The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 17 of 29)

The Air Attache's report reads in part as follows:

"The manufacturer M. is head of the Sudeten German Glider Pilots in Freudenthal and said to be absolutely reliable by my trusted men. My personal impression fully confirmed this judgment. No hint of my identity was made to him, although I had the impression that M. knew who I was.

"At my request, with which he complied without any question, M. travelled with me over the country in question. We used M.'s private car for the trip.

"As M. did not know the country around Beneschau sufficiently well, he took with him the local leader of the FS, a Czech reservist of the Sudeten German Racial Group, at the time on leave. He was in uniform. For reasons of camouflage I was entirely in agreement with thiswithout actually saying so.

[Page 551]

"As M., during the course of the drive, observed that I photographed large open spaces out of the car, he said 'Aha, so you're looking for airfields !' I answered that we supposed that, in the case of any serious trouble, the Czechs would put their airfields immediately behind the line of fortifications and that I had the intention of looking over the country from that point of view." (1536-PS)

In the latter part of the Air Attache's report reference is made to the presence of reliable agents and informers ( V- Leute) apparently drawn from the ranks of the Henlein Party in this area. It was indicated that these agents were in touch with the Abwehrstelle, the intelligence office in Breslau. (1536-PS)

In September, when the propaganda campaign was reaching its height, the Nazis were not satisfied with playing merely on the Sudeten demands for autonomy. They attempted to use the Slovaks as well. On 19 September the Foreign Office in Berlin sent the following telegram to the German Legation in Prague:

"Please inform deputy Kundt, at Konrad Henlein's request, to get into touch with the Slovaks at once and induce them to start their demands for autonomy tomorrow.

"(signed) ALTENBURG"

Kundt was Henlein's representative in Prague.

As the harassed Czech government sought to stem the disorder in the Sudetenland, the German Foreign Office turned to threatening diplomatic tactics in a deliberate effort to increase the tension between the two countries. Four telegrams from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Legation in Prague, dispatched between the 16 September 1938 and 24 September 1938, are self-explanatory. The first telegram is dated 16 September:

"Tonight 160 subjects of Czechoslovakia of Czech blood were arrested in Germany. This measure is an answer to the arrest of Sudeten Germans since the Fuehrer's speech of 12 September. I request you to ascertain the number of Sudeten-Germans arrested since 12 September as extensively as possible. The number of those arrested there is estimated conservatively at 400 by the Gestapo cable report.

"Woermann." (2855-PS)

The second telegram is dated 17 September. The first two paragraphs read:

"I. Request to inform the local government immediately of the following:

"The Reich Government has decided that:

"(a) Immediately as many Czech subjects of Czech descent,

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Czech-speaking Jews included, will be arrested in Germany as Sudeten Germans have been in Czechoslovakia since the beginning of the week.

"(b) If any Sudeten Germans should be executed pursuant to a death sentence on the basis of martial law, an equal number of Czechs will be shot in Germany." (2854-PS)

The third telegram was sent on 24 September:

"According to information received here Czechs have arrested 2 German frontier-policemen, seven customs- officials and 30 railway-officials. As countermeasure all the Czech staff in Marschegg were arrested. We are prepared to exchange the arrested Czech officials for the German officials. Please approach Government there and wire result.


On the same day the fourth telegram was dispatched. The last paragraph read:


"Yielding of the Czech hostages arrested here for the prevention of the execution of any sentences passed by military courts against Sudeten-Germans is, of course, out of question.


In the latter half of September Henlein devoted himself and his followers wholeheartedly to preparation for the coming German attack. About 15 September, after Hitler's provocative Nurnberg speech in which he accused "this Benes" of "torturing" and planning the "extermination" of the Sudeten Germans, Henlein and Karl Hermann Frank, one of his principal deputies, fled to Germany to avoid arrest by the Czech government. In Germany Henlein broadcast over the powerful Reichssender radio station his determination to lead the Sudeten Germans "home to the Reich" and denounced "the Hussite Bolshevik criminals of Prague". From his headquarters in a castle at Dondorf, outside Bayreuth, he kept in close touch with the leading Nazi conspirators, including Hitler and Himmler. He directed activities along the border and began the organization of the Sudeten German Free Corps, an auxiliary military organization. These events are set forth in the Czechoslovak official report. (998-PS; 3061-PS)

Henlein's activities were carried on with the advice and assistance of the Nazi leaders. Lt. Col. Koechling was assigned to Hen-

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lein in an advisory capacity to assist with the Sudeten German Free Corps. In a conference with Hitler on the night of 17 September Koechling received far-reaching military powers. At this conference the purpose of the Free Corps was frankly stated: the "maintenance of disorder and clashes". Item 2, of the Schmundt file (388-PS), a telegram labeled Most Secret reads as follows:

"Last night conference took place between Fuehrer and Oberstleutnant Koechling. Duration of conference 7 minutes. Lt. Col. Koechling remains directly responsible to OKW. He will be assigned to Konrad Henlein in an advisory capacity. He received far- reaching military plenary powers from the Fuehrer. The Sudeten German Free Corps remains responsible to Konrad Henlein alone. Purpose: Protection of the Sudeten Germans and maintenance of disturbances and clashes. The Free Corps will be established in Germany. Armament only with Austrian weapons. Activities of Free Corps to begin as soon as possible." (388-PS, Item 25)

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

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