.P. asked me to take over the political leadership of
    the Sudeten Germans, I had a difficult problem to solve.
    Should the National Social1st Party continue to be carried on
    illegally or should the movement, in the interest of the self-
    preservation of the Sudeten Germans and in order to prepare
    their return to the Reich, wage its struggle under camouflage
    and by methods which appeared quite legal to the outside
    world? For us Sudeten Germans only the second alternative
    seemed possible, for the preservation of our national group
    was at stake. It would certainly have been easier to exchange
    this hard and mentally exhausting struggle for the heroic
    gesture of confessing allegiance to National Socialism and
    entering a Czechoslovak prison. But it seemed more than
    doubtful whether, by this means, we could have fulfilled the
    political task of destroying Czechoslovakia as a bastion in
    the alliance against the German Reich."

The account of Nazi intrigue in Czechoslovakia which I have just
presented to the Tribunal is the outline of this conspiracy as it
had been pieced together by the Czechoslovak Government early this
summer. Since then, captured

                                                         [Page 30]

documents and other information made available to us since the
defeat of Germany have clearly and conclusively demonstrated the
implication, which hitherto could only be deduced, of the Nazi
conspirators in the agitation in the Sudetenland.

I offer in evidence Document 3060-PS, which will be Exhibit USA
93.This is the original, hand-written draft of a telegram sent
from the German Legation in Prague on 16th March, 1938, to the
Foreign Minister in Berlin. It is presumably written by the German
Minister Eisenlohr. It proves conclusively that the Henlein
Movement was an instrument, a puppet of the Nazi conspirators. The
Henlein party, it appears from this document, was directed from
Berlin and from the German Legation in Prague. It could have no
policy of its own. Even the speeches of its leaders had to be co-
ordinated with the German authorities.

I will read this telegram:

    "Prague, 16th March, 1938
    Foreign (Office), Berlin
    Cipher Cable (Secret Proced.)
    No 57 of 16th March.
    With reference to cable order No. 30 of 14th March.
    Rebuff to Frank has had a salutary effect. Have thrashed out
    matters with Henlein, who recently had shunned me, and with
    Frank separately and received following promises:
        1. The line of German Foreign Policy as transmitted by
        the German Legation is exclusively decisive for policy
        and tactics of the Sudeten German Party. My directives
        are to be complied with implicitly.
        2. Public speeches and the Press will be co-ordinated
        uniformly with my approval. The editorial staff of Zeit
        (Time) is to be improved.
        3. Party leadership abandons the former intransigent line
        which in the end might lead to political complications,
        and adopts a line of gradual promotion of Sudeten-German
        interests. The objectives are to be fixed in every case
        with my participation and to be promoted by parallel
        diplomatic action. Laws for the protection of
        nationalities (Volksschutzgesetze) and 'territorial
        autonomy' are no longer to be stressed.
        4. If consultations with Berlin agencies are required or
        desired before Henlein issues important statements on his
        programme, they are to be applied for and prepared
        through the Mission.
        5. All information of the Sudeten German Party for German
        agencies is to be transmitted through the Legation.
        6. Henlein will establish contact with me every week, and
        will come to Prague at any time if requested.
    I now hope to have the Sudeten German Party under firm
    control, as this is more than ever necessary for coming
    developments in the interest of Foreign Policy. Please inform
    Ministries concerned and Mittelstelle (Central Office for
    Racial Germans) and request them to support this uniform
    direction of the Sudeten German Party."

The initials are illegible.

The dressing down administered by Eisenlohr to Henlein had the
desired effect. The day after the telegram was dispatched from
Prague, Henlein addressed a humble letter to Ribbentrop, asking
for an early personal conversation.

                                                         [Page 31]
I offer in evidence Document 2789-PS, as Exhibit USA 94. This is
the letter from Konrad Henlein to von Ribbentrop, captured in the
German Foreign Office files, dated 17th March, 1938.

     "Most honoured Minister of Foreign Affairs:
     In our deeply felt joy over the fortunate turn of events in
     Austria we feel it our duty to express our gratitude to all
     those who had a share in this new grand achievement of our
     I beg you, most honoured Minister, to accept accordingly the
     sincere thanks of the Sudeten Germans herewith.
     We shall show our appreciation to the Fuehrer by doubled
     efforts in the service of the Greater German policy.
     The new situation requires a re-examination of the Sudeten-
     German policy. For this purpose I beg to ask you for the
     opportunity of a very early personal talk.
     In view of the necessity of such a clarification I have
     postponed the nation-wide Party Congress, originally
     scheduled for 26th and 27th March, 1938, for four weeks.
     I would appreciate if the Ambassador, Dr. Eisenlohr, and one
     of my closest associates be allowed to participate in the
     requested talks.
     Heil Hitler.
     Loyally yours,
     /s/ Konrad Henlein."

You will note that Henlein was quite aware that the seizure of
Austria made possible the adoption of a new policy towards
Czechoslovakia. You will also note that he was already in close
enough contact with Ribbentrop and the German Minister in Prague
to feet free to suggest early personal talks.

Ribbentrop was not unreceptive to Henlein's suggestion. The
conversations Henlein had proposed took place in the Foreign
Office in Berlin on 29th March, 1938. The previous day Henlein had
conferred with Hitler himself.

I offer in evidence Document 2788-PS as Exhibit USA 95, captured
German Foreign Office notes of the conference on 29th March. I
read the first two paragraphs:

    "In this conference the gentlemen enumerated in the enclosed
    l1st participated.
    The Reichsminister started out by emphasising the necessity to
    keep the conference which had been scheduled strictly a
    secret. He then explained, in view of the directives which the
    Fuehrer himself had given to Konrad Henlein personally the
    previous afternoon, that there were two questions which were
    of outstanding importance for the conduct of policy of the
    Sudeten German Party."

I will omit the discussion of the claims of the Sudeten Germans
and resume the minutes of this meeting in the middle of the last
paragraph of the first page of the English translation, with the
sentence beginning, "The aim of the negotiations."

    "The aim of the negotiations to be carried out by the Sudeten
    German Party with the Czechoslovakian Government is finally
    this: to avoid entry into the Government by the extension and
    gradual specification of the demands to be made. It must be
    emphasised clearly in the negotiations that the Sudeten German
    Party alone is the
                                                         [Page 32]
    party to the negotiations with the Czechoslovakian Government,
    not the Reich Cabinet. The Reich Cabinet itself must refuse to
    appear toward the Government in Prague or to London and Paris
    as the advocate or peace-maker of the Sudeten-German demands.
    It is a self-evident prerequisite that during the impending
    discussion with the Czechoslovak Government the Sudeten
    Germans shall be firmly controlled by Konrad Henlein, shall
    maintain quiet and discipline, and would avoid indiscretions.
    The assurances already given by Konrad Henlein in this
    connection were satisfactory.
    Following these general explanations of the Reichsminister,
    the demands of the Sudeten German Party from the Czechoslovak
    Government, as contained in the enclosure, were discussed and
    approved in principle. For further co-operation, Konrad
    Henlein was instructed to keep in the closest possible touch
    with the Reichsminister and the head of the Central Office for
    Racial Germans, as well as with the German Minister in Prague,
    as the local representative of the Foreign Minister, The task
    of the German Minister in Prague would be to support the
    demand of the Sudeten German Party as reasonable, not
    officially, but in more private talks with the Czechoslovak
    politicians, without exerting any direct influence on the
    extent of the demands of the party.
    In conclusion, there was a discussion whether it would be
    useful if the Sudeten German Party co-operated with other
    minorities in Czechoslovakia, especially with the Slovaks. The
    Foreign Minister decided that the Party should have the
    discretion to keep a loose contact with other minority groups
    if the adoption of a parallel course by these should appear
    appropriate. Berlin, 29th March, 1938, 'R' for Ribbentrop."

Not the least interesting aspect of this secret meeting is the
l1st of those who attended: Konrad Henlein; his principal deputy,
Karl Hermann Frank, and two others represented the Sudeten German
Party. Professor Haushofer, the geopolitician, and S. S .
ObergruppenFuehrer Lorenz represented the Volksdeutsche
Mittelstelle, the Central Office for Racial Germans. The Foreign
Office was represented by a delegation of eight. These eight
included Ribbentrop, who presided at the meeting and did most of
the talking; von Mackensen; Weizsaecker and Minister Eisenlohr
from the German Legation at Prague.

In May, Henlein came to Berlin for more conversations with the
Nazi conspirators. At this time the plans for Case Green for the
attack on the Czechs were already on paper, and it may be assumed
that Henlein was briefed on the role he was to play during the
summer months.

I again quote from General Jodl's diary, Document 1780-PS, the
entry for 22nd May, 1938: "Fundamental conference between the
Fuehrer and K. Henlein (see enclosure)."

The enclosure unfortunately is missing from Jodl's diary.

The Tribunal will recall that in his speech in Vienna, Henlein had
admitted that he had been selected by the Nazi conspirators in the
fall of 1933 to take over the political leadership of the Sudeten
Germans. The documents I have just read show conclusively the
nature of Henlein's mission. They demonstrate that Henlein's
policy, his propaganda, even his speeches, were controlled by

                                                         [Page 33]
I will now show that from the year 1935 the Sudeten German Party
was secretly subsidised by the German Foreign Office. I offer in
evidence Document 3059-PS, Exhibit USA 96, another secret document
captured in the German Foreign Office file.

This memorandum, signed by Wormann and dated Berlin, 19th August,
1938, was occasioned by the request of the Henlein Party for
additional funds. I read from that document:

    "The Sudeten German Party has been subsidised by the Foreign
    Office regularly since 1935 with certain amounts, cons1sting
    of a monthly payment of 15,000 marks; 12,000 marks of this are
    transmitted to the Prague Legation for disbursement and 3,000
    marks are paid out to the Berlin representation of the party
    (Bureau Burger). In the course of the last few months the
    tasks assigned to the Bureau Burger have increased
    considerably, due to the current negotiations with the Czech
    Government. The number of pamphlets and maps which are
    produced and disseminated has risen; the propaganda activity
    in the Press has grown immensely; the expense accounts have
    increased especially, because, due to the necessity for
    continuous good information, the expenses for trips to Prague,
    London and Paris (including the financing of travels of
    Sudeten, German deputies and agents) have grown considerably
    heavier. Under these conditions the Bureau Burger is no longer
    able to get along with the monthly allowance Of 3,000 marks to
    5,500 marks. In view of the considerable increase in the
    business transacted by the Bureau, and of the importance which
    marks the activity of the Bureau in regard to the co-operation
    with the Foreign Office, this desire deserves the strongest
    Herewith submitted to the Personnel Dept. with a request for
    approval. It is requested to increase the payments with
    retroactive effect from 1st August.
    Signed Wormann."

And under this signature is a footnote:

    " Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle - Central Office for Racial
    Germans - will be informed by the Political Department" - hand-
    written marginal note.

We may only conjecture what financial support the Henlein Movement
received from other agencies of the German Government.

As the military preparations to attack Czechoslovakia moved
forward in the late summer and early fall, the Nazi command made
good use of Henlein and his followers. About 1st August, the Air
Attache in the German Legation in Prague, Major Merrecke, acting
on instructions from Luftwaffe Headquarters in Berlin, visited the
Sudeten German leader in Freudenthal. With his ass1stance and in
the company of the local leader of the F.S., the Henlein
equivalent of the S.S., he reconnoitred the surrounding
countryside to select possible airfield sites for German use. The
F.S. leader, a Czech reserv1st then on leave, was in the uniform
of the Czech Army, a fact which, as the Attache noted, served as
excellent camouflage.

I now read from the enclosure to Document 1536-PS, which I offered
in evidence earlier and which will be Exhibit USA 83. I have
already read the first four paragraphs of the enclosure.

    "The manufacturer M. is the head of the Sudeten German Glider
    Pilots in Fr. (Freudenthal) and said to be absolutely reliable
    by my trusted man. My personal impression fully confirmed this
    judgement. No hint of my identity was given to him, although I
    had the impression that M. knew who I was.

                                                         [Page 34]

    At my request, with which he complied without any question, M.
    travelled with me over the country in question. We used M.'s
    private car for the trip.As M. did not know the country around
    Beneschau sufficiently well, he took with him the local leader
    of the F.S., a Czech reserv1st of the Sudeten German Racial
    Group, at the time on leave. He was in uniform. For reasons of
    camouflage, I was entirely in agreement with this-without
    actually saying so.
    As M., during the course of the drive, observed that I
    photographed large open spaces from the car, he said, 'Aha, so
    you are looking for airfields!' I answered that we supposed
    that in the case of any serious trouble, the Czechs would put
    their airfields immediately behind the line of fortifications.
    I had the intention of looking over the country from that
    point of view."

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