The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Now, I have only one other question. You recognized, did
you not, that Himmler would use methods of which you would
not approve: is that right?

A. Yes, but only gradually, that could not have been
foreseen from the beginning.

Q. That is just what I wanted to know. When did you first
realize that? When did you first begin, so far as you can
remember, to realize what sort of man Himmler was?

A. That was very difficult to recognize, because Himmler had
two faces, he was a perfect Janus, one could not see
immediately what his real thoughts were at all.

Q. I am not asking you what he was like. If you would just
try to remember, you certainly realised that at some time.
Did you know it in 1937? You knew it in 1937 or 1938?
Certainly in 1938, did you not?

A. Probably in 1938, but it is hard for me to give a date at
the moment.

Q. I do not want a specific date. My point is that you knew
it before you went to the Protectorate; you knew what
Himmler was before you want to the Protectorate, of course?
There is no question about that, is there?

A. Yes, certainly I did.

THE TRIBUNAL (MR. JUSTICE BIDDLE): That is all.

BY THE TRIBUNAL (GENERAL NIKITCHENKO):

Q. Defendant, will you tell us please, did you ever express
yourself openly against the policy of the Hitlerite
Government?

A. I am sorry, but the translation was not good.

                                                  [Page 214]

Q. In your explanation, made before the Tribunal, you stated
that you were not in agreement with the policy of Hitler's
Government, either on separate questions or taken as a
whole, as well. Is that true?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever express yourself openly with a statement of
your disagreement with Hitler's policy?

A. I did so more than once.

Q. In what manner was it, then? I am asking you about your
public statements, was it either in the Press or while
addressing any meeting?

A. No. It was no longer possible to have it appear in the
Press, or to hold a meeting. It was quite out of the
question. I could only speak to Hitler personally or, at the
beginning, in the Cabinet, in protest against this policy.
There was no freedom of the Press any longer, any more than
in Russia. In the same way no meeting was possible.
Consequently ...

Q. I am not asking you about Russia; I am asking you about
your expressing your views. In other words, you never
expressed them. And in that way, nobody in Germany could
know, or did know, about the fact that you were not in
agreement with the policy on the part of Hitler's
Government?

A. I always expressed myself quite unmistakably about it,
but not in articles, nor in meetings, either; but otherwise,
I always expressed myself clearly about it.

Q. Yes, but only in your tete-a-tete with Hitler, only
personally to Hitler. You mentioned it only to Hitler
personally?

A. No; I tell you I said that to everyone who would listen,
but I could not do so in public meetings, in speeches, or in
articles.

Q. And you remained a member of the Government in spite of
the fact that you were not in agreement with the
Government's policy; is that so?

A. Yes, for that very reason.

Q. In order to counteract his policy?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the results of such counteracting?

A. I did not understand that.

Q. What were the results of your counteracting Hitler's
Government's policy?

A. Well, I am not in a position to give the details on that.

Q. In particular, as to the question of aggression, were you
against the joining of Germany and Austria?

A. Yes.

Q. The German Government joined Austria to Germany, is that
so?

A. I believe it has been clearly expressed here that at the
last moment Hitler did that.

Q. You were against the seizing of Czechoslovakia?

A. Yes.

Q. And the German Government seized Czechoslovakia?

A. I was no longer a member of the Government at that time.

Q. But as a statesman, whose opinion should have been
considered, you, of course, expressed your opinion against
it, did you not?

A. Always.

Q. You were against the attack on Poland?

A. Yes.

Q. And in spite of that Germany did attack Poland.

A. I repeat, I was no longer a member of the Government. I
learned of it only at the last moment.

Q. You were against the attack on U.S.S.R.?

A. Yes, indeed; I always wanted the exact opposite. I wanted
co-operation with the Soviet Union, I said that as early as
19 -

Q. And still Germany attacked the Soviet Union?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 215]

Q. Judging from your explanation, Hitler must have known
about your political opposition and your disagreement with
his policy, is it correct?

A. He knew that very well, for I resigned in 1938 for that
reason.

Q. Yes. And you know how Hitler made short work of his
political opposition?

A. In the Reich, yes.

Q. And so far as you were concerned, in spite of the fact
that you considered yourself as being in opposition, nothing
happened; that is true, is it not?

A. I did not understand.

Q. So far as you were concerned, in spite of the fact that
you considered yourself to be a member of the opposition,
nothing happened?

A. No, but I always expected something would.

Q. And could you not tell us whether Sir Nevile Henderson,
in his book, The Failure of a Mission, expressed the facts
concerning you personally correctly or not? Do you consider
that Sir Nevile Henderson expressed the facts correctly
concerning you personally; did he express them correctly?

A. I must admit frankly, I read this book by Sir Nevile
Henderson only once, three or four years ago. I cannot
remember now what he said about me. I heard excerpts from it
here once or twice, but I cannot say what he wrote about me.

Q. But you claim that you are familiar enough with the
excerpts presented by your defence counsel in his document
book?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, for instance, that which is expressed in his
excerpts so far as you are concerned, is it correct or not?

A. I assume so, yes.

Q. That is to say, it is correct. And is it quite correct
what he writes in reference to your membership in the Party?
He writes that "Baron von Neurath himself remained in the
regime of Hindenburg, and he was not a member of the Nazi
Party."

A. Yes, I believe I have said so repeatedly here in the last
few days.

Q. And farther on he informs us that "he (Neurath) became a
member of the Party later."

A. I have already explained how that happened. In 1937 I
received a Golden Party Badge without my ...

Q. Yes, we have heard that before, but is it true or not
that you became a member of the Nazi Party later, as Sir
Nevile Henderson states?

A. No, I ...

Q. This particular part is not correct then?

A. I received the Golden Party Badge with Hitler's statement
that this involved no obligations towards the Party.

Q. We have heard this already. That means that in Sir Nevile
Henderson's statements, not everything is true as far as
your person is concerned?

A. I do not know. With the best intentions I cannot remember
what Sir Nevile Henderson wrote about me.

Q. The last question I have is in regard to your memorandum.
I did not quite understand the explanation which was given
by you to Sir David, and later to your defence counsel. Now,
in forwarding Frank's memorandum, in the letter addressed to
Lammers, you wrote that you considered this memorandum
absolutely correct. Is that true?

A. Yes, that is true. I should also like to tell you the
reasons. This memorandum -

Q. You already explained the reasons before. I just wanted
to establish the fact that you really wrote this.

A. Up to now I have not told the reason why I wrote this to
Lammers. The reason why I wrote to Lammers to this effect
was that he was the one who submitted this memorandum to the
Fuehrer. So I had to write to the same effect.

                                                  [Page 216]

BY THE PRESIDENT:

Q. There are two subjects I want to ask you about and the
first relates to the letter that you wrote on 31st August,
1940. That is the letter which General Nikitchenko has just
referred to; you remember that?

A. Yes, indeed.

Q. And you remember that you said in that letter that you
fully agreed with the memorandum which your Secretary of
State Frank had drawn up independently of you. He said that
"Germanisation provides for the changing of the nationality
of racially suitable Czechs; and secondly, the expulsion of
racially unassimilable Czechs and of the intelligentsia who
are enemies of the Reich, or special treatment for these and
all destructive elements." My question is: What did you
understand by "special treatment"?

A. Well, as far as I read this extract at all at the time, I
had in no way ever thought of the term "special treatment"
as it has become known here during the trial. I was
certainly not at all in agreement with this attitude of
Frank as represented in the report, and I only had the
intention of frustrating this whole affair, in order to side-
track it. The content of these reports was only intended to
present this to Hitler in his own language, or in the
language of Himmler and others, in order to dissuade him
from it later on.

Q. Was it not misleading to write to Herr Lammers with the
view that it should be put forward to Hitler, saying that
you fully agreed with the memorandum with which you did not
agree?

A. Mr. President, as things were, I could not write to
Lammers. I did not intend to carry out anything which is
written in there, but since Lammers was presenting this to
Hitler, I first had to tell him I agreed with it. Afterwards
I reported to Hitler and gave him an explanation in a
personal conference during the meeting with Frank and
Guertner which has been mentioned here.

Q. Then your answer is that you do not know what was meant
by "special treatment"?

A. No, in any case I did not know at the time.

Q. Now, there is one other question that I should like to
put to you. You remember when you were called on the 11th
March, 1938, at the time of the Anschluss with Austria, and
you wrote the letter of the 12th March, 1938, in answer to
the memorandum which you received from the British
Government through Sir Nevile Henderson. You knew Sir Nevile
Henderson quite well, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. And in that letter you said this

  "It is untrue that the Reich used forceful pressure to
  bring about this development; and the assertion, which
  was spread later by the former Chancellor, that the
  German Government had presented the Federal President
  with a conditional ultimatum, is pure invention.
  According to the ultimatum, he had to appoint a proposed
  candidate as Chancellor and form a Cabinet conforming to
  the proposals of the German Government, otherwise the
  invasion of Austria by German troops was threatened."

And then you go on to say what you allege was the truth of
the matter. You know now, do you not, that your statements
in that letter were entirely untrue?

A. That did not come through.

Q. Have you heard any part of the question that I was
putting to you?

A. Unfortunately not.

Q. It is a pity that you did not say so earlier. Do you
remember 11th March, 1938, and being called in to represent
the Foreign Office, and you have told me just now that you
knew Sir Nevile Henderson quite well?

A. Yes.

Q. And you remember the letter which you wrote on 12th
March, 1938?

A. Yes.

                                                  [Page 217]

Q. And you admitted to Sir David Maxwell Fyfe that the
statements in that letter were untrue?

A. Untrue, yes; not entirely. They are presented
incorrectly.

Q. What steps did you take to find out whether or not they
were true?

A. I did not learn of the incorrectness of this presentation
until much later.

Q. That is not an answer to my question. I said: What steps
did you take to find out whether the statement was correct?

A. The statement which Hitler gave me I first simply
presumed to be true. I certainly could not check up on it in
any way.

Q. Why should you assume it to be true when it was in
contradiction of what the British Government had stated?

A. I had no other knowledge of the events which had
occurred, and therefore could only say what I knew.

Q. You had the letter, the protest from the British
Government, had you not?

A. Yes.

Q. You knew Sir Nevile Henderson perfectly well?

A. Yes.

Q. And you then wrote this letter contradicting the
statements which had been made on behalf of the British
Government, that is right, is it not?

A. Yes.

Q. And you took no steps to check the facts which had been
stated to you by Hitler? Will you answer that, please?

A. Yes. Your Lordship, how was I to do that? There was no
one else who knew about it. It was only what Hitler had
commissioned me to tell the Foreign Office. The draft of
this note was drawn up by the Foreign Office according to
the information which I had received from Hitler. I had no
other chance to clear this up.

Q. There were all the other persons who were concerned with
the matter whom you could have communicated with, but your
statement is that you did nothing?

A. I can only repeat that I had no opportunity to procure
any other information. Likewise, no one knew about it except
Hitler.


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