The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/12


Q. How did Seyss-Inquart's attitude change during the

A. I should like to make a clear distinction with regard to
his point of view after September - after the autumn of 1944
and in the first four and a half years. After the autumn of
1944 he was much more outspoken in the Netherlands'
interests than previously.

Q. Before being the General Secretary of the various
administrations which you administered during the German
occupation, you were Director of Foreign Trade in Holland,
and as such you were present at international negotiations

                                                  [Page 248]

in particular you negotiated with the representatives or
Germany about economic questions concerning your country.
You therefore knew Schacht?

A. Yes, I believe I first met Schacht in 1933 at the World
Economic Conference in London.

Q. During your negotiations with Schacht, were you not led
to ask him to restrict the rearmament of Germany which was
ruining her credit?

A. If I am to answer this question, I must go back to a
conversation in 1936 when I was in Berlin and saw Herr
Schacht in connection with Trade Treaty negotiations. During
this conversation, the international financial situation
came up for discussion because there were various currency
devaluations at that time of the French franc, the Swiss
franc and the Dutch guilder. The situation of German
currency was also discussed in this connection. When I
voiced my criticism, Schacht said, "How would you do it?"

I said I could only give him my private opinion. Then I
asked if Germany, a question under discussion at that time,
when taking up more international loans, would be ready to
assume the consequences as the interests and amortizations
would imply a blocking of the importation of raw materials
which would have an unfortunate effect on the labour market
and on the rearmament. Would Germany be willing to accept
such consequences? If so, then, according to what was my
private opinion in 1936, international loans might be
discussed. If not, then there would not be much point in
such a discussion.

Then Schacht gave me his opinion. Germany needed rearmament,
in order to be equal to the other great Powers in
international politics, Only on such a basis could one
negotiate, and Schacht said to me, in his own ironical
pointed way, "I want a great and powerful Germany and to
achieve that I would even ally myself with the devil." In
the course of this discussion, Schacht asked a few
questions. First, he wanted to clear up the currency
question, and secondly, he considered the colonial question

Regarding the colonial question, he told me that in his
opinion it was possible for Germany to take over colonies
again, and that she would accept the responsibility not to
arm these colonies, and not to set up any naval bases there.
If such a policy was to be adopted, he believed that German
economic and foreign policy might be reverted. In this
connection Schacht told me that he did not approve of the
anti-Semitic tendencies then prevalent in Germany. He gave
me examples of his attitude toward anti-Semitism and how he
rejected it. I may add one example here that he gave me, his
conversation with a certain Klagges who was Minister
President of Brunswick, and who made Hitler a German

Q. That is of no interest to me. Schacht told you he had
defended the Jews.

Now, about the General Staff. Was it not the General Staff
who gave the order to have these raids carried out in

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, if I understood the question
correctly, the witness is to be questioned about the charges
against the General Staff and the OKW. I object to this
question for the following reasons -

THE PRESIDENT: You go too fast. Do you not see the light?

DR. LATERNSER: As defence counsel for the General Staff and
the OKW, I was prohibited by a court decision promulgated on
the 8th of June to question or cross-examine any witnesses.
The same ought to apply to the prosecution. If I am not
allowed to question witnesses, then the prosecution must not
be allowed to question them either, since the rules must be
the same for prosecution and defence.

M. DUBOST: I will forgo my question.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not hear what you said, M. Dubost.

M. DUBOST: I said, Mr. President, that I would forgo my
question about the General Staff, and I have two more
questions about Seyss-Inquart.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, just one moment. Go on, M. Dubost.

                                                  [Page 249]


Q. Did Seyss-Inquart give the order to have raids carried
out in all the large Dutch cities?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Who gave the order for these round-ups to be carried out?
Who was it?

A. These raids were carried out by the German Wehrmacht. I
do not know who gave the orders. It is only known that in
Rotterdam, when these raids - I believe it was on 11th
November, 1944 - were carried out, the Divisional Commander
in Rotterdam made a speech in the town hall on the subject
and organized this raid.

Q. But did not Seyss-Inquart have orphan children from the
hospitals taken away for work in Germany?

A. The question is not clear.

Q. Was it Seyss-Inquart who had orphan children seized and
sent to work in the service of Germany?

A. From my own experience I know nothing about this.

Q. Were orphan children compelled to serve in certain of the
SS units, on Seyss-Inquart's orders?

A. I know that the SS in the Netherlands recruited soldiers.
As far as I know from the newspapers, bulletins and
handbills, it was always done by the SS as such.

Q. Who pledged himself not to use chemical products made in
Holland for war? Was it Seyss-Inquart who had pledged
himself not to do so?

A. I beg your pardon.

Q. Who had pledged himself not to use chemical products made
in Holland for warfare, and to have them reserved
exclusively for Dutch agricultural purposes?

A. This is the question of the nitrogen fertiliser?

Q. Yes.

A. With regard to the nitrogen fertiliser, from the
beginning the promise was made that the nitrogen fertiliser
industries in the Netherlands should only produce artificial
fertilizers. This was done until about the middle of August,
1944, when instructions came that the nitrogen fertiliser
industry was to change its production over to explosives.
These instructions had been issued by an office of the Reich
Commissioner. It was signed by a certain Herr Brocke.
Thereupon, after I had spoken to an official of the
industry, I attempted to speak to Seyss-Inquart personally
on this matter and to intervene. I was given the answer by
his adjutant that he had already made his decision and that
I could establish contact with Fiebig, the representative of
Speer in the Netherlands. I discussed the matter with Fiebig
and told him that Dutch industry and Dutch labour could not
work on explosives. Thereupon I was told -

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, cannot this question be answered a
little more shortly? The question is, did Seyss-Inquart
promise that chemicals should be used, I suppose, on the
land in Holland and not used for purposes in the Reich? Is
not that the question?


Q. You have heard what Mr. President has said. Try to answer
more briefly.

A. We had the promise that only artificial fertiliser would
be produced. Then the demand was made to produce explosives.

THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, we do not want it all again.
Cannot you get the question answered?

M . DUBOST: I did not hear the answer of the witness, Mr.
President. It did not come through.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

                                                  [Page 250]

M. DUBOST: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall ask
the witness one more question.


Q. Witness, do you know under what conditions and for what
reasons the newspaper published in The Hague was destroyed
by the agencies of the Reich Commissioner?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us?

A. Yes. The newspaper published in The Hague was destroyed
because the employees of this newspaper refused to publish
an article which spoke against the railway strike, an
article which had been compiled by the Information Chief of
the Reich Commissioner. That was the reason for refusing to
publish it.

Q. Yes. It was destroyed by means of dynamite, was it not?
The buildings and machinery were blown up, were they not?

A. The equipment was blown up with dynamite.

DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart):

I have no further questions to put to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

DR. STEINBAUER: Now, with the permission of the High
Tribunal, I should like to call my last witness to the
witness stand, Ernst Schwebel.

ERNST AUGUST SCHWEBEL, a witness, took the stand and
testified as follows:


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Ernst August Schwebel.

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 and added "so help me God.")

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, what functions did you have before you assumed
service in the Netherlands?

A. I was Oberverwaltungsgerichtsrat at the Prussian
Administrative Court in Berlin.

Q. When did you come to the Netherlands?

A. On 18th May, 1940.

Q. Is it true that, beginning with June, 1940, you were the
delegate or plenipotentiary of the Reich Commissioner in the
province of South Holland, including the cities of The Hague
and Rotterdam?

A. Yes.

Q. In this capacity, as plenipotentiary for this province,
did you have constant contact with the Dutch administrative
authorities in this province and with the local authorities?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know how many of the mayors of the Royal regime in
the province were left in their office?

A. At the end, about one-half to two-thirds.

Q. Did the Reich Commissioner replace and charge many of the
officials of the province and of the local government?

                                                  [Page 251]

A. No, he made very few changes. Shall I discuss these

Q. Yes, but briefly. Perhaps you can just cite the reasons
for the changes.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the changes have already been
stated by other witnesses, have they not, and have not been
cross-examined to. Is that right? Did not Seyss-Inquart
state the changes, and they were not cross-examined to?

DR. STEINBAUER: Then I shall turn to another question.


Q. Is it true that in the second half of the year 1944 a
state of emergency was declared?

A. Yes, on 4th December.

Q. And the executive powers were turned over to the
Wehrmacht within a radius of 30 kilometres?

A. Yes, but this transfer did not take place due to the
regulation declaring this emergency state, but as a result
of a special military regulation.

Q. Due to military developments?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it true that at the beginning of the year 1945 special
commandos of the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler began to place
time bombs in the public buildings of your province in case
of an evacuation of this territory?

A. As far as these special commandos of Himmler were
concerned, I know nothing about them. I know only one case
in which an Oberleutnant appeared, but I believe that that
was prior to the time you mentioned. He wanted to take such
steps. I immediately got in touch with the Reich
Commissioner and the Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht,
and I learned that none of these gentlemen knew about this.
Thereupon, at the request of the Reich Commissioner, this
Oberleutnant was told to cease his activity, to remove the
bombs which he had already planted and to leave immediately.
I know of no other cases like that.

Q. Do you know that deficiencies arose in Gouda as a result
of the so-called drive for "Wehrfaehige ins Reich" (those
who were fit for military service to be taken into the

A. Yes; the Wehrmacht was carrying through this drive at the
time, and with them a delegate of Minister Goebbels, in his
capacity as Reich Commissioner for Total Warfare. They set
up special agencies in Gouda and in two other places in the
province. The director of the Gouda office carried these
duties out in an improper manner - rather harshly. Thereupon
I discussed this matter with the Reich Commissioner, and he
immediately got in touch with the commanding general and had
this officer dismissed on the spot.

Q. Do you know anything about the extent of the resistance
movement in your province?

A. The resistance movement was fought by the Security Police
in connection with the Wehrmacht. What I know is not from my
own experience in my administrative post, but knowledge I
received through my connection with the agencies. As a
result of that connection I know that the resistance
movement approached 50,000; that is an estimate. These were
people who could be counted as members. By that I do not
mean that they were people who were organized in groups or
in permanent action.

Q. Do you know that the Reich Commissioner started a food
drive for 250,000 Dutch children?

A. Yes, I know that he initiated this drive.

Q. You were an actual witness to the attempt on the part of
Seyss-Inquart to end the war quickly. Will you tell us
briefly how connections were established with the Chief of
the General Staff of General Eisenhower?

A. At the beginning of April, 1945, a Mr. van der Vlugt
approached me. He was the leader of the so-called IKO. That
was an inter-denominational organization to assist in the
food problems.

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