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-Sixth Day: Monday, 17th June, 1946
(Part 6 of 8)

[Page 295]

DR. KUBUSCHOK (Continued):

Then, on Page 48, just a little beyond the centre of the page:

"But once a revolution has been completed, the government only represents the people as a whole and is never the champion of individual groups."
Then, a little further down, about ten lines from the bottom:
"It is not permissible, therefore, to dismiss the intellect with the catchword of 'intellectualism.' Deficient or primitive intellects do not justify us in waging war against intellectualism. And when we complain frequently today about those of us who are 150 per cent Nazis, then we mean those people who would like to deny the right of existence to scientists of world fame just because they are not Party members."
Then, on the first line of the next page - Page 49 - it says:
"Nor should the objection be made that intellectuals lack the vitality necessary for leaders of a people. True spirit is so vital that it sacrifices itself for its conviction. The mistaking of brutality for vitality would reveal a worship of force which would be dangerous to a people."
In the next paragraph he speaks of equality before the law. I read the last few lines:
"They oppose equality before the law, which they criticise as liberal degeneration, whereas in reality it is the prerequisite for any fair judgement. These people destroy that pillar of the State which always - and not only in liberal times - was called justice. Their attacks are directed against the security and freedom of the private sphere of life which the German has won through centuries of hardest struggle."
In the next paragraph he speaks against Byzantinism; the second sentence reads:
"Great men are not made by propaganda, but rather grow through their deeds and are recognized by history. Even Byzantinism cannot make us believe that these laws do not exist."
He deals with education in the next paragraph, and I should like to begin with the second sentence:
"But we must have no illusions regarding the biological and psychological limits of education. Coercion, too, ends at the will to self-expression of the true personality. Reactions to coercion are dangerous. As an old soldier I know that the most rigid discipline must be balanced by certain liberties. Even the good soldier who submitted willingly to unconditional authority counted his days of service, because the need for freedom is rooted in human nature. The application of military discipline to the whole life of a people must remain within limits compatible with human nature."
Then on the next page - Page 50 - I should like to read the second sentence of the last paragraph:

[Page 296]

"The movement must come to a standstill some time; a solid social structure must eventually come into existence which is held together by an impartial administration of justice and by an undisputed governmental power. Nothing can be achieved by means of everlasting dynamics. Germany must not drift to an unknown destination."
As my last quotation, I shall read the first paragraph on the following page:
"The government is well informed on all the self-interest, lack of character, want of truth, unchivalrous conduct and arrogance spreading out under cover of the German revolution. It is also not deceived as to the fact that the rich store of confidence bestowed upon it by the German people is threatened. If we want a close connection with and a close association among the people, we must not underestimate the good sense of the people; we must return their confidence and not try to hold them everlastingly in tutelage. The German people know that their situation is serious, they feel the economic distress; they are perfectly aware of the deficiencies of many laws born of emergency; they have a keen antipathy to violence and injustice; they smile at clumsy attempts to deceive them by false optimism.

No organization and no propaganda, however good, will in the long run be able to preserve confidence. I therefore view the wave of propaganda against the so-called foolish critics from a different angle to that of the propagandists. Confidence and readiness to co-operate cannot be won by provocation, especially of youth, nor by threats against helpless segments of the people, but only by discussion with the people and having trust on both sides. The people know what great sacrifices are expected from them. They will bear them and follow the Fuehrer in unflinching loyalty, if they are allowed to have their part in the planning and in the work, if every word of criticism is not taken for ill-will, and if despairing patriots are not branded as enemies of the State."


Q. Witness, what were the consequences of the Marburg speech?

[Franz von Papen] A. This speech was banned at the instigation of Propaganda Minister Goebbels. Only one or two papers were able to publish the contents, but that sufficed to attract attention to it both at home and abroad. When I heard of the ban placed on it by the Propaganda Minister, I went to the Reich Chancellor and tendered my resignation. I told him:

"It is an impossible situation for the Vice-Chancellor of your Government to be forbidden to open his mouth. There is nothing for it but to take my leave."
However, Hitler said:
"That is a blunder on the part of the Propaganda Minister; I shall speak to him and have him rescind this decree."
In that way he put me off for several days. Today I know that even at that time he lied to me because my co-defendant Funk has stated, that he was instructed by Hitler to go to Hindenburg and tell Hindenburg that the Vice-Chancellor had uttered sentiments contrary to the policy of the cabinet and of Hitler, and must be dismissed. If the witness Gisevius has testified here on this matter to the effect that Herr von Papen was silent and that he should at least have mobilised the diplomats, then I should like to point out that Mr. Dodd in his diary makes it very clear that the world - the outside world - was well informed of this last appeal of mine.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to refer to the last remark made by the witness, which may be found in Document 17, Pages 71 and 72, in Ambassador Dodd's diary.

I beg your pardon, it is on Pages 69 and 70 of the English text. I quote from the second paragraph, the first line:

"There is great excitement everywhere in Germany."
He had previously mentioned the Marburg speech.

[Page 297]

"All the older and more educated Germans are highly delighted."
Then, under the date of 21st June, he reports that the speech was cabled to the New York Times, and that the papers in London and Paris were featuring the "von Papen episode," as he calls the Marburg speech. I refer in this connection to the beginning of Page 72, Page 70 in the English text.

As regards the government's measures with regard to the Marburg speech and its propagation, I want to refer you to Document 15, Page 66, an affidavit by Westphalen, which shows that even possession of a copy of the speech was sufficient to cause disciplinary action to be taken against an official.


Q. Witness, the events of the 30th of June, 1934, took place in the meantime. To what extent did these incidents affect you personally?

A. On the morning of 30th June, I received a telephone call from Herr Goering asking me to come to have a talk with him. I went to see him, and he told me that a revolution had broken out in the Reich - an SA revolution - that Hitler had gone to Munich to put down this uprising there, and that he, Goering was charged with restoring law and order in Berlin. Herr Goering asked me, in the interests of my own safety, as he said, to return to my apartment and stay there. I protested quite vehemently against this demand, but Herr Goering insisted. On my way back to my apartment, I went first to my office in the Vice-Chancellery. On arriving there, I found my office occupied by the SS, and I was permitted only to enter my own room and get my files. I then went home, where I found a large number of SS. The telephone was disconnected; the radio was disconnected; and I was completely cut off from the outside world for three whole days.

Q. What measures were taken against your staff?

A. I naturally did not hear about the measures taken against my staff until 3rd July, after I had regained my freedom. I learned that my Press adviser, Herr von Bose, had been shot in his office. I further learned that two of my male secretaries, Herr von Tschirschky and another gentleman, had been taken to a concentration camp and, a few days later, I learned of the death of my friend and colleague - a private colleague of mine - Herr Edgar Jung.

Q. Did you try to inform the Reich President?

A. I finally succeeded, on the third day of my arrest, in contacting Goering by telephone. I demanded to be set free at once. Herr Goering apologised and said that it was due to a mistake that I had been kept under arrest for this long period of time. I then went immediately to the Reich Chancellery. There I met Hitler, who was about to start a cabinet session. I asked him to step into the next room so that I could speak to him and I refused to comply with his request that I should attend the cabinet meeting. I said to him:

"What has happened here to me, a member of your government, is so incredible and fantastic that there is only one reply, a repetition of my request to resign - and at once."
Herr Hitler tried to persuade me to remain. He said:
"I will explain to you in the cabinet and later in the Reichstag how everything happened, and why it happened."
I said to him:
"Herr Hitler, there is no explanation and no excuse for this incident. I demand that the fate of these members of my staff be made the subject of immediate investigation and that the whole matter be cleared up."
I demanded that the news of my resignation be published immediately.

When he saw that I could not be persuaded to remain, Herr Hitler told me that he could not announce my resignation publicly at the moment because the agitation among the German people was too great, but would do so in three or four weeks' time.

When I left Hitler, I tried personally, and through one of my secretaries, to get in touch with Hindenburg, but that attempt failed. My secretary found out - I

[Page 298]

must add that Herr von Hindenburg was then in East Prussia - my secretary, who had gone to East Prussia, found that it was impossible to reach Hindenburg. He was completely cut off. My own telephone calls did not get through.

I went to my friend General von Fritsch, the Chief of the Wehrmacht, and said to him:

"Why does not the Wehrmacht intervene? The Wehrmacht is the only factor for maintaining order that we still have in the country. When General von Schleicher and his wife were murdered, as well as other officers, it would, in my opinion, have been quite proper for the Wehrmacht itself to try to restore order in this situation."
Herr von Fritsch said to me:
"I can take action only when I have Field Marshal von Hindenburg's order to do so in my hands."
But Hindenburg was not accessible to us. He had obviously been informed by the other side of the complete legality of the events which had taken place, and which Hitler declared in the Reichstag to be in conformity with the law. I did not attend that session of the Reichstag, either, as the witness Gisevius testified; and during the time that elapsed between 30th June and my appointment to Austria, I did not participate in a single act carried out by the government.

I should like to add that at the same time I asked the Reich Chancellor to hand over to me the body of my friend Bose. We knew that the Gestapo had cremated the bodies of the others. I succeeded -

THE PRESIDENT: I believe it would be a good time to recess now.

(A recess was taken.)

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Tribunal, the defendant Hess is not present in this session.


Q. Will you please go on. You were just answering the last question.

A. I was only going to finish the question by saying that I succeeded in having the mortal remains of my friend Bose properly buried and that on that occasion, at his grave, I made a speech emphasizing that one day justice, the absence of which had resulted in his murder, would be re-established.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: In this connection I draw your attention to Document 14, Pages 62 and 63, an affidavit by Maria Rose, who for years was the private secretary of the witness. On Page 63 she refers to Bose's funeral service.

I further refer to Document, 19, Pages 77 and 78, affidavit by Schaffgotsch, who devotes particular attention to the witness's vain attempts to reach Hindenburg in Neudeck.


Q. Witness, you were offered at that time the post of Ambassador to the Vatican. Will you please tell us the exact circumstances?

A. It is true that Hitler tried to keep me attached to his staff, and that about a week after the incidents I have described he sent State Secretary Lammers to ask me if I was prepared to accept the post of Ambassador to the Vatican. Of course I refused this unreasonable request, which I mention here only because a few weeks later I accepted the Vienna post for a particular reason. To prove that I was not interested in obtaining a post as such, I refused this request of Hitler most bluntly at the time.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer you to Document 18, Pages 75 and 76 of the Document Book; an affidavit by Martha von Papen, the wife of the witness, who describes Lammers' visit. I further refer -

THE PRESIDENT: My Document Book appears to go from 74 to 79.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: That is quite true; they are in different languages. One is in German and one is in French, Pages 75 and 76.

[Page 299]

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but I have not got 75, 76, 77, or 78.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Are they missing? I shall supplement them, Mr. President.


DR. KUBUSCHOK: In the English Document Book it is on Pages 73 and 74.

With regard to the subject with which the witness has been dealing, namely, non-participation in the Reichstag meeting of 13th July, I refer to Document 21, Page 79, an extract from the Volkischer Beobachter, regarding the Reichstag meeting.

The names of the ministers present are listed there. The name of the witness von Papen does not appear.

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