The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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And the next paragraph:-

   "During the wave of terroristic acts in May and June,
   1934, I had already assumed my duties as American
   Minister in Vienna. The bomb outrages during this period
   were directed primarily at railways, tourist centres and
   the Catholic Church, which latter, in the eves of the
   Nazis, was one of the strongest organisations opposing
   them. I recall, however, that these outrages diminished
   markedly for a few days during the meeting of Hitler and
   Mussolini at Venice in mid-June, 1934. At that time
   Mussolini was strongly supporting the Austrian
   Government and was strongly and deeply interested in
   maintaining Austrian independence and sovereignty, and
   in keeping down Nazi influence and activity in Austria.
   At that time also Hitler could not afford an open break
   with Mussolini, and undoubtedly agreed to the short
   cessation of these bomb outrages on the insistence of
   Mussolini because he, Hitler, wished to achieve as
   favourable an atmosphere for the meeting between him and
   Mussolini as possible. The cessation of the bomb
   outrages during the Hitler-Mussolini conversations was
   considered by me, and by the Austrian authorities, and
   by all observers at that time as an open admission on
   the part of Hitler and the German Government that the
   outrages were systematically and completely instigated
   and controlled from Germany."

Then turning to page 7 of the English version, following the
line which reads,

                                                  [Page 216]

"Official dispatch from Vienna," dated 26th July, 1934, I
quote the following paragraph:-

   "In addition to these outrages, the Nazis attempted to
   bring pressure upon Austria by means of the 'Austrian
   Legion.' This organisation, a para-military force of
   several thousand men, was stationed near the Austrian
   border in Germany as a constant and direct threat of
   violent action against Austria. It was without any
   question sanctioned by the Nazi Government of Germany,
   as it could otherwise not have existed, and it was armed
   by them. It was made up of Austrian Nazis who had fled
   from Austria after committing various crimes in that
   country, and by Austrians in Germany who were attracted
   by the idle life and pay given by the German

These terroristic activities of the Nazis in Austria
continued until 25th July, 1934. It is a well-known
historical fact, of which I ask the Court to take judicial
notice, that on that day members of the N.S.D.A.P., the Nazi
Party, attempted a revolutionary "putsch" in Austria and
killed Chancellor Dollfuss.

At this point I should like to invite your attention to the
fact that the indictment alleges in Count IV, Crimes against
Humanity, paragraph B on page 26 of the English printed
text, that the Nazis murdered amongst others Chancellor
Dollfuss. I have not available an official authenticated
account of the details of that "putsch," but I think that it
will suffice if I briefly recall to the Court what is after
all a well-known matter of history. On 25th July, 1934,
about noon, 100 men dressed in the uniform of the Austrian
Army invaded the Federal Chancellery. Chancellor Dollfuss
was wounded in trying to escape, being shot twice at close
quarters. The Radio Building in the centre of the town was
overwhelmed, and the announcer was compelled to broadcast
the news that Dollfuss had resigned and that Dr. Rintelen
had taken his place as Chancellor. Although the "putsch"
failed, the insurgents kept control of the Chancellery
building, and agreed to give it up only after they had a
safe conduct to the German border. The insurgents contacted
the German Minister Dr. Rieth by telephone, and subsequently
had private negotiations with him in the building. At about
7 P.M. they yielded the building, but Chancellor Dollfuss
breathed his last about 6 p.m., not having had the services
of a doctor.

It is also a well-known historical fact that the German
government denied all complicity in this "putsch" and in
this assassination. Hitler removed Dr. Rieth as Minister on
the ground that he had offered a safe conduct to the rebels
without making inquiry of the German government, and had
thus without reason dragged the German Reich into an
internal Austrian affair in public sight.

This statement appears in a letter which Hitler sent to
defendant Papen on 26th July, 1934. I shall offer that
letter a little later.

Although the German government denied any knowledge or
complicity in this "putsch," we think there is ample basis
for the conclusion that the German Nazis bear responsibility
for these events. It is not my purpose, with respect to this
somewhat minor consideration, to review the expansive record
in the trial of the Austrian Nazi Planetta and others who
were convicted for the murder of Dollfuss. Similarly I have
no intention of presenting to the Court the contents of the
Austrian "Braunbuch," issued after 25th July, without which
the Court will, I think, take judicial notice.

I should like instead to mention a few brief items which
seem to us sufficient for the purpose. I quote again from
our document 1760-PS, from the Messersmith affidavit,
exhibit USA 57, on page 7, the paragraph in the middle of
the page:-

   "The events of the 'putsch' of 25th July, 1934, are too
   well known for me to repeat them in this statement. I
   need say here only that there can be no doubt that the
   'putsch' was ordered and organised by the Nazi officials
   from Germany through their Organisation in Austria, made
   up of German Nazis
                                                  [Page 217]
   and Austrian Nazis. Dr. Rieth, the German Minister in
   Vienna, was fully familiar with all that was going to
   happen and that was being planned. The German Legation
   was located directly across the street from the British
   Legation, and the Austrian secret police kept close
   watch on persons who entered the German Legation. The
   British had their own secret service in Vienna at the
   time, and they also kept a discreet surveillance over
   the people entering the German Legation. I was told by
   both British and Austrian officials that a number of the
   men who were later found guilty by the Austrian courts
   of having been implicated in the 'putsch' had frequented
   the German Legation. In addition, I personally followed
   very closely the activities of Dr. Rieth, and I never
   doubted on the basis of all my information that Dr.
   Rieth was in close touch and constant touch with the
   Nazi agents in Austria, these agents being both German
   and Austrian. Dr. Rieth could not have been unfamiliar
   with the 'putsch' and the details in connection
   therewith. I recall, too, very definitely, from my
   conversations with the highest officials of the Austrian
   Government after the 'putsch' their informing me that
   Dr. Rieth had been in touch with von Rintelen, who, it
   had been planned by the Nazis, was to succeed Chancellor
   Dollfuss, had the 'putsch' been successful.
   It may be that Dr. Rieth was himself not personally
   sympathetic with the plans for the 'putsch,' but there
   is no question that he was fully familiar with all these
   plans, and must have given his assent thereto and
   connived therein.
   As this 'putsch' was so important, and was a definite
   attempt to overthrow the Austrian government, and
   resulted in the murder of the Chancellor of Austria, I
   took occasion to verify at the time for myself various
   other items of evidence indicating that the 'putsch' was
   not only made with the knowledge of the German
   government but engineered by it. I found and verified
   that almost a month before the 'putsch' Goebbels told
   Signor Corruti, the Italian Ambassador in Berlin, that
   there would be a Nazi government in Vienna in a month."

I should also like to offer in evidence Ambassador Dodd's
diary, 1933-1938, a book published in 1941, our document
2832 PS, and particularly the entry for 26th July, 1934. We
have the book with the page to which I refer, two pages. I
should like to offer that portion of the book in evidence as
exhibit USA 58, further identified as our document 2832 PS.

Mr. Dodd, then Ambassador to Berlin, made the following
observations in that entry. First he noted that in February,
1934, Ernst Henfstaengl advised him that he brought what was
virtually an order from Mussolini to Hitler to leave Austria
alone and to dismiss and silence Theodor Habicht, the German
agent in Munich, who had been agitating for annexation of
Austria. On 18th June in Venice, Hitler was reported to have
promised Mussolini to leave Austria alone. Mr. Dodd further
states, and I quote from his entry Of 26th July, 1934:

   "On Monday, 23rd July, after repeated bombings in
   Austria by Nazis, a boat loaded with explosives was
   seized on Lake Constance by the Swiss police. It was a
   shipment of German bombs and shells to Austria from some
   arms plant. That looks ominous to me, but events of the
   kind have been so common that I did not report it to

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Alderman, we don't seem to have this
document. Our document 2832-PS begins 28th July, Thursday.

MR. ALDERMAN: That is right. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: You began something about Monday, didn't you?

MR. ALDERMAN: I think you misunderstood me. I began reading
at a sentence which began on Monday, 23rd July.

THE PRESIDENT: I want to know where that is.

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir. It is in the third paragraph.

                                                  [Page 218]

THE PRESIDENT : Yes, I see, about twelve lines down.

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, sir.

   "To-day evidence came to my desk that last night, as
   late as 11 o'clock, the government issued formal
   statements to the newspapers rejoicing at the fall of
   Dollfuss and proclaiming the greater Germany that must
   follow. The German Minister in Vienna had actually
   helped to form the new cabinet. He had, as we now know,
   exacted a promise that the gang of Austrian and Nazi
   murderers should be allowed to go into Germany
   undisturbed, but it was realised about 12 o'clock that,
   although Dollfuss was dead, the loyal Austrians had
   surrounded the Government Palace and prevented the
   organisation of a new Nazi regime. They held the
   murderers prisoners. The German Propaganda Ministry
   therefore forbade publication of the news sent out an
   hour before, and tried to collect all the releases that
   had been distributed. A copy was brought to me to-day by
   a friend.
   All the German papers this morning lamented the cruel
   murder, and declared that it was simply an attack of
   discontented Austrians, not Nazis. News from Bavaria
   shows that thousands of Austrian Nazis living for a year
   in Bavaria on German support had been active for ten
   days before, some getting across the border contrary to
   law, all drilling, and making ready to return to
   Austria. The German propagandist Habicht was still
   making radio speeches about the necessity of annexing
   the ancient realm of the Hapsburgs to the Third Reich,
   in spite of all the promises of Hitler to silence him.
   But now that the drive has failed and the assassins are
   in prison in Vienna, the German government denounces all
   who say there was any support from Berlin.
   I think it will be clear one day that millions of
   dollars and many arms have been pouring into Austria
   since the spring of 1933. Once more, the whole world is
   considering and condemning the Hitler regime. No people
   in all modern history have been quite so unpopular as
   Nazi Germany. This stroke completes the picture. I
   expect to read a series of bitter denunciations in the
   American papers when they arrive about ten days from

As I stated before, the German government denied any
connection with the "putsch" and the murder of Dollfuss. In
this connection, I should like to invite attention to the
letter of appointment which Hitler wrote to the defendant
von Papen on 26th July, 1934. This letter appears in a
standard German reference work "Dokumente der Deutschen
Politik," Volume2, at page 83. For convenience we have
identified it as document 2799-PS, and a copy translated
into English is included in the document book. The
defendants may examine the German text in the "Dokumente der
Deutschen Politik," a copy of which is at present in my
hand, page 83 of Volume 2.

I ask the Court if it will take Judicial notice of this
original German typing.

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us where it occurs in our
document book?

MR. ALDERMAN: It is our document 2799-PS, a letter from
Adolf Hitler.

THE PRESIDENT: It appears to come opposite 2510-PS,
according to the book.

MR. ALDERMAN: I should like to read this letter which
Chancellor Hitler sent to Vice-Chancellor von Papen. I think
it will provide us with a little historical perspective and
perhaps freshen our recollection of the ways in which the
Nazi conspirators worked. In considering Hitler's letter to
the defendant von Papen on 26th July, we must bear in mind
as an interesting sidelight the widespread reports at that
time, and I mention this only as a widespread report, that
the defendant von Papen narrowly missed being purged on 30th
June, 1934, along with the Nazi Ernst Roehm, and others. The
letter from Hitler to von Papen is as follows:-

   "Dear Herr von Papen,
   As a result of the events in Vienna, I am compelled to
   suggest to the Reichs- President the removal of the
   German Minister to Vienna, Dr. Rieth, from
                                                  [Page 219]
   his post, because he, at the suggestion of Austrian
   Federal Ministers and the Austrian rebels respectively,
   consented to an agreement made by both these parties
   concerning the safe conduct and retreat of the rebels to
   Germany without making inquiry of the German Reich
   Government. Thus the Minister has dragged the German
   Reich into an internal Austrian affair without any
   The assassination of the Austrian Federal Chancellor
   which was strictly condemned and regretted by the German
   Government has made the situation in Europe, already
   fluid, more acute, without any fault of ours. Therefore
   it is my desire to bring about, if possible, an easing
   of the general situation, and especially to direct the
   relations with the German Austrian State, which have
   been so strained for a long time, into normal and
   friendly channels again.
   For this reason, I request you, dear Herr von Papen, to
   take over this important task, just because you have
   possessed, and continue to possess, my most complete and
   unlimited confidence ever since we have worked together
   in the Cabinet.
   Therefore, I have suggested to the Reichs-President that
   you, upon leaving the Reich-Cabinet and upon release
   from the office of Commissioner for the Saar, be called
   on a special mission to the post of the German Minister
   in Vienna for a limited period of time. In this position
   you will be directly subordinate to me.
   Thanking you once more for all that you have at one time
   done for the co-ordination of the Government of the
   National Revolution, and since then together with us for
   Germany, I remain,
                                       Yours very sincerely,
                                              Adolf Hitler."

Now let us look at the situation four years later, on 25th
July, 1938, after the "Anschluss" with Austria. At that time
the German officials no longer expressed regrets over the
death of Dr. Dollfuss. They were eager and willing to reveal
what the world already knew, that they were identified with
and sponsors of the murder of the former Chancellor.

I offer in evidence at this point document L-273, which I
offer as exhibit USA 59. That document is a dispatch from
the American Consul General, Vienna, to the Secretary of
State, dated 26th July, 1938. Unfortunately, through a
mechanical slip, this document which is in English in the
original, was not mimeographed in English and is not in your
document book. However, it was translated into German, and
is in the document book which counsel for the defendants
have. I read from a photostatic copy of the dispatch :-

"The two high points of the celebration" - here was a
celebration - "were the memorial assembly on the 24th at
Klagenfurt, capital of the Province of Carinthia, where in
1934 the Vienna Nazi revolt found its widest response, and
the march on the 25th to the former Federal Chancellery in
Vienna by the surviving members of the SS Standarte 89,
which made the attack on the Chancellery in 1934"; a
reconstruction of the crime, so to speak. "The assembled
thousands at Klagenfurt were addressed by the Fuehrer's
Deputy, Rudolf Hess, in the presence of the families of the
thirteen National Socialists who were hanged for their part
in the July "putsch." The Klagenfurt Memorial Celebration
was also made the occasion for the solemn swearing in of the
seven recently appointed Gauleiters of this Ostmark. From
the point of view of the outside world, this picture of
Reichsminister Hess was chiefly remarkable for the fact that
after devoting the first half of his speech as expected, to
praise of the sacrifices of the men, women, and youth of
Austria in the struggle for greater Germany, he then
launched into a defence of the occupation of Austria and an
attack on the lying foreign Press and on those who spread
the idea of a new war." The world was fortunate,"

                                                  [Page 220]

declared Hess, "that Germany's leader was a man who would
not allow himself to be provoked. The Fuehrer does what is
necessary for his people in sovereign calm and labours for
the peace of Europe, even though mischief makers, completely
ignoring the deliberate threat to the peace of certain small
States, distinctly claim that he is a menace to the peace of
Europe." The march on the former Federal Chancellery,
referring back to the "putsch" of four years before, now the
"Reichsstatthalterei," followed the exact route and time
schedule of the original attack. The marchers were met at
the Chancellery by Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart, who
addressed them and unveiled a memorial cabinet from the
"Reichsstatthalterei," the "Standarte." That is the SS
organisation which made the original attack and which
marched on this occasion four years later. From the
"Reichsstatthalterei" the Standarte marched from the Old
Reich Broadcasting Centre, from which false news of the
resignation of Dollfuss had been broadcast, and there
unveiled a second memorial tablet. Steinhausen, the present
police president of Vienna, was a member of the SS Standarte 89."

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