The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-13//tgmwc-13-119.04

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-13/tgmwc-13-119.04
Last-Modified: 2000/02/13

Q. We need not repeat that. The only question which I still
want to ask you is what were you going to tell the generals,
particularly General von Brauchitsch, at that last moment?

A. That he still had a chance to avert a war. I knew
perfectly well that bare economic and general political
statements would, of course, accomplish nothing with von
Brauchitsch because he would then certainly have referred to
Hitler's leadership. Therefore I wanted to say to him
something of quite a different nature and, in my opinion,
that was of the most decisive significance. I was going to
remind him that he had sworn an oath of allegiance to the
Weimar Constitution. I wanted to remind him that the
Empowering Law did not delegate power to Hitler but to the
Reich Cabinet, and I wanted to remind him that in the Weimar
Constitution there was, and still is a clause, which has
never been annulled and according to which, war cannot be
declared without previous approval by the Reichstag. I was
convinced that Brauchitsch would have referred me to his

                                                   [Page 14]

sworn to Hitler and I would have told him: "I also have
sworn this oath. You have sworn no oath other than your
military one, perhaps, but this oath does not in any way
invalidate the oath sworn to the Weimar Constitution; on the
contrary, the oath to the Weimar Constitution is the one
that is valid. It is your duty, therefore, to see to it that
this entire question of war or no war be brought before the
Cabinet and discussed there, and when the Reich Cabinet has
made a decision, that the matter will go before the
Reichstag." If these two steps had been taken, then I am
firmly convinced that there would have been no war.

Q. You never reached Brauchitsch. We do not want to repeat
the description of that whole affair, or of your attempts at
the Bendler Strasse and so on. Have you anything to add to
Gisevius' testimony or do you wish to change anything in it?

A. I can only confirm that Gisevius' statement is correct in
every single point, and I myself merely want to add that
Canaris mentioned amongst many reasons which then kept us
from making the visit, that Brauchitsch would probably have
us arrested immediately if we said anything to him against
the war, or if we wanted to prevent him from fulfilling his
oath of allegiance to Hitler. But the main reason why the
visit did not come about was quite correctly stated by
Gisevius. Moreover it is also mentioned by General Thomas in
his affidavit, which we shall later submit. The main reason
was: the war - is - cancelled. And so I went to Munich on a
business matter and to my surprise, while I was in Munich,
war was declared on Poland, the country was invaded.

Q. You mentioned the Reichstag a short time ago. A meeting
of the Reichstag did in fact take place, though not before
the war or before the declaration of war, but immediately
thereafter. At the time you were still a Minister without
portfolio. Normally you would have had to sit on the
Ministers' bench during that meeting. Did you take part in
that meeting?

A. I did not participate in that meeting at all and I would
like to add at once that, during the entire war, I was
present only at one meeting of the Reichstag. I could not
avoid it, considering the matters which I already mentioned
here yesterday. It was after Hitler's return from Paris. I
had to participate in this meeting of the Reichstag, which
followed the reception at the station, because, as I said,
it would otherwise have been too obvious an affront. It was
a meeting at which political matters were not dealt with at
all, but at which the Field-Marshal's rank was granted by
the dozen.

Q. Now, this last effort, which has just been mentioned, to
stop the outbreak of war through Canaris, brings us to the
particular chapter of your attempts at a coup to overthrow
Hitler and his Government. We want to make it a rule, if
possible, not to repeat what the witness Gisevius has
already stated, but only to supplement or correct or state
what you know from your own memory. Before I touch upon that
chapter, however, may I ask you whether you knew from
information you received, or from other indications, that
your oppositional attitude and that of your similarly minded
friends, and your oppositional aims, were known in
authoritative circles abroad?

A. I do not wish to repeat anything, I merely want to point
out that I have already stated repeatedly here that I
continually discussed the situation in Germany, thus also my
own position, with my friends abroad, not only with
Americans, Englishmen, and Frenchmen, but also with neutrals
and I would like to add one more thing: foreign broadcasting
stations did not tire at all of speaking constantly about
Schacht's opposition to Hitler. My friends and family
received a shock whenever information on this subject
transpired in Germany.

Q. When did your attempts to overthrow the Hitler government

A. As early as 1937 I tried to determine which groups in
Germany one might rely upon in an attempt to remove the
Hitler regime. Unfortunately, in the years 1935-1936 and
1937, I realised that all those circles in which I had
placed my hope were failing: namely the scientists, the
educated middle-class and the leaders of economy.

                                                   [Page 15]

I need only mention that the scientists permitted themselves
to listen to the most nonsensical national socialist
lectures without opposing them in the least. I call
attention to the fact that, when the economic leaders saw
that I was no longer a figure in economy, they disappeared
from my ante-room and thronged into that of Goering. In a
word, one could not rely upon these circles; one could
depend only on the generals, on the military. Therefore, as
has been stated here - and I do not want to pursue it
further - I tried at first to contact such generals as
Kluge, for instance, merely in order to ascertain whether
among the military there were people with whom one could
speak openly. And this first occasion led me to a great many
generals whom I contacted in the course of time.

Q. That was then in the year 1937, now we come to 1938,
still limiting ourselves by what Gisevius has already said,
merely touching on it briefly and confirming it. By the way,
were you in any way directly or indirectly involved in the
negotiations at Godesberg or Munich?

A. In no way.

Q. Now we continue with your political work, aiming at a
revolt. Is Gisevius' account of the year 1938 correct or is
there something to be added to it?

A. Gisevius' statement is complete and reliable.

Q. That also applies to the attempt at a Coup d'Etat in the
late summer of 1938?

A. Yes.

Q. Then came the war, did you fold your arms after war broke

A. No, throughout the entire war I pleaded with every
general whom I could contact. I used the same arguments
which I have just mentioned in connection with the
prospective interview with Brauchitsch; therefore, it was
not mere theory, but I actually spoke to all these Generals.

Q. Was not a visit to General Hoppner significant in this

A. In 1941 I tried, not only to get in touch with General
Hoppner, but in a whole series of conversations I attempted
to persuade him to take action. Hoppner was perfectly
willing and prepared and later he, too, unfortunately lost
his life as a consequence of the events Of 20th of July,

In the year 1942 - and this has not been mentioned here up
to now, because Gisevius did not participate - I tried again
to spur General von Witzleben to renewed activity. I went on
a special journey to Frankfurt on the Main, where he had his
headquarters at that time, and von Witzleben proved as ever
to be completely resolved to act, but he told me that of
course he could only do so if he again received a command at
the front. Then I -

Q. At that time Mrs. Struenck, who knew of these matters,
was in Frankfurt?

A. She knew of these things and can confirm them.

DR. DIX: Perhaps I may tell the Tribunal at this point that
Mrs. Struenck was granted me as a witness and she was here.
In order to save time, however, I decided to dispense with
this witness since she could make only cumulative statements
on what Gisevius has already said and I do not think it is
necessary. Schacht himself has just stated the only piece of
information which she could have added, namely of this trip,
this special journey to Frankfurt to von Witzleben. As the
Tribunal very well realizes, in the course of a
revolutionary movement stretching over years such as this,
many journeys are made and, in respect of this particular
journey, it is not important to submit special evidence. In
order to save time, therefore, I have decided to dispense
with the testimony of Mrs. Struenck. Excuse me, I merely
wanted to say this now. Then there is the next -

A. (continued). May I perhaps say one more thing? I of
course always participated in the conversations mentioned by
Gisevius here with the other Generals, that is the group of
Beck, Fromm, Olbricht, etc. The reason that things did not
come to a head for some time was because the Generals were
waiting for the outcome of negotiations abroad. I think that
enough has been said here

                                                   [Page 16]

about this topic and I need not further dwell on it. I pass
to one last point, which does not become apparent from
Gisevius' statement, but about which an affidavit from
Colonel Gronau will be submitted here. I can mention it
quite briefly in order to save time. Naturally, together
with the group of Beck, Goerdeler, my friend Struenck,
Gisevius and others, I was completely informed and initiated
into the affair of the 20th of July. However, and I think it
was mutual, as far as possible we only told each other what
was absolutely essential so as to limit possible revelations
if any one of us should be submitted to the tortures of the
Gestapo. For that reason, apart from being in touch with
Beck, Goerdeler, Gisevius and Struenck etc., I had another
connection with the Generals who were at the head of this
revolt, and that was the General of the Artillery Lindemann,
one of the main participants in the attempted coup, who
unfortunately also lost his life later.

Q. Perhaps it would be proper - and also more intelligible
in connection with your participation in the events of 20th
of July - if I read a brief part of Colonel Gronau's
affidavit which refers to Lindemann. It is Exhibit No. 39 of
our Document Book, Page 168 of the German text and Page 176
of the English text. I shall omit the first part of the
affidavit, but I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of
it; essentially it contains only matters on which evidence
has already been given. I shall only read the part that
deals with the 20th of July. It begins on Page 178 of the
English text and on Page 170 of the German text, and I start
with question 5:-

  "Question: You brought Schacht and General Lindemann
  together. When was that?
  "Answer: In the autumn of 1943, for the first time in
  years. I again saw General Lindemann, my former school
  and regimental comrade. While discussing politics I told
  him that I knew Schacht well, and General Lindemann asked
  to be introduced to him, whereupon I established the
  "Question: What did Lindemann expect from Schacht, and
  what was Schacht's attitude toward him?
  "Answer: The taking up of political relations with
  foreign countries following a successful attempt at
  revolt. He promised his future co-operation. At the
  beginning of 1944 Lindemann made severe reproaches that
  the Generals"-that should read "he severely reproached
  Lindemann" it is incorrectly copied here - "because the
  Generals were hesitating so long. The attempt at revolt
  would have to be made prior to the landing of the Allies.
  "Question: Was Lindemann involved in the attempted
  assassination of 20th July, 1944?
  "Answer: Yes, he was one of the main figures.
  "Question: Did he inform Schacht of the details of this
  "Answer: Nothing about the manner in which the attempt
  was to be carried out he did inform him, however, of what
  was to happen thereafter.
  "Question: Did Schacht approve the plan?
  "Answer: Yes.
  "Question: Did Schacht put himself at the disposal of the
  military in the event of a successful attempt?
  "Answer: Yes.
  "Question: Were you arrested after 20th July, 1944?
  "Answer: Yes.
  "Question: How were you able to survive your
  "Answer: By stoically denying complicity."

Now, we have left the years 1941 and 1942, and, to explain
the putsch in logical sequence, we reached the year 1944,
something that could not be avoided, but we must now go back
again to the year 1941. You have already mentioned
fleetingly the efforts made abroad. In 1941 you were in
Switzerland. Did you make any efforts in that direction

                                                   [Page 17]

A. Every time I went abroad I talked at length to my foreign
friends and, again and again, searched for some way by which
one might shorten the war and begin negotiations.

Q. In this connection, the Frazer letter is of importance. I
think the Frazer letter, and the way it was smuggled into
Switzerland, has been sufficiently discussed by the witness
Gisevius. I have on two occasions stated the contents
briefly, once when the translation was discussed and again
during the discussion on the admissibility of the letter as
evidence before the Tribunal. I do not think I need do so
again nor that I need read it. I should merely like to
submit it. It is Exhibit 31, on Page 84 of the German and
Page 91 of the English text. And - I say this now, we shall
discuss it later - the same applies to the article which
appeared this year in the Basler Nachrichten, which deals
with a conversation which an American had with Schacht
recently. I shall not read that either since I have already
stated the main points of its contents. I submit it as
Exhibit Number 32, Page 90 of the German text and Page 99 of
the English text. I might point out that this article has
already been the subject of certain accusations, made during
the cross-examination of Gisevius, by the representative of
the Soviet prosecution.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I should like to raise one objection in
regard to Document 32; this is an article about Dr. Schacht
and his ideas, by an unknown writer describing his
conversations with an unknown economist. The article in
question was published in the Basler Nachrichten on the 14
January, 1946, i.e., when the present trials were already
well under way, and I cannot, consider that this article can
be presented in evidence with regard to Schacht's case.

DR. DIX: I might.... May I, before the Tribunal decides, say
something very briefly.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. DIX: The article has already been admitted as evidence.
We have discussed it, and the Tribunal approved the article
as evidence. The Tribunal can, of course, revoke that
decision. I think, for me it would -

THE PRESIDENT: I think the Tribunal has always made it clear
that the allowance of these documents is a provisional
allowance and that, when the document is actually offered in
evidence, they will then decide the relevancy or its
admissibility, rather, and its relevancy.

DR. DIX: That is quite beyond doubt. I merely wanted to
point out that we have already discussed the question once
before. Of course, the Tribunal can today reject the
document. I shall -

THE PRESIDENT: The allowance is provisional. It is not a
question of the Tribunal's reversing its previous decision.
The previous decision was merely provisional, and the
question of admissibility now conies up for decision.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.