The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Fifty-Third Day: Wednesday, 12th June, 1946
(Part 10 of 12)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Edmund Glaise Horstenau]

[Page 180]

Q. I wanted to know what you thought was the purpose of your trip when you left, from wherever it was, to go to Berlin. That is all. What did you understand was the purpose?

A. My intention was to comply with Hitler's invitation and to see just what was taking place in Berlin.

Q. All right. Now you have told the Tribunal that you were interested only in a peaceful solution of the question. Surely, when you got this false telegram and the draft of the radio speech for Seyss-Inquart, you certainly did not think you were proceeding in a peaceful and loyal manner in so far as Austria was concerned, did you?

A. From all these three things I had gained the definite impression that if Schuschnigg were to cancel the Sunday plebiscite, then a peaceful solution would still be possible.

Q. And what do you suppose you were going to do with that telegram, that false telegram that asked Hitler for help because of disorders. This was days before it actually took place. You knew that this was a complete fraud, an obvious fraud. Why did you even consent to carry that back to Austria?

A. I did not take it along. There was even a sharp difference of opinion between myself and Field Marshal Goering. I did not take it along. It was given to a courier.

[Page 181]

Q. You told us you did; you know we have your notes here, in which you said that you did carry it along.

A. No, never did I say that. That was contrary to the truth. I never put down or said that I took any of these three things along personally, but I emphasized that the courier did that. I should like to call your attention to the fact that, according to the agreement of 12th February, Seyss-Inquart had the right to deal with Reich and Party agencies in the Reich.

Q. Well, in any event, you knew that the telegram was a falsehood, did you not? Whether you carried it or Globocnik did, it was not true, was it?

A. I beg your pardon, I had nothing whatever to do with this telegram afterwards. Months later, I asked Seyss-Inquart whether this telegram had ever been sent off and he said no, it had never been sent. I have already said that all three documents were not used.

Q. Certainly they were not given to you by Hitler to be thrown away, and when you consented to carry them, you did not know that they were not going to be utilised, did you?

A. Anything further was the task of Seyss-Inquart who, according to the Berchtesgaden Agreement, had contact with the Reich and Party offices

THE PRESIDENT: Witness, will you try to answer the question instead of answering something else?


Q. Well, I am not going to press it any further. You seem to think that you had some other reasons, but I do not want to press it any further.

A. No, I would be very grateful if I could follow, but I do not understand this question.

Q. Well, if you do not understand it, I do not think there is any paint in pressing it.

A. I should be very grateful if you would repeat it.

Q. What I suggested in my question was that you, at least, knew about this false telegram which was handed to you, a draft of it, I think you said either by Hitler or Goering. You were then a Minister without portfolio of the Austrian Government. You certainly knew it was a complete falsehood and yet you were willing to go back to Austria and deal with Seyss-Inquart, knowing that such a telegram had been arranged, and that it had been sent by courier.

A. The telegram had lost all significance through the fact that Schuschnigg cancelled the plebiscite, and I told Schuschnigg explicitly (leaving it to Seyss-Inquart, who sat beside me, to say anything more specific) that Hitler would march in if we did not call off the plebiscite. That is exactly what I said to Schuschnigg.

Q. All right. That is not what I am talking about, but I am not going on with it.

Do you remember telling us that at the time that Goering was talking to Seyss-Inquart at the telephone, you found out that the defendant von Papen and Fritz Wiedemann were sitting beside Goering in Berlin?

A. I am sorry. I only heard about that after the collapse in 1945, from Wiedemann.

Q. What I want to know is, how did you find that out?

A. I found out from Captain Wiedemann, whom I just happened to be with.

Q. All right. Now, you know defendant von Papen once wrote a letter to Hitler and he said that you were a willing collaborator with him with respect to the possibility of union or Anschluss with Germany, and that was as long ago as 1936. Do you know about that? It is in evidence in this case, Exhibit USA 67, Document 2246-PS. Were you a willing collaborator with von Papen?

A. I was a willing collaborator for the normalisation of the relations between the two countries; but I am not familiar with this document.

MR. DODD: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you want to re-examine, Dr. Steinbauer?

[Page 182]


THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

FRIEDRICH RAINER, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Dr. Friedrich Rainer.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. What functions did you have and how long did you have them, in the NSDAP?

A. I have been a member of the NSDAP since 10th October, 1930. Until 1934 I had no functions. Afterwards Gauleiter Klausner of Carinthia called me to the Gauleiter's office. Beginning in 1936 I worked in National Headquarters. National Leader Leopold, in the autumn of 1936, relieved me of my position because there were differences of opinion between us. In February of 1938 Klausner again appointed me his political adviser and co-worker in National Headquarters. In May 1938 the Fuehrer appointed me Gauleiter of Salzburg. On 1st December, 1941, I was transferred to Carinthia. Those were my political functions.

Q. You were therefore Gauleiter of Carinthia at the end?

A. Yes.

Q. And through years of work in the NSDAP, you had a chance to get to know it well?

A. Yes, I know the conditions well since the Anschluss.

Q. When did you come to know Seyss-Inquart?

A. The first time I met Seyss-Inquart was in August 1935. We had a conversation which lasted a few minutes. A few days later I was arrested, and for six and a half months I was in the custody of the Austrian police. After my release in approximately April or May 1936 I met Seyss-Inquart again in Vienna and remained in contact with him after that.

Q. Was he a member of the Party?

A. During the time that the Party was prohibited, Seyss-Inquart was not a member of the NSDAP, but he was a member of the Styrian Home Guard ("Steyrischer Heimatschutz"). That organization was, I think, in 1933, by agreement between its leaders and Habicht, taken over entirely as part of the Austrian NSDAP. After the Anschluss that transfer was not recognized by- the Reich Treasurer, Schwartz, and the members of the Styrian Home Guard, among them, I believe, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, had to apply again for membership.

Q. So your statement in the famous "Rainer letter" - I shall call it the "Rainer letter" henceforth for short - is incorrect?

A. At that time I did not know that the transfer in its original form had not been recognized by the Reich Treasurer.

Q. So that we can say you knew Seyss-Inquart, and had talked to him quite frequently, and surely he would have told you his ideas regarding the Anschluss?

A. Yes.

[Page 183]

Q. What were these ideas? Please be very brief.

A. The Anschluss, at that time, was not the subject matter of our discussion. The idea of the Anschluss was a point in the programme of all Austrian parties; it remained the ideal for all of us. In this case, however, what we were concerned with was that the Austrian State should once again steer a course towards Germany and that internal conditions should be peaceful. The difficulties in this connection was that the State, founded by Dollfuss and Schuschnigg, by disregarding the democratic constitution, was going to permit only a one-party system. It was particularly difficult, therefore, for the opposition of the National Wing to co-operate in the legislation work of the State. That task, according to Seyss-Inquart's conception and my own, was to be carried out without further bloodshed by peaceful means. With good will on both sides and without radical means, such a way seemed possible.

Q. Then came the agreement of 11th July, 1936?

A. Yes.

Q. Then you, at that time, went to see Adolf Hitler to clarify his attitude towards that party. What did Adolf Hitler say to you at the time?

A. A few days after 11th July 1936, I was called to Berchtesgaden, and on 16th or 17th July I visited Adolf Hitler.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you can go a little quicker than you are going, Witness.

A. (Continuing.) The Fuehrer held a very important conference, and he demanded, in very severe words, that the Austrian National Socialists should respect the agreement of 11th July under all circumstances. He criticized the previous methods, and he used the expression that they had been heroic, but stupid. He pointed out that the continuation of such methods would lead to continuous difficulties in foreign politics.

He demanded that the National Socialists in Austria should use the existing political possibilities. Upon my specific question whether this included the Fatherland Front, he said yes. He assured us that in the near future the general tension would be relieved by an improvement in the relationship between these two German States.

Q. On the whole, therefore, he approved of Seyss-Inquart's policy?

A. The Fuehrer's statement, to me, meant a confirmation of the correctness of the policy we had decided to pursue.

Q. Was Seyss-Inquart also the leader of the Party?

A. No, Seyss-Inquart was never the Party leader.

Q. Did he subordinate himself to the leadership of the Austrian NSDAP as you state in your letter.

A. Seyss-Inquart was a member of the national opposition group, and in that capacity he recognized the existing leadership.

I want to draw your attention to the fact that he recognized Klausner in that letter, because Klausner, according to the Berchtesgaden agreement, had replaced Leopold by request of the Fuehrer, since he promised to steer a quiet, clear, and open course. Co-operation with him appeared to assure: adherence to the Berchtesgaden agreement.

Seyss-Inquart, however, had explicitly stated that, in his capacity as trustee for the Berchtesgaden Agreement and minister in Schuschnigg's Government, he was independent of Klausner.

Q. Tell me, witness, after the understanding of 12th February, 1938, did you, during a railway journey, meet Seyss-Inquart who was coming back from his visit to the Fuehrer?

A. Yes.

Q. What did he tell you about his conference with the Fuehrer?

A. Seyss-Inquart returned in a sleeper, and we sat together in his compartment. He had a piece of paper - I think it was an envelope - and on that there were notes I remember that, in describing the formalities which had taken place at the

[Page 184]

beginning, he stated that he said he had come to the conference in his capacity as an Austrian minister, bound by oath to the Constitution, and responsible to the President and the Chancellor of Austria. He said that he was greeting, in Adolf Hitler, the leader of all Germans. Afterwards he told me in detail about points of that conference, not all of which I can remember now. My whole impression was that the discussion had developed satisfactorily, and I recognized that the conference had been conducted with full loyalty to Chancellor Schuschnigg. As far as I can remember, the Anschluss as such had not been dealt with at all.

Q. Do you remember he told you that he had stated to Hitler he would be Schuschnigg's living guarantor, and not a Trojan horse?

A. I do not wish to confirm those exact words. The expression which Dr. Seyss-Inquart repeatedly used was that he was not a Trojan horse leader. Furthermore I remember that he had used the expression frequently that he was the living guarantor for mutual adherence to the agreement of Berchtesgaden.

Q. Did he also say that he refused to have a cultural fight?

A. I do not believe that I can remember that. At any rate, that was his point of view, and I certainly assume that he spoke to the Fuehrer about that.

Q. Did the Fuehrer agree to these proposals?

A. I had the impression that Adolf Hitler was in full agreement with the suggestions of Dr. Seyss-Inquart.

Q. Did Seyss-Inquart tell Schuschnigg that?

A. That I must assume. At any rate, he did state that that was his intention.

Q. Did he tell the Austrian National Socialists the same thing?

A. Yes, because that was particularly necessary. Seyss-Inquart made a speech at a conference of leaders at the beginning of March and pointed out that an evolutionary course and measure which were to an extent disappointing to the radical followers, namely, the dissolution of the illegal organization - was specifically desired by Adolf Hitler.

I think I can also remember that during the large demonstrations at Linz, and on the occasion of the demonstrations at Graz, he referred to that particularly, for the visit to Adolf Hitler in Berlin gave him the necessary legitimate backing in the eyes of the National Socialists.

Q. In this Rainer letter of yours you wrote that Seyss-Inquart had been informed of preparations for revolutionary steps.

A. May I ask you, Dr. Steinhauer, which revolutionary steps you mean?

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