The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. KUBUSCHOK: Hugenberg's statement on Pages 194-195.
Lersner's on Pages 210-212.


Q. The prosecution asserts that the government formed on the
30th of January took over the programme of the NSDAP as its
own. Will you explain now, witness, what the basis of that
government's policy was.

A. The view held by the prosecution is completely incorrect.
The programme which on the 30th of January we decided to
adopt was not the programme of the Nazi Party, but was a
coalition programme. And this is perfectly plain from the
proclamation which this government issued to the German
people on the 1st of February. And to give historical proof
of this, may I quote two sentences from that proclamation?

It says:

  "The national government will consider it as its first
  and foremost task to restore the spiritual and political
  unity of our people. It will consider Christianity as the
  basis of its general moral outlook and will firmly
  protect the family as the determining unit of the nation
  and the State.
  The tremendous problem of reorganizing our economy will
  be solved with two comprehensive Four-Year Plans."

I should like to add just one sentence:

  "This government is fully conscious of its sacred duty to
  maintain peace, which the world needs now more than

In addition, this coalition programme which the prosecution
describes as the Nazi programme contained the following
points: Continued existence of the Lander and the federal
character of the Reich; protection of justice and the legal
system, irremovability of the judges; reform of the
Constitution; safeguarding of the rights of the Christian
churches; and, above all, abolition of the class conflict
through a solution of social problems, the restoration of a
true national community.

Q. Did you yourself do anything else to assure the
application of your own political ideas?

A. I did everything within my power, together with my
political friends, to carry through the ideas which I myself
had contributed to this political programme. At that time,
the essential point seemed to me the creation of a
counter-balance to National Socialism, and, therefore, I
asked the leaders of the Rightist parties to give up the old
party programmes and to unite in a large, common political
organization with the aim of fighting for the principles
which we had enunciated. However, the party leaders did not
act on this suggestion. Party differences were too marked
and no changes took place. The only thing I accomplished was
the establishment of a voting bloc of all these parties, and
on behalf of this voting bloc I made many speeches in which
I presented this programme, this coalition programme, to the

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I want to refer to a speech delivered by the
witness on the 11th of February on behalf of the voting
bloc; it may be found in Document 12, Pages 54 and 55. I
quote from about the middle of Page 55 the following brief

                                                  [Page 280]

  "Therefore, I consider the fact that the present Reich
  Cabinet is not made up of one single party or movement,
  but of various groups of the national movement, of free
  politicians and experts, not a disadvantage, but rather
  an advantage."


Q. What specific questions were emphasized and underlined in
the programme of this voting bloc? You spoke of these
questions in various speeches. In order to save time, I
should like only to submit to the Tribunal the document
dealing with this point - Document No. 10. Will you briefly
explain your attitude and comment on the various questions;
first of all, the social problem?

A. The social problem was, of course, at the head of my
programme, because this question dominated all others. It
was our task to re-make well-satisfied citizens out of the
workers who were now engaged in class conflict and to give
them the opportunity of a livelihood and a home. I stated in
the speech, which is contained in this document, that there
would always be differences in ownership of property, but
that it was unethical and wrong that a small group should
possess everything while the mass of the people had nothing.
And above all, I again and again emphasized the fact that if
we could succeed in solving the social problem we would, in
that way, make a striking contribution to peace in Europe.

Q. What was your main policy in foreign political matters?

A. It was very simple, consisting merely of the desire to do
away in a peaceful manner with the discriminations against
the German people and against our sovereignty.

Q. What was your platform on religious questions?

A. It is plain from all of my speeches that I considered the
regeneration of the German people in a Christian sense as
the prerequisite for the solution of the social and all
other problems which confronted us. I shall return to this
point later.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to submit as evidence the
document which I have already mentioned, Document No. 10,
and I ask that the Tribunal take judicial notice of it.
Since a mistake in the translation affecting the sense has
been made on Page 39, and since the question of dissolving
the trade unions will play a large role later, I should like
to read a brief paragraph on Page 39, about the middle of
the page:

  "I recognise that the trade unions have done much to
  imbue the working classes with professional honour and
  professional pride. Many trade unions, for instance the
  Union of Clerks, have made exemplary achievements in this
  respect. The conception of class conflict, however, stood
  in the way of real reform and constructive work in this
  The Socialist parties prevented any serious consequences
  from the trade unions' efforts to convert the workers
  into a class. If the trade unions would recognize the
  signs of the times and remain out of politics, then they
  could, especially now, become a strong pillar of the
  national life."


Q. Please comment on the results of the elections on the 5th
March, 1933?

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I just want to draw the Tribunal's attention
in this connection to Document No. 98, in which I have set
down a diagram of the election results in the years in

A. This election became extremely significant in respect to
later developments. First of all, I should like to state
that this election was a completely free one, for it was
conducted by the old functionaries of the Republic, and that
it was actually free is demonstrated by the fact that the
votes of the Communists and of the Social Democrats did not
decrease at all. I, personally, had expected that the NSDAP
would be successful at the polls. In November, 1932, I had
gained 36 of its seats in the Reichstag, and I expected that
it would regain some of those seats. I had also hoped that
my own voting bloc would be very successful. I hoped that

                                                  [Page 281]

people would realize the necessity of creating a
counter-balance. However, this did not happen -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely the figures are sufficient for us. We
can form our own conclusions from the figures. We can see
the figures. We do not need to have them all explained and
commented on to us. There are very much more important
things for us to consider.


Q. Witness, will you now describe the events leading up to
the Enabling Act of 23rd March, 1933.

A. The Enabling Act arose out of the necessity to have the
economic measures carried out in an untroubled Reichstag
session. Negotiations were conducted with the Centre Party
to obtain a one-year parliamentary truce, but these
negotiations failed. Hence, this law, of which there were
precedents, became a necessity. The prosecution has
emphasized this law as clear proof of the existence of a
conspiracy. May I say, therefore, that I myself tried to
provide for a certain check by endeavouring to maintain the
veto power of the Reich President. The cabinet records of
the 15th of March show, however, that State Secretary
Meissner did not consider the participation of the Reich
President necessary.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to refer to Document 25, which
is identical with Exhibit USA 578, dealing with the attitude
taken by von Papen in this cabinet discussion, and, to the
standpoint, just mentioned, of State Secretary Meissner,
State Secretary of the minority cabinet.

I should also like to refer to Document 23, because from the
enumeration of the emergency decrees in that document it is
clear that, in the state of emergency which obtained then,
it was not possible to govern by means of Reichstag laws,
and that the Enabling Act was to be a substitute for these
emergency decrees which were being repeatedly issued.

I must make one correction: the standpoint of State
Secretary Meissner is contained in Document 91, Exhibit USA


Q. On the 21st of March, 1933, an amnesty decree was issued.
The prosecution has described this law as "sanction of
political murder." What can you say about it?

A. I should like to say the following:

This law was promulgated in an emergency decree of the Reich
President, not of the cabinet, and it was a natural end of a
revolutionary period which had lasted seven weeks. There are
very many historical precedents for this amnesty decree; for
example, the law which was issued by the young German
Republic on the 21st of July, 1922, and which includes
murder in the amnesty measures.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I now refer to Document 28, Page 99 of
Document Book 1. This contains the law of the 21st July,
1922, which concludes "the period of a state of unrest which
obtained in the years 1920 and 1921."

May I also refer to Page 100 of this Document 28 which
contains the law of the 20th December, 1932, which has been


Q. On the 23rd of March, the law dealing with the special
courts was issued. What can you say in that connection?

A. These special laws or special court laws are also not
entirely new. I personally, as Chancellor of the Reich
issued such a law on the 9th of August, 1932, and I based my
action then on a directive of the Bruning cabinet, dated the
6th of October, 1931. In revolutionary periods, punishable
political acts had to be brought to expeditious trial under
the law.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I now point out Document 27, Page 89 of
Document Book 1, especially the introduction preceding
Paragraph 1, which shows that this emergency decree was
based on the Bruning emergency directive of 1931.

                                                  [Page 282]


Q. On the 1st April, 1933, the Jewish boycott was carried
out. Was this a measure taken by the government? Did you
participate in it in any way?

A. The assertion of Dr. Goebbels that the cabinet had
approved of this measure was completely false. On the
contrary, at the suggestion of the cabinet, Hitler had on
the 10th and 12 of March made public announcements, which my
counsel will submit.

The prosecution refers to the telegram which I sent to New
York on the 25th as a "white lie of the greatest magnitude";
I can only say, however, that this assertion is completely
unfounded. The public statements of Hitler gave us the
assurance that such excesses would not take place again. In
that belief, I sent my telegram. It would be inconceivable
that on the 25th I should send a telegram to New York -

THE PRESIDENT (Interposing): Dr. Kubuschok, I thought your
question was: Did the defendant participate in these
measures? I do not know what his answer is. He has been
answering for some minutes, but I do not know what the
answer is.

The question was: Did you participate? And I do not know
what he has answered.

THE WITNESS: I said that the assertion of Goebbels that the
cabinet had approved this Jewish boycott was a lie.

THE PRESIDENT: Why not answer directly, did you or did you
not participate?

THE WITNESS: No, we did not participate.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I refer to Document 33, Page 113, a
statement by Hitler on the 10th of March, the last two

  "Annoying of individuals, obstruction of automobiles, or
  disturbance of business life must be absolutely

On the same page, Page 113, the declaration of Hitler on the
12th of March, last sentence of the paragraph next to the

  "Whoever, from now on, attempts by individual action to
  cause disturbances in our administrative or commercial
  life, deliberately acts against the national government."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, I did not intend to prevent
the defendant telling the Tribunal what he had done with
reference to his telegram to the New York Times, but I
wanted him in the first instance to answer your question.

Now, if he wants to add anything about what he telegraphed
to the New York Times, let him do so.


Q. Will you then, please, go back to this point in
connection with the New York Times.

A. I can only add, my Lord, that it would be quite
inconceivable that on the 25th of April I should send this
telegram to New York knowing that three or four days later a
new Jewish boycott would be carried out; that is completely

Moreover, I might point out that on the same day Herr von
Neurath sent a similar wire to Cardinal O'Connel.

Q. Will you now give an account of your attitude to the
Jewish problem.

A. My attitude toward the Jewish problem can be briefly
delineated; it has always, throughout my life, been the
attitude demanded of its members by the Catholic Church.

I stated my view on the question of race, as regards
National Socialist doctrine, in a public speech at Gleiwitz
in the year 1934, and my counsel will submit that speech as

A completely different question, however, apart from my
basic attitude toward the Jewish problem, was that of a kind
of foreign monopolisation by, and overwhelming influence of,
the Jewish element in those spheres which form the nation's

                                                  [Page 283]

public opinion, such as those of the Press, literature,
theatre, film, and, especially, law. There seemed no doubt
in my mind that this foreign monopolisation was unhealthy
and that it ought to be remedied in some way.

But, as I said, that had nothing whatever to do with the
racial question.

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