The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                   [Page 78]


Q. The prosecution, witness, sees evidence of this pressure
also in the fact that SS units were called to the
Chancellor's office at that time. What can you say to that?

A. I believe it was after Schuschnigg's farewell speech,
when I saw in the anterooms ten or fifteen young men in
black trousers and white shirts, that was the SS. I had the
impression that they were doing messenger and orderly duty
for Secretary of State Keppler and the others. As they
approached the rooms in which Chancellor Schuschnigg and
President Miklas were, I ordered guards of the Austrian
Guard Battalion to be placed at the doors. I may mention
that these were selected men of the Austrian Army who
according to Austrian conceptions were fully armed, while
these SS men, forty at most, possibly carried pistols.
Moreover, fifty steps away from the Chancellor's office were
the barracks of the Guard Battalion, with a few hundred
picked and well-armed men. If President Miklas and
Chancellor Schuschnigg had not been concerned with things
other than those which happened in the Chancellor's office
and on the street outside it, they could easily have put an
end to this situation by calling out the Guard Battalion.

Q. The prosecution has submitted an affidavit of the
Gauleiter of Upper Austria, Eigruber, which states that even
before you became Chancellor, you ordered the seizure of
power in the various Austrian provinces.

A. That is completely incorrect, and the Gauleiter of Upper
Austria also does hot claim to have talked to me. I believe
he says that he received a telegram signed by me. I did not
send a telegram and I did not give oral instructions to any
Gauleiter or to anyone else for the seizure of power.

Later I heard from Globotschnik that he had carried out the
seizure of power. He told me of that in these words:

  "You know, I seized power for you and acted as the
  government; but I did not tell you anything about it,
  because you would have been against it."

Q. You say, you would have been against it. Was the
population against it, too, against the marching in, which
had meanwhile taken place, as described by the defendant

A. One cannot call it a marching in; it was a stormy, loudly
cheered entry of German troops. There were no villages, even
those with a strongly Catholic population, and no working
districts which did not burst out in stormy jubilation. Both
Dr. Schuschnigg and I were completely clear about this; once
he had agreed with me, when I said that the forcible entry
of German troops into Austria could not be stopped by
anything but the ovations of the population.

DR. STEINBAUER: In this connection, I should like to refer
to a document, No. 37, Page 86. This is a quotation from the
book by Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision, describing a
conversation between him and the Italian Foreign Minister,
Count Ciano, and it says:

  "Before the occupation of Austria, Dr. Schuschnigg came
  to Rome. He frankly admitted that in case of an
  occupation of Austria by Germany the majority of the
  Austrians would participate in occupation and that the
  Austrians to a man would join the Germans in a fight
  against Italy, if Italy should send troops to Austria to
  prevent the occupation."


Q. Now, witness, we come to the next day, to the 12th of
March. Did you not at that time have a telephone
conversation with Hitler?

A. Yes; I rang the Fuehrer up in connection with the entry
of troops. I should like to repeat and explain that on the
day before, at about seven o'clock, the negotiations
suddenly came to a stop. Everybody waited. At half past
seven State Secretary Skubl came with the news that the
entry of German troops had actually begun, according to a
report from one of the frontier posts; indeed Field Marshal
Goering had repeatedly said that it would take place.
Thinking that the entry was actually in progress,
Schuschnigg then made his farewell speech. And

                                                   [Page 79]

with that the government of the Fatherland Front resigned
from office. And I state expressly, up to this moment I did
nothing which in any way demanded the taking over of control
in Austria, or to express it more correctly, nothing which
intentionally demanded the establishment of the National
Socialists and the seizure of power. I only negotiated
within the meaning of the treaty of the 12th of February.
But from the moment when the system of the Fatherland Front
came to an end, I considered it my responsibility to take
action. First I made a radio speech, but not the one which
had been prescribed for me in the morning. For I did not
speak of a provisional government, but I referred to myself
as Minister of the Interior. Only then did I call on the SA
and the SS to act as auxiliary police, and, like
Schuschnigg, I gave the order to offer no resistance to the
entry of German troops. Subsequently I was appointed
Chancellor, and my cabinet was approved. On the same night I
drove Dr. Schuschnigg home in my car, because I was afraid
something might happen to him at the hands of provocateurs;
and I asked Dr. Keppler to ring up the Fuehrer and ask him
not to give the order for the entry of troops.
Reichsmarschall Goering spoke about that here.

In the morning I rang up again, then I met the Fuehrer at
the airport in Linz and as the entry of the troops was in
full progress, I asked him whether it would not be possible
to have Austrian troops march into the German Reich, so that
symbolically at least, equal rights would be maintained. The
Fuehrer agreed, and Austrian troops actually marched into
Munich, Berlin, and other cities in Austrian uniform.

Q. How, in your capacity as newly appointed Chancellor, did
you envisage the further development of the situation?

A. Since the system of the Fatherland Front had broken down,
I could no longer entertain my idea of a coalition
government. It was clear to me that a National Socialist
government with a very strong Catholic tendency would shape
developments, but not in the form of an immediate Anschluss,
rather, however, by carrying out appropriate elections and a
plebiscite for an economic and possibly a military union
with the German Reich.

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, in this connection, I should
like to submit an extremely important document, which shows
in an entirely new way how the Anschluss came about. It is a
sworn statement of the former State Secretary of the
Interior, Dr. Stuckhardt, who is imprisoned here. I submit
it to the Tribunal and should like to establish the
following from this testimony -

THE PRESIDENT: Where is the document?

DR. STEINBAUER: It is not in the Document Book because I
received it later. The translation of it has not yet been
completed. I will read from it only briefly to establish the
connection - I have submitted the original to the Tribunal -

THE PRESIDENT: You are giving it a number, are you?

DR. STEINBAUER: No. 92. The witness says in it that Hitler
would probably have incorporated the presidency of Austria
in his own person, that he, the witness, was told by Frick
to draft a law to that effect, but that he was then suddenly
ordered to Linz -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait just a minute, Dr. Steinbauer.

DR. STEINBAUER: In the Dutch matter also, there are a few
affidavits which have not yet arrived, or which have only
just come in. Perhaps it would be more expedient to submit
these documents when they have been translated.

THE PRESIDENT: The prosecution will have the affidavit, I

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, the prosecution already has the

If I may continue, he says that, to his surprise, he was
told by Hitler in Linz to draft a law, providing for the
direct, total Anschluss, that is, providing for Austria's
status as a province, a territory, of the German Reich, like
Bavaria and the other German Laender. He worked out this law
as he had been instructed to do, flew to Vienna and
submitted it for approval to the ministers who were
assembled there.

                                                   [Page 80]

I should like to establish in three documents the impression
which the Anschluss made on the population. First, No. 30.
This is the celebration at which the Viennese welcomed the
Fuehrer on the biggest square in Vienna, the Heldenplatz. On
that occasion, on the 15th of March, the witness welcomed
the Fuehrer and said:

  "The goal for which centuries of German history have
  battled, for which untold millions of the best Germans
  have bled and died, which has been the final aim of
  fierce struggle, the last consolation in the bitterest
  hours - has today been reached. Austria has come home."

Hitler now ordered that this Anschluss subsequently be
sanctioned by a plebiscite of the Austrian population.
Documents showing the results of this plebiscite have
already been submitted to the Tribunal. I should just like
to point out, in addition, the attitude of the Catholic
bishops towards the plebiscite - that is Document No. 32,
Page 73 - and the then attitude of the present President,
Dr. Karl Renner - that is Document 33, Page 76. On the
attitude of the other powers to the Anschluss question I
shall quote from testimony of the witness Schmidt, who as
the then Foreign Minister was a qualified man; but I should
like to submit one document on it, namely Document 38, Page
89. That is the House of Commons speech of Chamberlain, who
was Prime Minister at the time. In reply to a question he

  "... nothing could have stopped this action by Germany
  unless we and others had been ready to use force to
  prevent it. Now Austria has been incorporated, it is a
  part of the Greater German Reich, with Seyss-Inquart as

BY DR. STEINBAUER: Did you remain Chancellor or did you
receive another State function after the seizure of power?

A. On the 13th during the night, I reported on the Anschluss
law to the Fuehrer and I took the opportunity of discussing
three questions with him immediately. That was not at all
easy for the Fuehrer was very moved and wept.

First, I asked that the Austrian Party might retain relative
independence and be headed by an Austrian as the provincial
leader; second, that Austria as a State might also enjoy a
certain degree of independence. To the first request the
Fuehrer said "possibly"; to the second he said "yes,"
Austria would be given her own governor, a
Reichsstatthalter. I then rose and asked the Fuehrer that I
may be allowed to return to private practice as a lawyer. As
a third request, I asked that the unjust exchange rate of
two schillings to one mark be altered to one fifty. The
Fuehrer agreed to that also.

On the 15th of March, on the occasion of the celebration
which has already been mentioned here, the Fuehrer told the
radio announcer to announce: Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart
will now speak. That to me was actually the first news of my
appointment as Reichsstatthalter. I held that post until the
end of April 1939.

Q. Who really directed policy in Austria after the

A. Burckel was sent to Austria immediately with the task of
reorganising the Party and preparing the plebiscite. The
interference of Burckel and his collaborators and various
odd plans for Austria caused me, on the 8th of April, in
Buerckel's presence, to call the Fuehrer's attention to this
sort of co-ordination and in my hearing the Fuehrer said to

"Burckel, you must not do that, otherwise the enthusiasm of
the Austrian; for the Anschluss will change to irritation
with the Reich."

Nevertheless, a few weeks later Burckel was made Reich
Commissioner for the Reunion. He controlled both the Party
and politics and propaganda, including Church policy, and he
had the right to give me instructions in State matters.

Q. You know that the prosecution makes charges against you
in connection with the policy in Austria shortly after the
Anschluss. The first charge is with regard to the Jewish
question, namely, that you participated in this grievous
treatment of the Jewish population, and that you were
responsible for it.

What can you say to that?

                                                   [Page 81]

A. I cannot at all deny it; for certainly, as chief of the
civil administration I issued orders along that line, though
Burckel claimed that the Jewish question as such was part of
his field; and in a document which has been submitted here,
he called the Jewish question a matter arising as a
consequence of the Anschluss.

DR. STEINBAUER: May I, in this connection, refer to two
documents. One is Document No. 64, a decree on Page 154. It
is the decree of the Fuehrer on the appointment of Burckel
as Reich Commissioner for the Reunion of Austria with the
Reich. I emphasize here especially Article 4, which gives
Burckel the detailed right to issue orders to the witness.
The second document is No. 67, Page 163; the Tribunal
already has it, it is Document PS-2237. Based on this long
document, I only want to demonstrate that the entire
execution of the Jewish affair, particularly in November
1938, was a matter with which the defendant had nothing to

The defendant's own attitude I should like to show by
submitting an affidavit which came to me unsolicited from
Australia. This is Document 70, Page 175. I am fully aware
of the Tribunal's view that it is not very weighty evidence,
that some defendants have submitted letters from Jews; "One
swallow does not make a summer," as the proverb says. The
reason for my submitting this document is Paragraph 12 on
Page 4, in which the witness, Dr. Walter Stricker, who comes
from a much respected Jewish family in Linz, says the

  "After my departure from Austria, I heard from other
  families, to which Dr. Seyss-Inquart gave similar help to
  Jews, that in May 1938, when the persecutions of the Jews
  became particularly severe, he protested to Gauleiter

It is therefore clear that the defendant did not participate
in but rejected this radical policy.


Q. Witness, you know from the trial brief that you are
charged with double dealing. What was the attitude of the
Party toward you after the Anschluss?

A. I know that this charge is made against me and has been
made against me before. Radical circles of the Party made
the same accusation against me, and I will admit openly that
I can understand why it was made. I attempted to bring
together two groups which, as history has shown, simply
could not be brought together, and since this could not be
anticipated at the time, the radical elements of both groups
had clearly to come to the conclusion that the man who
attempted it was not honest in his attempt. But more
important is something else. The final solution of the
Austrian question was not my solution, but the solution of
the radical elements in the Party. I myself, however, on the
11th of March at eight in the evening, participated in that
solution. As a result, it is easy for people to say that I
participated in it beforehand and prepared for it; but that
is not true. Only at eight in the evening, after Schuschnigg
and the Fatherland Government had resigned, did I, too,
adopt this point of view, because another one was then
realistically impossible. For there was no political power
in Austria other than that of the National Socialists; the
alternative was civil war.

I, myself, welcomed the Anschluss Law, and my attitude also
determined that of my colleagues. On the 13th of March, of
course, I welcomed the opportune moment. At most, there
might have been some sort of hesitation as to whether the
Anschluss should actually then be carried through. I
considered that, but as I saw it, there was no need for
misgivings on the foreign political plan, because, according
to all reports, everything would develop satisfactorily.
Domestically, there had never been so much enthusiasm in
Austria. I felt that no Austrian statesman, no man in a
position of responsibility, ever had the whole population
behind him so much as I. But the Anschluss Law was valuable
and useful, in so far as in any case the Reich would in
reality have had the authority, and thus it was certainly
well that outwardly too it had full responsibility.

                                                   [Page 82]

Q. The defendant Kaltenbrunner told me that he and you were
at this time very closely shadowed by Heydrich. Is that

A. Heydrich in particular was among those who distrusted us,
and "us" includes Kaltenbrunner. At the end of 1937,
Heydrich wrote a secret report which I later received. In
this report he said that the solution of the Austrian
question in favour of the Party was inescapable, that the
policy of Staatsrat Seyss-Inquart might, however, prove to
be the only obstacle, for he would be in a position to
produce something like Austrian National Socialism. After
the Anschluss a so-called escort was attached to me with the
sole task of sending to Heydrich constant reports on what I
was doing. I had as little objection to this as to the fact
that as Austrian Minister of Security my telephone
conversations were tapped.

Q. After you had allegedly played the main role in this
affair, what reward did you receive for your activity? Were
you given an estate, or a gratuity of several hundred
thousand marks? Did you ever receive anything like that?

A. No, and there was no question of anything like that. My
reward was the knowledge of having worked for the formation
of the Greater Germany.

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