The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia(Part 16 of 29)

Ribbentrop was not unreceptive to Henlein's suggestion. The conversations Henlein had proposed took place in the Foreign Office in Berlin on 29 March 1938. The previous day Henlein had conferred with Hitler himself. The captured German Foreign Office notes of the conference on 29 March read as follows:

"The Reichsminister started out by emphasizing the necessity to keep the conference which had been scheduled strictly a secret; he then explained, in view of the directives which the Fuehrer himself had given to Konrad Henlein personally yesterday afternoon that there were two questions which were of outstanding importance for the conduct of policy of the Sudeten German Party ***"


[Page 548]

"The aim of the negotiations to be carried out by the Sudeten German party with the Czechoslovakian Government is finally this: to avoid entry into the Government by the extension and gradual specification of the demands to be made. It must be emphasized clearly in the negotiations that the Sudeten German Party alone is the party to the negotiations with the Czechoslovakian Government, not the Reich Cabinet (Reichsregierung). The Reich Cabinet itself must refuse to appear toward the Government in Prague or toward London and Paris as the advocate or peacemaker of the Sudeten German demands. It is a self-evident prerequisite that during the impending discussion with the Czechoslovak Government the Sudeten Germans would be firmly controlled by Konrad Henlein, would maintain quiet and discipline, and would avoid indiscretions. The assurances already given by Konrad Henlein in this connection were satisfactory.

"Following these general explanations of the Reich Minister the demands of the Sudeten German Party from the Czechoslovak Government as contained in the enclosure were discussed and approved in principle. For further cooperation, Konrad Henlein was instructed to keep in the closest possible touch with the Reichsminister and the Head of the Central Office for Racial Germans (mit dem Leiter der Volksdeutschen Mittelstelle), as well as the German Minister in Prague, as the local representative of the Foreign Minister. The task of the German Minister in Prague would be to support the demands of the Sudeten German Party as reasonable, not officially, but in more private talks with the Czechoslovak politicians without exerting any direct influence on the extent of the demands of the Party.

"In conclusion there was a discussion whether it would be useful if the Sudeten German Party would cooperate with other minorities in Czechoslovakia, especially with the Slovaks. The Foreign Minister decided that the Party should have the discretion to keep a loose contact with other minority groups if the adoption of a parallel course by them might appear appropriate.

"Berlin, 29 March 1938.
"R [Initial]"

Not the least interesting aspect of this secret meeting is the list of those who attended. Konrad Henlein, his principal deputy, Karl Hermann Frank, and two others represented the Sudeten German Party. Professor Haushofer and SS Obergrup-

[Page 549]

penfuehrer Lorenz represented the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, the Central Office for Racial Germans. The Foreign Office was represented by a delegation of eight. These eight included Ribbentrop, who presided at the meeting and did most of the talking, von Mackensen, Weiszacker, and Minister Eisenlohr from the German Legation at Prague. (2788- PS)

In May Henlein came to Berlin for more conversations with the Nazi conspirators. At this time the plans for Case Green, the attack on Czechoslovakia, were already on paper, and it may be assumed that Henlein was briefed on the role he was to play during the summer months. The entry for 22 May 1938 in General Jodl's diary reads as follows:

"22 May: Fundamental conference between the Fuehrer and K. Henlein" (see enclosure). (1780-PS)

The enclosure, unfortunately, is missing.

It will be recalled that in his speech in Vienna, Henlein had admitted that he had been selected by the Nazi conspirators in the fall of 1933 to take over the political leadership of the Sudeten Germans (2863-PS). The foregoing documents show conclusively the nature of Henlein's mission. They demonstrate that Henlein's policy, his propaganda, eve his speeches were controlled by Berlin. Furthermore, from the year 1935 the Sudeten German Party had been secretly subsidized by the German Foreign Office. A secret memorandum, captured in the German Foreign Office files, signed by Woermann and dated Berlin, 19 August 1938, was occasioned by the request of the Henlein Party for additional funds. This memorandum reads


"The Sudeten German Party has been subsidized by the Foreign Office regularly since 1935 with certain amounts, consisting of a monthly payment of 15,000 Marks; 12,000 Marks of this are transmitted to the Prague Legation for disbursement, and 3000 Marks are paid out to the Berlin representation of the party (Bureau Buerger). In the course of the last few months the tasks assigned to the Bureau Buerger have increased considerably due to the current negotiations with the Czech Government. The number of pamphlets and maps which are produced and disseminated has risen; the propaganda activity in the press has grown immensely; the expense accounts have increased especially because due to the necessity for continuous good information, the expenses for trips to Prague, London, and Paris (including the financing of travels of Sudeten German deputies and agents) have grown considerably heavier. Under these conditions the

[Page 550]

Bureau Buerger is no longer able to get along with the monthly allowance of 3000 Marks if it is to do everything required. Therefore, Mr. Buerger has applied to this office for an increase of this amount, from 3000 Marks to 5500 Marks monthly. In view of the considerable increase in the business transacted by the Bureau, and of the importance which marks the activity of the Bureau in regard to the cooperation with the Foreign Office, this desire deserves the strongest support.

"Herewith submitted to the Dep: Pers(onnel) with a request for approval. It is requested to increase the payments with retroactive effect from 1 August.*

"Berlin, 19 August 1938
/s/ Woermann

"*Volkesdeutsche Mittelstelle (Central Office for Racial Germans) will be informed by the Political Dept. [handwritten marginal note]." (3059-PS; also 3061-PS)

As the military preparations to attack Czechoslovakia moved forward in the late summer and early fall of 1938, the Nazi command made good use of Henlein and his followers. About the first of August the Air Attache at the German Legation in Prague, Major Moericke, acting on instructions from Luftwaffe headquarters in Berlin, visited the Sudeten German leader in Freudenthal. With his assistance, and in the company of the local leader of the FS (the Henlein equivalent of the SS), he reconnoitered the surrounding countryside to select possible airfield sites for German use. The FS leader, a Czech reservist then on leave, was in the uniform of the Czech armya fact which, the attache noted, served as excellent camouflage.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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