The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/23

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is on Page 89, and it is
at the end of Page 65 of the German version, defendant.

You see, this is after, I think, the Gestapo had won the
internecine struggle and got possession of the body of Herr
von Tschirschky, and just toward the end - my Lord, it is
the middle of Page 89 - he is told the other police are
following the Gestapo, and he says:

  "We went to the Gestapo building in the Prince
  Albrechtsstrasse and through a courtyard to a back
  entrance. There was another exchange of words between the
  two groups of criminal police. I again joined in this
  debate and suggested, as a way of clearing up the
  misunderstanding, that a man from each of the groups
  should see some higher authority in the building and let
  him decide what should be done. There would still be
  three criminal police officials and four SS men available
  to guard myself and the other two gentlemen. This course
  was adopted; and eventually they came back and explained
  that the misunderstanding was now cleared up and we could
  be taken away. Whereupon we were taken by three SS men,
  not accompanied by the criminal police officials, on a
  lengthy trip through the building into the basement.
  There we were handed over without comment and were
  ordered by the SS men on duty there to go and sit on a
  bench against the wall, in the passage. We were then
  forbidden to talk to each other. I spent a few hours like
  this sitting on the bench. It would make too long a story
  to give further details of the events which took place
  during this time. I will therefore restrict myself to the
  case of the shooting of a well-known personality who was
  publicly stated to have committed suicide.
  The person in question was brought in under the escort of
  three SS men and led past us into a cell running parallel
  to our corridor. The leader of the detachment was an SS
  Hauptsturmfuehrer, short, dark, and carrying an army
  pistol in his hand. I heard the command 'Guard the door.'
  The door leading from our corridor into the other one was
  shut. Five shots were fired, and, immediately after the
  shots, the Hauptsturmfuehrer came out of the door with
  the still smoking pistol in his hand, muttering under his
  breath, 'That swine is settled.' Feverish excitement
  reigned all around; cries and shrieks of terror were
  heard from the cells. One of the SS men on duty, a
  comparative youngster, was so excited that he apparently
  lost all consciousness of the entire situation and
  informed me, illustrating his remarks with his fingers,
  that the person concerned had been liquidated by means of
  three shots in the temple and two in the back of the


Q. You had a pretty good idea of SS and Gestapo methods
after Herr von Tschirschky had given you that report, had
you not?

A. Yes, and you can also see that this report -

                                                  [Page 372]

Q. Tell us, before we leave that elevating extract which I
have just read, who writhe well-known person who was
supposed to have committed suicide and who was shot with
three shots in the temple and two in the back of the head.
Who was it?

A. I cannot tell you. I do not know.

Q. Do you mean to say that Herr von Tschirschky was on your
staff for several months afterwards and he never told you
who this was?

A. I do not recall, Sir David, that he discussed this matter
with me; and in any case I may have forgotten it. In any
event one of the best-known personalities.

Q. Just pause. You say you might have forgotten. Do you mean
that dreadful occurrences like this were so familiar to you
that you cannot remember the account of the actual shooting
of a supposed suicide who was a prominent person?

Have another think. Cannot you tell the Tribunal who this
unfortunate man was?

A. If I remembered that, I would willingly tell you. I have
no reason to conceal the information.

Q. Well now, just let the Tribunal see how you passed this
on to Hitler. You believed, did you not, that Herr von
Tschirschky was telling the truth? You said so. You believed
he was telling the truth, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Well now, will you look at Page -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Page 86 of the
English version and, defendant, it is 58 of the German book,
Page 58.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, are you going to investigate the
facts as to what happened to the man who made this report?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, yes, I will clear that up.
I am so sorry.


Q. Defendant, just before we come to what happened when he
made the report, Herr von Tschirschky himself was - I think
he went to a concentration camp and had his head shaved, and
then eventually, after a certain period, he was released and
rejoined your service and was in your service up until
February of 1935. Is not that so, defendant?

A. Yes, that is quite correct.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, my Lord. That takes up
the story until we come to February 1935. He is then asked
to report to the Gestapo and then this correspondence takes


Q. Now, you see that in your letter to Hitler of 5th
February, which is Document 684-D, Exhibit GB 510, you say:

  "As already reported yesterday by telegram, I have passed
  on to Herr von Tschirschky the order of 2nd instant,
  repeating the demand that he appear on the date fixed by
  the Gestapo, 5th February.
  He then stated to me officially that he would not comply
  with this order as he was convinced that he would be
  killed in one way or another. He will give all his
  reasons for this refusal in a report which I will submit
  as soon as I receive it.
  Yesterday I finally relieved Herr von Tschirschky, whom I
  had already suspended for the duration of the
  proceedings, of his post. It goes without saying that I
  shall break off all connections of an official nature as
  soon as the files, etc., have been handed over tomorrow."

Then you say you telegraphed the defendant von Neurath and
you had given Herr von Tschirschky sick leave. Then just
look at the last paragraph.

                                                  [Page 373]

  "After I had repeatedly asked that Herr von Tschirschky
  be given a chance to clear himself before a regular judge
  of the charges laid against him, I am naturally
  exceedingly sorry that the affair is now ending thus. I
  left nothing undone to induce Herr von Tschirschky to
  take the course indicated to him of submitting to
  interrogation by the Gestapo."

Defendant, is that right, that you left nothing undone to
get this man on your staff sent to his death, to be murdered
by the Gestapo?

A. I think it would be fair, Sir David, to call the
attention of the High Tribunal to the other letters which
show that I asked Hitler not only once, but repeatedly, to
have the matter of Tschirschky investigated by means of a
regular trial.

Q. That is quite true and it was referred to in that letter.

A. Yes, of course, but please let me finish -

Q. Yes.

A. When this proposal was turned down and the Fuehrer would
not agree to have a regular trial, he - Hitler - let me know
that he would use his personal influence, and that he would
assume personal responsibility that nothing would happen to
Herr von Tschirschky if he was investigated by the Gestapo.
You will also find that in these letters. The Fuehrer
promised him exceptional immunity if he would allow himself
to be interrogated by the Gestapo. Therefore, after the
suggestion for a regular trial had been turned down and
Hitler had promised that nothing would happen to Herr von
Tschirschky, I asked him to submit to the investigation, as
the charges made against him had to be cleared up somehow.
But I believe -

Q. Would you turn back to your letter of 31st January, which
you will find -

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, I think you should read the whole
of this letter with which you have just been dealing, the
5th of February, at some stage.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I will. My Lord, I do not
want to omit anything, but I am, of course, trying to
shorten the matter, but I will read anything your Lordship

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal ought to be in possession of the
whole letter. You stopped at the word "courier," in the
middle with reference to reporting.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord. With reference to
reporting his dismissal to the Austrian Government:

  "With regard to reporting his dismissal to the Austrian
  Government, I am afraid that if I dismiss him abruptly
  tomorrow, the matter will become the theme of public
  discussion. I think this scandal should be avoided and
  have therefore given Herr von Tschirschky sick leave in
  the meantime, as far as the public is concerned. I shall
  report his dismissal later.
  I shall return to the Tschirschky affair and its
  connections with other current Gestapo questions in
  Vienna later, in a detailed report."

My Lord, I am grateful.

THE PRESIDENT: You left off after the word "Gestapo" in the
next paragraph.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, I will read the whole thing
again. "After I had repeatedly asked - "

THE PRESIDENT: No, you had read that down to "Gestapo," but
you did not go on with the rest.


  "But if he persists in his resolve to avoid this
  interrogation, even though he knows that this means
  social and material ruin for himself and his family, and
  as he has given me his word that he will do nothing while
  an emigre which would be harmful to the Fuehrer and to
  the country, I can only add my wish that everything
  should be avoided which could turn this affair into an.
  open scandal."

I am grateful, my Lord.

                                                  [Page 374]


Q. Now, defendant, you had already said to Hitler on the
31st January, which was five days before that - Page 84, my
Lord, and the foot of Page 55 and the beginning of 56 of the
German book:

  "Herr von Tschirschky, whom I have incidentally for the
  time being relieved of his duties; has now learned from
  several sources, which he - and I myself as well,
  unfortunately - regard as authentic, that some persons
  belonging to the Gestapo have for some considerable time
  been planning to liquidate him."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that will be Document
683-D, Exhibit GB 511.


Q. You believed that it was authentic on 31st January that
the Gestapo wished to liquidate him. On 5th February, in the
part that the Tribunal just asked me to read, you say that
it will be the ruin of his social and material position and
of his family, but if the thing is kept quiet, your wish is
that everything should be done to avoid a scandal.

Now, defendant -

A. My wish was first of all that everything possible should
be done to have the matter cleared by means of a public

Q. That was your first wish, but you very soon gave that up.

A. Just a moment, please. After Hitler had refused to agree
to my wish, and after he had determined that von Tschirschky
would enjoy the personal protection of himself during the
investigation by the Gestapo - that is, if the head of the
State says "I will be responsible for the fact that nothing
will happen to Herr von Tschirschky," then, naturally, you
will allow that the only course of action open to me is to
say to Herr von Tschirschky, "Take this course and let them
interrogate you; for after all you have to clear yourself of
the suspicion resting on you."

Q. Defendant, let me remind you that there is not a word in
your letter of 5th February about any promise from Hitler to
give an indemnity to Herr von Tschirschky. All that you are
saying is that he will disappear into disgrace. There is
nothing in any other letter either.

A. Yes. It is in one of Tschirschky's reports. I cannot find
it at the moment.

Q. Well, if you can find anything about an indemnity, I can
only tell you that I have not been able to find it in any of
your letters.

A. But it is there.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps the defendant could look for this
document at the recess, at one o'clock.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, very well. My Lord, if there is
such a document, I am very sorry; I do not know about it.

Yes, my Lord; I am sorry. I think I have got the reference.
On Page 91, my Lord. It is not in the defendant's letter,
but there is a reference in Herr von Tschirschky's report.
On Page 91, my Lord. It says:

  "In conclusion, as to the reason why I feel myself under
  no obligation either to appear before the Gestapo or to
  return to the Reich at all, in spite of the extraordinary
  protection promised me by the Fuehrer and Chancellor, I
  make the following declaration:
  During the period of my activities in Berlin, information
  had already frequently reached me to the effect that
  there existed in the Reich a terror organization which
  had sworn an oath of mutual allegiance in life and death.
  It is expressly pointed out to men who are or may be
  accepted into this brotherhood that they are under an
  obligation to submit to the secret court, and that they
  are in duty bound, when carrying out their tasks, to feel
  that they belong in a high degree to the brotherhood, and
  only in a smaller degree to Adolf Hitler. I could not
  have believed this monstrous thing, had I not

                                                  [Page 375]

  been informed of it about six months previously by a man
  in the Reich - I wish to stress this particularly - who
  is not opposed to the Third Reich, but quite the
  opposite, a man who, in his innermost convictions,
  believes in Adolf Hitler's mission, a Reich. German and a
  National Socialist of many years' standing, who himself
  at one time was asked to join this brotherhood, but who
  was able cleverly to withdraw from it. This man has
  assured me of his willingness publicly to announce the
  names which he mentioned to me of members of this
  brotherhood, or to swear an affidavit to this effect in
  case these people should be already dead. He must only be
  assured that this terrorist brotherhood is no longer
  active, especially as there are persons belonging to this
  brotherhood who are among those most trusted by the
  Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor."

I am sorry; I knew there was nothing in the letters from the
defendant, but I had forgotten that there was this passage
in the report of Tschirschky.


Q. Now, that was von Tschirschky. You told us that Baron von
Ketteler was murdered at the end of your time in Vienna. You
remember Baron von Ketteler's father was murdered, if my
memory is right, and that caused the German expedition
against the Boxers in China. That is the family the
gentleman belonged to, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, the effect of this, the murder of von Ketteler, on
you after the experience with von Tschirschky was that you
were ready to take new employment under the Nazi Government
in Turkey.

There is just one other point that I want to put to you.

A. May I add just a few remarks on this point? I told the
Tribunal -

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