The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/07

Q. It is the Reich Health Law referring to people suffering
from heart and lung diseases.

A. I know nothing whatsoever about that law.

Q. Would you have had to know about it?

A. Yes, the Minister of the Interior would have had to know
about it. Health matters were dealt with in his ministry. It
never reached me.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

BY DR. STEINBAUER (counsel for defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. Witness, one day after the German troops marched into
Austria a law was published - on 13th March, 1938 - which
has the heading, "Law for the Reunion of Austria with the
German Reich." Seyss-Inquart and his Government were
surprised by the contents of this law. I now ask you whether
you know the details as to how this law was decreed in Linz
on 13th March, 1938.

A. Like every other radio listener I heard about the march
of German troops into Austria through the radio. And since I
assumed that I might be needed I went to Vienna. At that
time the law bad already been signed and published. I did
not participate in the drafting of this law; the Minister of
the Interior and State Secretary Stuckart drafted that law.
I did not work on it at all, because I didn't even know that
this action was to take place.

Q. Did these gentlemen you just mentioned tell you, perhaps,
why this law was published so precipitately?

A. It was the wish of the Fuehrer.

Q. Thank you. At the same time Dr. Seyss-Inquart was named
S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer, not as the prosecution has stated,
S.S. General, and in addition the Fuehrer promised him that
within one year he would be made a member of the Reich
Government. In 1939 he actually did become Minister without
Portfolio. Did Seyss-Inquart in his capacity as an S.S.
Obergruppenfuehrer and as Minister without Portfolio carry
out any functions of any kind?

                                                  [Page 157]

A. As far as I know, Seyss-Inquart didn't become
Obergruppenfuehrer but Gruppenfuehrer. That was merely an
honorary rank which was given him. He had no power to issue
orders in the S.S. and he never served in the S.S., as far
as I know. He merely wore the uniform, and later on he
became Obergruppenfuehrer.

Q. In other words, this was entirely an honorary rank, a
matter of uniform, as you correctly say.

A. Yes, a sort of honorary rank.

Q. Thank you. One year later Seyss-Inquart was appointed
Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands and in the Law
Gazette for the Netherlands as well as in the Reich Law
Gazette this appointment was published. Do you know whether,
apart from this published decree which appointed him Reich
Commissioner, he was also given a task within the framework
of the Four-Year Plan?

A. From the moment of his appointment as Reich Commissioner
for the Netherlands Seyss-Inquart experienced the same
limitations of authority as I described yesterday in
connection with Herr Frank and Herr Rosenberg. In other
words, certain powers were held in reserve for the trustee
for the Four-Year Plan who everywhere could exercise
comprehensive command powers. To this extent his position
was limited from the very beginning.

Q. What was the position of the German police in the
Netherlands? Were the German police directly under the
command of the defendant Seyss-Inquart or were they under
the Reich Leader S.S. Himmler?

A. The conditions here are exactly the same, or similar, as
I described them yesterday in connection with the Government
General. The Higher S.S. and Police- Leader was at the
disposal of the Reich Commissioner but his technical
instructions came from Himmler.

Q. Thank you. Do you, witness, recollect that at the
beginning of 1944 you forwarded to the defendant, in his
capacity as Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands, an order
from the Fuehrer to draft 250,000 workers in the
Netherlands; and that Seyss-Inquart refused to do this?

A. This is the letter which I mentioned previously when I
was being asked questions in connection with Sauckel. It is
a circular letter in which everybody was asked to support
Sauckel's action and individual offices were given orders
regarding the numbers of workers they were to supply.
However, I cannot remember whether the number was 250,000
workers in Seyss-Inquart's case. But I do know that Seyss-
Inquart told me that he had considerable misgivings about
getting the number ordered of him. He wanted to take these
misgivings up with the Fuehrer.

DR. STEINBAUER: Thank you. I have no further questions.

BY DR. LATERNSER (counsel for General Staff and O.K.W.):

Q. Witness, did Hitler come to power in 1933 with the help
of the Reichswehr, [REVIEWER'S NOTE: The Reichswehr was the
defence force of 100,000 men allowed Germany by the
Versailles Treaty.] that is, was there any military pressure
employed in that connection?

A. I myself didn't participate directly in the seizure of
power. I can't tell you, therefore, the exact details. At
any rate, nothing is known to me about the Reichswehr having
had any influence on the seizure of power. I assume that, if
that had been the case, one would have heard about it.

Q. In 1934 there followed co-ordination of the offices of
Head of State and Reich Chancellor in the person of Hitler.
Could the military leaders have refused to swear the oath of
allegiance to Hitler without violating a law?

A. The law regarding the Head of State was decreed
constitutionally and thereby the Fuehrer became the Supreme
Commander of the Armed Forces. Any possibility of resisting
did not exist. That would have been pure revolt; it would
have been mutiny.

Q. Did you ever hear that military leaders made proposals
regarding, the starting or the preparation of an aggressive

                                                  [Page 158]

A. No, not in the least.

Q. It is well known that Hitler did not permit military
leaders any influence upon his political decisions. Did you
know of any statements made by Hitler in which he denied the
generals the right to a political judgement?

A. From the military point of view the Fuehrer praised the
generals as a group and also individual generals very
highly. As far as politics were concerned, he was always of
the opinion that they knew nothing about politics and that
one should, as far as possible, keep them away from a
position where political matters had to be decided.

Q. It is also known that Hitler wouldn't suffer any
contradiction. Wasn't that the real reason for Blomberg's
dismissal and the dismissal of Fritsch and Beck - the act
that they repeatedly contradicted him?

A. Yes, I assume that such personal differences in the end
did bring about the dismissal of Schacht, Blomberg, von
Neurath and von Fritsch. But I was never present at such
conferences and I cannot therefore report what was said. But
I do think that they often contradicted the Fuehrer.

Q. Did Hitler distrust the generals, particularly those of
the Army?

A. One cannot generalise about that. The Fuehrer was rather
reserved in his behaviour towards most people. He told each
one only what actually concerned him. If you call that
distrust, then this distrust was present in his relations
with almost all ministers and generals, for nobody was told
any more than the Fuehrer wanted him to hear.

Q. Among the circle of persons who had Hitler's complete
confidence was there any military leader?

A. I do not believe so. I don't know of one.

Q. Now one last question: What was the reason for putting
the bulk of the occupied territories under Reich
commissioners and only a few of them under military

A. As a rule it was the Fuehrer's wish that occupied
territories be administered by political leaders. He
considered generals unsuited for that task, because he
accused them - I might put it this way - of having no
political instinct.

Q. Wasn't it the plan to replace the military administration
in Belgium by a civilian commissioner even before 1944?

A. That had long been provided for. Preparations had already
been made, but the Fuehrer could not decide to put it in
force because he had always been told that in the case of
Belgium there were important military reasons for not
establishing a civilian administration since Belgium might
possibly become again a zone of combat. So the decision was
postponed a year and still longer.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do the prosecution wish to cross-examine?



Q. Witness, there is one matter upon which I want to
question you, as to the powers of Reich Ministers under the
Constitution of Nazi Germany. It appears, from your
testimony, that they were men with very little authority or
jurisdiction or power of command of any kind, that they were
men of straw. Is that so?

A. Well, to say no authority goes too far. I mean in respect
to politics...

Q. But, they were of an extremely limited character. That is
what you are saying to the Tribunal, isn't it?

A. In the main they were administrative chiefs in their
ministries. They were not political ministers who were
consulted in regard to large-scale political matters.

Q. Less authority than the ministers of Germany had under
the previous Constitution?

A. That, beyond doubt, was the case, for under the former
Constitution votes

                                                  [Page 159]
were taken and the minister could at least give expression
to his authority by voting against something in the
Cabinet.Q. I am now going to put to you some observations
which you yourself made in 1938 about the powers of
ministers in the Fuehrer's State. I am referring to Document
3863-PS. This is your comment on the Staatsfuehrer in the
Third Reich:

   "From this basic total concentration of supreme power in
   the person of the Fuehrer there results, however, no
   excessively strong and unnecessary centralisation of
   administration in the hands of the Fuehrer. In my
   general elaborations on the basic concept of the Fuehrer
   State I have already pointed out that the authority of
   the subordinate leader (Unterfuehrer) on those beneath
   him forbids interference with every individual order or
   measure of his. This principle was manipulated by the
   Fuehrer in his governmental leadership in such a manner
   that, for example, the position of the Reich ministers
   was actually a much more independent one than formerly,
   even though the Reich ministers were subordinate to the
   Fuehrer's unlimited power of command in respect to their
   entire official sphere, and in respect to every
   individual measure and decision in the most trivial
   matters. Eagerness to bear responsibility, ability to
   make decisions, energy, coupled with initiative, and
   real authority - these were the qualities which the
   Fuehrer demanded above all of his subordinate leaders.
   Therefore he allowed them the greatest freedom in the
   execution of their affairs and in the manner in which
   they fulfilled their tasks."

That is a picture of the power of Reich Ministers, which is
very different from the picture you are painting to the
Tribunal, is it not?

A. In my opinion there is not the least contradiction. All I
am saying here is that every minister normally had no say in
respect to large-scale policies. In his own sphere, however,
he was the supreme administrative chief. I explained here,
that as a subordinate leader he had the widest powers, in so
far as the Fuehrer had left him those powers, and that the
Fuehrer did not narrow-mindedly interfere with these powers.
He did not think of doing that. This concerns matters of
second- and third-grade importance; large-scale policies
were not discussed here.

Q. You see, your picture of the administration of this vast
State of Nazi Germany is a picture of one man deciding all
principal matters himself by his own intuitive powers. Is
that the picture you seek to present to this Tribunal?

A. Yes. The Minister was the supreme leader in his own
sphere and in so far as he was not limited, he had greater
powers than any minister previously had had, because the
Fuehrer did not interfere in small matters.

Q. In the case of the defendant Funk, for instance, you say
that he was a small man with no authority, with no influence
upon the decisions of affairs. Is that so?

A. Regarding the large-scale political decisions he had no
authority. But within his department he had considerable
influence. But those were matters of second- or third-grade

Q. But decisions - but as to profoundly important economic
questions like the amount of wealth that was to be extracted
from the occupied territories, the Fuehrer's decisions were
based upon the representations and recommendations of
ministers like Funk, were they not?

A. I do not know about that. The finance policy in occupied
territories was handled by the Minister for the Eastern
Territories and the Reich Commissioners together with the
Reich Finance Minister.

Q. But as to decisions on economic matters concerned with
the occupied territories, like recommendations as to
occupation costs, as to the technique of purchasing on the
black market, men like Funk had to give recommendations for
determination of policy on these matters, did they not?

A. He co-operated, yes, but he did not have authority over
the Reich Commissioner in the occupied territories. The
Reich Commissioner was directly under Hitler.

                                                  [Page 160]

Q. All these ministers co-operated in their sphere and were
indispensable to the running of this Nazi State, were they

A. Yes, of course, co-operation was a necessity. This does
not mean that Funk had power to issue orders in the occupied
territories. He certainly had none.

Q. You, so far as Funk is concerned, were concerned with
making quite clear what his position was in the State. Do
you recollect that you were concerned with clearing up the
matter as to whether he, Funk, was directly subordinate to
the Fuehrer or not? Do you remember that?

A. Yes, Funk, as a minister, was of course under the

Q. And he was advising the Fuehrer himself, was he not?

A. He very rarely saw the Fuehrer.

Q. But he - in the vital sphere of the financing of
rearmament, for instance - he had important decisions to
communicate to the Fuehrer and advise the Fuehrer upon, did
he not?

A. I don't know to what extent the Fuehrer sent for him for
I was not present at conferences regarding armament credit
and rearmament.

Q. I want to ask you one further question regarding
ministerial matters. Ministers without Portfolio did
continue to receive communications as to the Reich Cabinet,
did they not?

A. They received texts of subjects up for discussion.

Q. The defendant Frank, for instance, was a Minister without

A. Yes.

Q. He continued to receive communications in his capacity as
a Minister without Portfolio?

A. He received all the texts which were received by other
ministers, provided there was a general distribution.

Q. And indeed, when he was the Governor General of the
Government General, he maintained a ministerial office to
deal with the incoming matters of the Reich Cabinet?

A. Whom are you talking about - Frank?

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