The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 18 of 29)

General Jodl's diary gives a further insight into the position of the Henlein Free Corps. At this time the Free Corps was engaged in active skirmishing along the Czech border, furnishing incidents and provocation in the desired manner. Jodl's entries for 19 September 1938 and 20 September 1938 state:

"19 September:

"Order is given to the Army High Command to take care of the Sudeten German Free Corps. "20 September: "England and France have handed over their demands in Prague, the contents of which are still unknown. The activities of the Free Corps start assuming such an extent that they may bring about, and already have brought about consequences harmful to the plans of the Army. (Transferring rather strong units of the Czech Army to the proximity of the border.) By checking with Lt. Col. Koechling, I attempt to lead these activities into normal channels. "Toward the evening the Fuehrer also takes a hand and gives permission to act only with groups up to 12 men each, after the approval of the Corps HQ." (1780-PS)

A report from Henlein's staff, which was filed in Hitler's headquarters, boasted of the offensive operations of the Free Corps in the following terms:

"Since 19 more than 300 missionsthe Free Corps has executed its task with an amazing spirit of attack and with a willingness often reaching a degree of unqualified

[Page 554]

self-sacrifice. The result of the first phase of its activities: more than 1500 prisoners, 25 MGs and a large amount of weapons and equipment, aside from serious losses in dead and wounded suffered by the enemy." (388-PS, Item 30)

In this document the word "attack" was subsequently crossed out, and the word "defense substituted. Similarly "the enemy" was changed to read "the Czech terrorists".

In his headquarters in the castle at Dondorf, Henlein was in close touch with Admiral Canaris of the Intelligence Division of the OKW and with the SS and SA. The liaison officer between the SS and Henlein was Oberfuehrer Gottlob Berger, who in later years became prominent in the SS command. An affidavit executed by Berger reads as follows:

"I, GOTTLOB BERGER, under oath and being previously sworn, make the following statement:

"1. In the fall of 1938 I held the rank and title of Oberfuehrer in the SS. In mid-September I was assigned as SS Liaison Officer with Konrad Henleins Sudeten German Free Corps at their headquarters in the castle of Dondorf outside Bayreuth. In this position I was responsible for all liaison between the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler and Henlein and, in particular, I was delegated to select from the Sudeten Germans those who appeared eligible for membership in the SS or VT (Verfuegungs Truppe). In addition to myself, Liaison Officers stationed with Henlein included an Obergruppenfuehrer from the NSKK, whose name I have forgotten, and Obergruppenfuehrer Max Juettner, from the SA. In addition, Admiral Canaris, who was head of the OKW Abwehr, appeared at Dondorf nearly every two days and conferred with Henlein.

"2. In the course of my official duties at Henleins headquarters I became familiar with the composition and activities of the Free Corps. Three groups were being formed under Henleins direction: One in the Eisenstein area, Bavaria; one in the Bayreuth area; one in the Dresden area; and possibly a fourth group in Silesia. These groups were supposedly composed of refugees from the Sudetenland who had crossed the border into Germany, but they actually contained Germans with previous service in the SA and NSKK (Nazi Motor Corps) as well. These Germans formed the skeleton of the Free Corps. On paper the Free Corps had a strength of 40000 men. I do not know its actual strength, but I believe it to be considerably smaller than the paper

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figure. The Corps was armed with Manlicher-Schoenauer rifles from Army depots in Austria. It was my understanding that about 18000 rifles were issued to men under Henleins command. In addition, small numbers of machine guns [(Rifles and machine guns were of doubtful serviceability due to inferior ammunition).], hand grenades, and 2 captured antitank guns were placed at Henleins disposal. Part of the equipment furnished to Henlein, mostly haversacks, cooking utensils, and blankets, were supplied by the SA.

"3. In the days preceding the conclusion of the four- power pact at Munich I heard of numerous occasions on which the Henlein Free Corps was engaged in skirmishes with Czech patrols along the border of the Sudetenland. These operations were under the direction of Henlein, who went forward from his Headquarters repeatedly to take direct command of his men.

"The facts stated above are true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over this statement I have signed and executed the same.

"(Signed) Gottlieb Berger"

Henlein and his Free Corps were also acting in collaboration with the SD, (Sicherheitsdienst) Himmlers intelligence organization. An affidavit executed by Alfred Helmut Naujocks, a member of the SD, reads as follows:

"I, ALFRED HELMUT NAUJOCKS, being first duly sworn, depose and state as follows:

"1. In September 1938 I was working in Amt III of the SD. (The department which was then called Amt III later became Amt IV). In the course of my work I travelled between Berlin, Hof and Munich.

"2. While in Hof, which is on the Czech border, I paid repeated visits to the SD Service Department, that is, Intelligence Office, which had been established there. This Service Department had the task of collecting all political intelligence emanating from the Czechoslovak border districts and passing it on to Berlin. Continuous day and night teleprinter communications had been established from Hof direct to Amt II of the SD in Berlin. To the best of my recollection the head of the Hof office was Daufeldt. The head of Amt III in Berlin at this time was Jost and his assistant was Filbert.

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"3. The bulk of the intelligence we collected came from Henlein Free Corps, which had its headquarters in a castle at Dondorf, outside Bayreuth; the distance between Hof and Bayreuth is not very great, and we had daily access to all intelligence received by the Free Corps. There was a continuous liaison maintained with Czech territory by runners. Exploitation of this Intelligence was carried out every day in Berlin and was placed before Heydrich and Himmler.

"4. I remember that the Free Corps made continuous complaints that they had not received sufficient supply of arms. Negotiations by letter and teleprint message went on for a number of days with Berlin until it became quite a nuisance. After that arms were supplied from the army, but I believe it was only a small quantity.

"5. Hof was the center for all intelligence collected by the SD on the Czechoslovak question. The SD had agents all along the border in every town. The names of these agents were reported to Hof, and two motor cars toured the border every day to collect the intelligence which had been unearthed. In addition, I remember that two or three companies of the SS-Totenkopf units were stationed in the neighborhood of Asch.

"The facts stated above are true: this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over this statement I have signed and executed the same at Nurnberg, Germany this 20th day of November 1945.

" (signed) Alfred Helmut Naujocks."

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

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