The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/08/15

Q. Very well. I do not intend to argue about it, for the
documents speak for themselves.

I would like to turn again to the statement of Hans Voss.
This is Exhibit USSR 471. It has already been submitted.
Will you pay attention to Excerpt No. 2? It is underlined.
It is just a short excerpt, and I will read it:

  " ... and he, Fritzsche, understood how to influence the
  German mind when he tried to convince them that they, the
  Germans, were the superior race and therefore had to rule
  over other peoples as their slaves."

Does that agree with the facts?

A. No, it does not agree with the facts; rather, it
contradicts the facts in all points.

Q. Let's say it contradicts your assertions.

Very well, I will put another question to you. Do you know
the name of Lieutenant-General Rainer Stahel, who was the
former commandant of the town of Warsaw?

A. I am not familiar with that name.

                                                  [Page 286]

You are not familiar with that name? Very well. You will be
handed a document. Mr. President, this is Exhibit USSR 473,
and it is the testimony of Rainer Stahel, dated 15th
September, 1941.

I will read the first excerpt:

  "Goebbels and Fritzsche took every measure in order to
  popularise the racial theory among the Germans and to
  convince them that the Germans were a master race, and
  that other peoples, as inferior races, must be
  subordinated to the German Master Race.
  
  In order to convince the Germans of this theory, and to
  compel them to believe in it, the Ministry of Propaganda,
  run by Goebbels and Fritzsche, made a large number of
  films before and during the war, and published books,
  pamphlets, periodicals and other literature in which the
  authors attempted to prove the superiority of the Germans
  over other nations.
  
  It can be said that as a result of the energetic activity
  of Goebbels and Fritzsche the racial theory gained a firm
  hold on the minds of large numbers of the German people.
  This contributed to the fact that during the war the
  German soldiers and officers, having assimilated the
  teaching of the leaders of German propaganda, committed
  bestial crimes against civilian populations."

Tell me, did Rainer Stahel correctly describe the part
played by you in the propagation of racial theory?

A. No, I should like to add that the level of this statement
is even lower than that of the other statements submitted to
me. I should be happy if just one of those people whose
testimony has been submitted to me in this form could appear
here in person in order to testify as to the documentary
basis of his statement.

Q. I believe that during the six months that the trial has
lasted, you have heard enough testimony. Well, let us go on.

A. No, I have to make this observation: I have not been
confronted with any testimony of witnesses dealing with the
subject matter discussed here.

Q. You remember, I hope, the testimony of the witness Hoess
regarding the extermination of millions of persons.

A. (No response.)

Q. I say that you, I hope, remember the testimony of Hoess,
the Kommandant of the concentration camp in Auschwitz,
concerning the extermination of millions of people.

A. I did not forget this testimony, and not for a minute did
it escape my memory.

Q. Very well. I only reminded you. I do not intend
questioning you on this matter. I am passing on to questions
connected with the propaganda regarding the preparation for
aggressive war by Hitlerite Germany. In order to shorten the
cross-examination, I shall quote a few of your own
statements, dated 12th September, 1945, which have already
been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 474. Please
look at the second excerpt. It is underlined.

A. I object to the reading of this quotation in the same way
as I objected to the submission of the entire minutes of the
interrogation, and I refer you to what I testified a few
hours ago about the origin of this record.

Q. You already gave an explanation to the Tribunal, and the
Tribunal will consider your explanation. This document is
submitted, and I intend to cite this part of the testimony.
Please follow me. Excerpt No. 2:

  "In order to justify this aggressive action, Goebbels
  summoned me and gave me instructions to conduct a hostile
  campaign against Austria. Among other things he
  instructed me to find old documents in the archives which
  in any way incriminated the Austrian Government and to
  publish them in the Press. Goebbels stressed that the
  documents to be published must first of all show that the
  Austrian people wished to unite themselves with the
  German nation, and that the Austrians adhering to these
  ideas were being persecuted by the Austrian Government.
  Furthermore, Goebbels said that

                                                  [Page 287]

  the German Press had to show that the Germans living in
  Austria were being systematically persecuted by the
  Austrian Government, even to the length of mass reprisals
  being carried out against them."

And further on:

  "When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Poland,
  Belgium, Norway and the Balkan countries, I, acting on
  Goebbels's instructions, raked up similar calumnies."

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, surely it would be better to
ask him with reference to one of these paragraphs, did he
say that, rather than to put to him the whole document at
once.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, I have only one paragraph
left, and I intended to read it and then to put the question
to him.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not objecting to that. I am only
suggesting that it would be better if you put to him each
paragraph in turn, and not put three or four paragraphs all
in one question.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Very well, Mr. President; I will deal with
it in this way.

BY GENERAL RUDENKO:

Q. I am asking you, defendant Fritzsche, do you admit the
paragraph read by me concerning the Anschluss?

A. No. And I maintain that that is not what I testified.
That extract contains rather the thoughts which the
interrogating Russian officer entertained in respect to my
testimony. After it had been drawn up, the record was
submitted to me for my signature.

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute! What do you deny in it? Take
the first paragraph.

THE WITNESS: Mr. President, I am protesting against
everything, particularly against the expressions used here,
which I have never used. During my interrogations in Moscow
I stated exactly the same things as I stated here in this
trial yesterday, the day before yesterday and today or as I
have set down in my affidavit.

THE PRESIDENT: Take the first paragraph. The first paragraph
has just been read to you - "In order to justify this
aggressive action - " Were you asked any question about
that, and did you make any answer?

THE WITNESS: Yes, indeed. In many interrogations which were
held late at night, I was asked such questions, and to the
group of questions condensed in this question I answered as
follows:

  "I do not recall the date, but when the Austrian action
  was about to take place I was summoned to Dr. Goebbels.
  He told me that the Austrian Government of Schuschnigg
  had plans of such and such a nature - they have been
  described in sufficient detail here - that a government
  crisis was taking place, that Seyss-Inquart had taken
  over the government, that a call for help had come from
  Austria, and that now the march into Austria would take
  place."

THE PRESIDENT: Are you now telling us what you told the
Russian interrogator, or are you telling us what actually
happened in Germany at the time of the Anschluss?

THE WITNESS: I am telling what I told the interrogating
Russian officer, and that is exactly what took place in the
Propaganda Ministry on the day in question.

THE PRESIDENT: You are saying, then, that this first
paragraph is entirely made up, are you?

                                                  [Page 288]

A. No; I should not like to use the expression "made up,"
but I should like to say - and I beg permission to do so -
which parts in this paragraph are correct. First of all,
there is the point that there was a hostile campaign against
the Schuschnigg Government; such a campaign actually was
instigated in the German Press; whether at the moment of his
resignation or just before his resignation I do not remember
now.

Furthermore, it is correct, as set down in this paragraph,
that it was proposed to show, by quoting individual cases as
far as possible, that under the Schuschnigg Government those
who were sympathetic towards Germany were persecuted. These
are the points that are correct.

BY GENERAL RUDENKO:

Q. Strictly speaking, this means that you have now
corroborated what I have just read.

A. No, no, sir. There is an essential difference.

Q. From your point of view. But I believe that you will not
deny the fact that you conducted propaganda directed against
the Austrian Government. This is the main point of this
question.

A. I must deny that as well. This propaganda was not
conducted by me, but by my predecessor, as chief of the
"German Press Division."

Q. Do I understand correctly that you deny having
participated personally in this propaganda, but do not deny
that there was such propaganda?

A. You understand me correctly if by the term "propaganda"
in this case you mean enumerating those measures used by the
Schuschnigg Government against German interests as a whole.

Q. Very well. I should like to read the following paragraph
of the same testimony which says:

  "When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Denmark,
  Poland, Norway, and the Balkan countries, I, acting on
  the instructions of Goebbels, organized a similar
  campaign of calumnious propaganda. In every such case I
  selected every old document from the archives which
  incriminated the governments of these countries as far as
  Germany was concerned, added my commentary to these
  documents and attempted in this way to justify this or
  that aggressive action on the part of Germany."

Do you also deny this?

A. Yes, in that form I deny that as well.

Q. But you will not deny that propaganda for the purpose of
aggression was conducted against all the countries
enumerated in this testimony?

A. I contest your last remark. I admit the fact of the
propaganda, and I have described in detail the individual
actions and my participation in them in my affidavit
Document 3469-PS.

Q. Very well; I do not intend questioning you further, as
this has been quite adequately explained in your statements
of 7th January, 1946, Document 3469-PS, which, in fact, do
not contradict what has been stated. Is that right?

A. I see an essential difference. But this affidavit,
Document 3469-PS, is absolutely correct.

Q. Very well, I should like, as a supplement to this, to
read the testimony of Ferdinand Schoerner, which is Exhibit
USSR 472, and which has already been submitted to the
Tribunal; I mean Extract No. 3. He says in his statement:

  "Fritzsche's political activity in his function as
  official radio commentator, in the same way as the
  activity of the war correspondent, General Dittmar, was
  subordinated to the main task of National Socialism, the
  unleashing of the world war against democratic countries
  and the contributing by all possible means to the victory
  of German arms. Fritzsche's principal method, which he
  used during the several years of his activity, consisted
  in, as I later realised, the deliberate deception of the
  German people. I mention that because, during the last
  years, we soldiers felt this deception especially keenly,
  for, in

                                                  [Page 289]

  spite of Fritzsche's false lamentations, we knew the
  actual conditions on the front and the actual situation.
  The main guilt of people such as Fritzsche is that they
  did know the actual state of affairs, but despite this,
  proceeding according to the criminal intentions of the
  Hitler Government, intentionally fed the people with lies
  or, to use an everyday expression, 'threw dust in their
  eyes.'"

Tell me, defendant Fritzsche, does this characterisation of
German propaganda correspond to the truth?

A. It is utter nonsense, and it so happens that I can prove
that some of it is so. Herr Schoerner says part of the
activity of the war correspondent General Dittmar was the
starting of aggressive wars. General Dittmar spoke over the
radio for the first time in the winter of 1942-43. That is
one point. The second point is the following: I have never
seen Herr Schoerner. I do not know him and I have never
spoken to him. I should be very surprised if he were in a
position to judge whether I deliberately or unconsciously at
any time ever said anything that was not true. However - and
this is something I must add - during the last few days in
Berlin I indirectly, through State Secretary Dr. Naumann,
received a report from General Field-Marshal Schoerner with
the instruction that I should use it. It reported that he
was in Bohemia with an army which was intact and that he
could, if he wanted to, hold this territory for an unlimited
period. We in Berlin should not lose courage; he could even
come to our aid. I do not know whether Schoerner actually
made this statement, but I think it would be worth while to
call General Field-Marshal Schoerner here as a witness, in
order to ask him on what he based his judgement.

Q. The fact that you do not know Ferdinand Schoerner does
not disprove this testimony, for you have yourself stated
before this Tribunal that although very many people knew you
as an official representative of the Government, you could,
of course, not know everybody; is that right?

A. If you will permit me, sir, I should like to call your
attention to something illogical. Even without knowing me,
it is very easy for anyone to give an opinion about the
things I said, but it is impossible for anyone to judge
whether I made those statements in good faith or in bad
faith. I am sure that you yourself realize this distinction.

Q. You are speaking again of your personal participation,
but you do not deny the fact that the German propaganda was
harmful.

A. Again I cannot answer "yes" to the question in the way
that you put it. This morning I gave you a basis for
questions which can be put to me. I contributed my share to
an historical clarification by trying to show what was pure
idealism and what were false assumptions; these things are
now being confused.

Q. I am not putting questions on the basis which you say you
gave me, but upon the basis of documents which are at the
disposal of the prosecution. Let us go on. I should like to
ask you: Did you know about the "Operation Grun" against
Czechoslovakia, about the documents concerning the
aggression against Poland, the aggression against
Yugoslavia, and the propaganda which had to be conducted in
this respect?

A. I heard for the first time here the documentary data for
the Case "Grun." But as you are now again trying to tie this
up with propaganda measures, it is very hard for me to keep
both of these matters separate. Perhaps it will serve your
purpose if I answer that neither in the case of
Czechoslovakia, nor in the case of Poland, nor in any other
case did I know about the German attacks until an hour or an
hour and a half before they were announced to the German
public.

Q. Did you say an hour or an hour and a half?

A. I do not wish to commit myself to an hour or an hour and
a half. I do recall that in the case of Russia I had advance
knowledge, through Dr. Goebbels of perhaps five or six
hours.


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