The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 22 of 29)

[Page 563]

L. Extension of Fifth Column Activity

As in the case of Austria and the Sudetenland, the Nazi conspirators did not intend to rely on the Wehrmacht alone to accomplish their calculated objective of "liquidating" Czechoslovakia. With the German minority separated from Czechoslovakia, they could no longer use the cry, "home to the Reich." One sizeable minority, the Slovaks, remained within the Czechoslovak State. The Czechoslovak Government had made every effort to conciliate Slovak extremists in the months after the cession of the Sudetenland. Autonomy had been granted to Slovakia, with an autonomous cabinet and parliament at Bratislava. Nonetheless, despite these concessions, it was in Slovakia that the Nazi conspirators found men ready to take their money and do their bidding. The following picture of Nazi operations in Slovakia is based on the Czechoslovak official report. (998-PS; 3061-PS)

Nazi propaganda and "research" groups had long been interested in maintaining close connections with the Slovak autonomist opposition. When Bela Tuka, who later became Prime Minister of the puppet state of Slovakia, was tried for espionage and treason in 1929, the evidence established that he had already established connections with Nazi groups within Germany. Prior to 1938 Nazi aides were in close contact with Slovak traitors living in exile and were attempting to establish more profitable contacts in the semi- fascist Slovak Catholic Peoples Party of Monsignor Andrew Hlinka. Out of sympathy with the predominantly anti-clerical government in Prague, some Catholic elements in Slovakia proved willing to cooperate with the Nazis. In February and July 1938 the leaders of the Henlein movement conferred with top men of Father Hlinka's party and agreed to- furnish one another with mutual assistance in pressing their respective claim to autonomy. This understanding proved useful in the September agitation when, at the proper moment, the Foreign Office in Berlin wired the Henlein leader, Kundt, in Prague to tell the Slovaks to start their demands for autonomy. (See 2858-PS.)

By this time, mid-summer 1938, the Nazis were in direct contact with figures in the Slovak autonomist movement and had paid agents among the higher staff of Father Hlinka's party. These agents undertook to render impossible any understanding between the Slovak autonomists and the Slovak parties in the government at Prague. Franz Karmasin, later to become Volksgruppenfuehrer had been appointed Nazi leader in Slovakia and professed to be serving the cause of Slovak autonomy while on the Nazi pay roll. On 22 November the Nazis indiscreetly wired

[Page 564]

Karmasin to collect his money at the German Legation in person. The telegram, sent from the German Legation at Prague to Bratislava (Pressburg), reads as follows:

"Delegate Kundt asks to notify State Secretary Karmasin that he would appreciate it if he could personally draw the sum which is being kept for him at the treasury of the embassy.

"HENCKE" (2859-PS)

Karmasin proved to be extremely useful to the Nazi cause. A captured memorandum of the German Foreign Office, dated Berlin, 29 November 1939 eight months after the conquest of Czechoslovakiathrows a revealing light both on Karmasin and on the German Foreign Office:

"On the question of payments to KARMASIN

"Karmasin receives 30,000 Marks for the VDA (Peoples' League for Germans Abroad) until 1 April 1940; from then on 15,000 Marks monthly.

"Furthermore, the Central Office for Racial Germans (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle) has deposited 300,000 Marks for Karmasin with the German Mission in Bratislava (Pressburg) on which he could fall back in an emergency.

"Furthermore, Karmasin has received money from Reich Minister Seyss-Inquart; for the present it has been impossible to determine what amounts had been involved, and whether the payments will continue.

"Therefore it appears that Karmasin has been provided with sufficient money; thus one could await whether he would put up new demands himself.

"Herewith presented to the Reich Foreign Minister.

"/s/ WOERMANN" (2794-PS)

This document shows the complicity of the German Foreign Office in the subsidization of illegal organizations abroad. More important, it shows that the Germans still considered it necessary to supply their under-cover representatives in Pressburg with substantial funds even after the declaration of the so-called independent State of Slovakia.

Some time in the winter of 1938-1939 Goering conferred with Durcansky and Mach, two leaders in the Slovak extremist group, who were accompanied by Karmasin. The Slovaks told Goering of their desire for what they called "independence," with strong political, economic, and military ties to Germany. They promised that the Jewish problem would be solved as it had been in Germany and that the Communist Party would be prohibited. The notes of the meeting report that Goering considered that the

[Page 565]

Slovak efforts towards independence were to be supported, although his motives were scarcely altruistic. The undated minutes of this conversation between Goering and Durcansky, captured among the files of the German Foreign Office, are jotted down in somewhat telegraphic style:

"To begin with DURKANSKY (Deputy Prime Minister) reads out declaration. Contents: Friendship for the Fuehrer; gratitude, that through the Fuehrer autonomy has become possible for the SLOVAKS. The SLOVAKS never want to belong to HUNGARY. The SLOVAKS want full independence with strongest political, economic and military ties to Germany. BRATISLAVA to be capital. The execution of the plan only possible if the army and police are SLOVAK. "An independent SLOVAKIA to be proclaimed at the meeting of the first SLOVAK Diet. In the case of a plebiscite the majority would favour a separation from PRAGUE. Jews will vote for Hungary. The area of the plebiscite to be up to the MARCH, where a large SLOVAK population lives.

"The Jewish problem will be solved similarly to that in Germany. The Communist party to be prohibited.

"The Germans in SLOVAKIA do not want to belong to Hungary but wish to stay in SLOVAKIA.

"The German influence with the SLOVAK Government considerable; the appointment of a German Minister (member of the cabinet) has been promised.

"At present negotiations with HUNGARY are being conducted by the SLOVAKS. The CZECHS are more yielding towards the Hungarians than the SLOVAKS.

"The Fieldmarshal considers; that the SLOVAK negotiations towards independence are to be supported in a suitable manner. Czechoslovakia without Slovakia is still more at our mercy.

"Air bases in Slovakia are of great importance for the German Air Force for use against the East." (2801-PS)

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

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