The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Constantin Von Neurath

(Part 6 of 6)

[Page 1027]

The declared basic policy of the Protectorate was to destroy the identity of the Czechs as a nation and to absorb their territory into the Reich. This is borne out by a memorandum signed by Lt. Gen. of Infantry Frederici (86-PS), which is headed "The Deputy General of the Armed Forces with the Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia" It is marked Top Secret and dated 15 October 1940. That was practically a year before von Neurath went on leave, as he puts it, on 27 September 1941. The memorandum discusses "Basic Political Principles in the Protectorate," and copies went to Keitel and Jodl. The memorandum states:

"On 9 October of this year [1940] the office of the Reich protector held an official conference in which State Secretary SS Lt. General K. H. Frank spoke about the following:

"Since creation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, party agencies, industrial circles, as well as agencies of the central authorities of Berlin, have had difficulties about the solution of the Czech problem.

"After ample deliberation, the Reich Protector expressed his view about the various plans in a memorandum. In this, three ways of solution were indicated:

"A. German infiltration of Moravia and reduction of the Czech nationality to a residual Bohemia.

"This solution is considered as unsatisfactory, because the Czech problem, even if in a diminished form, will continue to exist.

"B. Many arguments can be brought up against the most radical solution, namely, the deportation of all Czechs. Therefore the memorandum comes to the conclusion that it can not be carried out within a reasonable space of time.

"C. Assimilation of the Czechs, i.e. absorption of about half of the Czech nationality by the Germans, insofar as this is of importance by being valuable from a racial or other standpoint. This will take place among other things, also by increasing the Arbeitseinsatz of the Czechs in the Reich territory, with the exception of the Sudeten German border district; in other words, by dispersing the closed Czech nationality. The other half of the Czech nationality must be deprived of its power, eliminated and shipped out of the country by all sorts of methods. This applies particularly to the racially mongoloid part, and to the major part of the intellectual class. The latter can scarcely be converted ideologi-

[Page 1028]

cally, and would represent a burden by constantly making claims for leadership over the other Czech classes, and thus interfering with a rapid assimilation.

"Elements which counteract the planned Germanization are to be handled roughly and should be eliminated.

"The above development naturally presupposes an increased influx of Germans from the Reich territory into the Protectorate.

"After a discussion, the Fuehrer has chosen Solution C (assimilation) as a directive for the solution of the Czech problem, and decided that while keeping up the autonomy of the Protectorate on the surface, the Germanization will have to be carried out in a centralized way by the office of the Reich Protector for years to come. From the above no particular conclusions are drawn by the Armed Forces. This is the direction which has always been represented from here.

"In this connection, I refer to my memorandum which was sent to the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, dated 12 July 1939, entitled 'The Czech Problem'." (862-PS)

That view of the Reich Protector was accepted and formed a basis of his policy. The result was a program of consolidating German control over Bohemia and Moravia by the systematic oppression of the Czechs through the abolishment of civil liberties, and the systematic undermining of the native political, economic, and cultural structure by a regime of terror. The only protection given by von Neurath was a protection to the perpetrators of innumerable crimes against the Czechs. (Proof of this aspect of von Neurath's responsibility was left for development by the Soviet prosecuting staff.)


Von Neurath received many honors and rewards as his worth. It even appears that Hitler showered more honors on von Neurath than on some of the leading Nazis who had been with the Party since the very beginning. His appointments-as President of the newly created Secret Cabinet Council in 1938 was in itself a new and singular distinction. On 22 September 1940 Hitler awarded him the War Merit Cross, First Class, as Reich Protector for Bohemia and Moravia. He was also awarded the Golden Badge of the Party, and was promoted by Hitler personally from the rank of Gruppenfuehrer to Obergruppenfuehrer in the SS, on 21 June 1943. Von Neurath and Ribbentrop were the only two Ger-

[Page 1029]

mans to be awarded the Adlerorden, a distinction normally reserved for foreigners. Von Neurath's seventieth birthday, 2 February 1943, was made the occasion for most of the German newspapers to praise his many years of service to the Nazi regime. This service, in the view of the prosecution, may be summed up in two ways:

(1) He was an internal fifth columnist among Conservative political circles in Germany. They had been anti-Nazi but were converted in part by seeing one of themselves, in the person of von Neurath, wholeheartedly with the Nazis.

(2) His previous reputation as a diplomat made public opinion abroad slow to believe that he would be a member of a cabinet which did not stand by its words and assurances. It was most important for Hitler that his own readiness to break every treaty or commitment should be concealed as long as possible, and for this purpose he found in von Neurath his handiest tool.

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