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-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 18th June, 1946
(Part 4 of 10)

[Page 320]

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Very well. I will dispense with any further reading of this answer to question No. 7 and pass to Document 94, Page 217, a letter of the witness Lersner to Mr. Kirkpatrick. He makes reference in the letter to the fact that even in 1939 the defendant von Papen intended to bring Lersner to Turkey, so that on the basis of his international connections he could work for peace. He describes the difficulties in connection with this plan, which, however, was carried

[Page 321]

out by Papen. The letter also mentions further peace efforts with Admiral von Horthy and with King Boris of Bulgaria. I should like briefly to give documentary corroboration to the questions raised by the witness Gisevius. I wish to present evidence that von Papen was not received unfavourably in the circle of the conspirators of the 20th of July, but that on the contrary he was promised the office of Foreign Minister. I refer to the affidavit of Count Bismarck, Document 90 Page 201. Count Bismarck, in the course of the events of the 20th of July, was sent to a concentration camp. This indicates the character of this witness. In Document 90 Bismarck points out that in case of a change of government, Papen placed himself at their disposal. There was an agreement to send communications through Herr von Trott, who worked in the Foreign Office. Trott was condemned to death following the events of the 20th of July.

Finally I refer to Document 89, Page 199, a letter from Feil to the son of the witness Papen. Feil points out that Colonel von Stauffenberg, the would-be murderer of the 20th of July, had proposed to the defendant that he should serve as Foreign Minister later.

The Tribunal has already permitted the reading of this letter.


Q. Witness, what was your attitude towards the Party during your period in Turkey?

[Franz von Papen] A. My attitude towards the Party was extremely unfavourable. For years I waged a battle with the Landesgruppenleiter of the Party in Turkey. This man told my Embassy officials, "Herr von Papen should be in a concentration camp, or shot."

I had to struggle a long time to have this man removed.

Q. What did you do during this time regarding Church matters?

A. During the war I did everything in my power to counteract an intensification of the fight against the Church. That means that I took all such institutions in Turkey under my personal protection.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer here to Document 53, Page 141, and Document 51, Page 138.


Q. What did you do with respect to the Jewish problem during your period in Turkey?

A. I opposed all measures of the German Government against German Jews. A long Party trial took place because German members of my Embassy had consulted a Jewish doctor. I defended these officials of mine against this charge, and I refused to take away the passports of the German Jews in Turkey and to deprive them of their citizenship.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer to Document 95, Page 227, the interrogatory of Professor Martionini. In questions 4, 5 and 6 he discusses this problem. In the answer to question 6, the last paragraph is very noteworthy, and as the witness von Papen has not yet mentioned it, I should like to quote it. Page 229, the last paragraph of the answer to question 6:

"I remember particularly clearly an incident in the spring of 1944, when I called upon Herr von Papen at the request of Herr Barlas, the Refugees' Commissioner of the Jewish Agency, in order to request his assistance in saving 10,000 Jews in France from deportation to Poland for extermination. These Jews had formerly held Turkish nationality but they had later given it up. Herr von Papen complied with my wish and through his intervention, as I learned later from Herr Barlas himself, the lives of these Jews were saved."
I continue to quote:
"Details of this incident, on which Mr. Steinhardt, then United States Ambassador in Ankara, and Nunan Menemencioglu, then Foreign Minister of Turkey, were also informed, can be obtained by questioning Herr Barlas."

[Page 322]

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to point out to you again, Dr. Kubuschok, that you have taken very much longer than you said you were going to take.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: In a very short time, in a few minutes, I will be through.


Q. I ask the last question of the witness: When, on the 2nd of August, 1944, Turkey broke off relations with Germany, did you return to Germany? Why did you not remain in Turkey and separate finally from Germany?

A. I can state that, on the day of the breaking off of relations between Turkey and Germany, the English Prime Minister Churchill said the following in the House of Commons: "The breaking off of relations between Turkey and Germany will have many consequences, including consequences for Herr von Papen. On the 30th of June he escaped the blood bath. This time he will not succeed."

As a result, I received requests from the Allies to remain in Turkey. I refused to do so. I said: "I shall return to Germany where I belong. I will not emigrate, for perhaps I may still do something for my fatherland." Thus I returned to Germany. When I arrived there I observed that, as a result of the terror methods which had been launched after the 20th of July, there was no possibility at all of doing anything. For the rest of the time a Gestapo guard was placed before my door.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer to Document 95, Page 226, which has already been mentioned, the interrogatory of Professor Martionini. I refer to the answer to question 3 and I should like very briefly to read the last half of this answer in connection with the problem just mentioned by the witness:

"The last conversation on this subject took place on the 2nd of August, 1944, on the day before his final departure from Ankara after the breaking off of diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey.

To my advice not to leave Turkey but to address an appeal from here to the German people and the German Army to overthrow Hitler and discontinue the senseless war immediately, von Papen answered in substance as follows: 'I have learned from history that dictatorships cannot be done away with from a foreign country; one must be in the country itself in order to fight the regime effectively. Therefore, I have determined to return to Germany and to conduct the fight against the Hitler regime there and thus hasten the end of the war'."

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I have finished questioning the witness von Papen.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of defence counsel want to ask any questions?

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Dr. von Ludinghausen (for the defendant von Neurath).


Q. Herr von Papen, I should like to ask you a few questions, with the permission of the Tribunal.

How long have you known Herr von Neurath?

A. Since 1932.

Q. Is it true that it was the express wish of the then Reich President, von Hindenburg, that Herr von Neurath was to be taken into the government, which you formed in 1932, as Reich Foreign Minister?

A. Yes, that is true.

Q. Were you aware or did you know from previous activities of Herr von Neurath in his various positions as Ambassador, but especially in his last post in London, that Herr von Neurath was a faithful follower and an impassioned champion of a policy of peace?

A. That was known to me and to everyone in Germany.

Q. And you yourself approved of this also?

[Page 323]

THE PRESIDENT: I think you are going a little too fast. Go on.

Q. Did you yourself approve also of this peace policy?

A. Of course I approved of this policy. Otherwise we would not have found ourselves side by side in this cabinet engaged in a common work.

Q. Did Herr von Neurath, a few months later, take any part in the negotiations leading to the transfer of the Reich Chancellorship to Hitler?

A. In no way.

Q. But do you know that Reich President von Hindenburg made the express condition that Herr von Neurath was to remain as Reich Foreign Minister in the new Hitler Government?

A. I have already mentioned here that this was an express condition of Hindenburg.

Q. And what was Hitler's attitude to that in principle? Did he accept it only in order to be able to form the government at all or did he approve of Hindenburg's choice?

A. I believe that Hitler approved completely of the choice of Neurath as Foreign Minister.

Q. Did you yourself ever talk to Hitler about this?

A. Yes, frequently. And I learned from Hitler that he thought highly of Herr von Neurath's personality and capacity.

Q. And did you ever talk to Herr von Neurath himself about it?

A. Yes.

Q. Did he readily agree to be a member of this cabinet?

A. I imagine that Herr von Neurath had also the same inner reservations as I had at that time.

Q. According to your knowledge then, as far as you could learn from statements of Hitler, what were Hitler's foreign political aims and efforts at that time?

A. Hitler's foreign political aims at that time were quite limited: abolition of discrimination by peaceful means and by strengthening Germany's position in the world.

Q. Until the end of 1937, did you ever hear any statements from Hitler indicating that he might be determined to use armed force if his peaceful efforts did not have the desired result?

A. I never heard from Hitler of any such intentions.

Q. And yet it is always being asserted that in leading Party circles he expressed such bellicose intentions?

A. I never heard that in the Party. Even the most radical National Socialists never spoke of the idea of a war.

Q. Then to sum up, you agreed fully with the aims of a peaceful policy intended and advocated by Herr von Neurath?

A. Absolutely.

Q. Now the charge is made against Herr von Neurath of having co-operated in the rearmament of Germany. What were Hitler's reason and motive for this rearmament?

A. I stated yesterday that the actual rearmament began only after I had resigned from the cabinet. But as far as I am informed, all of my former colleagues held the view that a rearmament was only to serve the purpose of giving Germany a defensive protection for its frontiers.

Q. Now I come to the problem of Austria. Do you know the attitude of Herr von Neurath concerning the Austrian problem?

A. Herr von Neurath's attitude concerning the Austrian problem was the same as mine. Like myself, he constantly protested in the cabinet against the terror measures instituted by the Party in 1933 and 1934.

Q. Were you yourself, when Hitler sent you on an extraordinary mission to Vienna, under Herr von Neurath? And did you receive your instructions from him or only from Hitler?

A. I was not subordinate to Herr von Neurath, but I had asked that I might

[Page 324]

be directly subordinate to Hitler. But, of course, I reported all steps which I took to Herr von Neurath and the Foreign Office, as is proved by the documents submitted here.

Q. What was Herr von Neurath's attitude towards the negotiations in the summer of 1936, which led to the treaty of 11th July between Germany and Austria?

A. Herr von Neurath had exactly the same opinion as I had, that this treaty would be of great service in the cause of final peace between these two peoples of the same race.

Q. Did he influence Hitler in this direction, too?

A. I do not know, but I certainly assume he did.

Q. And that he was honest and sincere in respect to this treaty? What is your opinion? I point out here that the prosecution asserts, and makes it a charge against Herr von Neurath, that this treaty was concluded with a treacherous intention.

A. I spoke in detail on that point yesterday, and protested against the prosecution charging us with treacherous intentions. Herr von Neurath had such intentions exactly as little as I had.

Q. And I have two more brief questions.

Do you know what the attitude of Herr von Neurath was to Germany leaving the League of Nations and, the Disarmament Conference in 1933?

A. Yes, I know that very well. Herr von Neurath was of the opinion that it was advisable to leave the Disarmament Conference. But, like me, he was of the opinion that it was a mistake to leave the League of Nations. With his approval, as I told the Tribunal yesterday, I followed Hitler to Munich at that time in order to persuade him not to leave the League of Nations.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: I have no more questions, Mr. President.

DR. SEIDL: With the approval of the Tribunal, substituting for my absent colleague, Dr. Stahmer, I should like to ask a question on behalf of the defendant Goering.


Q. Witness, this morning you said that in connection with the murder of your friend Ketteler in 1938, you approached Goering because he was in charge of the Gestapo. Is it not a fact, and were you not aware of this fact, that from 1936 on, at the latest, the Gestapo was exclusively under Himmler, and was formerly under the Reich Minister of the Interior?

A. It is possible that because of my four years absence from Germany in Austria I did not know that fact. It has been established here, of course. In any case, I had the feeling when I turned to Goering that he was in a position to defend me against the Gestapo, and after Hitler had refused to speak to me on this matter, it was only natural that I should go to him as the second man in Germany.

DR. SEIDL: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?

Sir David, would you prefer to start after the adjournment?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I was thinking that I might have the documents arranged then and it might be more convenient for the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: We will sit again at five minutes to two.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am very much obliged, your Lordship.

(A recess was taken until 1355 hours).




Q. Defendant, do you remember saying in your interrogation on 19th September of last year that your present view was that Hitler was the greatest crook that you had ever seen in your life?

[Page 325]

A. That is quite true. That is the opinion which I arrived at after I learned here of all the crimes.

Well, that was on 19th September, 1945. But I am more interested in your next answer, after being asked when you made your mind up that Hitler was the greatest crook you had ever seen in your life. You replied that you only came to this conclusion after Hitler started resorting to war.

Do you remember saying that, or words to that effect?

A. Yes.

[ 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.