The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/03/30

DR. EXNER: Gentlemen of the Tribunal, there is one point I
want to draw your attention to. In my opinion, it is once
more a mistake in the translation. I refer to the second
paragraph on Page 36 counting from below. That is the report
about the incident. The second but last paragraph on Page 36
states in German "that the 'Operation Case Green' may be set
in motion as a result of an incident in Czechoslovakia,
which will give Germany the 'cause' for military
intervention." The translation in English of these last
words is a "provocation", should it be "cause" or

THE PRESIDENT: What are you saying? What is the alteration?

DR. EXNER: I believe that the translation is not correct. I
am not absolutely certain but I would like to call the
Tribunal's attention to it. "Anlass" in French means
"pretexte". It should be "cause" as far as we know, and not

THE PRESIDENT: But, Dr. Exner, there is no difference in the
meaning of the words, whether it is "provocation" or whether
it is "cause".

DR. EXNER: "Provocation" sounds a bit more aggressive, does
it not? I just want to call your attention to it. In the
German it is "cause" and not "provocation". Now the
prosecution are calling these considerations which we have
just talked about criminal and connects them with the
supposedly planned murder of the German Ambassador in
Prague. We are said to have planned that murder so as to
have a cause for marching into Czechoslovakia. What do you
have to say to that?

A. That, of course, is grotesque. The example that the
Fuehrer allegedly mentioned in his talks with Field Marshal
Keitel, that the German Ambassador had been murdered by the
people of Prague was not even known to me. General Keitel
did not tell me that; I only heard it here. Apart from that,
I think it is useless to go on discussing it as we did
exactly the opposite, we gave the order to General Toussaint
to protect the German Embassy in Prague and to protect the
lives of the people in it, because, in fact, at one stage it
had been seriously threatened.

Q. This is proved by Document AJ-9, third volume of the
Document Book, Page 200. That again is the interrogatory of
General Toussaint, who was a military attache in Prague at
that time. The third question is as follows:

                                                  [Page 329]

  "Is it true or not that in the summer of 1938 you
  received the order to defend the German Embassy at Prague
  and to protect the lives of all the Germans in the

And his answer is:

  "Yes, it is true. I remember this order was given to me
  by telephone, probably in September 1938 ", and so on and
  so forth, and then in question No. 4:
  "It is true that the German Embassy..."

THE PRESIDENT: The witness has already said once it was so.

DR. EXNER: Then I shall only refer to the testimony of
Toussaint. In addition, it has been said that the incident
had been staged by us. We need not go into that in detail.


Q. Did the incident really happen?

A. No, there was neither a preparation for the incident, nor
was it necessary. Incidents kept multiplying day after day,
and the solution was a political one and quite an entirely
different one at that.

Q. So that this record of a report which we have often read,
remained purely theoretical, did it?

A. It was mere paper work, a train of thought which was not
really necessary at all.

But it has already been made clear that as soon as the
political discussions started I made continuous efforts to
prevent the provocations apparently desired on the part of
the Czechs from leading to any military measures on our

Q. Did the signatory powers in Munich at the end of
September know of Germany's military preparations? Did the
statesmen there know that we were militarily prepared?

A. The prosecution gave me the distinct impression that that
had become known only today and that it was unknown in the
autumn of 1938 at Munich. Put that is quite impossible. All
the world knew of the calling up of the eight age groups in
Czechoslovakia in September. The whole world knew of the
total mobilization on 23rd September. A political
correspondent of The Times wrote an article on 28th
September against this Czechoslovakian mobilization. Nobody
was surprised that immediately after the signing of the
Munich pact, on 1st October, we marched into ....

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Exner....

DR. EXNER: Well, let us go on.

Q. Is it true that in August 1938 you prepared a new plan
for action of which you had already spoken.

A. Yes. Already before the solution brought about by the
Munich pact, I, on my own initiative, made a secret plan for
the protection of all the German frontiers. It was so
prepared that the frontiers were primarily to be protected
while the bulk of the army was to be kept in reserve in the
centre of Germany. That complete plan was available during
my interrogation. It is now no longer contained in Document
388-PS, but there is a reference made to it.

Q. On Page 40, Volume I, of our Document Book, I again read
an extract from Document PS-388. At the very end the
following is stated:

  "... after the drafting of Case 'Green' we should soon be
  able to have a temporary deployment."

And then:

  "First the Wehrmacht will guarantee the protection of the
  German frontiers including those of the newly acquired
  lands, while the bulk of the army and of the air force
  will remain at our disposal. Such a future deployment,
  'Frontier Protection', should be executed separately on
  the various fronts."

                                                  [Page 330]

Why did you prepare this "Frontier Protection" deployment;
what was the cause of that?

A. The reason was that once the necessity for a deployment
against Czechoslovakia had become superfluous, due to the
problem finding some sort of solution, we would no longer
have had any deployment plan at all. And since no other
intention of the Fuehrer was known to me, I, on my own
initiative, made a plan for this deployment which could be
applied in any eventuality.

Q. Did you know anything about the intentions of the Fuehrer
after the Munich Agreement, to go even further and occupy
Bohemia and Moravia?

A. No, I had not any idea of that. I was acquainted with his
speech of 26th September where he said:

  "Now we are facing the last problem which must be

I believed in that assurance, and this is proved by the fact
that during those days, on or about 10th or 11th September,
I suggested to Field Marshal Keitel, then General Keitel,
that he should ask the British Delegation, the arrival of
which was pending, to come to Iglau in Moravia, because many
Germans who were living there had been threatened by armed
Czechoslovakian Communists. This, of course, was a
suggestion which I would never have made had I had any idea
that the Fuehrer nourished any other intentions of attacking
Bohemia and Moravia.

Q. These further intentions of the Fuehrer were recorded on
21st October, 1938, in a directive. Did you know of it in
the OKW, or how was that?

A. No, I did not. I did not see it. I only saw it here in
this courtroom, during my preliminary interrogations.

Q. And now, where were you transferred to?

A. I was transferred to Vienna as Artillery Commander of the
44th Division stationed there.

Q. That was the end of October, was it not?

A. Right.

Q. How did you look upon the further military developments
...? Of course, you have already answered that.

A. Actually, I expected an easing of the political tension
and a period of peace. I can certainly say peace.

Q. And what happened to you then?

A. Since I knew of no other plan or intention, I transferred
my home to Vienna, taking all my furniture with me.
Naturally, I would never have done this, if I had had the
faintest idea of a pending war, because I knew that in the
event of a war I was to become the Chief of the Operations
Staff of the Wehrmacht, and so would have had to return to
Berlin. I asked General Keitel to help me become the
Commander of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall,
starting 1st October, 1939, a request which again it would
never have entered my mind to make if I had had any idea of
what was going to come.

Q. Did you as Artillery Commander in Vienna remain in
contact with the OKW?

A. No, hardly at all. I had no connections with the OKW. I
did not receive any military documents from the OKW during
all that period.

Q. And who informed you about the situation at that time?

A. Nobody. During that time I knew no more about what was
going on or what was intended, than any lieutenant in my

Q. Did you have private correspondence with Keitel?

A. I received one letter from General Keitel. It was, I
think, at the end of July 1939. He personally gave me the
good news that quite probably I would become the Commander
of the 4th Mountain Division in Reichenhall on 1st October,
and that General von Sodenstern would become Chief of the
Wehrmacht Operations Staff, now staffed for peace, on 1st

Q. Did you help draw up the plan for the occupation of the
remaining part of Czechoslovakia?

                                                  [Page 331]

A. No, I did not. During that period I remained in Vienna
for the time being and temporarily became Chief of Staff of
the 8th Army Corps at Vienna. Then, later on, I was
transferred to Brunn in Czechoslovakia together with the
entire 44th Division.

Q. When did you hear about the whole thing?

A. It was through the orders of my divisional staff that I
heard of that operation in March of 1939, perhaps two or
three days beforehand.

Q. Was this move into Czechoslovakia the carrying out of the
plan "Case Green", which you had originally drafted?

A. No; it had nothing whatever to do with that any longer.
There were completely different units, for instance. Not
even half of the troops provided for in 1938 were actually
used for the march into Czechoslovakia in 1939.

Q. Now, during that period when you were in Vienna there was
a conference with the Fuehrer on 23rd May, 1939, which has
often been mentioned here on account of the disregard of
neutrality, etc. It has often been claimed that Warlimont
was present there as your representative. Please explain
this. Was he your representative?

A. With extraordinary tenacity it has again and again been
claimed that General Warlimont took part in the conference
as the representative of Jodl, or even, as it was once said,
as his assistant. There is no question of that. He was my
successor but not my representative. And if you repeat that
again and again, it still does not make truth. He was my

Q. You had left the OKW, had you not?

A. Yes, I had no connection with the OKW. The fact that
quite accidentally Warlimont became my, representative, my
deputy later on, has nothing whatever to do with the events
of May 1939.

Q. When did you hear of this meeting for the first time, in
May 1939?

A. Here in Nuremberg, in 1945.

Q. Did you have any contact with Party leaders at that time,
or Austrian National Socialists?

A. No, not in the least.

Q. Or with these defendants here?

A. No. Neither with them.

Q. Once during that time the Fuehrer went to Vienna with
Keitel. I think they were there two days or so. Did you have
to report to him on that occasion?

A. Yes, coming from Prague he quite unobtrusively visited
Vienna, and on that occasion I spoke a few words with
General Keitel, but I did not talk to the Fuehrer.

Q. You were not presented to him?

A. No.

Q. What about your war service orders?

A. As I have already said, in the event of a war I was to
become the head of the Army Operations Staff.

Q. What about your private personal plans for that summer?

A. In that summer I already had the ticket for a sea voyage
into the eastern Mediterranean on 23rd September, 1939.

Q. On 23rd September, 1939, the voyage ....

A. Yes, on 23rd September, the voyage was to start at
Hamburg; I had already paid for the tickets.

Q. When did you buy the tickets, do you remember?

A. I think I bought them during the second half of July.

Q. When did you return to Berlin?

A. I am not absolutely certain about the exact date but I
expect that it was
on 23rd or 24th August judging from a telegram which
surprised me in Brunn.

Q. Well, if you had not received that telegram, when would
you have had to go to Berlin?

A. In the case of general mobilization I would have had to
go to Berlin anyway.

                                                  [Page 332]

Q. And did you now have to report to the Fuehrer in Berlin?

A. No, I did not report to him, either. I only reported, of
course, to General Keitel and to the Chief of the General
Staff of the Army and the Air Force, and to the Naval

DR. EXNER: Mr. President, I have now completed that subject
and I thought that this would be a convenient time to

THE PRESIDENT: Can you tell us how long you are likely to

DR. EXNER: I very much hope ... certainly it will be in the
course of tomorrow morning, but shall we say until

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, as counsel for Seyss-Inquart,
I have to ask on behalf of my client that he may be
permitted to be absent from the session for two days, to
prepare his defence.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 5th June, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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