The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Now, briefly summarising, the Tribunal will note that the
defendant tells how his appointment as State Councillor in
May, 1937, was the result of an agreement between Austria
and Germany in July, 1936, which Rainer agreed Seyss-Inquart
had helped to bring about; and that his appointment as
Minister of the Interior and Security was one of the results
of the agreement between Schuschnigg and Hitler at
Berchtesgaden, 12th February, 1938. He admits too that,
after the appointment and the agreement, the Austrian
National Socialists engaged in more and more widespread
demonstrations. He tells how, immediately after this
appointment as Minister of the Interior and Security, he
went directly to Berlin and talked with Himmler and Hitler;
and then, finally, he describes the events of that day, of
11th March, 1938, when with the full support of German
military power he became Chancellor.

I do not want to quote at length from that description,
because the Tribunal knows already what happened. Reading
from the middle of Page 3, he says:

  "At 10 o'clock in the morning, Glaise-Horstenau and I
  went to the Bund Chancellery, and conferred for about two
  hours with Dr. Schuschnigg. We told him all that we knew,
  particularly about the possibility of disturbances and
  preparations by the Reich.
  The Chancellor said that he would give his decision by
  14.00 hours. While I was with Glaise-Horstenau and Dr.
  Schuschnigg, I was repeatedly called to the telephone to
  speak to Goering."

THE PRESIDENT: Has this been read already?

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: No, Sir, this document has not been in



  "He informed me that the agreement of 12th February had
  been cancelled and demanded Dr. Schuschnigg's resignation
  and my appointment as Chancellor."

The Tribunal has heard the other side of that story, the,
actual telephone conversations. And then, finally, the next
two paragraphs; he tells how

                                                  [Page 318]

Keppler repeatedly urged him to send a telegram calling on
Germany to send troops, and that at first he refused but
finally acquiesced, and I now read from the next to the last

  "As I am able to gather from the records available, I was
  requested about 10 p.m. to give my sanction to another
  somewhat altered telegram about which I informed
  President Miklas and Dr. Schuschnigg. Finally President
  Miklas appointed me Chancellor, and a little while later
  he approved my list of proposed ministers."

If the Tribunal will recall, the telegram in question called
on Hitler, on behalf of the Provisional Austrian Government,
to send German troops as soon as possible in order to
support it in its task and help it to prevent bloodshed. The
text of the telegram, as printed in Vol. 6 of the "Dokumente
der Deutschen Politik," appears as Document 2463-PS of the
document book. It is interesting to note that the text of
this telegram is substantially identical with that dictated
by Goering over the 'phone to Keppler, on the evening of
11th March, which appears on Page 575 of the record.

Now, on the next morning, again referring to the statement
of the defendant, he admits that he telephoned Hitler -

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Are you reading?

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: No, Sir, I am summarising.

MR. BIDDLE: If you do not read it, it is not in evidence.

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: In that event I will read a little
further. I read now the last paragraph on Page 3:

  "During the morning of 12th March I had a telephone
  conversation with Hitler, in which I suggested that,
  while German troops were entering Austria, Austrian
  troops, as assembled, should march on the Reich. Hitler
  agreed to this suggestion, and he agreed to meet in Linz
  in Upper Austria later on, on the same day. He then flew
  to Linz with Himmler, who had arrived in Vienna from
  Berlin. I greeted Hitler on the balcony of the City Hall
  and said that Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain was
  now inoperative."

I have referred to the slavish manner in which, as the
evidence has shown, Seyss-Inquart carried out orders
conveyed to him by telephone from Goering on 11th March,
1938, in his negotiations with Chancellor Schuschnigg and
President Miklas. This relationship had in fact existed for
some time. Early in January, 1938, Seyss-Inquart, although
he then held an important position in the Austrian
Government, had already considered himself as holding a
mandate from the Nazi conspirators in Berlin in his
negotiations with his own Government. As evidence of the way
in which this happened, I offer Document 3473-PS as Exhibit
USA 581. This is a letter from Keppler to Goering, dated 6th
January, 1938, in which he states, and I quote:

  "Dear General:
  Councillor of State, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, has sent a
  courier to me with the report that his negotiations with
  the Federal Chancellor, Dr. Schuschnigg, have fallen to
  the ground, so that he feels compelled to return the
  mandate entrusted to him."
  Dr. Seyss-Inquart desires to have a discussion with me
  regarding this before he acts accordingly. May I ask your
  advice, whether at this moment such a step, entailing
  automatically also the resignation of the Federal
  Minister von Glaise-Horstenau, appears indicated, or
  whether I should put forth efforts to postpone such an

The letter is signed by Keppler. On top of the original is a
brief note apparently attached by the secretary of the
defendant Goering and dated Karinhall, 6th January, 1938,
reading as follows:

                                                  [Page 319]

  "Keppler should be told by telephone:
  (1) He should do everything to avoid the resignation of
  Councillor of State Dr. Seyss-Inquart and State Minister
  von Glaise-Horstenau. If some difficulties should arise,
  Seyss-Inquart should come to him first of all."

Now, as a result of this directive, apparently telephoned to
Keppler, the latter, on 8th January, 1938, wrote a letter to
Seyss-Inquart. I now offer this letter, which is Document
3397-PS in evidence, as Exhibit USA 702. Keppler writes, and
the Tribunal will remember that Keppler was, at that time,
Secretary of State in charge of Austrian Affairs of the
German Government:

  "Dear State Councillor:
  To-day I had a visit from Mr. Pl. who gave us a report of
  the state of affairs, and informed us that you are
  seriously considering the question of whether or not you
  are forced to hand back the mandate entrusted to you.
  I informed General Goering of the situation in writing,
  and G. just informed me that I should try my utmost to
  prevent you, or anyone else, from taking this step. This
  is also in the same vein as G.'s conversation with Dr. J.
  before Christmas; at any rate, G. requests you to
  undertake nothing of this nature under any circumstances
  before he himself has the opportunity of speaking with
  you once more.
  I can also inform you that G. is, furthermore, making an
  effort to speak to Ll., in order that certain improper
  conditions be eliminated by him."

Then the letter is signed by Keppler.

The two letters together, if the Tribunal please, show
clearly enough the extent to which this defendant was a
tool, the extent to which he was being used at that time by
the conspirators in their planning for their assault on
Austria. Now, once German troops were in Austria and Seyss-
Inquart had become Chancellor, he lost no time carrying out
the plans of his Nazi fellow-conspirators.

I next offer in evidence Document 3254-PS, which is a
memorandum written by the defendant Seyss-Inquart entitled
"The Austrian Question." It is Exhibit USA 704. I offer it
only because of the description which he gives of the manner
in which he secured the passage of an Austrian Act in
annexing Austria to Germany. He said that on 13th March
German officials brought him a proposal for inviting Austria
into Germany. They reported that -

THE PRESIDENT: Are you quoting?

LIEUTENANT ATHERTON: I now quote from the middle of Page 20
of the English text:

  "I called a meeting of the Council of Ministers, after
  having been told by Wolff that the Bund President would
  make no difficulties in regard to that realisation; he
  would return to his home in the meantime and would await
  me there. On my proposal the Council of Ministers,
  assembled in the meantime, adopted the draft bill to
  which my law section had made some formal modifications.
  The vote on the 26th April had been planned already in
  the first draft. According to the provisions of the
  Constitution of 1st May, 1934, any fundamental
  modification of the Constitution could be decided by the
  Council of Ministers, with the approbation of the Bund
  President. A vote or a confirmation by the nation was in
  no way provided for. In the event that the Bund President
  should, for any reason, either resign his functions or be
  for some time unable to fulfil them, his prerogatives
  were to go over to the Bund Chancellor. I went to the
  Bund President with Dr. Wolff. The President told me that
  he did not know whether this development would be of
  benefit to the Austrian Nation, but that he did not wish
  to interfere, and preferred to resign his functions, so
  that all rights would come into my hands according to the

And then, omitting two or three sentences to the top of Page

  "Thereafter I returned to Linz, where I arrived about
  midnight and reported to the Fuehrer the accomplishment
  of the Anschluss law."

                                                  [Page 320]

The same day Germany formally incorporated Austria into the
Reich by a decree, and declared it to be a province of the
German Reich, in violation of Article 80 of the Treaty of
Versailles. I ask the Court to take judicial notice of,
Document 2307-PS, which is the decree to this effect,
published in 1938 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 237.

If the defendant Seyss-Inquart seems unduly modest as to the
part which he played in undermining the Government to which
he owed allegiance, his fellow conspirators were quick to
recognise the importance of his contributions. In a speech
on the 26th March, 1938, the defendant Goering said - and I
am reading now from Document 3270-PS, Exhibit USA 703, which
is an extract from the "Dokumente der Deutschen Politik,"
Volume 6, Page 183:
  "A complete unanimity between the Fuehrer and the N.S.
  Confidants inside of Austria existed.... If the N.S.
  rising succeeded so quickly and thoroughly and without
  bloodshed, it is first of all due to the intelligent and
  decisive firmness of the present Reichsstatthalter Seyss-
  Inquart and his confidants."

I want, before leaving the matter of the Anschluss, to
stress this once more, because this was a time of great
importance, and it was Seyss-Inquart who held the key
position in this first open attack on another country. Had
it not been for his part - as has been shown - things might
have gone very differently; and if there were no other place
where he was connected with the conspirators' plans for
aggression, this would be sufficient to rank him with the
foremost of the conspirators.

Now, passing on, Mr. Alderman has shown the way in which
Seyss-Inquart co-operated with the conspirators in
integrating Austria as fully as possible into the Reich,
making its resources available to the Reich - its resources
of wealth and its resources of manpower.

In furtherance of the conspirators' plan Reichsstatthalter
Seyss-Inquart, for the first time, demonstrated his talent
for the persecution of Jewish citizens. In an address in
Vienna on 26th March, 1938, which will be found at Page 2326
of the record, he recalls that Goering expressly
commissioned this defendant, as Reichsstatthalter, to
institute anti-Semitic measures.

And the Tribunal will remember from previous evidence the
kind of wholesale larceny which this involved. So
successfully did Seyss-Inquart perform his task that at the
meeting of the Air Ministry, under the chairmanship of the
defendant Goering on the 12th November, 1938, Fischbock, a
member of Seyss-Inquart's official family, was able to
relate the efficiency with which the Civil Administration in
Austria dealt with the so-called "Jewish Question." I refer
to Document 1816-PS, Exhibit USA 261 - and I am reading
first from Page 14 of the English translation. The Tribunal
will note that this is the third full paragraph from the
bottom of Page 14:

  "Your Excellency:
  In this matter we have already a very complete plan for
  Austria. There are 12,000 Jewish artisans and 5,000
  Jewish retail shops in Vienna. Before the National
  Revolution we had already a definite plan for tradesmen,
  regarding this total of 17,000 stores. Of the shops of
  the 12,000 artisans about 10,000 were to be closed
  definitely and 2,000 were to be kept open. 4,000 of the
  5,000 retail stores should be closed and 1,000 should be
  kept open, that is, were to be Aryanised. According to
  this plan, between 3,000 and 3,500 of the total of 17,000
  stores would be kept open, all others closed. This was
  decided following investigations in every single branch,
  and according to local needs, in agreement with all
  competent authorities, and is ready for publication as
  soon as we receive the law which we requested in
  September; this law shall empower us to withdraw licences
  from artisans, quite independent of the Jewish Question."
  Goering said, "I shall have this decree issued to-day."

                                                  [Page 321]

Then, if the Tribunal please, I just wish to read one more
sentence from the middle of the next page, in which
Fischbock says:

  "Out of 17,000 stores 12,000 or 14,000 would be shut down
  and the remainder Aryanised or handed over to the Bureau
  of Trustees which is operated by the State."

And Goering replies:

  "I have to say that this proposal is grand. This way the
  whole affair would be wound up in Vienna, one of the,
  Jewish capitals, so to speak, by Christmas or by the end
  of the year."

The defendant Funk then says, "We can do the same thing over

In other words, Seyss-Inquart's so-called solution was so
highly regarded that it was considered a model for the rest
of the Reich.

The task of integrating Austria into the Reich being
substantially complete, the Nazi conspirators were able to
use Seyss-Inquart's expert services for the subjugation of
other peoples. As an illustration I refer the Tribunal to
Document D-571, Exhibit USA 112, which has already been read
in evidence. The Tribunal will recall that from this
document it appeared that on the 21st March, 1939, an
official of the British Government reported from Prague to
Viscount Halifax that a little earlier, on the 11th of
March, 1939, Seyss-Inquart, Burckel and five German generals
attended a meeting of the Cabinet of the Slovak Government,
and told them that they should proclaim the independence of
Slovakia, that Hitler had decided to settle the question of
Czechoslovakia definitely (this has been read in Court to-
day) and that, unless they did as they were told, Hitler
would disinterest himself in their fate. It just gives an
indication of the manner in which this man continued to be
busy in the aggressive plans of these Nazi conspirators.

Now, early in September, 1939, after the opening of the
attack against Poland, Seyss-Inquart became Chief of the
Civil Administration of South Poland. A few weeks later, on
12th October, 1939, Hitler promulgated a decree providing
that territories occupied by German troops, except those
incorporated within the German Reich, should be subject to
the authority of the Governor-General of the Occupied Polish
Territories, and he appointed the defendant Frank as
Governor-General and the defendant Seyss-Inquart as Deputy
Governor-General. This decree will be found in the 1939
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, Page 2077, and I ask the Tribunal
to take judicial notice of it. Shortly thereafter, on 26th
October, 1939, Frank promulgated a decree establishing the
administration of the Occupied Polish Territories, of which
he was Governor. This decree is published in the "Dokumente
der Deutschen Politik" and appears in the document book as
3468-PS. I am informed that this book, Volume 7, will be
Exhibit USA 705, and I offer it as such.

Article III of the decree provided that the Chief of the
Office of the Governor-General and the Senior S.S. and
Police Leaders should be directly subordinate to the
Governor-General and his Deputy. The Deputy, of course, was
the defendant Seyss-Inquart.

The significance of that provision is obvious in the light
of the evidence which the Tribunal has heard and will hear.
I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it.

As Deputy Governor-General of the Polish Occupied
Territories, Seyss-Inquart seems to have had the job of
setting up a German Administration throughout this
territory; that is, he worked under the defendant Frank, but
did much of the work of interviewing the various local
leaders, telling them what they should do. As an
illustration I offer in evidence a report of a trip which
Seyss-Inquart and his consultants took between the 17th and
22nd of February, 1939. This is our Document 2278-PS, and I
offer it as Exhibit USA 706. If the Tribunal please, I have
misstated that date or period. It was 17th to the 22nd
November, 1939 - in other words, shortly after the

                                                  [Page 322]

administration was set up. On the first page of the English
translation - and I now quote from the second full paragraph-
the following appears:
  "At 3 p.m. Reich Minister Dr. Seyss-Inquart addressed the
  department heads of the District Chief and stated, among
  other things, that the chief guiding rule for carrying
  out German administration in the Government General must
  be solely the interests of the German Reich. A stern and
  inflexible administration must make the7 area of use to
  German economy, and, so that excessive clemency may be
  guarded against, the results of the intrusion of the
  Polish race into German territory must be brought, to

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