The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 128]


THURSDAY, MARCH 28th, 1946

DR. HORN: In accordance with the request of the Tribunal, I
am now presenting in groups the documents not yet named, as

First of all, the group concerning the Polish question. In
my document book Ribbentrop Exhibit 200 - you will find a
document which I am submitting to the Tribunal for judicial
notice. In this document, Prime Minister Chamberlain, in a
letter to Hitler dated August 22nd, 1939, defines his
attitude regarding the conflict existing between Germany and
Poland. In this connection he states, as one of the main
causes of the conflict, the question of minorities. As proof
of the fact that this minority question was already playing
an important part when the Polish State came into being, I
refer to Ribbentrop Exhibit 72, which I submit to the
Tribunal for judicial notice. This contains observations by
the German peace delegation on the peace conditions.

In a further document, Ribbentrop Exhibit 74, which I submit
to the Tribunal for judicial notice, the President of the
Supreme Council of the allied and associated Powers,
Clemenceau, draws the attention of the Polish Minister
President Paderewski to this problem. May I offer as proof -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I want to explain the
position of the prosecution.

We have not yet received these documents, and therefore we
are in the position that we have only been able to make
tentative selection of those to which we object. All this
book of documents has been objected to as far as we know. I
only want to make it clear that we are admitting, without
protest, the course taken by Dr. Horn on the basis of which
your Lordship announced yesterday, that he is putting them
in en bloc, subject to our right to object formally when we
have the documents.

Therefore, it is only right that we must preserve our
position, because I have arranged, and all my colleagues
agree, that there should be objections to a number of these
documents on our present state of knowledge.

DR. HORN: May I ask your Lordship to hear me for a moment.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to say something? Were you going
to add something to what Sir David had said?

DR. HORN: In view of the objections raised by the
prosecution may a general ruling now be made as to whether
the defence has to submit to restrictions arising out of
technical deficiencies and for which it is not responsible,
and whether our already limited presentation of evidence
shall be made practically impossible by our being unable to
discuss even, in a general way, documentary material with
the prosecution and the Tribunal?

May I ask, therefore, that the presentation of documents in
their shortened form, as requested by the Tribunal
yesterday, be postponed until the document books are

THE PRESIDENT: The difficulty seems entirely to arise from
the fact that your document books are not ready. That is
what causes the difficulty. If the document books had been
ready and had been submitted to the prosecution, the
prosecution would be in a position to object to them. That
is the reason why Sir David is objecting in this provisional
form. But if you have witnesses whom you are going to call,
why do you not call them whilst your books are being got
ready? That seems to the Tribunal to be the obvious course.

                                                  [Page 129]

Call your witnesses and then we can have the documents
introduced at a later stage when we can see them. That is
the only reasonable course and why you do not adopt it I do
not know.

DR. HORN: An officer of the translation department informed
me recently that he is not in a position with the personnel
at his disposal to catch up with translations. That is the
cause of the trouble and is beyond my control. I submitted
the documents in good time for translation.

THE PRESIDENT: That was not the point I was dealing with.
Perhaps the interpretation did not come through correctly.

What I said was that if you have witnesses whom you propose
to call, why do you not call them

DR. HORN: I had intended to call the witnesses in the course
of my presentation of documents and in accordance with the
groups of questions on which witnesses could make

THE PRESIDENT: No doubt you had, but as your documents are
not here to be presented to the Tribunal, then you must get
on and the only way to get on with your case is to call your

DR. HORN: In that case, may I ask for five minutes so that I
can have a short conversation with a woman witness and then
I shall call her?

THE PRESIDENT: Certainly. Wait one moment.

Yes, Mr. Dodd?

MR. DODD: If your Honour pleases, I would not begrudge any
counsel five minutes. This woman witness has been here for a
long time. She stood outside all day yesterday. I think Dr.
Horn has talked to her before. He has had ample opportunity
to confer with her. He knew he was going to call her; he
asked this Tribunal for permission to call her. I think we
are faced here with almost a one man obstructionist at the

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that the witness must be
called at once.

DR. HORN: In that case I wish to have Fraulein Blank called
as a witness.

MARGARETE BLANK, called as a witness, testified as follows:


Q. Will you tell me your name?

A. My name is Margarete Blank.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

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

(Witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.



Q. When did you first meet Herr von Ribbentrop?

A. I met him at the beginning of November, 1934, in Berlin,
when he was delegate for disarmament questions.

Q. When did you become secretary of the former Foreign
Minister von Ribbentrop?

A. On November 1st, 1934, I was engaged as secretary in his
office. His personal secretary gave notice and, as her
successor did not turn up, von Ribbentrop asked me whether I
was willing to take the post. I said "yes" and became his
personal secretary in February, 1935.

Q. What was von Ribbentrop's attitude towards Hitler?

A. As far as I can judge he always showed the greatest
admiration and veneration for Adolf Hitler. To enjoy the
Fuehrer's confidence, to justify it by his conduct and work,
was his chief aim and to this he devoted all his efforts. To
achieve this aim no sacrifice was too great.

In carrying out the tasks set him by the Fuehrer he showed
utter disregard for

                                                  [Page 130]

his own person, When speaking of Hitler to his subordinates
he did so with the greatest admiration. Recognition of his
services by the Fuehrer, as for instance the award of the
Golden Party Badge of Honour, the recognition of his
accomplishments in a Reichstag speech, a letter on the
occasion of his fiftieth birthday, full of appreciation and
praise, meant to him the highest recompense for his

Q. Is it true that Ribbentrop adhered to Hitler's views even
if he himself was of a different opinion?

A. What I just said shows that in cases of differences of
opinion between Ribbentrop and the Fuehrer, Ribbentrop
subordinated his own opinion to that of the Fuehrer.

When Hitler made a decision there was never any criticism.
Before his subordinates Ribbentrop presented the Fuehrer's
views as if they were his own. If the Fuehrer said
something, it was equivalent to a military order.

Q. To what do you attribute this attitude?

A. I attribute it first of all to Ribbentrop's view that the
Fuehrer was the only person capable  of making the right
political decisions.

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you observe the lights? When
the yellow light goes on it means that you are speaking too
fast. When the red light is on it means that you must stop
altogether. Will you follow that?

THE WITNESS: Yes, indeed.

A (continued). I attribute it first to Ribbentrop's view
that the Fuehrer was the only person capable of making the
right political decisions.

Secondly, I attribute it to the fact that von Ribbentrop, as
the son of an officer and as a former officer himself,
having taken the oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer, felt
himself bound by it and considered himself a soldier who had
to carry out orders given him, and not to criticise or
change them.

Do you know anything about Ribbentrop having tendered his
resignation several times?

A. Yes, that happened several times. But about such personal
matters Ribbentrop did not speak to his subordinates.

I only remember the resignation handed in by him in 1941. I
assume that, in the case of this resignation, as well as the
later ones, the letter was written by Ribbentrop himself.
The reason for this resignation was differences with other
departments as to competency - in view of their interference
in Foreign Affairs Herr von Ribbentrop felt he could no
longer take responsibility for the Reich's foreign policy.

Q. What was the result of these offers to resign?

A. They were turned down.

Q. Were you with Ribbentrop whilst he was Ambassador in

A. Yes.

Q. Is it true that Ribbentrop, over a number of years,
worked for an alliance between Germany and England?

A. Yes. For this reason Ribbentrop, in the summer of 1936,
asked the Fuehrer to send him as Ambassador to England. The
Naval agreement of 1935 was only a first step. Subsequently
an air pact was contemplated, but, for reasons unknown to
me, was not concluded.

Q. Do you know anything about Ribbentrop's views on the
British theory of balance of power on the Continent?

A. From numerous statements by Ribbentrop I know he was of
the opinion that England still adhered to the traditional
balance of power policy. In this his ideas were opposed to
those of the Fuehrer, who was of the opinion that the
Russian development in the East constituted a factor which
necessitated a revision of the old balance of power policy,
in other words, that England had a vital interest in the
steadily increasing strength of Germany. When the Polish
situation became critical Ribbentrop held the view that it
was to be expected that the guarantee given by England to
Poland would be honoured.

                                                  [Page 131]

Q. What political aims did Ribbentrop want to achieve by the
conclusion of the Tripartite Pact?

A. To prevent the war from spreading.

Q. Do you know whether Ribbentrop endeavoured to keep
America out of the war?

A. Yes, the Tripartite Pact was signed with this end in

Q. Now another set of questions. What was Ribbentrop's
attitude towards the Church?

A. As far as I can judge, his attitude towards the Church
was very tolerant. To my knowledge, he left the Church as
early as 1920 or thereabout, but in this respect he
exercised no pressure or influence on his personnel or,
rather, he did not bother about it at all. His tolerance
went even so far that in 1935 he let his two eldest children
have their wish and rejoin the Church. His tolerance in
personal questions of religion was in line with his attitude
towards the Church. In this connection I remember von
Ribbentrop sending the Fuehrer a memorandum in which he
advocated a tolerant church policy. In the winter of 1944 he
received Bishop Heckel to discuss church matters with him.
On the occasion of a journey to Rome in 1941 or 1942, he was
given a long audience by the Pope.

Q. Ribbentrop was an introspective and retiring character,
was he not?

A. Although I was his personal secretary for ten years, I
hardly ever saw him in a communicative mood. His time and
thoughts were so completely occupied by his work, to which
he devoted himself whole-heartedly, that there was no room
for anything else. Apart from his wife and children there
was nobody with whom von Ribbentrop was on terms of close
friendship. This, however, did not prevent him from having
the welfare of his subordinates at heart and from showing
them generosity, particularly in time of need.

Q. Is it true that you often felt that there were certain
differences of opinion between Ribbentrop and Hitler?

A. Yes. True to his attitude, which I mentioned before, he
never discussed such differences with his subordinates, but
I do remember distinctly that there were times when such
differences did

At such times the Fuehrer refused for several weeks to
receive von Ribbentrop. Ribbentrop suffered physically and
morally under such a state of affairs.

Q. Was Ribbentrop, as far as his foreign policy was
concerned, independent, or was he bound by orders and
directives of the Fuehrer?

A. Von Ribbentrop often said that he was responsible only
for carrying out the Fuehrer's foreign policy. By this he
meant that, in formulating his policy, he was not
independent. In addition, even to carrying out the
directives given him by the Fuehrer, he was bound by
instructions from Hitler to a considerable extent.

Thus, for instance, the daily reports of a purely
informative nature transmitted by the liaison officer
between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Fuehrer,
Herr Hewel, were often accompanied by requests for the
Fuehrer's decision on individual questions and by draft
telegrams containing instructions to the Heads of Missions

Q. Did Ribbentrop suffer by the fact that, although he was
responsible for foreign policy, he was not allowed to
formulate it?

A. He never complained about it in my presence, but I had
the feeling that he did suffer.

Q. What was Hitler's attitude toward the Foreign Office?

A. The Fuehrer saw in it a body of old-fashioned red-tape
Civil Servants, more or less untouched by National-
Socialism. I gathered, from men of his entourage, that he
often made fun of the Foreign Office. He considered it to be
the home of reaction and defeatism.

Q. In what way did Ribbentrop try to bring the Foreign
Office closer to Hitler?

A. When taking over the Foreign Office in February, 1938,
Ribbentrop intended

                                                  [Page 132]

to carry out a thorough reshuffle of the German diplomatic
service. He also intended to make basic changes in the
training of young diplomats. These plans did not go beyond
the initial stage because of the war. In the course of the
war they were taken up again, when the question of new blood
for the Foreign Office became acute. Ribbentrop's anxiety to
counteract the Fuehrer's animosity towards the Foreign
Office led him to fill some of the posts of Heads of
Missions abroad, not with professional diplomats, but with
tried S.A. and S.S. leaders.

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