The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/04

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will not sit on Saturday.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I ask the indulgence of the Tribunal and
have permission to put one more question to witness Schmidt,
a question which I had overlooked putting before the recess?





Q. Witness, in November 1937, in the course of measures
introduced against the illegal movements, certain materials
were confiscated which were given the name " Tafs papers".
Is the person of Herr von Papen referred to in these "Tafs

A. As far as I can recollect, a number of documents were
discovered one after the other along with this material
which we called the "Tafs plan". I think I can remember that
in one of these documents Papen was mentioned. An attempt on
the life of the German Ambassador to Vienna was to be the
cause for internal

                                                  [Page 207]

disturbances in Austria, which were to be followed by
repressive measures by the government; and then later this
was to lead to measures on the part of the German Reich. I
cannot remember the details of that plan any more.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Thank you.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for the defendant von
Neurath): With the permission of the Tribunal, I should now
like to put a few questions to this witness.


Q. Dr. Schmidt, when and on what occasion did you meet Herr
von Neurath?

A. I met von Neurath in November 1937 in Berlin, where I
paid him a visit in response to his invitation.

Q. Can you tell us what attitude von Neurath, as German
Foreign Minister, had with regard to the relations of the
German Reich with Austria? In particular, can you tell us
his views regarding the agreement of the 11th July, 1936? In
this connection I should like to draw your attention to the
fact that the prosecution has alleged that, as it is
expressed, von Neurath concluded this agreement in a
deceptive way.

A. During the few times I met von Neurath he always
expressed the view that he was in favour of an independent
Austria, and with this he wanted the closest possible
co-operation in the foreign political, economic and military
spheres. Our negotiations always proceeded on the basis of
the 11th of July agreement, and differences of opinion only
arose about the interpretation of the agreement. Neurath, on
behalf of the German government, held that the agreement
should, if possible, work actively in his interest, while
we, for defensive reasons, preferred a different
interpretation. At any rate, Neurath rejected means of
violence and followed approximately the line of an Austria
which was independent but as close as possible to Germany.

Q. What was Neurath's attitude towards the extreme factions
of the Party in the Reich which, in practice, followed a
policy of intervention in the internal affairs of Austria?

A. As I have already mentioned, Neurath rejected methods of
violence, and with them the methods of intervention, and
also the methods of the illegal party in Austria. From
conversations which I had with him I believe that I can
state this unequivocally. This is also attested by his
complete rejection of the activity of State Secretary
Keppler and Weselmeier, who were certainly among the
pioneers of the new development in the South-east and
primarily in Austria. The expressions which he used in that
connection allow no doubt regarding his attitude.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, I have no further

DR. SEIDL (Counsel for Frank and Hess): Mr. President, may I
have permission to represent my colleague, Dr. Stahmer, who
is absent and put a few questions on behalf of defendant
Goering to the witness?



Q. Witness, you have just stated that in November 1937 you
paid an official visit to Berlin?

A. Yes.

Q. On that occasion, did you also talk to the then Field
Marshal Goering?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it correct that even at that time Field Marshal
Goering already told you that the Austrian problem could
only be solved by the complete union of the two brother
peoples, that is to say, by the annexation of Austria to the
Reich, and that he for his part would do everything to
achieve that end?

A. It was not told me in those words. The former
Reichsmarschall probably did refer in an insistent way to a
close co-operation with Austria, but a demand for an
Anschluss was not mentioned as far as I can remember. As an
illustration to that, I could say that at that time the
events of the 25th of July, 1934 were discussed.

                                                  [Page 208]

I expressed the view that the agreement of July, '36 ought
to put a final touch to that development, and
Reichsmarschall Goering stated that he had called the
'wirepuller' of this affair to account - I believe he
mentioned Habicht - and had banished him to some obscure
part of Germany. From this remark alone it appears,
therefore, there could have been no talk of an Anschluss.
The former Reichsmarschall welcomed the development caused
by the 11th of July 1936, that is that a full stop had been
put to the then existing development, which one had to
describe as a state of war, as it had been up to the 11th of
July, 1936.

Q. Is it correct that on the morning of the Anschluss, that
is to say, the morning of the 12th of March, 1938, Goering
had you come to Berlin by aeroplane?

A. No. That was either Monday or Tuesday; it must have been
the 15th or 16th.

Q. When you were in Berlin, did he put the question to you
whether you yourself or Schuschnigg had asked for help from
foreign powers, military help, on the day before the

A. I cannot remember having heard that question.

Q. You stated this morning that, with the Anschluss,
National Socialism in Austria became a reality. I now ask
you, was not National Socialism also a political reality in
Austria even before the Anschluss?

A. Yes, certainly a political reality, but I am talking of a
political reality in the sense of an organized power in the

THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid you are going a little bit too
fast - well I do not know what it was. Anyhow, you had
better repeat it because the interpreters do not seem to
have got it.


Q. The question was whether or not National Socialism in
Austria had been a political reality even before the
Anschluss, and I put this question with reference to the
fact that the witness had said this morning that National
Socialism did not become a reality in Austria until the
German troops marched in.

A. By the term "political reality" I meant that National
Socialism had then got the State power into its hands,
because until then it represented a prohibited party, which
of course, after the agreement of 12th February, was
supposed to be drawn within the framework of the Fatherland
Front for responsible co-operation in political affairs.

In other words, I wanted to show the basic change, which
came about for National Socialism with the arrival of the
German troops.

Q. Now, one last question: After the Anschluss, did you not
repeatedly tell the Reichsmarschall that the Fatherland
Front, on the occasion of the Anschluss, collapsed like a
house of cards?

A. Yes, of course, I cannot remember individual statements,
but the collapse of the Fatherland Front did, of course,
occur when the Chancellor resigned. The Fatherland Front was
the gathering point of the resistance, and with the 11th of
March, the resistance collapsed.

DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution want to cross-examine?



Q. Dr. Schmidt, when, for the first time - if you know - did
the defendant von Papen suggest to Chancellor Schuschnigg
that he, Schuschnigg, should have a meeting with Hitler?

A. Late in autumn 1937; it must have been November, von
Papen made the suggestion for such a meeting. This
suggestion did not, however, have any concrete results at
the time. The official invitation was brought by von Papen
on or about the 6th or 7th of February after he had returned
from his visit to Hitler. I heard about the invitation on
that day.

                                                  [Page 209]

Q. Will you also tell us if you know whether or not von
Papen assured Schuschnigg that this meeting would be
restricted to very well-defined points, and that it would
concern itself only with the matters that were agreed upon
between Schuschnigg and von Papen before the conference took

A. The Chancellor himself demanded exact wording for the
agenda of the conference, that is, basic topic: 11th July,
final removal of existing differences and so on and so
forth. That had been agreed between von Papen and

Q. And did von Papen assure Schuschnigg that the meeting
would proceed favourably for Austria?

A. Assure him? No. But a declaration was given by von Papen
to the effect that the situation at the time was favourable.
In this connection, von Papen referred to the conditions
such as had been created on 4th February.

Q. Well -

A. He believed then that Hitler would need a foreign
political success, following these events, and so a certain
success could be scored by the Chancellor at a low price.

Q. Of course, what I am trying to clear up here - and you
can answer briefly which, I think, will help us - is this:
You and Schuschnigg had the impression that advantage would
accrue to you and to Austria if you attended this meeting,
is that not so?

A. I said earlier that the Chancellor was not optimistic. An
improvement of the situation, therefore, was hardly
expected, only a removal of the existing differences.

Q. Now, the night before you left for Berchtesgaden, you had
a conversation with a man by the name of Hornbastel, is that
so? The Ambassador.

A. Yes.

Q. And had you already had a conversation with Seyss-Inquart
that same evening, you and Schuschnigg?

A. It is possible. During those days, repeated discussions
took place.

Q. Well, maybe I can help you a little. Do you not recall
that Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart were drawing up a memorandum
of some sort about domestic questions, while you and, I
believe, Hornbastel or someone else, were preparing a paper
or papers on international matters or matters of foreign
policy? Does that help you any?

A. I did not understand.

Q. Well, I am referring to the time when you and some of
your associates were preparing a memorandum of some sort
about the foreign questions, and Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart
were preparing papers about domestic affairs. You remember
that, do you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, you were alarmed that night about Seyss-Inquart,
were you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And why were you alarmed? What was the cause of your
alarm? What did you fear at the hands of Seyss-Inquart?

A. The drafts which I saw before my departure and which had
been worked out by Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart as a basis for
a part of the political discussions appeared to me to be
politically useless. It was my impression that two men were
at work here who perhaps enjoyed talking, but who did not do
justice to the seriousness of the situation. There were
expressions used, such as the difference between the
Austrian National Socialist ideology and the National
Socialist. But there is no difference. An Austrian National
Socialist ideology can only be National Socialist. I
criticized these matters in one of my talks.

Q. Will you agree that he was combining with Hitler and that
bad things would result from it for Austria?

By "him" I mean Seyss-Inquart.

A. No, at that time I had no fear that there was a secret
agreement between Hitler and Seyss-Inquart.

                                                  [Page 210]

Q. Now, when you got to Berchtesgaden the next day, you
found that much of the material that had been discussed
between Zernatto and yourself and Seyss-Inquart and
Schuschnigg was the basis for Hitler's demands on
Schuschnigg, is that not so?

A. Yes.

Q. And were you not convinced, at least that day, that
Seyss-Inquart had been in communication with Hitler some
time before you got to Berchtesgaden and had communicated to
him these basic demands?

A. We merely had the impression that the basis for this
conference was a draft which had been prepared by men who
knew the conditions. Therefore, this list of demands was
based on a large portion of the Zernatto-Seyss-Inquart
agreements. The entire programme of demands had not been
made known to us previously.

Q. You and Schuschnigg represented Austria that day at

A. Yes.

Q. Hitler, von Papen, von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Sperrle, and
Reichenau, represented Germany?

A. Yes.

Q. You and von Papen and Schuschnigg rode from the frontier
together in the same railway coach, did you, to

A. Yes.

Q. And in the course of that -

A. (Interrupting). Whether Papen was in the same coach, I am
not sure but we were together on the way back.

Q. Well, he was on the train, was he not, whether he was in
the same coach or not? Did he not get on the train at the
frontier and ride on with you and Schuschnigg?

A. That I no longer know.

Q. Did he meet you at the frontier?

A. He was waiting for us at the frontier.

Q. Perhaps I am confused, but what I am getting at is a
particular conversation that you and Schuschnigg had with
von Papen, either right at the time you met him at the
frontier, or in the course of your trip up to Berchtesgaden,
when he told you that, "Oh, by the way, there are going to
be a few generals up there. I hope you won't mind." Do you
remember von Papen saying that?

A. Well, generals were mentioned, yes. Schuschnigg had said
- whether Keitel's name was mentioned, that I can no longer
remember - that he would be there.

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