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-Eighth Day: Wednesday, 19th June, 1946
(Part 3 of 11)

[SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE continues his cross examination of Franz von Papen]

[Page 359]

A. It seems to me that this report shows, in the first place, that I passed on to Hitler with complete frankness all the reports which I received, even that of an adherent of the Hapsburg restoration. Obviously to a hundred per cent -

Q. I am suggesting, defendant, that you passed them on because they were true; you adopted them and passed them on to Hitler because they were true reports; that that was a true picture of the situation. That is what I am suggesting to you. You just tell the Tribunal, were they true or were they not? If they were not true, why did you pass them on without saying they were not true? That is what I am asking you.

A. If you read this report by Baron Gudenus, you will see that he speaks of internal conditions in Austria and of the sinister differences existing between Schuschnigg and Starhemberg, the rivalry between their guards, and the constant, underground, republican sentiment.

Q. Yes, that is three lines out of twenty. There is a lot more before you come to that part. That is what I am asking you about; the other seventeen lines of that report.

A. Sir David, the points which I have just mentioned are proof of the internal weaknesses of the Austrian Government, on which I am reporting. If you mean that I should have explained to Hitler that I was not a "brown" agent, well, surely on 26th June we came to a very clear agreement as to under what conditions my work in Austria was to be done. There was no necessity for me to explain that to Hitler in a report. I sent this report for his information only.

Q. If that is your explanation, just look at the next paragraph of your letter. It shows in another way how you were working. Paragraph 3:

"The film 'The Old and the Young King' ..." The Tribunal may not remember, but you correct my recollection. That is a film, if I remember rightly, dealing with Friedrich - the relations of Friedrich Wilhelm I and Friedrich the Great. Am I right?
A. Yes.
Q. "The film 'The Old and the Young King' was shown here for the first time a few days ago in the presence of Herr Jannings." - That is Emil Jannings, the actor. - "It provoked enthusiastic demonstrations. The scene where the king stresses the fact that 'French trash and Roman books do not mean anything to Prussia', led to particularly vociferous applause. The police wanted to ban it. Together with Herr Jannings, we explained to them that, should this film be banned, we would take steps to prohibit the showing of all Austrian films in Germany. This had the desired effect. The film - except for the above mentioned scene, which was expunged - is being shown

[Page 360]

now and will be shown on the screen at Klagenfurt and Graz within the next few days.

Yesterday I received Jannings, and a number of actors from the Burg Theatre, as my guests. He said he was very satisfied with his success, and we discussed in detail plans for a Bismarck picture, and recommended Beumelburg as the writer of the script for the production."

That is, you were forcing a film which contained Prussian propaganda to be shown in Austria on the threat of excluding Fraulein Wessely and 'Maskerade', and the other Austrian films of that time, from the German market; you were forcing your propaganda by the threat of excluding Austrian films; is that right?

A. Yes and I will also tell you the reason. I must enlarge your historical knowledge of these things, Sir David. Frederick the Great played a very important part in the relations between Germany and Austria; and at that time we were trying, in the relationship between our two countries, to clear up the historical inaccuracies which originated in the time of Frederick the Great. For this purpose the famous Austrian historian, Professor Schubeck, wrote a great book. The film which we are discussing served the purpose of showing that a great German history is common to both peoples alike. To help the cultural rapprochement of the two countries I insisted that this film should be shown, and this was done.

Q. I have not the slightest doubt about your motives in wanting the film to be shown, defendant, but what I am asking you is, why you pressed it against the wish of the Austrian authorities by threat of excluding Austrian film production from the German market. Why did you threaten the Austrian authorities in that way?

A. It frequently happened that the Austrian police were afraid that certain films might be made a basis for demonstrations. But after we had talked matters over with the police, and had agreed that certain parts of the film should be cut, they were quite ready to allow it; and, of course, I also told them that if we did not reach an agreement, the consequences would be that Germany would send no more films to Austria.

Q. Well, again I return to the point. Do you remember telling the Tribunal that you did not keep up contacts with the NSDAP in Austria? Is that correct?

A. No, it is not correct.

Q. You did keep up contacts?

A. Yes.

Q. Close contacts?

A. I did not understand.

Q. Intimate contacts? Were your contacts close?

A. No.

Q. Well, if they were not, will you just turn back a page. It is probably Page 72 of your report. It is the same report.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Page 93 of your Lordship's book.


Q. You began that report by saying:

"I have first to report on the development of the local NSDAP:

On 23rd March complete agreement was reached in Krems between Captain Leopold (Retd.) and General direktor Neubacher. In accordance therewith, Neubacher subordinated himself to Leopold in every way and recognized him as Fuehrer for Austria. As soon as Schattenfreh is released from the concentration camp, he will become deputy Fuehrer while Neubacher, as the closest confidant of Leopold, will be consulted on every important question."

Furthermore, Leopold has nominated somebody else and asked him to be deputy, while:
"Lieutenant-General Klupp (Retd.) will be taken into consultation in strict confidence," and I want to read the last lines: "Furthermore, Leopold expressed the desire that the continual intrigues against him of emigres living in the Reich - of the type of Frauenfeld and his friends - be stopped."

[Page 361]

That was a pretty complete picture of the organization of the Party in Austria, was it not?

A. Well, Sir David, may I call to your attention the fact that this report is dated 4th April, 1935, a date previous to the July agreement, when my interest in these Party affairs at that time can be readily understood.

Q. Well, if you attach importance to the date, just look at the report of 1st September, 1936, which is on Page 33 of Document Book II, Page 26 of the German book. You remember this is the report which you referred to, and you said:

"For the method to be employed (Marschroute) I recommend on the tactical side continued and patient psychological treatment, with slowly intensified pressure directed at changing the regime."
You told the Tribunal that that meant you wanted a change in the officials of the Ministry of the Interior. I am not going to trouble about a statement like that, but just go on for a moment:
The conference on economic relations, proposed for the end of October, will be a very useful tool for the realization of some of our projects.

"Through discussion both with government officials and with leaders of the illegal party (Leopold and Schattenfreh), who take their stand entirely on the agreement of 11th July, I am trying to direct the next developments so as to aim at corporative representation of the movement in the Fatherland Front."

Now, it is quite clear, is it not, that you were on 1st September, 1936, after the agreement, having discussions with the leaders of the illegal party, Leopold and Schattenfreh, so may we take it that, throughout your time in Austria, you were in close and constant touch with the leaders of the Austrian National Socialist Party?

A. No, Sir David, the conference which you just mentioned refers to and is justified by the July agreement; I have already explained that to the Tribunal yesterday. In the July agreement Chancellor Schuschnigg promised that members of the national opposition would be called upon for co-operation. Consequently it was, of course, my duty to be interested in whether and to what extent the co-operation of such forces was actually sought after by Schuschnigg. That was the subject of this talk with the Fuehrer, and I can state expressly that my contact with the Austrian Party, after the July agreement, was only in this connection.

Q. I see. Well, I am not going to go into that further. I have referred the Tribunal to two documents, and there are other references which I need not worry about.

I want you to come now to November 1937. Can you remember the date of your meeting with the defendant Seyss-Inquart at Garmisch?

A. Yes, I met the defendant Seyss-Inquart by accident - that is, not by appointment - at the Olympic Winter Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in January 1938.

Q. January 1938. I just want to collate these dates. You had become very friendly with the Foreign Minister Guido Schmidt, who gave evidence here, had you not?

A. I was on very friendly terms with the Foreign Minister, yes.

Q. Yes, you gave him the "du", although you were twenty years his senior; you had given him the "du" for some time? You were very intimate? Is that right?

A. I do not think that a friendship can be measured by twenty years-twenty years' difference in age. I regarded Herr Schmidt, as I have said, as an upright man.

Q. I think you will agree with me that it is unusual for an ambassador to be on such terms with a Foreign Minister, especially one twenty years his junior - not his contemporary - on such terms that he used the familiar "du" to him. Will you not agree with me that it is quite an unusual form of intimacy between an ambassador and a Foreign Minister?

A. Sir David, if you had ever been in Austria in your life, you would know that in Austria almost everyone says "du" to everyone else, and to clear up this in-

[Page 362]

cident, may I add the following: On the day of our separation, when I left Austria, I said to Foreign Minister Schmidt, of whom I am very fond: "Dear friend, we have worked together so much, now we can say 'du' to each other." Q. Now, what I am interested in is this: It was in November 1937 that you and Dr. Guido Schmidt first began to discuss the question of Herr von Schuschnigg meeting Hitler, was it not? A. I believe that I discussed this matter not only with Foreign Minister Schmidt but also with Schuschnigg himself at that time. After a discussion between them - Q. Just a moment; will you answer my question? You discussed with Schmidt - you heard Dr. Schmidt state in his evidence that the defendant Goering had told him with great frankness, as the defendant Goering said he told everyone else and has told this Tribunal, that he was out for the union of Germany and Austria by any means and at all costs. You heard Dr. Schmidt say that Goering had told him that that was his view, and I say, in all fairness, it is perfectly consistent. It is the view he has expressed here and apparently to a lot of other people. Do you remember Dr. Schmidt saying that? A. Yes. Q. We have heard that the defendant Goering said that, not only to Dr. Schmidt, but to Mussolini and to the High Tribunal, and I think to several other people. Had he never said it to you? A. No, Sir David. With regard to the Austrian - Q. Did you know that it was his view? A. No. Q. You did not know that was Goering's view?

A. Please let me say something. Of course, I knew that Goering's wish was to bring about a union of these two States, and I myself was present at the talk with Mussolini.

Please consider, however, that at that time Herr Goering was not competent to decide foreign policy. The question of what our policy in Austria should be had been agreed upon between Hitler and myself exclusively and I do not remember discussing it with Marshal Goering in the years between 1936 and 1938.

Q. At the moment I am dealing with November 1937, and three months later the defendant Goering was very competent in foreign politics related to the Austrian question, as you, who listened to the accounts of his telephone conversations, must know.

I just want you to take the dates as we have got them now. Goering had told Schmidt his views; you and Schmidt were discussing this meeting between Schuschnigg and Hitler. In January you had a political discussion with Dr. Seyss-Inquart at Garmisch.

I am one date out of order. On the 11th of November, as Mr. Dodd pointed out to Dr. Seyss-Inquart, the latter had written a letter to Dr. Jury saying, "I do not think anything will happen this year, but the developments will take place in the spring." Then, after that letter, he sees you at Garmisch in January, and in February you finally arrange this meeting between Schuschnigg and Hitler.

A. Yes.

Q. Did you not know very well that the whole object of the meeting was to get Herr von Schuschnigg to agree to the Reich's wishes, namely the appointment of Seyss-Inquart, a general political amnesty which would release all the members of the Nazi Party in Austria and put them at the disposal of their leaders, and a declaration of equal rights for the Party? Did you not know that the whole object of the meeting was to get Herr von Schuschnigg to agree to these terms so that you would have the Austrian National Socialist Party unfettered and free to work for Germany's interests in Austria?

A. In my talks with Dr. Seyss-Inquart in Garmisch-Partenkirchen we discussed the necessity of making the Austrian Nazi Party independent, that is, under all circumstances removing it from the influence of the Reich, in the form agreed

[Page 363]

upon in the July agreement, and with the aim that the way should be paved for a union of our two countries, that aim to be pursued from the Austrian side, in terms of foreign policy, and not by the Reich.

When I met Seyss-Inquart in Garmisch no mention was ever made of this meeting between Hitler and Schuschnigg. I was at this time not in a position to know whether such a talk would ever take place. That was not decided until 5th February, as you will recall.

In other words, we discussed only the perfectly general question of how we could get nearer to our goal.

May I further recall to your memory that Dr. Seyss-Inquart had received an official commission from the Chancellor to investigate all existing possibilities of incorporating the national opposition - that is, the Austrian National Socialist Party - into Schuschnigg's political programme. That was his official mission, so that, after all, I had a right to discuss these things with him.

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