The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/10/05

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CAPTAIN PRICEMAN: May it please your Honour, the defendant
Streicher and the defendant Kaltenbrunner are absent this
morning on account of illness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, before
the Tribunal adjourned, I was dealing with the share of the
defendant Neurath in the aggression against Austria. Before
I proceed with the next stage, I should like the Tribunal,
if it will be so kind, to look at the original exhibit from
which I will read, Document 3287-PS, and I would like to
state it is Exhibit GB 128, which is the letter from this
defendant to Sir Neville Henderson, who was then the British
Ambassador. The only point on which I would be grateful, is
if the Tribunal would note Page 92 of the document book.
When I say original, I mean a certified copy certified by
the British Foreign Office, but the Tribunal will see that
the heading is from the President of the Secret Cabinet
Council. That is the point that the Tribunal will remember.
The question was raised as to the existence or activity of
that body, and the letterhead is from the defendant in that

The next stage in the aggression is that at the time of the
occupation of Austria, this defendant gave the assurance to
M. Mastny, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Berlin,
regarding the continued independence of Czechoslovakia. On
Page 123 of Document TC 27, which I have already put in as
Exhibit GB 21, is a letter to Lord Halifax, who was then
Foreign Secretary; and if I may read the second paragraph
just to remind the Tribunal of the circumstances in which it
was written M. Masaryk says:

   "I have in consequence been instructed by my Government
   to bring to the official knowledge of His Majesty's
   Government the following facts: Yesterday evening (11
   March) Field-Marshal Goering made two separate,
   statements to M. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in
   Berlin, assuring him that the developments in Austria
   will in no way have any detrimental influence on the
   relations between the German Reich and Czechoslovakia,
   and emphasising the continued earnest endeavour on the
   part of Germany to improve those mutual relations."

And then there are the particulars of the way in which it
was put to defendant Goering, which have been brought to the
Tribunal's attention, and I shall not repeat them. The 6th
paragraph begins: "M. Mastny was in a position to give him
definite and binding assurances on this subject" - that is,
to the defendant Goering, on the Czech mobilisation - and
then it continues:

   "and today spoke with Baron von Neurath, who, among
   other things, assured him on behalf of Herr Hitler that
   Germany still considers herself bound by the German-
   Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention, concluded at
   Locarno in October 1925."

In view of the fact that the defendant von Neurath had been
present at the meeting on 5 November, four months
previously, he had heard Hitler's views on Czechoslovakia,
yet it was only six months before the Munich Agreement was
disregarded forthwith. That paragraph is, in my opinion, an
excellent example of the technique of which this defendant
was the first professor.

I now come to the aggression against Czechoslovakia. On 28th
May 1938,

                                                  [Page 119]

Hitler held a conference of important leaders, including
Beck, von Brauchitsch, Raeder, Keitel, Goering and
Ribbentrop, at which Hitler affirmed that preparations
should be made for military action against Czechoslovakia by
October, and it is believed though not - I say frankly -
confirmed that the defendant von Neurath attended. The
reference of that meeting is in the transcript. (Part 2, p.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, is there any evidence?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No. Your Lordship will remember the
documents, a long series of them, and it does not state who
was present? therefore, I express that and put it with

On 4 September 1938, the Government of which von Neurath was
a member, enacted a new Secret Reich Defence Law which
denied various official responsibilities, in clear
anticipation of war. This law provided, as did the previous
Secret Reich Defence Law, for a Reich Defence Council as a
supreme policy board for war preparations. If the Tribunal
will remember, I have already referred them to Document 2194-
PS, Exhibit USA 36, showing these facts. Then there came the
Munich Agreement of 30 September 1938, but in spite of that,
on 15 March 1939, German troops marched into Czechoslovakia?
and the Proclamation to the German people and the Order to
the Wehrmacht is Document TC 50, Exhibit GB 7, which the
Tribunal will find at Page 124, which has already been
referred to, and I shall not read it again.

On 16 March 1939, the German Government, of which von
Neurath was still a member, promulgated the "Decree of the
Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor on the Establishment of the
Protectorate 'Bohemia and Moravia'." That date is 16 March.
It is on Page 126 of the document book, Document TC 51,
Exhibit GB 8.

If I may leave that for the moment, I will come back to it
in dealing with the setting up of the Protectorate. In a
moment I will read Article 5; but taking the events in the
order of time, in the following week the defendant von
Ribbentrop signed a Treaty with Slovakia, which is on Page
129, and the Tribunal may remember Article 2 of that Treaty,
which is:

   "For the purpose of making effective the protection
   undertaken by the German Reich, the German Armed Forces
   shall have the right at all times to construct military
   installations and to keep them garrisoned in the
   strength they deem necessary, in an area delimited on
   its Western side by the frontiers of the State of
   Slovakia, and on its Eastern side by a line formed by
   the Eastern rims of the Lower Carpathians, the White
   Carpathians, and the Javornik Mountains.
   The Government of Slovakia will take the necessary steps
   to ensure that the land required for these installations
   is handed over to the German Armed Forces. Furthermore,
   the Government of Slovakia will agree to grant exemption
   from custom duties for imports from the Reich for the
   maintenance of the German troops and the supply of
   military installations."

The Tribunal will appreciate that the ultimate objective of
Hitler's policies, disclosed at the meeting at which this
defendant was present on 5 November, 1937, was the
resumption of the "Drang nach Osten." It was obvious from
the terms of this Treaty, as it had been explicit in
Hitler's statement.

Then we come to the pith of this criminality. By accepting
and occupying the position of Reich Protector of Bohemia and
Moravia, the defendant von Neurath personally adhered to the
aggression against Czechoslovakia and the world. Further, he
actively participated in the conspiracy of world aggression,
and he assumed a position of leadership in the execution of
policies involving violation of the laws of war, and the
commission of Crimes Against Humanity.

                                                  [Page 120]

The Tribunal will appreciate that I am not going to trespass
on the ground covered by my colleagues, and go into the
crimes. I want to show quite clearly to the Tribunal the
basis for these crimes, which was laid by the legal position
which this defendant assumed.

The first point. The defendant von Neurath assumed the
position of Protector under a sweeping grant of powers. The
act creating the Protectorate provided, - if the Tribunal
would be good enough to turn back to Page 126 in the
document book and look at Article V of the Act, it reads as

   "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.
   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."

At the very outset of the Protectorate, the defendant von
Neurath's supreme authority - was implemented by a series of
basic decrees, of which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial
notice. They established the alleged legal foundation for
the policy and programme which resulted, all aimed towards
the systematic destruction of the national integrity of the

   1. By granting the "racial Germans" in Czechoslovakia
   citizenship of the first class on 16 March 1939. I have
   already given the official reference to the Decree of
   the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor concerning the
   Protectorate, to which decree I have just referred; and
   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.

Then there was a series of decrees that granted "racial
Germans" in Czechoslovakia a preferred status at law and in
the courts.

   1. An Order concerning the Administration of Justice in
   Criminal Proceedings, Protectorate of Bohemia and
   Moravia, 14 April 1939.
   2. An order concerning the Administration of Justice in
   Civil Proceedings, 14 April 1939.
   3. An Order concerning the Administration of Justice
   under Military Law, 8 May 1939.

Then the orders also granted to the Protector broad powers
to change by decree the autonomous law of the Protectorate.
That is contained in the Ordinance on Legislation in the
Protectorate, 7 June 1939.

Finally, the Protector was authorised to act with the Reich
Leader SS and the Chief of the German Police "to take if
necessary, (police) measures which go beyond the limits
usually valid for police measures."

May the Tribunal take judicial notice of this order, which
we inserted in the document book at Page 131. It rather
staggers the imagination to think what can be police
measures even beyond the limits usually valid for police

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measures," when one has seen police measures in Germany
between 1933 and 1939; but if such increase was possible,
and presumably it was believed to be possible, then an
increase was given by the defendant von Neurath, and used by
him for coercion of the Czechs.

The declared basic policy of the Protectorate was
concentrated upon the central objective of destroying the
identity of the Czechs as a nation, and absorbing their
territory into the Reich, and, if the Tribunal will be good
enough to turn to Page 132, they will find evidence of this
in Document 862-PS, Exhibit USA 313, which I think has been
read to the Tribunal; still, the Tribunal might bear with me
so that I might indicate the nature of that document to

This memorandum is signed by Lt. General of Infantry
Friderici. It is headed "The Deputy General of the Armed
Forces with the Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia." It
is marked "Top Secret," dated 15 October 1940. That is
practically a year before this defendant von Neurath went on
leave, as he puts it, on 27 September 1941, and, it is
called the "Basic Political Principles in the Protectorate."
There are four copies. It also had gone to the defendant
Keitel and the defendant Jodl, and it begins On 9 October of
this year - " that is 1940:

   "On 9 October of this year the Office of the Reich
   Protector held an official conference in which State
   Secretary Lt. General K. H. Frank" - that is not the
   defendant Frank, it is the other K. H. Frank - "spoke
   about the following:
   Since the creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and
   Moravia, party agencies, industrial circles, as well as
   agencies of the central authorities of Berlin have had
   difficulty in 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 be residual Bohemia.
   This solution is considered as unsatisfactory, because
   the Czech problem even 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
   cannot be carried 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
   it is of importance by being valuable from a radical or
   other standpoint. This will be effected amongst other
   things, 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 every
   means. This applies particularly to the racially
   Mongoloid part, and to the major part of the
   intellectual class. The latter can scarcely be converted
   ideologically, and would make themselves a burden by
   constantly claiming leadership over the other Czech
   classes, 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
   After a discussion, the Fuehrer has chosen Solution C
   (assimilation) as a directive for the solution of the
   Czech problem, and decided that, while
                                                  [Page 122]
   keeping up the autonomy of the Protectorate on the
   surface, the Germanization will have to be carried out
   in a centralized manner 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 sponsored 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'; and that is signed, as I
   said, by the Deputy Lt.-General of the Armed Forces.

That view of the Reich Protector was accepted, and formed a
basis of his policy. The result was a programme of
consolidating German control over Bohemia and Moravia by the
systematic oppression of the Czechs through the abolition of
civil liberties, and the systematic undermining of the
native political, economic, and cultural structure by a
regime of terror, which will be dealt with by my Soviet
Union colleagues. They will show clearly, I submit, that the
only protection given by this defendant was protection to
the perpetrators of innumerable crimes.

I have already drawn attention of the Tribunal to the many
honours and rewards which this defendant received as his
reward, and it might well be said that Hitler showered more
honours on von Neurath than on some of the leading Nazis who
had been with the party since the very beginning. His
appointment as President of the newly created Secret Cabinet
Council in 1938 was in itself a new and singular
distinction. On September 22 1940, Hitler awarded him the
War Merit Cross 1st Class as Reich Protector for Bohemia and
Moravia. That is in the Deutsches Nachrichten-Buero, 22
September 1940.

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 June
21st, 1943. I would also inform the Tribunal that he and
Ribbentrop were the only two Germans to be awarded the
Adlerorden, a distinction normally reserved for foreigners.
His seventieth birthday, February 2 1943, was made an
occasion for most of the German newspapers to praise his
many years of service to the Nazi regime. This service, as
submitted by the prosecution, may be summed up in two ways:

   (1)He was an internal Fifth Columnist amongst
   Conservative political circles in Germany. They had been
   anti-Nazi but were converted in part by seeing one of
   themselves, in the person of this defendant,
   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 the defendant von Neurath his handiest tool.

That concludes the presentation against the defendant von

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