The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Now, you were not present at the meeting of the Fuehrer
and his Generals on the 22nd of August, but you must have
heard many times the account of it read out since this trial
started. You remember the Fuehrer is reported, according to
minutes, to have said:

  "I shall give up propagandistic reasons for starting the
  war; never mind whether it be plausible or not. The
  victor shall not be asked later on
                                                  [Page 244]
  whether he told the truth or not. In starting and making
  a war, not the right is what matters but victory."

That is what was said at Obersalzberg. Had Hitler ever said
anything like that to you?

A. Did you say 27th?

Q. On the 22nd. What I am asking you is, had Hitler said
anything similar to that to you?

A. No, at the meeting on the 22nd, I was not present, I
think I was on my way to Moscow.

Q. I said you were not present. That is why I put it in that
way. Had he ever said anything similar to you? You say no.
Well, now, I want you to come to the 29th.

A. May I say something about that?

Q. No; if you say that he had never said anything similar to
you, I am not going to pursue it, because we must not waste
too much time on each of these details. I want you to come
to the 29th of August, when you saw Sir Neville Henderson,
and while accepting, with some reservation, the idea of
direct negotiation with Poland you said that it must be a
condition of that negotiation that the Poles should send a
plenipotentiary by the next day, by the 30th. You remember

A. Yes, well, it was like this -

Q. (Interposing) I really do not want to stop you, but I do
want to keep it short on this point.

A. In that case I must say no. May I make a statement?

Q. I am sorry, because this is only preliminary. I thought
it was common ground that you saw Sir Neville on the 29th,
and that you put a number of terms. One of the terms was
that a Polish plenipotentiary should be present by the 30th.
If you do not agree with that, please tell me if I am wrong,
because t is my recollection of all documents.

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Now, on the 30th you have told us that your reason for
not giving a copy of the terms to Sir Neville was, first,
because Hitler had ordered you not to give a copy. I think
your reason given at the time was that the Polish
plenipotentiary had not arrived, and therefore it was no
good giving a copy of the terms. That is right, is it not?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Now these terms that were given, that were read out by
you, were not ready on the 29th, because, in your
communication demanding a plenipotentiary you said if he
came on the 30th you would have the terms ready by that
time. So may I take it that these terms were drawn up by
Hitler with the help of the Foreign Office between the 29th
and the 30th?

A. He dictated them personally. I think there were 16
points, if I remember rightly.

Q. Now, did you really expect after the treatment of von
Schuschnigg, of Tiso, of Hacha, that the Poles would be
willing to send a fly into the spider's parlour?

A. We certainly counted on it and hoped for it. I think that
a hint from the British government would have sufficed to
bring that Ambassador to Berlin.

Q. And what you hoped was to put the Poles in this dilemma,
that either these terms would stand as a - to use Hitler's
phrase - propagandistic cause for the war, or else you would
be able, by putting pressure on the Polish plenipotentiary,
to do exactly what you had done before with Schuschnigg and
Tiso and Hacha, and get a surrender from the Poles. Was not
that what was in your mind?

A. No, the situation was different. I must say, that on the
29th the Fuehrer told the British Ambassador that he would
draft these conditions or this agreement, and by the time of
the arrival of the Polish plenipotentiary, would make them
also available to the British Government - "Provided it is
possible"; I think

                                                  [Page 245]

those were his orders. Sir Neville Henderson took note of
that, and I must repeat that the Fuehrer, after the British
reply had been received on the 28th, once more, in spite of
the extremely tense situation between Poland and Germany,
agreed to negotiate. The decisive thing in these crucial
days of the 30th and 31st is, therefore, the following: the
Fuehrer had drafted these conditions. England knew that the
possibility of arriving at a solution existed. All during
the 30th of August we heard nothing from Britain, at least
nothing definite. Only at midnight, I think, did the British
Ambassador report for this discussion. In the meantime, I
must mention that, at 7.00 o'clock in the evening the news
of the general mobilisation in Poland had been received,
which excited the Fuehrer extremely. Through that, the
situation had become extraordinarily acute. I still remember
exactly the situation at the Chancellery, where almost
hourly reports were received about incidents, streams of
refugees and so forth. It was an atmosphere heavily charged
with electricity. The Fuehrer waited all through the 30th;
no definite answer had arrived. Then, at midnight the 30th,
that conversation took place. What took place at this
meeting has already been described by me here and also by a
witness, the interpreter Schmidt.

I did more at that time than I was allowed to do, in that I
read the entire contents to Sir Neville Henderson. I was
hoping that England perhaps might do something yet. The
Fuehrer had told Sir Neville Henderson that a Polish
plenipotentiary would be treated on equal terms. Therefore,
there was the possibility of meeting somewhere at an
appointed place or of someone coming to Berlin, or of the
Polish Ambassador Lipski being given the necessary
authorities. Those were the possibilities. I would even like
to go further.

All that was necessary, during the 30th or the 31st, until
late that night or the next morning when the march began,
was that the Polish Ambassador Lipski should have authority
at least to receive in his hands the German proposals. Had
this been done, the diplomatic negotiations would in any
case have been under way, and thus the crisis would have
been averted, at least, for the time being.

I also believe - and I have said so already - that there
would have been no objections. I believe the Fuehrer would
have welcomed it, if the British Ambassador had
participated. The basis for the negotiations, I have
mentioned this also already here, was called reasonable by
Sir Neville Henderson personally. One hint from the British
government during the 30th or 31st and negotiations could
have been assumed on the basis of these proposals of the
Fuehrer, accepted even by the British as reasonable. It
would have caused no embarrassment to the Poles, and, I
believe, that on the basis of these reasonable proposals,
which were absolutely in accord with the charter of the
League of Nations, which provided for a plebiscite in the
Corridor area, a solution, perfectly acceptable for Poland,
would have been possible.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now for ten

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, the Tribunal desires me to say
that they think that your answers and your explanations are
too long, too argumentative, and too repetitive and they are
upon matters which have been gone over and over again before
the Tribunal, so they would therefore ask you to try and
keep your answers as short as possible.



Did I understand you correctly, witness, on Friday, that you
did not know about the connection between Quisling and the
defendant Rosenberg in the spring and summer of 1939. It was
well before the war - spring and summer, before June of

A. Yes, it is correct, I knew that Rosenberg had friends in
Norway and that the name of Quisling was mentioned, but this
name meant nothing to me at that

                                                  [Page 246]

time. On the request of the Fuehrer, I gave Rosenberg
certain amounts of monies for his friends in Norway; for
newspapers, propaganda and similar purposes.

Q. You did not know, as I understand your testimony, that
some of Quisling's men had been in a training school in
Germany in August of 1939, before the war?

A. No, I do not remember that. I learned of it here through
a document. But I do not recall having known anything about
it. At any rate, if I had known anything about it, I should
not have known what it really meant.

Q. Did you know that the Germans living in Norway had been
used to enlarge and extend the staff of the various German
official agencies, the legation and the consulates, soon
after the beginning of the war?

A. No, I do not remember that at the moment at all. At that
time, I probably never did get to know the truth about it,
if such was the case.

Q. It is the quotation from the year book of the N.S.D.A.P.
All I want to know at the moment is whether or not you knew
about that. If you say you did not -

A. No, I do not know and cannot say a thing about it. I am

Q. Did you know at the time in December, 1939, that Quisling
had two interviews with Hitler on the 16th and 18th

A. No, I did not know that either. What was the date, may I

Q. 16th and 18th December, 1939 - through the defendant
Raeder -

A. No, I knew nothing of these interviews, according to my

Q. So that practically, the first matter that you knew about
in regard to Norway was when you got the letter from Raeder,
dated the 3rd April?

A. No, I believe that was a letter from Keitel. I believe
that is a misunderstanding.

Q. I beg your pardon. It is a mistake of mine. I am sorry.
Do you remember a letter from Keitel, where he says "The
Military Occupation of Denmark and Norway had, by order of
the Fuehrer been long prepared by the High Command of the
Wehrmacht - the High Command of the Wehrmacht had therefore
ample time to occupy itself with all the questions connected
with the carrying out of this operation." So really, witness
- I may perhaps be able to shorten the matter - you are
really not a very good person to ask about the earlier
preparations with regard to Norway, because you were not au
fait with these earlier discussions with Quisling and With
Raeder and Hitler. Is that right? If so, I will leave the

A. No, I was not au fait with these discussions. But I
should like to make clear - that I received this letter -
why, I do not know - only some days later. The first
intimation of the intentions of the occupation of Norway,
due to the anticipated landing of the British, I received
about 36 hours ahead of time, from the Fuehrer. The letter
was probably longer under way than it should have been. I
saw it only afterwards.

Q. Then I shall not occupy time because there is a good deal
to cover, and I will take you straight to the question of
the Low Countries. You have heard me read, and probably
other people read, more than once, the statement of Hitler's
on the 22nd of August, 1939. "Another possibility is the
violation of Dutch, Belgian and Swiss neutrality. I have no
doubt that all these States, as well as Scandinavia, will
defend their neutrality by all available means. England and
France will not violate the neutrality of these countries."
That is what Hitler said on the 22nd of August. You were not
there, and I ask you again if he expressed the same opinion
to you?

A. No, he did not do that.

Q. Did you know that from a very early date, on the 7th of
October, 1939, that an Army Group order was given that Army
Group B is to make all preparations, according to special
orders, for immediate invasion of Dutch and Belgian
territory if the political situation so demands. Did you
know of that order on the 7th of October?

A. No, I believe I have seen it here; I did not know of it

                                                  [Page 247]

Q. Did you know that on the 9th of October, Hitler issued a
directive: "A long waiting period results not only in the
ending of the advantage over the Western Powers, of Belgian,
and perhaps also of Dutch neutrality, but also strengthens
the military power of our enemies to an increasing degree,
causes confidence of the neutrals in final German victory to
wane. Preparations should be made for offensive action on
the Northern flank of the Western Front, crossing the area
of Luxembourg, Belgium, and Holland. This attack must be
carried out as soon as and as forcibly as possible." Did you
know that Hitler issued that directive on the 9th of

A. No, I did not know that.

Q. So that as far as you were concerned - you are telling
the Tribunal that Hitler gave his assurance, the many
assurances, in August and October, without telling his
Foreign Minister that on the 7th and 9th of October, he had
given the directive for the attack on the Low Countries -
that he did not tell you as to his order or his directive
for his attack on the Low Countries? Are you sure of that?

A. I am pretty sure of that, otherwise I should recall it. I
know one thing, that such thoughts, as to whether or not an
offensive should be assumed in the West, after the Polish
Campaign, had occasionally been discussed, but I never heard
about any orders.

Q. I see. If you say that is the state of your knowledge, we
will pass on to something about which you know a  little bit
more. Do you remember the meeting of Hitler and yourself
with Ciano at Obersalzberg on the 12th of August, 1939?

A. Yes, I saw the document - the minutes - about it, here.

Q. Well, then, I want you to just look at that document, and
it is Page 181. I want you to follow while I read one
passage, which should be about Page 182. It is on my second
page and it is a paragraph which begins, "As Poland makes it
clear by her whole attitude that in case of conflict ..."

A. I have not found it yet.

Q. Well, if you look for that "As Poland makes it clear by
her whole attitude ..."

A. Is that the beginning of the paragraph?

Q. Yes. "As Poland makes it clear ... " It is two paragraphs
on from a single line that says at that point "Count Ciano
showed signs of ... "

A. I have found it, yes.

Q. Would you look at the next sentence, "Generally speaking
..." This is the next sentence but one:

  "Generally speaking, it would be best to liquidate the
  pseudo-neutrals one after the other. This is fairly
  easily done if one Axis partner protects the rear of the
  other who is just finishing off one of the uncertain
  neutrals, and vice versa. Italy may consider Yugoslavia
  such a pseudo-neutral.
  At the visit of Prince Regent Paul, he, Hitler suggested,
  particularly in consideration of Italy, that Prince Paul
  should clarify his political attitude towards the Axis by
  a gesture. He had thought of a closer connection with the
  Axis, and Yugoslavia's leaving the League of Nations.
  Prince Paul agreed to the latter. Recently the Prince
  Regent was in London and sought reassurance of the
  Western Powers. The same thing was repeated that happened
  in the case of Gafencu, who was also very reasonable
  during his visit to Germany and who denied any interest
  in the aims of the Western democracies."

Now, that was Hitler's formulation of his policy, and may I
take it that that was the policy which you were assisting to
carry out, to liquidate the pseudo-neutrals one after the
other, and include, among these pseudo-neutrals, Yugoslavia?

A. No, that is not to be understood in that way. I must
state the following in this connection. The situation was
this: Hitler wanted under all circumstances to keep Italy on
our side. Italy was always a very unreliable partner. For

                                                  [Page 248]

reason, the Fuehrer spoke at that time in a way calculated
to tell Italy that, if it came to difficulties with
Yugoslavia, Germany would support her. It can only be
understood from the situation which was this: Germany, with
Italy's assistance, had already peacefully carried out some
revisions in Europe, except for Danzig and the Corridor,
during which Mussolini supported Hitler. I remember the
situation -

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