The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/10

Q. Just let us proceed, quite shortly, with what happened
after that.

On the week-end of 26th and 27th August you went to England.
You have told me that you did not know about the calling off
of the attack on the morning of the 26th, and you did not

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of the prosecution wish
to cross-examine?

Dr. Stahmer, do you not wish to re-examine?

(Dr. Stahmer indicates that he does not.)

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I should like to put a question.
May I ask, without being misunderstood, why these names
could not be read this morning, when Dr. Stahmer asked for

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you ask that question? What has it to
do with the case of von Ribbentrop?

DR. HORN: The witness Dahlerus was also approved for the
defendant von Ribbentrop, and I had reached an agreement
with Dr. Stahmer as to certain questions. I was interested
in these questions this morning and also in the question
about the people who had been there.

THE PRESIDENT: The reason why the names were not given this
morning was because we wished to get on with this trial, and
we thought that the names of these gentlemen were
irrelevant. But as Sir David Maxwell Fyfe asked that they
might be introduced in order that there could be no
suggestion of concealment, the Tribunal has allowed them to
be given.

                                                  [Page 231]
Dahlerus, you said this morning that on 23rd August you were
called up by Goering in Stockholm and that he told you that
the situation had become serious and that, therefore, he
would have to talk to you by all means. Did he tell you for
what reasons he considered the situation at that moment

A. No.

Q. And you did not ask him about it?

A. No.

Q. You came, then, to Berlin on the 24th and conferred at
once with Goering. Did Goering tell you on this occasion
what had made the situation more serious in the meantime?

A . Not clearly.

Q. What did he tell you about the danger? What did the
gravity of the situation consist in?

A. He indicated that the fact that the Polish question was
not solved and that there was no indication that it would be
solved made the situation serious. He also said that it
depended entirely on the British attitude and initiative
whether a solution could be found.

Q. From this answer, then, you learned that Poland was the
point of danger?

A. Yes.

Q. You did transmit proposals then, on 27th August, which
had as their main object the solution of the Polish

A. Yes.

Q. In reply to my question with reference to the events of
26th September, you said this morning, according to my
notes, that you were of the opinion at that time that
Hitler's plans were not quite clear. Then this afternoon you
spoke of Goering. How do you account for that difference in
your answer?

A. At the time I had to assume that the leading members of
the German Government worked in close collaboration.

Q. Then you concluded that from this fact? You also said
before, if you had known what you know to-day you would not
have intervened. What has brought about your change of

A. Through facts, disclosed, chiefly, during the proceedings
in this Court, and as published.

Q. Which facts are these?

A. The incidents I quoted, the declaration of 11th April,
23rd May and 22nd August.

Q. You have no further facts, have you?

A. Yes, but those are the main points.

Q. What are the minor points? What are your other

A. One is the experience on 26th September, 1939, the speech
by Hitler on 6th October, 1939, and a number of declarations
made since.

Q. You mentioned before a plane crash, if I understood you
correctly, which was to have been brought about by
Ribbentrop. Were you really serious about that?

A. Well, I corrected my statement to say that I assumed that
it was Ribbentrop, because his name had just been mentioned
about a minute before.

Q. I have one more question for the witness. What about the
map of Poland which had just been shown, and which allegedly
was drawn by Goering?

A. I have the original of that map in my possession.

Q. And what was the explanation given to you?

                                                  [Page 232]

A. Because it was a territory that held a majority of
Germans and not Poles.

Q. How do you explain, then, the difference between the
later offer and that map?

A. I can only assume that the question had not been
thoroughly discussed and various proposals had been made
before the final definite proposal was submitted.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire; and the Tribunal will

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, you will continue your
cross-examination, will you not?

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I have assumed, your Honour, that,
since Goering's testimony was suspended in order to hear
Dahlerus, on the ground that it might change some of his
examination, Dr. Stahmer would complete any direct
examination he may have on this subject concerning the
witness Dahlerus, before I finish my cross-examination.

THE PRESIDENT: I beg your pardon, yes. Dr. Stahmer, will you
ask any questions of the defendant Goering that you wish to
ask, arising out of the evidence of the witness Dahlerus?

DR. STAHMER: I can ask him these questions only after I have
spoken with him, and I therefore consider it advisable that
Justice Jackson continue his cross-examination, and that
after the cross-examination I deal with these questions as

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal considers that you
ought to be prepared to go on now. It was you who asked for
the evidence of Dahlerus to be interposed, and Dahlerus was
your witness, not the prosecution's witness, and therefore
presumably you knew what Dahlerus was going to say.

DR. STAHMER: Then I ask for the opportunity to discuss the
matter with the defendant.

THE PRESIDENT: The Court has just been adjourned for ten

DR. STAHMER: I was not able to finish the question in that
short period of time.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal is of the opinion that you must,
as these questions now and go on with the examination. If
you wish to examine the defendant Goering on these matters
you must do it now.

DR. STAHMER: Very well.



Q. A map was mentioned previously which is supposed to have
been drawn up by you and which is contained in Mr. Dahlerus'
book, the authenticity of which he confirmed this morning in
answer to my question. I am having this map, which is to be
found on Page 53 of his book, shown to you and I ask for
your explanation of it.

A. In the discussion that took place in the night of 29th to
30th August between Dahlerus and me, I believe at the
Fuehrer's, I tore a map from an atlas on the spur of the
moment and outlined with a red pencil and, I believe, a blue
or green pencil, those regions, not the regions which we
would demand, as declared here before by the prosecution,
but those regions of Poland in which Germans live. That the
witness Dahlerus was also of this opinion can be seen most
clearly from the fact that he repeated the same markings on
another map and then wrote as follows: next to the marked
section: "German population according to Goering"; and next
to the dotted section: "Polish inhabitants according to

                                                  [Page 233]

He then goes on writing and draws boundaries: "Goering's
first proposal for the boundary" which agrees with the
markings of the regions of German and Polish populations.
That was not a boundary proposal but a separation of the two
populations. And then he writes: "Hitler's proposal"; that
is the final, the correct and the only proposal transmitted
to the Polish as well as the British Governments. If one
compares my map one sees that here quite spontaneously and
in a great hurry, with a two-colour pencil, a quite
superficial, determination of approximate population regions
is made, that is, one in which the majority are Germans and
one in which there are exclusively Poles. Along with this
Mr. Dahlerus was given from the beginning, but only in broad
outlines, the boundary proposal which was later revised to
be more exact. That is the only one in question, the same
one which was published, which was read to Ambassador
Henderson, and which, since Henderson did not understand it,
I had Dahlerus report by telephone to the Embassy during the
night to be checked the next day.

Q. Will you please repeat the last sentence? I believe it
did not come through.

A. I said, the fate of the Corridor, as outlined here at
Hitler's suggestion, was the official proposal which the
Fuehrer, as the only person entitled to make final
proposals, had worked out. It is the same proposal that was
read to Ambassador Henderson, and, since he did not
understand it, I turned the note, which was read to
Henderson, over to Dahlerus in order to have him dictate it
to him, so that I could be sure the English Ambassador
understood it in its entirety.

To do this was, as I have already said, actually an enormous
risk, since the Fuehrer had forbidden that this information
be made public at present, and, as I have stated already,
only I could take the risk. But for the rest, as far as my
markings are concerned, they show clearly on the, map:
"German population according to Goering; Polish population
according to Goering." But that was only approximate and
done in a great hurry during the night, merely for his
information and on a map torn from an atlas.

Q. Mr. Dahlerus said that you called him up on 23rd August
and asked him to come to Berlin immediately because in the
meantime the situation had become serious. What made you
consider the situation serious?

A. Through the statements of the Fuehrer at the Obersalzberg
on that 22nd of August, it was clear to me that the tension
had reached its peak. The Fuehrer had stated that he would
have to bring about a solution of the problem, if it were
not possible to do so diplomatically. At that time, since it
was simply an address, without discussion, in the presence
of the higher officers of troop formations which would be
used in case of war, I, as senior officer present, confined
myself to saying to the Fuehrer at the end: "The Wehrmacht
will do its duty. Of course, the Wehrmacht has to do its
duty, if it is called upon." At the same time, however, I
wanted to make the greatest efforts in order as soon as
possible - it was now a matter of days-a fixed date, the
25th or 26th, as decided at first, had not yet been named on
this day - to make one more try at negotiations. I wanted to
be able to say to the Fuehrer, if such negotiations were
successfully under way, that there were still prospects of,
and chances for, a diplomatic-political solution.

Hence, the concurrence of events on the afternoon of the
22nd, the Fuehrer's speech and my immediate reaction of
sending for Dahlerus from Stockholm. I, of course, did not
tell him, and I could not, of course, as a German, tell him,
a foreigner - and especially not as an officer - that my
reason lay in these factors which I have explained. Things
are now being so represented as though there could not have
existed in Germany a concept like "secret military matter"
or secret" or "top secret" in German politics and in
military life at all; as though we were obliged to make
known every military and political step to the foreign

                                                  [Page 234]

Press in advance. I therefore point out that we, of course,
followed the same procedures as those accepted in every
other country of the world.

Q. How was it that you handled the negotiations personally,
and that the negotiations were not handled through the
Foreign Office?

A. I was interested in seeing to it that, in so far as at
all possible, this question too was settled peacefully. The
work of the Foreign Office is official. Here work was going
on anyhow, and according to the policies set down by the
Fuehrer. I could make my influence felt only in a way which
was as direct as possible and which was not expressly
official, because for official action I did not have the
official position of a Foreign Minister, as far as foreign
countries were concerned. At this time it was clear to me
that it was not a question of formalities, but rather a
question of the most practical and the quickest way of
accomplishing something. If I wanted to influence the
Fuehrer, that was possible only if I had something in my
hand, that is, could say to him: On my own responsibility,
but with your knowledge and without committing you and your
Reich policies, I am conducting negotiations, in order,
circumstances permitting, to create an atmosphere which will
be able to facilitate the official negotiations in the
direction of a peaceful solution.

In addition it would be quicker.

Q. This clear fact, that it was a personal step on your part
that was taking place along with the official diplomatic
negotiations - was it clear also to the British Government?

A. It must have been clear to it because of the entire
action, that this was a non-official negotiation, that only
at one or two points touched the official negotiations, that
is, overlapped them. For instance, the phase where
Ambassador Henderson, instead of returning immediately to
Berlin, remained one or two days in London in order first of
all, through the unofficial negotiator Dahlerus, to explain
to the British Government the. basis for these intentions or
for the negotiations or to explain the note, as I shall call
it; and when that had been done, the preparation for
entering into these conferences was thereby improved. And
that not I alone was of the honest conviction on that day
that a considerable step had been taken in the direction of
a peaceful solution at this time - I believe it was the 28th
- is demonstrated by the fact that the same view was held by
the British Embassy at that moment, as the Embassy
Counsellor Sir Ogilvy Forbes has very clearly stated. The
situation did not become worse until the 29th.

During all these negotiations it was not a question, as far
as I was concerned, of isolating Poland and keeping England
out of the matter, but rather it was a question, since the
problem of the Corridor and Danzig had come up, of solving
it peacefully, as far as possible along the lines of the
Munich solution. That was my endeavour until the last
moment. If it had only been a question of eliminating
England from the matter, then, firstly, English diplomacy
would surely have recognised that immediately - it certainly
has enough training for that. However, it did enter into
these negotiations. And, secondly, I probably would have
used entirely different tactics.

It is not that I am reconstructing things in retrospect; I
am speaking of what actually happened in those days, of what
I thought and wanted. The descriptions given by the witness
Dahlerus to-day and in his book regarding his talks with the
Fuehrer by no means represent the way these talks took
place. His descriptions are rather subjective, for the
Fuehrer probably would not long have been party to such

There are also other subjective interpretations in the book,
which perhaps are purely unessential, but which have been
brought forward by the prosecutor Sir David Maxwell Fyfe -
that I, in a theatrical fashion, had handed to two
collaborators two swords so that they might accomplish bold
actions with them. One of those who allegedly received a
sword from me was my civilian

                                                  [Page 235]

State Secretary Korner, not a soldier. The most I could have
given him was a pen, since he had to draft decrees for the
Four-Year Plan. The second person was my chief of office
staff, a Ministerialdirektor, who also was no soldier and
was not to earn any war laurels, but whose main task during
the war was exclusively that of keeping my civilian, not my
military staff, in order, and of ensuring the functioning
and progress of this work. For both these matters these
gentlemen needed neither a sword nor any incitement to
behave in a military way.

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