The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                   [Page 66]


MONDAY, 10th JUNE, 1946

THE PRESIDENT: I call on counsel for the defendant

DR. STEINBAUER (counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart):
Your Lordship, gentlemen of the Tribunal, I open the defence
case with the last words spoken by Dr. Schuschnigg, as he
resigned from the Austrian Chancellorship on 11th March,
1938, the words: "God protect Austria."

It is a coincidence in history that at a time when the
question of the Anschluss is discussed here with reference
to the person of Seyss-Inquart, the four foreign ministers
are preparing the peace treaties on the basis of the same
events. May I, therefore, draw the Tribunal's attention to
my documents on this matter and ask that I be permitted to
quote from them at more length than I had originally

Now, with the permission of the Tribunal, may I begin with
the examination of the defendant as witness in his own

ARTUR SEYSS-INQUART took the stand and testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Artur Seyss-Inquart.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, when and where were you born?

A. I was born in 1892 in Iglau, situated in what was up to
now a German-speaking part of Moravia. Moravia, at that
time, was a crown province of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
There and in the then German-speaking Olmutz, also in
Moravia, I lived until the age of fifteen, when with my
parents I moved into the vicinity of Vienna, where I
completed my studies at high school, and the legal faculty
of Vienna University. In August 1914 I enlisted in the army.

Q. Were you in the army during the whole of the war?

A. Yes. I served with the Tyrolean Kaiserjager and saw
fighting in Russia, Roumania, and in Italy. On furloughs
during the war I passed my final examinations and in 1917 I
received my doctor's degree. I was wounded once, decorated
several times, three times for bravery in the face of the

Q. What impressions did you carry with you into life from
the time of your youth?

A. Relevant to my case is, I think, only the experience of
the struggle between the nationalities in Moravia, between
the Germans and the Czechs. The Germans, in those days, were
in favour of a unified Austrian State, while the Czechs
pursued a predominantly nationalistic policy. It is,
however, not without significance that a language compromise
was agreed upon in Moravia.

                                                   [Page 67]

Q. What lasting impressions did you retain from your service
in the war?

A. Apart from the experience of comradeship at the front, I
remember especially the discussions towards the end of the
war, on the Fourteen Points of President Wilson.

Q. Their main point being the peoples' right of

A. It was clear to us that the realization of those Fourteen
Points would mean the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian
Monarchy. We Germans regarded it as at least a compensation
that in pursuance of this right of self-determination the
hereditary German territories would be able to return to the
Reich from which they had been separated just fifty years
before, in 1866. Yes, these territories had been created by
the German Reich and had been part of it for nine hundred
and fifty out of the thousand years of their existence.

Q. What did you do after your return from the war?

A. I devoted myself to my legal profession. In 1921 I set up
my own practice, which in time grew into a very successful

Q. What of your political attitude? Were you a member of any
political party?

A. I was not a member of any political party, because I did
not want to tie myself to partisan politics. I had good
friends in all parties, including the Christian Social and
Social Democratic Parties, but the party programmes seemed
to me rather one-sided, designed for individual groups of
the community.

Q. Were you a member of any political clubs-for instance,
the Austro-German Volksbund?

A. Yes, I was a member of the Executive of the Austro-German
Volksbund, because the only political idea to which I
adhered after 1918 was Austria's union with the German
Reich. I recall the 12th of November, 1918, when the
provisional national assembly, in fulfilment of the right of
self-determination, decided that "Austria is a part of the
German republic." Furthermore, the constitutional national
assembly repeated the decision six months later. But the
dictate of St. Germain forbade the Anschluss. Thereupon the
various districts tried to hold plebiscites; in Salzburg and
Tyrol ninety-eight per cent. of those entitled to the vote
were in favour of the Anschluss. Dr. Schuschnigg describes
these events in his book Three Times Austria.

The answer was a serious attempt to divide Austria among its
non-German neighbours; but they could not agree on the

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, may I at this point submit to
the Tribunal and refer briefly to several documents of my
Document Book? The first document, which I have given the
number SJ-1, is on Page 2 of the Document Book, and contains
the proclamation of the German-Austrian deputies after the
collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy on 21st October,
1918. There it says in the second sentence:

  "The German-Austrian State claims the territorial
  jurisdiction over the entire German settlement areas
  especially also the Sudeten-lands. The German-Austrian
  State will fight any annexation by other nations of
  territories which are inhabited by German peasants,
  workers, and citizens."

Then, as Exhibit No. 2, I should like to submit - it is on
Page 4 of the Document Book - the resolution which the
witness has already mentioned, passed by the provisional
Austrian national assembly on 12th November, 1918, which

  "German-Austria is a democratic republic. All public
  authorities are installed by the people. German-Austria
  is a part of the German republic."

The leader of the biggest national party of the time, Dr.
Karl Renner, explained the reasons for this law on 12th
November and said the following, which appears on Page 6 as
Exhibit No. 3:

  "Our great people is in distress and misery, the people
  whose pride it has always been to be called the people of
  poets and thinkers, our German people of humanism, our
  German people which loves other peoples is deeply bowed
  in misery. But it is just in this hour in which it would
  be so easy and con-

                                                   [Page 68]

  venient and perhaps also tempting to settle one's account
  separately and perhaps to snatch advantages from many an
  enemy, in this hour our people in all provinces wish to
  know: We are one family and one people living under a
  common fate!"

Then I come to Exhibit No. 4, which is on Page 18 -

THE PRESIDENT: Page 8, is it not?

DR. STEINBAUER: Page 18. I beg your pardon, yes, Page 8.

That refers to the plebiscite on 24th April, 1921, in Tyrol,
when 145,302 voted for the Anschluss and 1,805 against it.
On 18th May, 1921, there were 98,546 votes for the Anschluss
in the district of Salzburg, and 877 votes against it.

Your Honours, while submitting the documents, I already said
that I maintain there were three component factors leading
to the Anschluss:

Firstly, the economic emergency which, a recurring theme,
runs through the entire history of the period.

Secondly, the disunity among the democratic parties,
resulting therefrom.

Thirdly, the attitude of the rest of the world, particularly
the big powers, towards our small country.

Those thoughts are contained in my Document Book, and I
should like now with reference to the economic emergency of
that time to submit as my next exhibit the speech of Prelate
Hauser, President of the Austrian Parliament. The speech,
made on 6th September, 1919, appears on Page 114 of my
Document Book.

As President of the Parliament, he suggested the acceptance
of the peace treaty of St. Germain, giving the following

  "The national assembly has no choice. Country and people
  need lasting peace which will open the world to them
  again morally and economically, and which can once again
  procure work for the masses of our people at home and

Then in the second paragraph he says

  "It also has no other choice, because our country depends
  on the big powers for its supply of food, coal and
  industrial raw materials as well as in the
  re-establishment of its credit and its currency."

The same point of view was expressed by the two statesmen,
Seipel and Schober.

In Document No. 17, Seipel, regarded as the greatest
Austrian statesman, said at that time: "But we will never
believe that the Central European question is solved as long
as the great State which virtually makes up Central Europe,
the German Reich, is not a party to the solution."

I shall now continue with the examination of the witness.


Q. I want to ask you, witness, do you still remember the
time and conditions after 1927?

A. On account of the economic situation which you have just
described the League powers again and again forced Austria
to make so-called voluntary declarations renouncing the
Anschluss. This had repercussions in Austrian domestic
politics. The Austrians, who in 1918 had been resolved to
have a democratic parliamentary form of government, turned
to radical ideas of an authoritarian character.

Q. At that time a new party was formed. Which one was that?

A. Then there occurred the so-called Palace of Justice fire,
an uprising of the Marxists, which had as its result that
the anti-Marxists formed themselves into the Home Guard, a
kind of military organization. Thus uniforms were introduced
into the political life of Austria. The controversy between
the Marxists and the anti-Marxists became ever more marked.
The only non-partisan organization at that time was the
Austro-German Volksbund, and the Anschluss idea was the only
political objective which still held all parties together.

About the year 1930, at least then it was first noticeable,
the National Socialist German workers Party made its

                                                   [Page 69]

Q. What impression did that Party give you, particularly
with reference to the seizure of power in the Reich?

A. I want to say quite openly that as far as Austrian
conditions were concerned the Party appeared somewhat
strange. Uniforms had, of course, already been introduced
into politics by the Republican Guard of the Marxists and
the Home Guard, but in the NSDAP even the actual political
leaders wore uniforms and marched in close formation. And
also the kind of intransigent political attitude which they
displayed was not in keeping with our accustomed political

Q. What were the reasons for that?

A. Well, let me say that the NSDAP would not recognize any
value in any other party and was never prepared to
co-operate with any other.

Q. Then, what positive successes did you think the Party had
gained in the Reich?

A. I think that the influence of the Party in Austria,
undoubtedly very great as time went on, was due to its
unqualified determination to attain the Anschluss, and I
believe that this radical attitude can be traced back for
instance to the prevention of the customs union, finally as
a result of the Hague decision, a decision in favour of the
democratic party leaders.

Q. In addition, were there not economic reasons which
brought success to the NSDAP?

A. What was discussed in the Reich, and what we heard from
the Reich -

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, I suppose you are hearing the
words spoken by Dr. Steinbauer direct, and you are answering
them without any pause, which gives the interpreter no

A. We, in Austria, observed after 1933 the removal of the
discriminations imposed by the Versailles Dictate, and above
all, the end of unemployment in the Reich. In Austria, too,
about ten per cent. of the population were unemployed at
that time. Especially the Austrian workers, therefore, were
hoping that the Anschluss would put an end to their
unemployment, and Austrian farmers were greatly interested
in the Reich Food Organization and in the German

Q. If I understand you correctly, then, it was the Anschluss
idea which brought you, too, in contact with the Party? I do
not want to speak of the Party programme which has been
discussed here again and again, but I just want to ask you

When did you join the Party?

A. Officially, I became a member of the Party on 13th May,
1938, and my membership number is above the seven million

Q. Did you have any contact with Dr. Dollfuss?

A. I met Dr. Dollfuss in the period after the war. I knew
that he wanted to include me in his Ministry in 1933, and a
week before 25th July, 1934, at his invitation, I had a
discussion with him.

Q. Did you participate in any way in the murder of
Chancellor Dr. Dollfuss on 25th July, 1934?

A. No, in no way. Dr. Dollfuss planned to have another
discussion with me. He was interested in my solution for
alleviating the very radical situation at that time. I told
Dr. Dollfuss at that time that there were no more
nationalists in Austria, but only National Socialists, and
that the National Socialists were acting only on Hitler's

Q. But, I must remind you, Dr. Seyss-Inquart, that the
prosecution has submitted a photograph which shows the
murder of Dollfuss being extolled.

A. That is the so-called Annual Commemoration in the year
1938. During that celebration nobody thought of Dollfuss; it
was a Party Commemoration of the seven SS men who had been
hanged in connection with the Putsch attempt at that time.
None of us referred to that death as murder.

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