The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. You are not answering the question. I asked you if the
Minister Abetz had not those duties.

A. He did not have the assignment of confiscating any French
property or carrying out any action against the Jews. No
orders of that kind went through my hands during my time and
he could...

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: Will you look at Document 3614-PS.

My Lord, that was put in as Exhibit RF 1061 on the 4th of

(Witness handed document.)


Q. It is a letter dated the 3rd of August, 1940, signed by
Ribbentrop, to the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed
Forces (OKW). It reads:

  "The Fuehrer has appointed the former Minister Abetz
  Ambassador and, after my report, has decreed as follows:
  "1. Ambassador Abetz has the following tasks in France:-"

Then it sets out a number of tasks, and numbers (6) and (7),
which I put to the witness, read as follows:

  (6) "Advising the Secret Field Police and the Secret
  State Police in connection with the impounding of
  politically important documents.
  (7) Securing and seizure of public property; further of
  private and, above all, Jewish artistic property on the
  basis of instructions specially given for the matter."

Then the concluding paragraphs:

  "II. The Fuehrer has hereby expressly ordered that
  Ambassador Abetz is exclusively responsible for the
  handling of all political questions in occupied and
  unoccupied France. In so far as his functions should
  touch military interests, Ambassador Abetz will act only
  in agreement with the Military Commander in France.
  III. Ambassador Abetz is attached to the Military
  Commander in France as his Commissioner. His seat remains
  Paris as heretofore. He receives instructions for
  carrying out his tasks from me and is responsible
  exclusively to me on these matters.
  (Signed) Ribbentrop".

I want to ask you one or two questions about the Jews.

You have told us that you and the defendant Ribbentrop -

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Phillimore, the Tribunal would like
to know why this witness told them that Ambassador Abetz did
not have the task of confiscating property.


Q. Why did you say that?

A. Ambassador Abetz had no executive powers and he was
expressly forbidden to intervene in French internal affairs.
He could, therefore, address himself exclusively to the
French Government, and if the French Government did anything
by means of its executive power, then that is a transaction
on the part of the French Government but never a
confiscation carried out by Abetz.


Q. That is not an answer to the question. The question is
why, when you were asked whether Abetz had the task of
advising the Secret Field Police and the Secret State Police
on the impounding of politically important documents, did
you say "no"?

A. I said that no order went through my hands, since I did
not become State Secretary until May, 1943. This is an order
of 3rd August, 1940. But here we are concerned only with a
directive addressed to Ambassador Abetz.

Q. At this time you were Ribbentrop's personal adjutant,
were you not?

A. I was adjutant, but not political secretary. I was only -

                                                   [Page 92]

Q. You were adjutant?

A. I was adjutant, that is to say I was concerned with
technical matters. At that time I never presented a
political report to him. But I should add, if I may, this
document concerns a directive to Ambassador Abetz, and this
directive was completely outdated by actual conditions.
Because advising the Secret Field Police -

Q. How do you know that, if you were only personal adjutant
and not acting in political matters?

A. Ambassador Abetz was ambassador until May, 1945.
Therefore, from 1943 to 1945 I continuously corresponded
with him, and during that time Ambassador Abetz continually
fought against the measures which were carried out by the
Secret State Police. It was a bitter struggle and he was
personally threatened on many occasions. One can talk about
advice but whether people heeded him - he had no powers -
that is quite another question.

Q. Does it come to this, that your answer about occupied
territories only applies after 1943?

A. From my own experience, I can only speak about the period
after 1943.

Q. Now, I want to turn to the question of Jews. You have
told us that you and Ribbentrop, by adopting a policy of
delay, prevented the holding of the Anti-Jewish Congress in
1944, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And that you were against the policy of persecution of
the Jews?

A. Yes.

Q. And so was the defendant Ribbentrop?

A. Yes.

Q. I want you to look at Document 3319-PS.

(Witness handed the document.)

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, this is a new document. It will
be Exhibit GB 287.


Q. Now you have got a photostat there. Will you look at Page
4 of the German translation - that is the first page of the
English translation.

Now, that is a letter dated the 28th of April, 1944, on the
subject of anti-Jewish action in foreign countries. It is
marked at the bottom of Page 4.

A. I have not found it.

Q. Will you look at Page 4, marked in a black square at the
bottom of the page. You see a letter dated the 28th of
April, 1944, "Subject: Anti-Jewish action in foreign
countries," and it is addressed to practically every German
legation and mission abroad.

A. Yes.

Q. Turn to Page 10. You will see that it purports to be
signed by you; is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. You remember the letter? I will read you the first
paragraph to refresh your memory.

"The Reich Foreign Minister - "

A. Yes.

  Q. "... has ordered the creation of Information
  Department XIV (Anti-Jewish Action Abroad) under the
  leadership of Envoy I. K. Schleier, whose task it is to
  deepen and strengthen the anti-Jewish information service
  abroad by the incorporation of all experts of the
  departments and working units of the Foreign Office who
  have an interest and take part in the anti-Jewish
  information service abroad, in close co-operation with
  all offices outside the Foreign Office which are engaged
  in anti-Jewish work, and with the German missions in

                                                   [Page 93]

Then you set out the co-workers, number of departments of
the Foreign Office, and then one permanent representative of
the Reich Main Security Office, that is Himmler's office, is
it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And one representative of the office of Reichsleiter
Rosenberg. That department just up above "Inland II," that
is the Foreign Office which had liaison with the S.S., is it

A. Yes.

Q. At that time the chief was a man called Wagner, and the
assistant chief von Tadl?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you still say that you were against the policy of
persecution of the Jews?

A. Yes, I still maintain that. I also say, as I have already
said during earlier interrogations, that even the holding of
an anti-Jewish congress would not, in effect, have been
directed against the Jews because everything that was
happening in Germany was taking place under the seal of
secrecy and no one was informed in any way. The Jews
disappeared. But if there had been an international
congress, one would have been forced in the first place to
bring up the question: where are these Jews? What is
actually happening to these Jews?

Q. Is the point this, that you wanted to put off an anti-
Jewish congress because that would be known to the world,
but you were quite prepared to set up an organisation in the
Foreign Office?

A. We must separate two completely different problems here.
The one problem is this: There were officers in Germany
which conducted and carried out anti-Jewish measures. These
organisations also reached abroad and there, without the
knowledge and without the participation of the Foreign
Office, did away with the people in foreign countries.
Consequently, an improvement and a policy guided to some
extent through normal channels could only exist if some
German department had really assumed responsibility for
these things at that time. For we did not hear of these
matters, we always heard the complaints which we received
from foreign mission heads, about events which had already
taken place. But we had no means of control. If I applied to
the inner German offices ...

Q. Was this set up to control the anti-Jewish policy, this

A. Apparently we are discussing two different matters here
today. The anti-Jewish congress had been ordered. The fact
that Rosenberg's office was holding an anti-Jewish congress

THE PRESIDENT: You are not answering the question. The
question was: Was this organisation, referred to in this
letter, set up to control the organisation of anti-Jewish
work abroad? That is the question. Can you not answer that
"yes" or "no"?

A. The Foreign Office could not exercise general control
since all anti-Jewish questions were principally dealt with
in Rosenberg's office.

Q. Well then, what was the purpose of this organisation of
the Foreign Office?

A. By Hitler's order we had to draw together all German
departments and form an archive in order to collect all the
material there, and we attached importance -

Q. And this was ordered by Ribbentrop, was it not?

A. Yes.

Q. As set out in your letter?

A. Yes. And we thought it important to get an idea, in this
way, of what was actually happening to the Jews, etc., and
therefore we drew in people from all offices.

Q. I will show you in a minute what was actually happening
and out of your own files, but I just want to put this to

The point of your putting off the anti-Jewish congress was
simply because you

                                                   [Page 94]

did not want the world to know. You had not the slightest
objection to setting up an anti-Jewish Organisation in

Now, will you look at Page 32 of the German text?

COLONEL PHILLIMORE: My Lord, that is on Page 23 of the
English text.


Q. You will see there a letter from Rosenberg's office to
the Foreign Office, signed by Braeutigam, Page 32 of the
German text. It is marked at the bottom of the page.

Braeutigam was your liaison officer with Rosenberg, was he
not, witness? Was Braeutigam your liaison officer in
Rosenberg's office?

A. No. Braeutigam was, I think, in the Foreign Office in

Q. And in 1942?

A. Yes, but in 1941, since he had previously been working on
Eastern problems in the Foreign Office, he had been
transferred and was now in the Rosenberg offices.

Q. Very well. And you will see there that he is referring to
a conference with Obersturmbannfuehrer Eichmann, that is the
chief of the Jewish section of the Gestapo, and a Dr.
Wetzel, and he sends you a copy of an agreement made at
Tighina in Roumania, on the 30th of August, 1941, with the
request for acknowledgement.

A. Mr. Prosecutor, there could be an error here. This letter
is dated 11th March, 1942. I became State Secretary in May,
1943. I therefore know nothing about this matter. I should
like to remark -

Q. You just listen and wait until you are asked a question.
We shall get on faster if you just listen to the letter.

Braeutigam writes:

  "I point out especially No. 7 of the agreements. I have
  already taken a position in my letter of 5 Mar. 1942."

Now, that enclosed an agreement made between the German and
Roumanian General Staff, and, if you will look at paragraph
7, on Page 38 of the German, Page 27 of the English
translation, this was the agreement they made:

  "Deportation of Jews from, Transnistria. Deportation of
  Jews across the Bug is not possible at present. They
  must, therefore, be collected in concentration camps and
  set to work until a deportation to the East is possible
  after the end of operations."

And then there is a note on the file on the next page of the
German, still on Page 27 of the English:

  "According to information from Director-General Lecca,
  today, 110,000 Jews are being evacuated from Bukovina and
  Bessarabia into two forests in the Bug River Area. As far
  as he could learn, this action is based upon an order
  issued by Marshal Antonescu. Purpose of the action is the
  liquidation of these Jews."

Now, do you doubt that that agreement, enclosed with that
letter sent to the Foreign Office, would have reached the
defendant Ribbentrop?

A. Well. I see this document and this agreement for the
first time today. Nothing of this entire affair -

Q. Yes. Would you answer the question? Do you doubt that
that letter and that agreement enclosed with it would have
been shown to the defendant Ribbentrop?

A. At that time there was an Undersecretary of State,
Luthers, in the Foreign Office, who acted extremely
independently, and I fought a bitter battle against him
although I was not called upon to do it, because he wanted
to introduce National Socialist methods. Whether he
submitted this matter to Ribbentrop or not I cannot decide.

                                                   [Page 95]

Q. Very well. We come to a time when you were the Secretary
of State. Would you look at Page 31 of the German text, Page
20 of the English?

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