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 4 of 11)

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

[Page 363]

Q. Was not Dr. Rainer - the witness that the Tribunal has seen - was not he present at the Garmisch meeting too?

A. I beg your pardon?

Q. Dr. Rainer?

A. That seems to have been the case; Sir David; I do not remember it any more. Seyss-Inquart has told me that it is possible that Dr. Rainer joined us on a walk. I personally do not remember. I did not carry on any political discussion with Rainer.

Q. Well, you have given your explanation. I just want to remind you of one other point. You were very well aware of the von Blomberg and von Fritsch crisis in the Army, were you not? I do not want to go into disagreeable details again, because it is not at present before the Tribunal, but you knew that that crisis had arisen?

A. Yes.

Q. I am sure you will see the importance of this. General von Fritsch had been at the War Academy with you, had he not?

A. Yes, quite right.

Q. He was an old friend, and you knew - as I think everyone who has mentioned his name in this court has said - that General von Fritsch was a man of the highest character and that the sort of charge that was brought against him was one which anyone who knew him would regard with ridicule if it was not so tragic, and they would regard it with contempt? That was your view?

A. Absolutely.

Q. And you had a pretty good idea, had you not, apart from the treatment of Field Marshal von Blomberg, that von Fritsch had been the subject of a trumped-up charge in order to prevent him becoming head of the Wehrmacht? You knew that, did you not?

A. In any case, that became clear to me later, when I learned of the circumstances.

Q. No, no, that is not the important thing, defendant, it is your state of mind on the 5th of February, 1938. You knew by then that the Nazi clique in the government had brought a framed-up charge against a man whom you regarded as the soul of honour, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Now after, with that knowledge, on the 5th of February, you saw Hitler, and told him about the fact that von Schuschnigg might come, and he welcomed the idea at once. He said, "go and get Schuschnigg," did he not? He had been quite bored, if I may put it that way, with what you had been saying up to that point. As soon as you said there was a chance of a meeting with Schuschnigg, Hitler jumped to the suggestion like a trout to a May fly, or rather, like a lion to the kill; that is right, is it not?

A. Yes, Sir David. I described to the Tribunal the impression made on me by events in Berlin and by my own dismissal on 4th February. Do you think - it

[Page 364]

is surely not surprising that I now tried - just because I was afraid another course would be adopted - to bring about this long-desired discussion between the two Chiefs of State which I hoped would clear up the differences and prevent the adoption of a radical course. I told Foreign Minister Schmidt and Chancellor Schuschnigg, when I asked them both to take part in a discussion, to clear up matters if they could possibly do so.

Q. Now, defendant, I am not going to go through the circumstances of the meeting of 12th February because I went through them with the defendant von Ribbentrop and the Tribunal are well informed with regard to them.

I want to ask you this one question, and I do ask you to consider it carefully because the question of your own veracity may depend on it.

Are you now saying that there was not pressure put on Herr von Schuschnigg at that interview?

A. Sir David, I never made such a statement - you know that yourself, because it is in my reports; I myself said that pressure was exerted.

Q. What I am asking you is this, and please let me make it quite clear because the Tribunal have heard the evidence of your friend Dr. Schmidt and a lot of other evidence. I only want to ask you the one question, and please get it clear.

Do you now, on this day, say that pressure was not put on Chancellor von Schuschnigg to make him agree to the terms of the 12th of February? That is the one question I want to ask you, and I give you the chance of answering. What do you say today? Was or was not pressure put on Herr von Schuschnigg?

A. Yes; I never denied it. I do not understand why you ask me. I never denied it.

Q. Herr von Ribbentrop denied it quite strongly, but we will not go into that.

Now, one other question and then I am finished with Austria.

Did you arrange a meeting between Hitler and Cardinal Innitzer?

A. Yes, I did; and that was -

Q. Did you arrange that the leaders of the Church and the diplomatic corps, apart from the French and British representatives, should be present at Hitler's entry into Vienna?

A. As for the leaders of the Church, it is not customary for them to be present at parades, and I certainly did not suggest it. As to the diplomats -

Q. Did you arrange for the diplomatic corps to be present?

A. It is possible that some of my diplomatic colleagues asked me if they could attend this ceremony, and I said that of course they could attend; why should they not?

Q. Well, I am not going to argue about the way you put it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I have now finished with Austria. I have three very minor matters which I hope will take a short time, but this might be a convenient period in which to recess.


(A recess was taken.)


Q. Defendant, is the Tribunal to take it that, broadly speaking, you were against the anti-Semitic movement and propaganda?

A. I did not quite catch the question.

Q. Is the Tribunal to take it that, broadly speaking, you were against the anti-Semitic movement and propaganda?

A. On the contrary, it was my aim and my desire and it constituted the entire programme of my work to contribute as far as possible to a union between the two countries, because that was the great wish of the German nation.

Q. I do not think you can have understood my question. Let me repeat it. I am now coming to the Jews.

[Page 365]

A. Oh, the Jews?

Q. Yes. Now, let me repeat it again. Is the Tribunal to take it that, broadly speaking, you were against the anti-Semitic movement and propaganda?

A. Yes; I have already told the High Tribunal just what my attitude in principle was towards the racial question and towards the question of the elimination of foreign influence in certain cultural aspects of public life. These are two entirely different questions, however.

Q. Yes, I appreciate that. Now, will you look at Document 3319-PS, which is Exhibit GB 287?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it begins at Page 48 of Document Book IIA. It is on Pages 44 and 45 of the German book.

Q. The part I want you to refer to is on Pages 58 and 59. This, defendant, is from a confidential report of the conference of the consultants on Jewish questions of the German missions in Europe, on the 3rd and 4th of April, 1944. I want you just to look at Page 44, I think, in the German version, and Page 58 of the English. This gives a report of the contribution to the discussion of a certain Herr Posemann, from Turkey. Was he from your staff? If you would not mind, just say "yes" or "no" because -

A. May I tell you just who Herr Posemann was?

Q. I asked you if you would tell me whether he was a member of the embassy staff, and if not, what was he. That is what I want to know.

A. No; certainly not. Herr Posemann was a German bookseller who had settled in Ankara. He was certainly not a member of my embassy.

Q. I see. Well, at any rate, he was a consultant of the German Foreign Office for this discussion. Now, just listen to what he says:

"Early last year the Turkish Government struck a blow at Jewry in connection with an attempt to solve the minorities problem. Very drastic measures were taken to carry out this action. Suspicion on the part of Allied circles that purely anti-Jewish measures were concerned were countered by Turkey by taking similar measures against other minorities. Anyhow, Turkey has now abandoned further such measures for finding a solution of the minorities problem acid therefore of the Jewish problem. For this reason it is impossible to continue anti-Jewish propaganda under our direction at the present moment, as it is undesirable and would be injurious to Turkey's present foreign policy. There are no anti-Jewish publications in Turkey, apart from caricatures and comic books about Jews. The first signs of realization of the extent of international Jewish domination are evinced in the translation of the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion," and of Ford's book, The International Jew. The sale and distribution of these brochures have been promoted by the embassy. For the time being, work is possible only within this narrow range, since, as was already emphasized, an anti-Jewish propaganda obviously inspired by Germany might cause us unfavourable political complications."
Now, do you believe in the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion"? Do you believe it is a correct and authentic work?

A. Not at all, no.

Q. Then why was the marketing of these brochures being promoted by the embassy?

A. Perhaps I may give the Tribunal a very brief explanation as to the origin of this conference. It was arranged by the Foreign Office, and consisted of experts from the embassies and legations who had been specifically employed to deal with the Jewish problem. In my embassy there was no such expert as I always refused to have one. For this reason the Party had of its own accord instructed the bookseller, Herr Posemann, to deal with this problem, and had delegated him to attend this conference.

If Herr Posemann here sets forth that the embassy circulated the propaganda brochures which are mentioned here, then he is gravely mistaken.

[Page 366]

Firstly, the Turkish Government would never have tolerated the circulation of such material, and secondly, you, Sir David, can convince yourself today that all these brochures are still lying in the basement of my embassy at Ankara.

Q. So that this statement made at the Foreign Office meeting, you say, is wrong?

A. Yes.

Q. You say that you were not involved in any such action; that is your answer? I want to ask you one or two things about the Catholic Church. You remember the Fulda declaration of the bishops?

A. Yes.

Q. That is right, is it not? That was made and based on an assurance which Hitler gave to the Church of his good intentions, on 23rd March, 1933? Do you remember Hitler making a statement like that?

A. Not only on the 23rd, but also in the government's declaration, Hitler expressly stated his view that all policy must be based on the spiritual foundation of the Christian denominations.

Q. Now, that in turn was the result, at least in part, of a statement of yours at a cabinet meeting on the 15th of March, 1933, when you stressed the importance of incorporating political Catholicism into the new State; that is a correct and factual statement, is it not? That is the way the thing works out?

A. Completely, Sir David.

Q. Yes.

A. I made every effort to induce Hitler to establish this Christian basis of his policy firmly by means of solemn engagements; and I think I have already explained to the High Tribunal that I really made every effort to carry through this programme.

Q. Now let me ask you to look once again at Document IIA, Page 96; Page 78 of the German version, which is Document 2248-PS. It is your report to Hitler of 20th July, 1935. Now in that report you use these words: "the clever hand which eliminates political Catholicism without touching the Christian foundations of Germany."

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is on Page 99 of the English text And it is Page 86 of the German text. My Lord, it is the first paragraph, Page 99:

"Cultural problems have a special significance. The way in which Germany deals with her political and religious difficulties, the clever hand which eliminates political Catholicism without weakening the Christian foundations of Germany will not only have a decisive reaction on England or Catholic Poland. We may rather say that the solution of the German-Austrian question stands or falls with it."
Now what I want you to bear in mind, this is your account to Hitler in July 1935, over two years after the Concordat: "... the clever hand which eliminates political Catholicism without touching the Christian foundations of Germany ... " Now your counsel quoted one passage of His Holiness the Pope's allocution, and I would just like you to look and tell the Tribunal whether you agree with the next passage, which occurs after the bit quoted by Dr. Kubuschok.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, this is a new document - No, my Lord, I am sorry. It is an old exhibit. It is Document 3268-PS, which is Exhibit USA 356. Your Lordship remembers that Dr. Kubuschok quoted a portion, in his Document Book, of the Pope's allocution. My Lord, I have some extra copies.


Q. Now after the bit which Dr. Kubuschok quoted as to the Concordat having prevented worse evils, His Holiness goes on to say:

"The struggle against the Church did, in fact, become more and more embittered: the disbanding of Catholic organizations; the progressive suppression of the flourishing Catholic schools, both public and private; the

[Page 367]

enforced weaning of youth from family and Church; the pressure brought to bear on the conscience of the citizens, and especially of civil servants; the systematic defamation, by means of clever and well-organized propaganda, of the Church, the clergy, the faithful and of the Church's institutions, teaching and history; the closing, disbanding and confiscation of religious houses and other ecclesiastical institutions; the complete suppression of the Catholic Press and publishing houses."
Do you agree with His Holiness that that is a correct description of the action of the German Reich against the Catholic Church?

A. Completely.

Q. Well now, I would just like you also to look at the "Mit Brennender Sorge," which is Document 3280-PS.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Lordship will find it at Page 40 of Document Book II - I am sorry, my Lord, it is Page 47. I said 40. It is 40 of the German text.

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