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-Fourth Day: Thursday, 13th June, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Dr. Guido Schmidt]

[Page 214]

Q. You told the Tribunal this morning that Seyss-Inquart told you that he wanted to retain some independence for Austria - some semblance of independence, anyway. Now, you did not believe that, did you, when he told you?

A. I cannot say either yes or no to that. I turned him down, and therefore I did not bother my head any more about Seyss-Inquart's political ideas because I did not intend to enter the government. The demand had to be regarded as being meant seriously.

Q. Well, you used some particular language when you turned him down, did you not? What did you say about wanting to be truthful and decent?

A. I stated at that time that I belonged to Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, that the laws of decency and loyalty still applied for me, and that therefore I would resign with him.

Q. Then, did you not use the language, "I still believe in the rules of truth and decency"?

A. No, the laws regarding loyalty and decency were still applicable to me. That is what I said. I had been with Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg all the time, and I would also resign with him. In this connection you would have to know my relationship to the Chancellor; anyone who knows that knows what it means and that I could not have acted any differently.

Q. Now, I am not suggesting that. I am merely trying to show that you yours if used language in refusing Seyss-Inquart that indicated that you did not think he was truthful or faithful or decent. Is that not so?

A. I did not mean that. There was indeed a difference, which arose from the fact that I was on terms of friendship with the Chancellor.

[Page 215]

Q. Well, you know we have your testimony in Vienna where you testified under oath before the Court, and you remember telling the judge there that Seyss-Inquart participated in the violent removal of Schuschnigg.

A. Yes, I stated that I could not belong to Seyss-Inquart's government since it was, after all, partly responsible for the removal of Schuschnigg's government. Since I was a friend of Schuschnigg, I could not participate in such a government.

Q. Well, the point of it all is that, knowing Seyss-Inquart had been in the closest association with the Nazis, and having had your experience at Berchtesgaden, are you serious when you tell the Tribunal that you really thought - you really believed Seyss-Inquart when he said he wanted to maintain some independence for Austria?

A. I doubted that, too, at the time, just as I still doubt it today. What went on in his mind, I cannot say.

Q. I am not asking you that. I am asking you what went on in your mind.

Now, you had a conversation with the defendant von Papen about Seyss-Inquart not many years ago, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, tell the Tribunal when and where that conversation took place.

A. I met von Papen in Turkey - it must have been in late autumn 1940. Our conversation turned on the events of 11th March, 1938. At the time von Papen expressed himself in a severely critical way about the procedure at that time, about Seyss-Inquart, because he had done nothing for the independence of Austria and also because the procedure had not served German interests either. He wanted to express his criticism, and I had the impression that he was indeed against a violent solution, that is, against a solution by violence such as had occurred.

Q. Well, I want you particularly to tell the Tribunal just what it was that von Papen said about Seyss-Inquart - and this was 1943, was it not, not 1940? It was when you were in Turkey and so was von Papen? Or was he not?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. Now, maybe I can help you a little if you have forgotten. Did not von Papen say that he would not shake hands with Seyss-Inquart?

A. He did say that. He said that he would ... that he would have ... it must have been some time after the Anschluss - refused to shake hands with him, and indeed he referred to his behaviour in 1938.

Q. And he said his behaviour was utterly impossible?

Is not that the language that von Papen used about Seyss-Inquart or some of the language?

A. He did express himself in that way.

Q. What were the other things that he said? You said in Vienna that von Papen used the harshest language imaginable in describing Seyss-Inquart and his conduct in March 1938. I think that is of some interest to the Tribunal, and I wish you would tell us exactly what it was. It is only three years ago you know that you and von Papen had this conversation, and you have not told us very much about it.

A. He spoke in a very vehement way - passed a judgement by which he meant that Seyss-Inquart had offered no protection to the Austrians and that he had done nothing to keep the fate of Austria in the balance, that is, to safeguard Austria's individuality and Austria's interests.

That was Papen's basic thought. His second thought was that the German: interests had not been served by this either, by which he meant, more or less, that a quite justified interest of the German Reich had been made to look wrong in the eyes of the world because of the way in which it had been handled, and that the foreign political interests of the Reich had been damaged thereby. That was the principal thought in his conversation, and I think he made similar remarks during conversations with other people.

Q. All right. I am afraid I have passed on from Berchtesgaden and have omitted something that is probably of some importance.

[Page 216]

Do you remember - I think not long before you broke up your session there - Hitler turning to von Papen and saying, "von Papen, you made it possible for me to be Chancellor, and I shall never forget it."

Did you hear Hitler say that to von Papen that day at Berchtesgaden?

A. Yes, some such remark was made.

Q. What did von Papen say?

A. That I can no longer tell you.

Q. He said, "Yes, my Fuehrer," or something like that, did he not?

A. Yes, I assume so, because upon being addressed like that he had to give an answer.

Q. He certainly did not deny it, did he?

A. I do not assume he did, but I cannot remember the answer. I can only remember the question.

Q. The night in Vienna when the SS and the SA people were climbing through the windows and crowding doors of the Chancellery, did Seyss-Inquart do anything to have them excluded?

A. Not to my knowledge. I do not know, I was on the other side.

Q. Yes: It was a very tense situation, as we know. As a matter of fact, you were fearful that some harm would be, done to Schuschnigg, were you not?

A. It was a very tense situation.

Q. How did you and Schuschnigg go home that night from the Chancellery?

A. We left in three cars - the Federal Chancellor in one, the President in the other, and I was in the third. The departure was escorted and organized and accompanied by SS men.

Q. Schuschnigg was not taken home in Seyss-Inquart's private car by Seyss-Inquart; he was taken home by the SS; is that so?

A. No, they left in a car together. I myself heard Seyss-Inquart say, "then I will take him home." Whether it was the Federal Chancellor's car or Seyss-Inquart 's car, I do not know, but any rate they travelled in the same car.

Q. Escorted by the SS?

A. No, that was not the case. The SS, as far as ... I do not know whether there were SS in the Chancellor's car. The SS only escorted us during the actual departure, that is, out of the house. There was nobody else in my car, or the President's car after that.

Q. That is not what you told the Court in Vienna. There you said, "Dr. Schuschnigg and I were driven home, escorted by the SS."

A. No, I said the SS escorted or conducted us during the departure from the Ballhaus Platz. There were about forty SS men present who conducted the departure from there. Whether some one remained in the car after that, I do not know.

Q. All right. You probably can help us clear up one other question. When Seyss-Inquart made his radio speech, he was not actually a member of the Government, or was he?

A. There has been a lot of debate about that question. The Federal Chancellor had resigned in the afternoon session. At first, the President had not accepted the resignation, so, therefore, he was still Chancellor and Seyss-Inquart was still Minister. Whether the resignation was accepted later on I cannot say. Some are of the opinion that the President may, for all practical purposes, have entrusted the Federal Chancellor with the continuation of business, and Seyss-Inquart along with him. Others think that that would not have happened. Only the head of the State himself can answer that question.

Q. As a former member of that government, I want you to look at one document, and perhaps you can tell us whether or not you have seen it before.

MR. DODD: It is 4015 PS. It becomes Exhibit USA 891.

[Page 217]


Q. That states that President Miklas had relieved not only Schuschnigg as the Federal Chancellor, but all other members of the federal government, as well as all Secretaries of State, of their respective offices, and that is 11th March.

A. Yes.

Q. That establishes, does it not, that Seyss-Inquart was not in office when he made this radio speech? That is our understanding of it. Is that so?

A. Well, I believe that I have had a lot of experience in this question because I worked with the Federal President for a long time. Releases of this kind go -

Q. Just tell us exactly - is that true or not? Is our understanding correct?

A. It does not necessarily have to be interpreted in that way. Releases of this kind go out to the offices days later, gathering mould along the way, pass into the records and disappear into history. Therefore, it cannot be said when that was actually done. I assume that this release was not issued until long after the 11th of March.

Q. Did Seyss-Inquart use this term "Trojan Horse quite often in the days preceding the events of 12th March? Was that a common expression of his?

A. He has stated a few times that he was not a "Trojan Horse leader", by which he wanted to express his loyalty, and wanted to explain that it was not his job to open the back doors to National Socialism.

Q. Did you ever think he protested too much?

A. Against what?

Q. About not being a Trojan Horse.

A. I did not hear that expression more than two or three times, and it was used by Zernatto.

MR. DODD: That is all.



Q. I only have one brief question in connection with these last events, witness, did not Seyss-Inquart also post men from the guard battalion outside the Minister's room?

A. Guards were present.

Q. At what time did Schuschnigg's actual resignation occur?

A. Well, it is difficult to say when that happened; at any rate when the new government was formed. I assume that it must have taken place roughly between nine and ten o'clock, since the President had conducted serious negotiations at this time about the choice of a new Chancellor, and I think the former Chancellor, Dr. Ender, was up for consideration.

DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions for this witness.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

DR. STEINBAUER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall now call Chief of Police Dr. Skubl as witness.

MICHAEL SKUBL, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Michael Skubl.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the absolute truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.

[Page 218]



Q. Witness, what offices did you hold in the Austrian Republic?

A. At the end I was Chief of the Police in Vienna, and State Secretary for Matters of Public Security. Apart from that, I was the Inspector General of the Austrian executive authorities.

Q. Were you called to these offices at the suggestion of Dr. Dollfuss, in accordance with instructions he gave before he died?

A. Dr. Dollfuss had appointed me Inspector General of the Police the day before he was murdered on the 24th July. I had enjoyed his full confidence.

Q. Can one, therefore, describe you as having had the confidence of his successor and friend, Dr. Schuschnigg?

A. Yes.

Q. When Seyss-Inquart became Minister, were you attached to him in your capacity as State Secretary and Inspector General at the same time?

A. Yes. When Seyss-Inquart was appointed Minister of the Interior and of Security, I was attached to him as State Secretary. Consequently, I yeas directly subordinate to him, whereas until that time I had been subordinated directly to the Federal Chancellor as Chief of Security.

Q. Were the police and the constabulary in your hands or in the hands of Seyss-Inquart, practically speaking?

A. Practically speaking, they had been in my hands.

Q. Did you have the particular task of combating illegal movements?

A. As Chief of Police and State Secretary for Matters of Public Security, one of my main tasks was, of course, to combat illegal movements, and particularly National Socialist aggression.

Q. Did you observe any connection between Seyss-Inquart and the July 1934 putsch? I mean, when Dollfuss was murdered.

A. No.

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