The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
The Execution of the Plan to Invade Czechoslovakia<(Part 24 of 29)

The background of the German intrigue in Slovakia is outlined in two British diplomatic despatches (D-571, D-572) and excerpts from despatches sent by M. Coulondre, the French Ambassador in Berlin to the French Foreign Office between 13 March 1939 and 18 March 1939, and published in the French Yellow Book. (2943-PS)

In Slovakia the long-anticipated crisis came on 10 March. On that day the Czechoslovakian government dismissed those members of the Slovak Cabinet who refused to continue negotiations with Prague, among them Prime Minister Tiso and Durcansky. Within 24 hours the Nazis seized upon this act of the Czech government as an excuse for intervention. On the following day, 11 March, a strange scene was enacted in Bratislava, the Slovak capital. It is related in the report of the British Minister in Prague to the British government:

"Herr Buerckel, Herr Seyss-Inquart and five German generals came at about 10 P. M. on the evening of Saturday, the 11th March, into a Cabinet meeting in progress at Bratislava, and told the Slovak Government that they should proclaim the independence of Slovakia. When M. Sidor (the Prime Minister) showed hesitation, Herr Buerckel took him on one side and explained that Herr Hitler had decided to settle the question of Czecho-Slovakia definitely. Slovakia ought, therefore, to proclaim her independence because Herr Hitler would otherwise disinterest himself in her fate. M. Sidor thanked Herr Buerckel for this information, but said that he must discuss the situation with the Government at Prague." (D-571)

Events were now moving rapidly. Durcansky, one of the dismissed ministers, escaped with Nazi assistance to Vienna, where the facilities of the German broadcasting station were placed at his disposal. Arms and ammunition were brought from German

[Page 569]

Offices in Engerau, across the Danube, into Slovakia where they were used by the FS and the Hlinka Guard to create incident and disorder of the type required by the Nazis as an excuse for military action. The situation at Engerau is described in an affidavit of Alfred Helmut Naujocks:

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

"1. From 1934 to 1941 I was a member of the SD. In the winter of 1939 I was stationed in Berlin, working in Amt VI, Chief Sector South East. Early in March, four or five days before Slovakia declared its independence, Heydrich, who was chief of the SD, ordered me to report to Nebe, the chief of the Reich Criminal Police. Nebe had been told by Heydrich to accelerate the production of explosives which his department was manufacturing for the use of certain Slovak groups. These explosives were small tins weighing approximately 500 grams.

"2. As soon as forty or fifty of these explosives had been finished, I carried them by automobile to a small village called Engerau, just across the border from Pressburg in Slovakia. The Security Police had a Service Department in this village for the handling of SD activities. I turned over the explosives to this office and found there a group of Slovaks, including Karmasin, Mach, Tuka and Durcansky. In fact, three of these people then present later became ministers in the new Slovak government. I was informed that the explosives were to be turned over to the Hlinka Guards across the border in Slovakia and were to be used in incidents designed to create the proper atmosphere for a revolution.

"3. I stayed in Engerau for a day and a half and then returned to Berlin.

"4. One or two weeks later I met in Berlin the same Slovak delegation, including Mach, Tuka, Durcansky and Karmasin, which I had seen in Engerau. They had flown to Berlin for a conference with Goering. Heydrich asked me to look after them and to report to him what developed during the conference with Goering. I reported this conference in detail to Heydrich. It dealt principally with the organization of the new Slovak state.. My principal recollection of the conference is that the Slovaks hardly got a word in because Goer ing was talking all the time.

"The facts stated above are true; this declaration is made by

[Page 570]

me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over the statement I have signed and executed the same at NURNBERG, Germany this 20th day of November 1945.

"(Signed) Alfred Helmut Naujocks"

At this time the German press and radio launched a violent campaign against the Czechoslovak government. And, significantly, an invitation from Berlin was delivered in Bratislava. Tiso, the dismissed prime minister, was summoned by Hitler to an audience in the German capital. A plane was awaiting him in Vienna. (998-PS; 3061-PS; 2943-PS)

M. Occupation of Czechoslovakia Under Threat of Military Force.

At this point, in the second week of March 1939, preparations for what the Nazi leaders liked to call the "liquidation" of Czechoslovakia were progressing with a gratifying smoothness. The military, diplomatic, and propaganda machinery of the Nazi conspirators was moving in close coordination. As during Case Green of the preceding summer, the Nazi conspirators had invited Hungary to participate in the attack. It appears from a letter Admiral Horthy, the Hungarian Regent, wrote to Hitler on 13 March 1939, which was captured in the German Foreign Office files, that Horthy was flattered by the invitation:

"Your Excellency, "My sincere thanks.

"I can hardly tell you how happy I am because this Head Water Region -- I dislike using big words -- is of vital importance to the life of Hungary.

"In spite of the fact that our recruits have only been serving for 5 weeks we are going into this affair with eager enthusiasm. The dispositions have already been made. On Thursday, the 16th of this month, a frontier incident will take place which will be followed by the big blow on Saturday.

"I shall never forget this proof of friendship and your Excellency may rely on my unshakeable gratitude at all times. "Your devoted friend.

"(Signed) HORTHY "
Budapest. 13 March 1939." (2816-PS)

From this letter it may be inferred that the Nazi conspirators had already informed the Hungarian government of their plans

[Page 571]

for military action against Czechoslovakia. As it turned out, the timetable was advanced somewhat.

On the diplomatic level Ribbentrop was active. On 13 March, the same day on which Horthy wrote his letter, Ribbentrop sent a cautionary telegram to the German minister in Prague, outlining the course of conduct he should pursue during the coming diplomatic pressure:

"Telegram in secret code

"With reference to telephone instructions given by Kordt today.

"In case you should get any written communication from President HACHA, please do not make any written or verbal comments or take any other action on them but pass them on here by cipher telegram. Moreover, I must ask you and the other members of the Embassy to make a point of not being available if the Czech government wants to communicate with you during the next few days.

"(Signed) RIBBENTROP". (2815-PS)

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

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.