The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/18

Q. Doctor, I will not pursue that further at the moment, I
want you just to tell me this. You have given us your
account of the interview between Hitler and the defendant
Ribbentrop and Horthy when the question of the Jews was
discussed, on the 17th of April, 1943. I just wanted on
record that your account is based on the fact that you
actually made the minutes; the minutes are signed by you?

A. Yes.

Q. I want to pass to another point. From 1943 to 1945, were
you still going to Hitler's headquarters for occasional
interpreting and attending of meetings and the like?

A. Yes.

Q. For example - I do not know if you can remember it, but I
am sure you will try - on the 27th of February, 1944, do you
remember a visit of Marshal Antonescu?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you present at that?

A. I remember I was always present during all the visits of
Antonescu - since the discussion could not otherwise take
place. Regarding the date, I cannot tell you anything exact
at the moment.

Q. It was actually 27th February. I wanted to try and fix it
by an incident which might remind you of it, that Antonescu
was there. Now, do you remember on that occasion that the
defendant Donitz was present?

A. It is possible, but I have no exact recollection. It is
quite possible that he was present during the military

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The exhibit, my Lord, is GB-207, and
it is dealt
with on Page 2705 of
the shorthand notes. The document was originally D-648,

Q. I want you to tell the Tribunal about the general
governmental set-up. There has been considerable evidence
given before the Tribunal that the Reichsregierung, as such,
did not meet after the beginning of the war. Several people
have told us that. Instead of a cabinet meeting, was it not
a fact that the government of Germany was carried on by
these constant meetings at Hitler's headquarters?

A. I consider it possible, but naturally I have no exact
knowledge, since I never took part in such internal
conferences. I only went to headquarters whenever I had to
accompany a foreigner there.

Q. You only came when there was a foreign visitor, but you
know that these meetings were continuously taking place and
that the defendant Goering, the defendant Speer, the
defendant Keitel, the defendant Jodl, and the defendant
Donitz were constantly attending these meetings?

                                                  [Page 149]

A. I do not know, of course whether you can describe that
conference as a meeting.

Q. I did not mean to play with words with you at all. I only
used the word to describe what was happening. If you prefer
to call it a conference, I am willing to do that.

A. I admit that conferences with Hitler took place or could
have taken place, while these people who have just named
were present at the headquarters.

Q. I think you agree with me, do you not, that as far as one
can find any organism or organisation through which the
government of the Reich was being carried on, it was this
succession of meetings or conferences at Hitler's
headquarters; is that not so?

A. Well, I do not know whether you can regard that as
governmental activities, because if I drew a parallel with
the conference at which I was present with these foreign
gentlemen, then you will find that the person who spoke and
who pushed through decisions was Hitler. If it was the same
at those conferences, then you could call it a government
discussion, but it was only a one-man government. The others
were only there as an audience or to be questioned regarding
individual points. That is how I imagine it, but I was not

Q. I quite appreciate your point, but these were the
occasions at which each service and each department and each
organisation - like the S.S., through the Reichsfuehrer S.S.
Himmler - put their point of view and put the facts before
Hitler on which decisions were come to, were they not? And
that is what happened for the last two years of the war.

A. One could have drawn that conclusion from the presence of
those people, yes, but as I say it could of course have been
that there was only one way to receive orders at
headquarters. Both possibilities exist, but which is
applicable I cannot say.

Q. At any rate, I think you will agree with this, will you
not, Herr Schmidt, that there was no other place at which
the government of Germany took place except that?

A. Yes. That is right.

Q. Would you be good enough to look at your affidavit? I
will just read the rest of it. It is quite short, but I want
it to be on the record.

Paragraph 4:

  "The attempted putsch in Austria and the murder of
  Dollfuss on the 25th of July, 1934, seriously disturbed
  the career personnel of the foreign office, because these
  events discredited Germany in the eyes of the world. It
  was common knowledge that the putsch had been engineered
  by the Party, and the fact that the attempted putsch
  followed so closely on the heels of the blood purge
  within Germany, suggested that the Nazi methods abroad
  and at home were very similar. This concern over the
  repercussions of the attempted putsch was soon heightened
  by recognition of the fact that these episodes were
  leading to the Franco-Soviet pact of 5th December, 1934,
  a defensive arrangement which Hitler did not wish to heed
  as a warning. The announcement in March of the
  establishment of a German air force and that Hitler had
  introduced conscription again was followed on the 2nd of
  May, 1935, by the conclusion of a mutual assistance pact
  between France and the Soviet Union. The career personnel
  of the foreign Office regarded this as a very serious
  further warning as to the potential consequences of
  Germany foreign policy, but the Nazi leaders only
  stiffened their attitude towards the Western Powers,
  declaring that they were not going to be intimidated. At
  this time the career officials at least expressed their
  reservations to the foreign minister, von Neurath. I do
  not know whether or not Neurath in turn related these
  expressions of concern to Hitler.
  The re-entry of the German military forces into the
  Rhineland was preceded by Nazi diplomatic preparation in
  February. A German communique
                                                  [Page 150]
  of the 21st of February, 1936, reaffirmed that the French-
  Soviet Pact of Mutual Assistance was incompatible with
  the Locarno Treaties and the Covenant of the League. On
  the same day Hitler declared, in an interview, that no
  real grounds existed for conflict between Germany and
  France. Considered against the background statements in
  "Mein Kampf" offensive to France, the circumstances were
  such as to suggest that the stage was being set for
  justifying some future act. I do not know how far in
  advance the march into the Rhineland was decided upon. I
  personally knew about it and discussed it approximately
  two or three weeks before it actually occurred.
  Considerable fear had been expressed, particularly in
  military circles, concerning the risks of this
  undertaking. Similar fears were felt by many in the
  Foreign Office. It was common knowledge in the Foreign
  Office, however, that Neurath was the only person in
  government circles, consulted by Hitler, who felt
  confident that the Rhineland could be remilitarised
  without armed opposition from Britain and France.
  Neurath's position throughout this period was one which
  would induce Hitler to have more faith in Neurath than in
  any of the other diplomats, whom Hitler tended to hold in

Then there is a paragraph about the sanctions in Italy which
I do not think is a relevant matter before the Tribunal; and
then in Paragraph 8, I will go on:

  "Plans for the annexation of Austria were a part of the
  Nazi programme from the beginning. Italian opposition
  after the murder of Dollfuss temporarily forced a more
  careful approach to this problem, but the application of
  sanctions against Italy by the League, plus the rapid
  increase of German military strength, made safer the
  resumption of the Austrian programme. When Goering
  visited Rome early in 1937 he declared that union of
  Austria and Germany was inevitable and could be expected
  sooner or later. Mussolini heard these words in German,
  remained silent, and protested only mildly when I
  translated them into French.
  The consummation of the Anschluss was essentially a Party
  matter, in which von Papen's role was to preserve smooth
  diplomatic relations on the surface, while the Party used
  more devious ways of preparing conditions for the
  expected move. The speech delivered by Papen on 18th
  February, 1938, following the Berchtesgaden meeting,
  interpreted the Berchtesgaden agreement as a first step
  towards the establishment of a general European
  commonwealth under the leadership of Germany. This was
  generally recognised in the Foreign Office as a clear
  prophecy of a greater Germany which would embrace

The final paragraph says these matters are true and that you
have made this affidavit voluntarily and without compulsion.
That is right, is it not, Schmidt?

Now, just one more point and then I have finished with you.
It is correct, is it not, that in his period as Foreign
Minister the defendant Ribbentrop brought a number of people
who had rank in the S.S., or, in the old days, in the S.A.,
into the foreign office and made them part of the staff?

A. Yes. Principally they were members of his so-called
office - that is to say, his former organisation. They were
taken into the office, not all, but some of them.


THE PRESIDENT: Does any other prosecutor want to cross-

Dr. Horn, do you want to re-examine?

DR. HORN: I have no further questions to put to this

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

DR. LOEFFLER (counsel for the S.A.): Mr. President, I have
just one question to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Keep the witness.

                                                  [Page 151]

DR. LOEFFLER: May I have your permission to put one question
to the witness?

THE PRESIDENT: Would you say whom you are appearing for?

DR. LOEFFLER: Dr. Loeffler, Defence Counsel for the S.A.


Q. Witness, you were as a rule personally present during the
visit of highly placed foreign statesmen. Were you also
present during the visit of statesmen during the Olympic
Games of 1936?

A. Yes.

Q. Did any one of the foreign statesmen express the wish to
inspect the German institutions and the establishments set
up by the National Socialists - in particular in a social
sphere - before or after 1936?

A. Whether any such wishes were expressed during the Olympic
Games I cannot remember at the moment; but that such wishes
were expressed and that they were fulfilled becomes clear
from a number of facts - for instance, from Lloyd George's
visit to the Obersalzberg and, later on, his inspection of
social institutions in Germany; from the visit of a number
of interested foreign persons who, in my opinion, took a
very lively interest in the social institutions in Germany.

Q. You were present personally during these inspections. Do
you remember an inspection during which you were present?

A. Mostly I was not present at these inspections. I only
recollect that, for instance, the Workers' Front had an
organisation which was called "Joy and Work" and that was an
international organisation which held an annual congress at
Hamburg, during which I often acted as interpreter.

Q. Do you know anything about the impressions made by these
institutions on foreign statesmen?

A. The social institutions, as far as I know, always made
rather a favourable impression on visitors.

Q. Do you remember the visit of the Prince of Wales to

A. Yes. I acted as interpreter.

THE PRESIDENT: What has this got to do with the charges in
the Indictment? Dr. Loeffler, your duty was to ask any
question you have got at the same time as the other defence
counsel. I asked you whether you had any questions to ask.
You said "no" or you indicated that you had not. You now get
up and say you have one question to ask and you have asked
about- . I do not know how many you are going to ask, but
they are all, in the opinion of the Tribunal, I think,

DR. LOEFFLER: Mr. President, the questions which I am
putting are caused by the cross-
examination by Sir David. Sir David has mentioned the S.A.,
and I want to put corresponding counter-questions to the
witness, and apart from that -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Sir David did not ask any
question as to the social conditions of Germany, and he did
not ask any questions about the Olympic Games of 1936. In
any event, you are not the right person to re-examine.

DR. LOEFFLER: Mr. President, the questions which I have put
are important, because through those visits which were made
here, and through the statements made by the foreign
statesmen afterwards, a number of our members got the
impression that competent statesmen abroad were giving their
recognition to the leaders of National Socialist Germany.
And that is of quite decisive
importance in the question of the guilt or innocence of
millions of Germans whom I represent here, since these
millions of Germans regarded the attitude of these foreign
statesmen as authoritative. It is therefore not irrelevant,
but for us, in fact, decisive, and he is the only witness
who can really make an authentic report about it. However, I
am finished with my questions about the Olympic Games and I
have only two more questions to ask, I ask you to permit me

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): The Tribunal thinks that the
questions you are

                                                  [Page 152]

putting do not arise out of the cross-examination and are
entirely irrelevant, and they will not hear any further
questions from you.

DR. KUBUSCHOK (Dr. Kubuschok, for the defendant Papen): In
connection -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, as you know perfectly well,
this is not the time to put questions on behalf of von
Papen. You have had your opportunity, and you have not taken

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Mr. President, I merely propose to rectify
some words which were probably incorrectly repeated through
translation, since I did not receive copies of the
affidavit. I heard that in that affidavit of von Papen of
the 8th or 18th of February, 1938, was mentioned a speech

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. If that is correct you can correct
anything in the translation you want to.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I would like to mention that the names
"Hitler" and "Papen" were mentioned here before. I heard
"Papen" in the translation, but Papen never made such a
speech, and any conclusions drawn about Papen from that
speech are incorrect.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, you will receive the
affidavit. You will have an opportunity to look at the

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I shall look at the affidavit, and, if
necessary, apply in writing to have it rectified.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. If there is any mistake in the affidavit
it must be corrected.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: It really says Papen in the text, but that is
completely wrong since he has never made such a speech. On
Page 4 of the text it says "The speech delivered by von

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that is what the affidavit
said. Learned Counsel says it is completely wrong, that he
did not make a speech. But with the greatest respect to the
learned Counsel, I must suggest if he wants to refute the
affidavit, he will have the opportunity of calling von Papen
and giving evidence then.

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