The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-16/tgmwc-16-154.02

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-16/tgmwc-16-154.02
Last-Modified: 2000/06/04

Q. Was that a typical Gau speech? I mean, from the point of
view of the propaganda of Goebbels? A speech which gives
prominence to one's own merits and disparages one's

A. I would not say that. It was a comradely meeting of the
Old Guard on the occasion of the 11th of March. We drank
beer and there was music and I described events rather like
telling a story. I spoke for a very long time; in fact, it
was the longest speech I ever made. I spoke for more than
three hours. I spoke quite freely and without any notes, and
the shorthand record which is submitted here appears to me
not to tally with my statements on every point.

Q. You mean, therefore, that it was more your intention to
produce an effect upon the members of the Party than to make

A. Yes, of course.

DR. STEINBAUER: Thank you very much. That is enough for me
and I have no further questions.

DR. KUBUSCHOK (counsel for the defendant von Papen):


Q. During the cross-examination yesterday, it was mentioned
that on one occasion you were with von Papen at Garmisch.
What did you talk about to von Papen at the time, and how
did that conversation come about at all?

Q. Dr. Seyss-Inquart and I had been invited to Garmisch by
the Reich Sports Leader. The German-Austrian-Alpine Club was
to be discussed. Together with von Tschammer we were
watching the bob-sleigh races at the Riesser lake and there
we met von Papen. Herr von Papen, Seyss-Inquart and I then
walked back from there to Garmisch, and on the way we
discussed the political situation and the -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, you do not need to give the
details of it. I suppose the point of the question is that
the conversation was not political. Is that the point of the

DR. KUBUSCHOK: The conversation was political, but it is a
question of the type of political conversation it was.


Q. Perhaps, witness, you can confine yourself to the facts.
You just said it was an accidental meeting. You were coming
back from the bob-sleigh track. What did you talk about?

A. We talked about the situation in Austria, about the
pacification of the country, and while we did not exhaust
the subject, we did discuss other matters which interested
us and which dealt with the immediate future.

                                                  [Page 199]

Q. So that nothing was discussed which could not have been
put before the Austrian public?

A. No.

Q. Were those matters in keeping with the July Agreement?

A. Yes, of course they were.

Q. But then, in the course of the speech which has already
been mentioned, you said that you had been with others in
von Papen's apartment on the evening of the 9th of March,
1938. I should like to know whether that was a pre-arranged
meeting, or whether it was a more or less chance meeting?

A. It was just a casual meeting. I do not remember who
arranged it. The conversation dealt, naturally, with the
situation arising out of Schuschnigg's plan for the
plebiscite, which was an entirely new and most surprising
move, so that we had to think it over from every point of
view and clarify it during debate.

Q. What stand did von Papen take during that conference?

A. I remember that von Papen, who just happened to be in
Vienna that evening, acted in a reserved way. I think he
considered that an affirmative vote would have met the
situation perfectly.

Q. What reason had you for thinking he considered than an
affirmative vote was plausible and necessary? Was it for
practical reasons or was it due to the plebiscite which the
Austrian Government had suggested?

A. It was because of the plebiscite.

Q. Once again, my question is: Would the matters which were
discussed have led one to believe it was a specially called
conference, or rather was it a social gathering during which
political questions cropped up and this topical matter came
up for discussion?

A. It was a casual meeting which had been improvised because
von Papen's presence in Vienna coincided with the new
political situation.

Q. Were any resolutions passed?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. STEINBAUER: With the permission of the Tribunal I shall
now call the witness Dr. Guido Schmidt.

GUIDO SCHMIDT, a witness, took the stand and testified as


Q. Will you state your full name.

A. Dr. Guido Schmidt.

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, what positions did you hold in the Austrian

A. I was a diplomat by profession. I was in the Austrian
Foreign Service under Dr. Seipel and for about six years I
was a member of the Austrian Legation in Paris. In 1936 I
was recalled and assigned to the Austrian State for service
with the diplomatic corps and the Foreign Office. In 1936 I
became State Secretary under Dr. Schuschnigg and later
Foreign Minister.

I was a member of the Schuschnigg Government until his
forced resignation. From that time on, I had no political

Q. Witness, what were the reasons as regards foreign policy
and economics which led to the Agreement of the 11th of
July, 1936?

                                                  [Page 200]

A. At the beginning of 1936, the situation of Austria as
regards foreign policy had changed to Austria's
disadvantage. After the events of July, 1934, England,
France and Italy drew up a three-power declaration at Stresa
concerning the maintenance of Austrian independence. Over
and above the international obligations existing up to that
time, the three Powers now set up a new guarantee for the
maintenance of Austria, the Stresa front, which during the
whole year of 1935 gave protection to Austria. The collapse
of the Stresa front, as a result of Mussolini's Abyssinian
enterprise, meant for Austria the loss of the only practical
international guarantee, and for Chancellor Schuschnigg, the
creation of a completely new situation. According to his
conception of foreign policy, Austrian independence should
rest not only on the shoulders of Italy, but if possible on
other shoulders as well, that means of England and France.
Then, there were difficulties resulting from the development
of the situation in Europe from 7th March, 1936 on, the day
on which Adolf Hitler started his surprise tactics by
occupying the Rhineland without encountering serious
resistance from the Western Powers. This gave the Austrian
Government cause for anxiety and fear lest some day the
Austrian question as well might be solved by surprise or, as
we later saw, by violence.

These are the reasons we must give if we are asked about the
considerations on which the Agreement was based. There was
also the rapprochement between Rome and Berlin, which began
at that time and was due to the sanction policy of the
League of Nations. Austria, lying between Italy and Germany,
had to expect that one day that Austro-Italian friendship
which had existed since the time of Dollfuss, would fall
victim to the closer relationship between Rome and Berlin.

For this reason and for other considerations, Dr.
Schuschnigg sought a means to improve relations, that is to
restore relations between Austria and the German Reich.

It would perhaps be useful in this connection to give a few
of the guiding rules of Austria's foreign policy. The
underlying idea was the maintenance of Austrian
independence. Austrian foreign policy was furthermore based
on the knowledge of the extremely difficult and delicate
geographical situation of the country between two
totalitarian States, at the cross roads of European
ideologies. Therefore, the task of Austrian foreign policy
was to reach an understanding with her big neighbour, the
German Reich. The foreign policy further had to be based on
the determination to avoid everything that could lead to a
conflict with the German Reich, to avoid everything that
could antagonise the Reich, in order to prevent any violent
action which after the 7th of March was to be feared.

There were reasons in practical politics which were decisive
in this determination to restore relations with the German
Reich to the ethnographic area of which we belonged,
relations which had been unnaturally interrupted. Apart from
the reasons of foreign policy, there were also economic
considerations. Because of Austria's economic constitution
which although alive was nevertheless extremely weak, the
world economic crisis had affected Austria very seriously.

This can be understood only if we look back to the
beginnings of this young State. From the very start, all
Austria's neighbours had carried on an economic policy of
egoism, of chauvinistic self-interest, and in no case had it
been possible to reach really close co-operation of all the
Danube countries. It is true, some separate agreements had
been reached, such as the Rome Protocol, but the mutual
distrust which all had brought from their former home, their
common home, the Austrian Monarchy, continued to exist and
obstructed any healthy development.

From 1931, the beginning of the world economic crisis, there
were a number of attempts to relieve the situation. I will
mention them one after the other. It begins with the attempt
of the government to create a customs union which failed
because of the resistance of the League of Nations. In 1932,
there was an attempt by France to bring Austria and Hungary
into the Little Entente and to reach economic co-operation
there. Germany and Italy opposed this. England was also
against it. In 1933, the economic crisis was aggravated by
the, internal

                                                  [Page 201]

struggle against National Socialism. That also had its
effect on the economic life of Austria, because the economic
life of Austria was also used as a weapon in the internal

THE PRESIDENT: This is undoubtedly interesting, but it has
rather a remote bearing, perhaps, upon the questions which
the Tribunal has to decide. I do not know whether the
witness has dealt with it sufficiently for your purposes.

DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, in this presentation of the
facts I wanted to show that from the economic and foreign
policy point of view the situation was such that the role of
the defendant was forced into the background; but we can
continue now.


Q. Witness, will you speak quite briefly.

A. The conclusion?

Q. Yes.

A. All this led to the breaking off of economic relations
with the German Reich and now Austria's life and death
struggle for economic existence entered a very serious
phase. Because of these considerations, that is, for
economic reasons, too, Chancellor Schuschnigg attempted to
reach an agreement with the German Reich and to restore
economic relations which had been completely broken off, to
remove the "1,000 mark blockade," to restore tourist
traffic, to restore the flow of economic goods, to silence
the complaints which were coming from the provinces in
Austria because of the lack of a market for agricultural
products, wood, grain, cattle and so forth. These were,
generally speaking the main considerations.

Q. Witness, I now ask you: Did Dr. Seyss-Inquart help in
preparing or concluding this agreement of July, 1936?

A. No. The Chancellor worked with Glaise Horstenau who
represented the so-called national opposition.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm afraid there is a defect in the sound
equipment, so we had better adjourn.

(A recess was taken).


Q. Witness, in the spring of 1937 Seyss-Inquart entered
politics, and presumably you met him then.

A. Yes, I met him first in the summer of 1937.

Q. Now, I shall go on, and I should like to ask you what
reasons in domestic and foreign policy led to the well-known
meeting of Adolf Hitler and Dr. Schuschnigg in

A. This question demands a detailed answer. I ask for
permission to express myself in somewhat more detail.

By New Year, 1938, the Austrian foreign political situation
had become worse. Italy had entered into an engagement in
Spain in favour of Franco, which reduced still further her
military and political influence in central Europe. What we
called "The Watch at the Brenner" had, in effect, ceased to
exist, and Germany had more or less a free hand as regards

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the Tribunal has common
knowledge of the history of this time. It is not necessary,
really, to go into it.


Q. Witness, I should like to ask you to tell me if you were
present at Obersalzberg at that time.

A. Yes, I should like to add, if I am to pass over the
historical events - that is how I understood the question -
that the Chancellor accepted the invitation in order to
prevent Austria being reproached for having refused a
peaceful attempt to clear up existing differences between
Austria and the German Reich. The Chancellor was by no means
optimistic, the less so because the existing differences of
opinion were very great and also because of the personality
of his partner in the

                                                  [Page 202]

talks. I recall that Schuschnigg before leaving for this
meeting told me that he was of the opinion that instead of
him it might have been better to send Professor Wagner
Jaureck, the greatest psychiatrist of Vienna, but he
believed, in view of the exposed position of Austria, that
he had to accept in order to forestall a "coup" and to gain
time until the international situation should improve in
Austria's favour.

Unfortunately, we were right. Our fear of a coming attack or
of coming difficulties was justified. The fear that Austria
would be left entirely alone was justified. The realization
of the fact that we were completely deserted was perhaps one
of the primary reasons which weighed with Schuschnigg
together with the need of bridging over this difficult
period and gaining time. Austria had to tread this difficult
path in the dark winter days from the end of 1937 until
March 1938 without the hope of any immediate or prospective
assistance. And then it came to Berchtesgaden.

Q. As Foreign Minister, did you inform the big powers of the
events of Berchtesgaden?

A. Yes. Contrary to frequent Press reports, the interested
big powers were informed in detail both before and after
Berchtesgaden. I gave all the material to the head of the
political section to whom the diplomatic corps applied
first. The Chancellor himself and I gave detailed reports to
the accredited foreign representatives in Vienna and drew
their attention to the dangerous situation of the country.

THE PRESIDENT: Forgive my interrupting you, we do not want
the details. You said you informed the foreign powers
beforehand and after. That is sufficient.


Q. Now we return to the defendant. Did Dr. Seyss-Inquart
take part in these talks?

A. What talks?

Q. The talks in Berchtesgaden.

A. No.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.