The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 308]


TUESDAY, 18th JUNE, 1946




Q. The witness Guido Schmidt has referred to an incident
involving a flag at Pinkafeld, in May 1937. Would you please
describe your activities in settling that incident?

A. The flag incident at Pinkafeld is mentioned either by
myself or by my defence counsel because it is a typical
example of Hitler's attempts to pass on to an aggressive
policy in Austria, even in the days before 1938.

On 1st May, 1937, in the small hamlet of Pinkafeld, a flag
of the German Reich was hauled down by an Austrian official.
Great excitement in the Press! I instantly tried to settle
the matter amicably with the Austrian Minister for Foreign
Affairs. Thereupon I received a telegram to proceed to
Berlin at once. I arrived in Berlin and reported to Hitler.
Hitler did not receive me. I waited for three days. After
three days, I wrote and told him: "It appears that you are
trying to use the flag incident at Pinkafeld to introduce an
aggressive policy against Austria. In that case, there is
nothing more for me to do and I beg to hand in my
resignation." A quarter of an hour later he called me to the
Reich Chancellery. He gave me a lecture, which lasted half
an hour, and was furious and beside himself with rage over
the humiliations which, he said, the German Reich could no
longer tolerate. After his rage had spent itself, I told him
that, according to our agreement of 26th June, the policy
concerning Austria was to be conducted on evolutionary
lines. The agreement of 11th July emphasized that. Finally,
I said: "If you wish to pursue a different policy, then
dismiss me."

As a result of this very serious conversation he said: "No,
no. Go back and settle everything; we do not want to change
our peaceful policy."

I returned to Vienna, and the incident was settled
satisfactorily with the Austrian Minister for Foreign
Affairs within twenty-four hours.

Q. Did you talk to representatives of other Powers regarding
the policy which you pursued in Austria?

A. Yes, I repeatedly discussed this policy with
representatives of other Powers. For instance, in the summer
of 1937 I discussed it with the British Ambassador, Sir
Neville Henderson.

THE PRESIDENT: Has this letter which the witness speaks of
been produced, or a copy of it? He has spoken of a letter to
Hitler: "I wrote a letter."

DR. KUBUSCHOK: No, we have not got that letter, neither have
we a copy of it. The files of the witness were destroyed in
Berlin by air attacks.

THE WITNESS: May I add, Mr. President, that the Austrian
Minister for Foreign Affairs has confirmed the incident in
Court and the course it took. Herr von Neurath also knows
about this incident very well indeed.

THE PRESIDENT: Who was the Minister for Foreign Affairs who
confirmed it?

                                                  [Page 309]

THE WITNESS: The Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Schmidt, who was a witness here; the witness Guido Schmidt.


A. (Continuing) With reference to that question, may I
remark that I, of course, very often spoke to
representatives of other Powers about our Austrian policy.
For instance, in June of 1937 I discussed it with Sir
Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador to Berlin. In
October 1937 I visited Paris, incognito, and there talked to
many of the leading politicians about this problem, among
them the President of France, M. Daladier, and M. Leon Blum.
I assured these gentlemen that we would seek a solution of
the Austrian problem exclusively on an evolutionary basis,
and that the union we were striving for of the two States
would never prove a threat to the interests of France, that
on the contrary, we were only looking for that solution
within the European framework, i.e., with the consent of

At that time, I was under the impression that in England, as
well as in France, it was becoming increasingly understood
that a general settlement was necessary.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: As proof that the defendant could actually
have been convinced that the other Powers - in virtue of an
evolutionary development in Austria - might eventually be
prepared to come to an agreement, I submit Document 74, Page
169. It is a report from von Papen to Hitler on the
conversation with Sir Neville Henderson on 1st June, 1937.

I draw your attention to this document and should like to
point out that Henderson has stated that he was well
disposed towards an amicable solution of the Austrian
problem, and trusted that he too could exercise a
corresponding influence in Paris.

I further draw your attention to Document 80, Page 177. It
is a statement of the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Spaak, after the Anschluss. I invite your attention to the
last sentence: "I have believed, for a long time past, that
the Anschluss complied with the logic of facts, and had it
been ratified in a normal manner, I should not have been


Q. Mr. Messersmith alleges that Nazi propaganda in Austria
was paid for out of German funds. Did you ever give or
arrange for any funds for that purpose?

A. The Party never received a penny, either from me
personally or through the German Embassy. It is, however,
quite possible - and even probable - that German Party funds
did pour into Austria. I was never informed of this, for it
was a well-known fact that I did not enjoy the confidence of
the Party in either country.

There is, however, one exception which I particularly wish
to emphasize, i.e., the donation - and it was known to me -
of funds in support of the "Langott" relief.

Q. The prosecution has reproached you for your anti-Semitic
attitude in connection with your report to Hitler of 12th
May, in which you suggested giving financial aid to the
Freedom League for the furtherance of their fight against
Jewry. What was this Freedom League?

A. The Freedom League was a focal point, a union of the
former Christian Trade Unions and the Christian Workers'
Union, under the leadership of the President of the Trade
Unions. Dollfuss took over the leadership in 1934. It would
be utterly ridiculous to accuse this Freedom League, mainly
composed of Catholic workers, of an anti-Semitic attitude in
the National Socialist sense.

The Freedom League fought to purge the administration of
Vienna of unsuitable Jewish elements. The problem of this
undue alien penetration was absolutely similar to conditions
then existing in Germany, conditions which I mentioned
yesterday in detail. This fact is also proved by the report
submitted yesterday to the prosecution. I learned that the
Czechs were endeavouring to establish

                                                  [Page 310]

close relations with the Freedom League and that for this
purpose they desired to support the League with large sums
of money.

I thereupon suggested to Hitler that this possible
influencing of the Freedom League by the Czechs should be
eliminated by supporting it ourselves. But we could not, of
course, tell the Freedom League: "We are now going to
subsidise you so that you do not go over to the Czechs." So
I proposed to Hitler that he should give these moneys in
consideration of the League's continued fight against Jewry,
which was pure camouflage. Had I wanted to give this money
specifically for the fight against Jewry, I would not have
written "in consideration of" but "for the furtherance of
its fight."

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I refer to Document 32, Page 112 of the
document book. It is an excerpt from the Austrian Annual of
1933-1934, which is an official publication. I draw your
attention to the beginning of the second paragraph, where it
is explained that the Freedom League originated in the
Christian Workers' Unions and the Christian Trade Unions.

I further draw your attention to the fifth line from the
bottom, and I quote:

  "At the beginning of 1934, the late Federal Chancellor,
  Dr. Dollfuss, took over the supreme leadership of the
  League of Freedom."

I also draw your attention to Document 72, Page 166. It is a
report of von Papen to Hitler in which he quotes a report
from the Prague Secret Service. Of interest, in this
connection, is a reference to the fact that the Freedom
League was striving for an understanding with Social

The next document, number 70, has already been presented as
Exhibit GB 243. I draw your attention to the first paragraph
which reflects the efforts of the Czech diplomats.

Document 70, Page 164. This is the document mentioned by the
prosecution, part of which has been submitted under Exhibit
G B 243. The first paragraph is important in that it deals
with the activities of Czech diplomacy, mentioned a short
time ago by the defendant. Furthermore, there is, with
reference to this Freedom League, von Papen's report,
Document 73, Page 176, to which I wish to invite your

Another report of von Papen's is interesting, Document 69,
Page 163. It shows the efforts of the Freedom League to gain
a foothold in the political field.


Q. Witness, in the summer of 1937, Schuschnigg was making
efforts to persuade the National Opposition to collaborate.
What do you know about it and what were the subsequent

A. In the summer of 1937, Schuschnigg was making efforts to
keep his promise to induce the National Opposition to
collaborate. The visit of the Minister, Glaise Horstenau, to
Hitler in June 1937 took place with Schuschnigg's consent.
Later he founded the so-called "Committee of Seven" with Dr.
Jury and Dr. Taws. This choice of members was effected
without any participation on my part. But with regard to
this "Committee of Seven" I should like to make a statement.
Obviously, the Chancellor's attempts for appeasement were
either not sufficiently far reaching for the Party in
Austria, or they were too slow. In November 1937 the
Austrian police discovered in the office of this "Committee
of Seven" documents known as the "Taws Papers," which
indicated new, illegal and radical intentions. The Austrian
Government did not inform me of these papers, and no
official "demarche" took place. But I did learn that amongst
the documentation was a plan for my assassination. It was
suggested that an attempt be made on my life which would
provide a pretext for marching into Austria.

The Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Schmidt,
confirmed this fact the day before yesterday before the
Tribunal, and it appears to me that this suggestion, this
plan against me, best proves exactly how great was the
harmony between my

                                                  [Page 311]

policy and that of the Austrian or German National
Socialists, a harmony which the prosecution insists on
taking for granted.

At that time I was very pleased that the Austrian Chancellor
had also included in the cabinet Dr. Seyss-Inquart, whom I
knew personally, in this work of appeasement. At this point
I consider it only fair to make a correction. The Austrian
Minister for Foreign Affairs has reported a conversation
which he had with me at Ankara, in October 1943. I told him
at the time - and I also repeated my statement during my
preliminary interrogation - that Dr. Seyss-Inquart had
proved to be the greatest disappointment of my life. I had
assumed that it was he who had called for the entry of the
German troops into Austria and who was responsible for the
Nazification of Austria after the "Anschluss." In the light
of the knowledge we have gained from various documents, I
must correct my previous verdict.

Q. At the end of 1936 your first collaborator, Counsellor of
Embassy Prince Erbach, was recalled from Vienna. His
successor was Counsellor of Embassy von Stein. Since he took
over your duties, after you had been recalled on February
4th, 1938, it would be interesting to know what his attitude
was towards both the Party and you.

A. Later I learned that Counsellor of Embassy Baron von
Stein was appointed my Embassy Counsellor by special request
of the Party because he was to execute control over my
policy as regards the Party. Herr von Stein was an ardent
National Socialist. His relations with me were entirely
different from those I had had with his predecessor, Prince
Erbach. But I want to state that also during that period I
continued to pursue my original line of policy and that von
Stein merely had the management of technical matters.

Q. The Hossbach document of November 5th, 1937, has been
frequently mentioned. Did you know about the conference at
Berchtesgaden which forms the basis for this document?

A. Of this sensational conference, of this truly important
document in the hands of the prosecution, I, of course,
never even had an inkling. I first became acquainted with
the document here, in this Court. But if I may be permitted
to say something more: the concatenation of ideas between
the events of the 11th March and this document appears to be
rather tenuous. This document indicates that Hitler only
intended to march into Austria by force, only intended to
carry out the Anschluss by force, if the political situation
in Europe was favourable. He expected the right moment to
arrive between 1943 and 1945.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, this is mere argument, is it
not? He says he never saw the document until he came into
this Court. He is now arguing to us about his connection
with the events of March 1938. Well, that is a matter for
you, not for the defendant.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: All right, then I shall deal with that later.


Q. Witness, on 4th February, 1938, you were, much to your
surprise, dismissed from your post in Vienna. Please inform
the Tribunal on the matter.

A. At the end of January 1938, I had been to Berlin to see
Hitler; I talked to him about the conversation which I had
had with Dr. Seyss-Inquart at Garmisch, and I received no
indication of any kind that he intended to dismiss me from
his service. I was notified to this effect by a telephone
call from Dr. Lammers on the 4th February. This sudden
dismissal, for which I was given no reasons, coinciding with
the dismissals of von Fritsche and Blomberg and of other
leading diplomats, led however, to one final conclusion. I
was quite aware of the fact that this recall meant a change,
at the very least, of the political direction. The following
day I discussed the situation with the Austrian Minister for
Foreign Affairs and told him of my troubles. Subsequently, I
took leave of the Austrian Government, in an official note,
and on the following day I went to see Hitler. I must,
however, mention the following: I considered this
development, through

                                                  [Page 312]

the very fact of my recall, so serious that I decided on the
evening of the 4th that all my political reports, compiled
during those four years, ought to be removed to Switzerland.
I wanted to be in a position to prove to the whole world
that I had pursued a peaceful and evolutionary policy in
Austria during those four years; I wanted to be in a
position to prove this to the outside world in case Hitler
committed an act of aggression. This decision, particularly
on the part of a high ranking official, was certainly not an
easy one to reach because I would have to suffer all the
consequences which this forbidden action might entail. On
the following day, I went to Hitler. I felt the urge to tell
him that, even if he no longer wanted me, he should at least
send another reasonable and moderate man to Austria. During
the discussion I had with him he did not mention the reasons
for my dismissal. I had suspected that this was due to a
wish of Herr von Ribbentrop, who had become Minister for
Foreign Affairs on this 4th February, but Hitler told me
that this was not the case. During the discussion on the
Austrian situation, I told Hitler, inter alia, that I very
much regretted that he had recalled me because, particularly
during recent weeks, Chancellor Schuschnigg had declared
himself willing to have a personal discussion with Hitler in
order to eliminate all differences between the two States.
When Hitler heard this, he told me: "If that is the case,
then I should be very glad if you would go back to arrange
for this discussion with Herr von Schuschnigg." I told him:
"That is rather a peculiar task. Yesterday you recalled me
and today you want me to go back. But if there is something
I can do in the interest of the Austrian problem, if I can
bring about such a discussion, I am only too willing to do

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