The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Sixty-Third Day: Tuesday, 25th June, 1946
(Part 11 of 11)

[Page 195]


Q. At any rate this is the figure, and it is this problem which has been dealt with by your ministry. It may be that it includes certain high schools, but at any rate, these are your Ministry's documents, and I want to know what happened. This was a minute, as I understand it, from Dennler, Dr. Dennler, who was the head of group 10 of your office, to Burgsdorff, who had a superior position, and, if I may summarize it, this letter of 21st November, 1939, suggests that the students should be taken forcibly from Czechoslovakia to the old Reich and put to work in the old Reich, and then, the next - on 25th November, you will notice that in paragraph 2 it says - the writer, who is Burgsdorff, is saying that he is dealing with X119/39, which is Dennler's memorandum, and Burgsdorff says that he does not want them to go into the Reich because at that time there was some unemployment in the Reich, and suggests that they should be dealt with by compulsory labour on the roads and canals in Czechoslovakia. Now, these were the two proposals from your office.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the second one is Document 3857-PS, which will be Exhibit GB 524.


Q. What happened to the unfortunate students?

[Constantin von Neurath] A. Nothing at all happened to them.

Q. Well, now, did either of these proposals of Dr. Dennler for forced labour in the Reich and of Burgsdorff for forced labour in Czechoslovakia, did they come to you?

A. No, either -

Q. Did they come to you for decision?

A. I think they were submitted to me, but I cannot tell you for certain.

Q. Well, will you agree with me - or perhaps you will be able to correct my knowledge - that this is the earliest suggestion - you said it was not put into effect - but that the earliest suggestion of forced labour came from an officer of your department? Do you know of any other department of the Reich that had suggested forced labour as early as November, 1939?

A. There is no connection, and moreover if you were to look through suggestions made by all your subordinates, then you, too, might find some proposal which you afterwards rejected. Suggestions made by. an adviser do not mean anything at all.

Apart from that, perhaps I can clear up this figure of 18,000. Here it says: "According to the documents at my disposal, the number of students who will. be affected by closing the Czech universities for three years will be 18,000." It is, therefore, three times 6,000, is it not, which is approximately 18,000.

Q. I had already put forward that suggestion, defendant, about ten minutes ago, but I respectfully agree with you. That is one matter in which we are not in difference.

Well, now, you understand what I am suggesting. It is that these proposals had their origin in your office, because they were quite in keeping with the proposals in the memoranda which I have just read to the Tribunal, that you should not only get rid of Czech higher education, but you should have forced labour. Do you remember that was in the State Secretary's memorandum? What I am suggesting is that it was in your department - the idea of forced labour - as early as 21st November, 1939.

Now, defendant, I have only one other matter, and I hope, as it is a question of fact, that perhaps you will be able to agree with me on reflection. You suggested this morning that the German University in Prague was closed down after the founding of Czechoslovakia in 1919. That is how it came to us. On reflection, do you not know that it continued and that many thousands of students graduated in the German University of Prague between 1919 and 1939?

[Page 196]

A. As far as I know, it was a department of the Czech University, a German part of the Czech University, as far as I know.

Q. But it continued - it continued as a university?

A. Yes, it continued, but as a Czech university.

Q. Yes, but German students came there and could take their degrees in German? It was a permitted language? I suggest to you that there are thousands of people who went there from Austria and from the old Reich - went there as Germans and took their degrees in German.

A. Yes, only the old German University, the so-called Charles University, was closed by the Czechs. But a German department, or whatever one might call it, still remained. The Germans studied and took their examinations there.

Q. I think the point is clear. I am not going to argue about the actual thing, but that there was a German university, where German students could study, you will agree.

THE PRESIDENT: Do the prosecution wish to cross-examine further?


Q. Defendant, tell us please, when you were Minister of Foreign Affairs, did Rosenberg try to intervene in the foreign affairs of Germany? [N.B. The interpreter erroneously transmitted Rosenberg's name instead of that of Ribbentrop - for President's ruling on correction of record see morning session of 26th June, 1946.]

A. Is that a question?

Q. Yes, that is a question.

A. Yes.

Q. Would you please tell us in what form this intervention took place?

A. By communicating to the Fuehrer his own ideas on foreign policy, without giving them to me for consideration.

Q. All right. Yesterday you stated here that in 1936 you had differences of opinion with Hitler and that on 27th July, 1936, you asked to be relieved of your duties as a minister. This document was cited here yesterday, but did you not write to Hitler then - and I will read the last sentence of your letter to him:

"Even if I am no longer Minister, I shall be constantly at your disposal, if you so desire, with my advice and my years of experience in the field of foreign policy."
Did you write these words in your letter to the Fuehrer?

A. Yes. Yes, I did.

Q. And did yon fulfil the promises you made to Hitler? Whenever it was necessary to cover by diplomatic manipulations the aggressive actions of Hitler, as for instance at the time of the annexation of the Sudetenland, during the invasion of Czechoslovakia and so on? Did you help Hitler with your experience? Is that right?

A. That is a great mistake. On the contrary, I ... as I have stated here yesterday and today, I was called in by Hitler only once, and that was on the last phase of the Austrian Anschluss. With that my activities came to an end, and in 1938, to be sure, I went to see him of my own accord, to restrain him from starting the war. That was my activity.

Q. We have already heard this. I would like to ask you another question concerning the memorandum of Frederici without repeating what has already been said here concerning it. You remember this memorandum well, as it was presented to the Court a short time ago. In the last part of that memorandum, it is the last paragraph but one, it is stated:

"If the governing of the Protectorate were in reliable hands and guided exclusively by the order of the Fuehrer of the 16th of March, 1939, the territory of Bohemia and Moravia would become an integral part of Germany."
It was for this purpose that Hitler chose you to be Protector; is that not so?

A. Not a bit; that was not the reason at all. The reason was ... I have described it in detail yesterday.

[Page 197]

Q. All right. We shall not repeat the causes, we spoke about them yesterday. Well, you deny that you were precisely the man who was supposed to carry through the invasion of Czechoslovakia?

A. To that I can only answer "Yes."

Q. All right. Do you admit that you were, in the Protectorate, the only representative of the Fuehrer and of the Government of the Reich, and that you were directly subordinate to Hitler?

A. Yes, that is right; that is stated in Hitler's decree.

Q. Yes, it is stated there. I will not read this decree, which would only delay the interrogation. This decree has already been presented to the Court.

Do you acknowledge that all institutions under the authority of the State, with the exception of the armed forces, were subordinate to you?

A. No. I am sorry to have to say that that is a mistake. That is also stated in the same decree of 1st September, 1939. Apart from that, there, were numerous other organizations, that is, Reich authorities which were not under my jurisdiction; quite apart from the police.

Q. Well, as far as the police are concerned, we will speak about that separately. Do you think it is a mistake that the decree does not mention it, or do you interpret the decree otherwise?

I shall read the first paragraph of the decree of the 1st September, 1939. It is stated there: "All the authorities, offices and organizations of the Reich in the Protectorate of Bohemia arid Moravia, with the exception of the armed forces, are under the jurisdiction of the Reich Protector." It is also stated in paragraph 2: "The Reich Protector supervises the entire autonomous administration of the Protectorate." As you see, it is stated very bluntly and definitely here that all the institutions of the Reich were subordinate to you, while you were subordinate to Hitler.

A. I have to tell you again that as to administrative agencies, yes; but there were a number of other authorities, Reich authorities and offices which did not come under my jurisdiction. For instance, the Four-Year Plan.

Q. Now let us pass to the question of the police.

Yesterday, in answer to a question of your counsel, you stated to the Tribunal that as to this decree of 1st September, signed by Goering, Frick and Lammers, paragraph 13 was not comprehensible to you. Let us examine other paragraphs of the same chapter concerning the police.

Paragraph 11 says:

"The organs of the German Security Police in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia have the task of investigating and combating all hostile acts against the Government and population in the territory of the Protectorate, inform the Protector for the Reich as well as the subordinate organizations, keep them currently informed on important events, and advise them as to what to do."
Paragraph 14 of the same decree states:
"The Minister of the Interior of the Reich (the Reichsfuehrer SS, and the Chief of the German Police) with the agreement of the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia issues the legal and administrative directives necessary for carrying out this order."
Thus, according to this decree, the police and the SS were obliged to let you know about all their measures and, moreover, all their administrative and legal acts and measures had to be carried out with your knowledge. Do you acknowledge that?

A. No; that is not right. First of all, there was at one time an order that they were to inform me. But that was not carried out and was forbidden by Himmler directly. And the other, the second regulation to the effect that the administrative measures - or whatever it is called - could or should be carried out with my approval, which was never applied.

[Page 198]

Q. So you deny it?

A. Yes.

Q. I now present to you the testimony of Karl Hermann Frank, of March 7th, 1946, on this very question; that is, on the question of the police and to whom they were subordinated.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I present this testimony as Exhibit USSR 494.

THE PRESIDENT: Is this in the English Book as well, do you know?

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: No, Mr. President. This document that I am presenting now is an original, signed by Frank.


Q. Karl Hermann Frank, during an interrogation, testified:

"According to the order on 'The Structure of the German Administration in the Protectorate and the German Security Police,' all German authorities and offices in the Protectorate, including the police force, were formally subordinated to the Reich Protector and were under obligation to fulfil his orders. Owing to this, the Security Police were bound to carry out this basic policy set forth by the Reich Protector. Orders as to carrying out Government police measures were mainly issued by the Central Office of State Security in Berlin through the Head of the Security Police.

If the Reich Protector wanted to carry out some State Police measures, he had to have the permission of the Central Office of State Security in Berlin; that is, in this case the State Police also submitted each order for reconfirmation to the Central Office of State Security in Berlin. The same was true of directives aimed at carrying out State Police measures given by higher SS and police leaders and to the head of the Security Police."

I would like to draw your attention to this paragraph that I am reading now:
"This system of channels for issuing directives remained in force during the whole existence of the Protectorate and was used as such by von Neurath in the Protectorate. In general the Reich Protector could, on his own initiative, issue directives to the State Police through the head of the Security Police.

In regard to the SD - Security Service - which had no executive powers, the authority of the Reich Protector respecting the issuing of directives to the SD was greater and not subject to the approval of the Reich Central Office of State Security in every case."

Do you confirm this testimony of Frank?

A. No.

Q. All right.

A. I refer you to a statement by the same Frank, which I have learned about here, which was made last year, during which he said something quite different. He said that the entire police were not under the Reich Protector, but came under the Chief of the Police in Berlin, namely, Himmler. It ought to be here somewhere - this statement.

Q. Do not worry about it; I will come back to this testimony.

Tell me, please, who was the political adviser in your service?

A. Political adviser?

Q. Yes, political adviser.

A. In general I had various political advisers.

Q. In order not to waste time, I will show you a short document, and I ask you to read it.

On 21st July, 1939, the Director of the Security Police wrote a letter to your Secretary of State and to the SS and Police Fuehrer, Karl Hermann Frank. The letter had the following contents:

[Page 199]

"In an order of 5th May, 1939, the Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia appointed the SD Fuehrer and delegate of the Security Police as his political adviser. I have ascertained that this order has not yet been published or carried out. Please provide for carrying out this order."

Signed: Dr. Best."

Do you remember your order now?

A. I cannot remember that decree at the moment, but I do remember that this was never carried out, because I did not have this SD leader as my political adviser.

THE PRESIDENT: This would be a convenient time to break off.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, just one more minute, please, to finish this question, and then we can break off.


Q. But did you issue such an order on 6th May?

A. I can no longer tell you about that at this date ... but it is probably true. I do not want to deny it; I do not know any more.

Q. But you did issue this order?

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: All right. I thank you, Mr. President. It is possible to adjourn now. I shall require thirty minutes more.

(The Tribunal adjourned until Wednesday 26th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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