The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/15

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, you are not forgetting, are you,
the Tribunal's ruling that this is not the opportunity for
making a speech, but simply the occasion for introducing
documents and calling witnesses. You will have the
opportunity of making your speech at a later stage.

DR. SEIDL: Yes, indeed. I do not intend to make a speech,
but I intend to say a few introductory words on a document
which I shall submit to the Tribunal.

Germany, in the secret documents, declared herself
disinterested in Lithuania, Latvia, Esthonia, and

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, we have not yet seen the document.
If you are going to put in the document, put in the

DR. SEIDL: Yes, indeed. I can submit the document at once.
It is an affidavit of the former ambassador Dr. Friedrich
Gauss. In the year 1939 he was the Chief of the Legal
Department of the Foreign Office. He was present at the
negotiations as the escort of the then German
plenipotentiary in Moscow, and it was he who drafted the non-
aggression pact which has already been submitted as an
exhibit, as well as the secret agreement, the contents of
which I want to submit now to the Tribunal as facts which
are important as evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, will you hand in the document?

DR. SEIDL: Certainly. However, I intend to read parts of
this document later.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the Tribunal does not quite
understand what this document is, because it is not included
in your document book, and it does not appear that you made
any application for it or made any reference to it, and it
is in German; it is not translated.

                                                   [Page 16]

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, when I prepared the document book
for the defendant Hess, I did not then have this affidavit
in my possession. It dates from the 15th March, 1946. At
that time, when the relevancy of the applications for
defendant Hess were discussed, I had then no definite
knowledge of the context which would have enabled me to make
a proper application. The excerpts which I intend to read
from this document are short, and it will be possible for
them to be translated immediately by the interpreters
present here in the Courtroom.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you a copy for the prosecution?

DR. SEIDL: Certainly, a German copy.

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid that would not be of any use to
me. I do not know whether it is to all the members of the
prosecution. Have the prosecuting counsel any objection to
passages being read from this document?

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, I did not know about the
existence of this document and I therefore strenuously
object to having it read into the record. I would wish that
the procedure established by the Tribunal be observed by the
defence. The prosecution, in the past, when presenting its
evidence invariably presented copies of these documents to
the defence counsel. Counsel for Hess is now presenting a
completely unknown document, and the prosecution - with
every reason - would like to familiarise itself with this
document beforehand. I do not know what secrets or what
secret agreements counsel for the defence is talking about,
and on what facts he is basing his statements. I would
therefore, to say the least, define them as unfounded. I
request that the document should not be read into the

DR. SEIDL: The prosecutor of the Soviet Union states that he
has no knowledge of the existence of this secret document,
which shall be established by this affidavit. Under these
circumstances I am compelled to move that Foreign Commissar
Molotov of the Soviet Union be called as a witness, so that
it can be established firstly, whether this agreement was
actually concluded, secondly, what the contents of this
agreement are, and thirdly -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, the first thing for you to do is
to have a translation of this document made, and until you
have a translation of this document made the Tribunal is not
prepared to hear you upon it. We do not know what the
document contains.

DR. SEIDL: As to what the document contains, I already
wanted to explain that before. In the document there is...

THE PRESIDENT: No, the Tribunal is not prepared to hear from
you what the document contains. We want to see the document
itself and see it in English and also in Russian. I do not
mean, of course, you have to do it yourself, Dr. Seidl. If
you would furnish this copy to the prosecution they will
have it translated into the various languages and then,
after that has been done, we can reconsider the matter.

DR. SEIDL: Very well. I turn then to another document, the
reading of which can certainly raise no objections, because
it is a document which has already been submitted by the
prosecution. It is the address made by the Fuehrer to the
Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the 22nd August,
1939. It was submitted by the prosecution of the Soviet
Union as Document PS-789 and Exhibit USSR 29. I quote from
page 6 of the German photostat:

  "Thereupon Hitler declared ..."

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got it in your document book or not,
I mean just for convenience?

DR. SEIDL: The document was already submitted by the
prosecution in full.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean it is not here: I have not got the
document before me. It is not in your document book.

DR. SEIDL: No, it is not in the document book because the
Tribunal has already ruled that each defendant's counsel has
the right to refer to any document which has already been
submitted by the prosecution. I quote:

                                                   [Page 17]

  "I have gradually brought about a change in Russia's
  attitude toward us. In connection with the trade
  agreement, we got into a political conversation,
  resulting in a proposal of a non-aggression pact. Then
  came a further proposal from Russia. Four days ago I took
  a special step which has resulted in Russia answering
  yesterday that she is ready for settlement. Direct
  contact with Stalin has been established. Von Ribbentrop
  will conclude the treaty the day after tomorrow. Now
  Poland is in the position in which I wanted her to be."

Mr. President, gentlemen: I had now the intention to call
the witness Bohle who has already been approved by the
Tribunal. The defendant Hess, however, has asked me to
forego the personal appearance of that witness and to read
an affidavit concerning the facts of evidence in reference
to which the witness was to be heard.

I have prepared such an affidavit, and undoubtedly it would
accelerate the proceedings if the Tribunal would permit the
reading of this affidavit. If, however, the Tribunal should
have the opinion that -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have not had the opportunity of
seeing the affidavit. As previously advised, if the witness
covers the ground for which he was asked, I should want him
for cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the witness?

DR. SEIDL: He is here. With the permission of the Tribunal I
would like to call the witness Bohle now.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean to call him or to read his

DR. SEIDL: Yes, indeed; since Sir David Maxwell Fyfe
apparently protests against the reading of the affidavit, I
would like to call the witness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have not seen the affidavit, of
course, my Lord, so at the moment, as I say, if the
affidavit covers the ground that the witness should speak
upon, then I shall want to cross-examine him.

THE PRESIDENT: Unless the prosecution are agreeable that the
affidavit should be put in, the witness must be called, but
if the prosecution are agreeable to the affidavit being read
and then the witness presented for cross-examination, the
Tribunal is quite willing that should be done.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I do not mind that in the least, my
Lord. Of course, I am in slight difficulty not knowing what
is in the affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps the best course would be for the
Tribunal to have a ten-minute adjournment now and you could
perhaps just see what is in the affidavit.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is a pleasure, my Lord.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal did not wish to hurry counsel
but we thought we had better get on with other witnesses and
this document can be translated and considered and possibly
dealt with after the main adjournment.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases, I have not
had the chance of reading the translation. A preliminary
view of the affidavit convinced my staff that it was not of
very great importance, and I was going to consider whether
the quickest way might be to let the affidavit be read if
the Tribunal would then permit me to read three documents
which I was going to put in cross-examination to the
witness. That might be more convenient than to take the
course which your Lordship suggests, of waiting until we
have seen the full affidavit and then consider what would be
the best way to deal with it.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have perhaps seen part of the
document and you can perhaps judge better which would be the
more convenient course. Whichever you think more convenient.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Well, I am quite content if Dr.
Seidl reads it, but it would have to be on the terms that
the documents which I was going to put in cross-examination
to the witness are read.

                                                   [Page 18]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal think he had better be called.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Seidl?

DR. SEIDL: If I understood the High Tribunal correctly, it
does not wish to have the affidavit read but to have the
witness interrogated before the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as soon as the affidavit has been
translated and the prosecution have had an opportunity of
considering it, they can let us know whether they think it
will be better to treat the affidavit as the examination of
the witness, and he must then be produced here for the
purpose of cross-examination, unless you prefer to examine
him orally yourself.

DR. SEIDL: I believe that under these circumstances it would
be best to call the witness immediately to the witness


(The witness ERNST WILHELM BOHLE took the stand.)


Q. Will you tell me your name?

A. Ernst Wilhelm Bohle.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeats the oath.)


Q. Witness, you were ultimately the leader of the Ausland
Organization of the N.S.D.A.P.? Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You were also State Secretary of the Foreign Office?

A. Yes.

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, Mr. Dodd of the American
prosecution has just made the suggestion that, in order to
save time, it might be possible to follow the same procedure
as in the case of witness Blaha, that is, first of all, to
read the affidavit in the presence of the witness and then
afterwards hear him in cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. SEIDL (to the witness):

You signed a sworn affidavit which I shall now read to you.

  "1. The Ausland Organization of the N.S.D.A.P. was
  founded on the 1st of May, 1931, at Hamburg upon
  instigation of some Germans abroad. Gregor Strasser,
  Reich Organization Chief at the time, appointed as its
  leader Reichstag deputy of the N.S.D.A.P., Dr. Hans
  I myself became an honorary member of the Ausland
  Organization in December, 1931, and was taken into the
  Party on the 1st of March, 1932. On the 8th of May, 1933,
  Dr. Nieland resigned as leader of the Ausland
  Organization after becoming, in the meantime, a member of
  the Hamburg Government and also, as a German at home,
  less interested in questions concerning Germans abroad.
  On the basis of my experience and my connection abroad -
  I was born in England and raised in South Africa - I was
  charged with the leadership of the Ausland Organization.
  2. The purpose of the Ausland Organization was, upon the
  assumption of power to hold together in an organized way
  the approximately 3,300 Party members living outside the
  boundaries of Germany. Beyond that, through them the
  Germans abroad, who could have only a very vague idea of
  the political happenings at home, were to be taught the
  philosophy and the political programme of the new State.
  3. Only native Germans could become members of the Party.
                                                   [Page 19]
  acceptance of foreigners or former Germans who had
  acquired citizenship in another State was strictly
  4. The basic principle of the Ausland Organization of the
  Party concerning its attitude to foreign countries was
  found on the Ausland pass of every native German member
  of the Party in the following passage: 'Follow the laws
  of the country whose guest you are. Let the citizens take
  care of the inner policy of the land where you are a
  guest; do not mix in these matters, even by way of
  This principle was basic for the work and the attitude of
  the Ausland Organization, with respect to foreign
  countries, from the day of its founding up to its end. I
  myself referred to this in many public speeches, and in
  so doing coined, among others, the phrase: 'National
  Socialism honours foreign folkdom because it loves its
  5. My speeches in Porchester Hall in London on the 2nd of
  October, 1937, and in Budapest at the end of 1938 give a
  comprehensive picture of the attitude of the Ausland
  Organization of the N.S.D.A.P. toward foreign countries.
  Winston Churchill in late summer of 1937 repeatedly
  attacked the activity of the Ausland Organization in
  newspaper articles, and in his well-known article,
  'Friendship with Germany,' in the London 'Evening
  Standard' of the 17th of September, 1937, designated it
  as an encumbrance on German-English relations. In the
  same article he said that he was ready to converse with
  me in the most cordial manner about this question. The
  German Embassy in London told the Foreign Office at that
  time that a question by Churchill in the House of Commons
  regarding the activity of the Ausland Organization would
  be specially not desired. As a result, a meeting between
  Churchill and myself was advocated as urgent. This took
  place on the day of my speech to the Reich Germans in
  London, in Winston Churchill's London home, and lasted
  more than an hour. I had ample opportunity in this
  thoroughly cordial conversation, to describe the activity
  of the Ausland Organization and to dispel his misgivings.
  At the end he accompanied me to my car, and let himself
  be photographed with me, in order, as he said, to show
  the world that we were parting as friends. There was no
  inquiry in the House of Commons. Since that day Churchill
  emitted no word of objection again to the activity of the
  Ausland Organization. My speech of the same date, which
  was published shortly afterwards in English in pamphlet
  form by an English concern, was very favourably received.
  'The Times' published from it under the heading: 'Herr
  Bohle's Plea for an Understanding!' After this
  conversation, Churchill wrote me a letter in which he
  voiced his satisfaction with the result of our
  6. In the trial concerning the murder of the
  Landesgruppenleiter of the Ausland Organization in
  Switzerland, Wilhelm Gustloff, which was held in a Swiss
  court at Chur in 1936, the legality of the activity of
  the Ausland Organization was the subject of investigation
  by the Court. The defendant, David Frankfurter, was
  sentenced to eighteen years imprisonment. From what I
  never in any way given reason for objection with regard
  to their activity. The testimony of Federal Councillor
  Baumann, who, to my knowledge, was then Minister of the
  Interior and of the Police in Switzerland, was decisive
  at that time.
  7. I should further like to point out in this connection
  that after the outbreak of the war the Landesgruppen of
  the Ausland Organization in neutral countries continued
  to function, right until the end of the war. That is
  especially true of Switzerland, Sweden, and Portugal.
  At the latest, from 1943 on, the Reich would hardly have
  been able to react
                                                   [Page 20]
  to an act of prohibition. If the Ausland Organization had
  come into conflict with the internal laws of these
  countries, prohibition certainly would have been the
  final result.
  8. Apart from the indisputable legality of the Ausland
  Organization, as its leader, I have repeatedly expressed
  the idea that the Auslandsdeutschen (Germans abroad)
  would certainly be the last people who would let
  themselves be misused as warmongers, or as conspirators
  against the peace. From bitter experience they knew that
  with the outbreak of a war they would face at once
  internment, persecution, confiscation of property, and
  destruction of their economic existence.
  9. As a result of knowledge of the situation abroad, no
  one knew better than the Auslandsdeutschen, that any
  activity in the nature of a 'Fifth Column' would be just
  as foolish as damaging to the interests of the Reich. To
  my knowledge, moreover, the expression 'Fifth Column' can
  be traced back to the Spanish Civil War. It is in any
  case a foreign invention. When France attacked Madrid
  with four columns of troops, it was asserted that a
  'Fifth Column' consisting of nationalist elements was
  doing its seditious work underground within the besieged
  10. There is no basis whatsoever for applying the term
  'Fifth Column' to the Ausland Organization of the
  N.S.D.A.P. If this assertion were true, it would mean
  that members of the Ausland Organization working together
  with local opposition elements in one or more foreign
  countries had been delegated, or had themselves tried, to
  undermine this State from within. Any such assertion
  would be pure invention.
  11. Neither from the former Deputy to the Fuehrer, Rudolf
  Hess, nor from me, as the leader of the Ausland
  Organization, has this organization, or members of this
  organization, in any way received orders, the execution
  of which might be considered as 'Fifth Column' activity.
  Even Hitler himself never gave me any directive in that
  respect. To summarize, I can say that the Ausland
  Organization at no time, as long as I was its leader,
  displayed any activity in the sense of a 'Fifth Column.'
  Never did the Deputy to the Fuehrer give orders or impart
  directives to the Ausland Organization which might have
  led to such activity. On the contrary, Rudolf Hess most
  urgently desired that members of the Ausland Organization
  should under no circumstances take part in the internal
  affairs of the country in which they were living as
  12. Of course, it is known that just as were citizens of
  the then enemy countries, so also were Germans, employed
  in the espionage and intelligence service abroad. This
  activity had however nothing at all to do with membership
  in the Ausland Organization. In order not to imperil the
  permanency of the Ausland Organization groups, which
  worked legally and entirely in the open, I constantly
  demanded that members of the Ausland Organization should
  not be used for such purposes, or that I should
  previously be given the opportunity to relieve them of
  their functions within the Ausland Organization."

And that is the end of the statement of the witness Bohle.
For the moment I have no questions to ask the witness, your

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