The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/23

DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I make a comment on the use of the
Meissner affidavit? The case is similar to but not quite the
same as the Schroder case. The Meissner affidavit was not
offered to the Tribunal during the proceedings. But during
the prosecution's case it came to my knowledge that the
Meissner affidavit was to be used. I talked to the
prosecution and pointed out that I would not under any
circumstances be satisfied with the submitting of the
Meissner affidavit, but would insist on calling Meissner as
a witness. The reason is the same. The personality of the
witness Meissner, who was very involved in these affairs,
makes extreme caution advisable. The prosecution told me
that they would not use the affidavit, and finally told me
that they would not call Schroder as a witness. I had no
reason to call the witness myself. Now I am in a position
where the affidavit is being submitted in cross-examination,
and I am unable to question the suspect witness Meissner
before the Tribunal.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, concerning the position
with regard to this affidavit, Major Barrington tells me
that he did not have it when he presented the individual
case against von Papen. I am using it now. If the Tribunal
thinks there is sufficient divergence between what the
witness states and the affidavit to justify it, I have not
the slightest objection to Dr. Kubuschok making application
for Meissner to be cross-examined.

THE PRESIDENT: What do you say about the allegation of Dr.
Kubuschok that the prosecution said they were not going to
use the affidavit?

                                                  [Page 334]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I did not say that. Major
Barrington, who was with me, had no recollection of my
saying that at all. Major Barrington certainly never said
that. It was never our intention, because it clearly was a
most important document for us to use.

THE PRESIDENT: What is the date of it?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The 28th of November. We gave a copy
to Dr. Kubuschok.


Mr. President, may I explain? The British prosecution did
not make a binding statement that they would not submit the
affidavit and not call the witness. I always said that if an
affidavit were to be used, I would call the witness. I asked
the prosecution repeatedly, "Are you going to call the
witness or not?" They said, "No." "Then," I said, "I am not
interested in it. We will drop this whole subject, and I
will not call the witness."

THE PRESIDENT: The affidavit seems to have been made a long
time ago.


THE PRESIDENT: Actually, it was almost as soon as the
Tribunal began. I think that perhaps you ought to use the
facts and not use the affidavit.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am perfectly prepared to
do whatever the Tribunal wants. If with regard to any
question Dr. Kubuschok wants Meissner for cross-examination,
as far as I am concerned, he can have him. I mean, I am in a
slightly different position from that with respect to von
Schroder. As far as fairness is concerned, I want your
Lordship to understand that certainly none of my staff
thought for a moment that the defence understood we were not
going to use it, because we always intended to use it. We
gave a copy of this affidavit to the defence so that there
would be ample notice of this affidavit.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes, that was done, and I gratefully
acknowledged it.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am really anxious not to
occupy too much of the Tribunal's time. I would rather go on
and put the facts in and save any discussion about it.

THE PRESIDENT; Very well, do that.


Q. I think you said, defendant, you had two meetings with
President von Hindenburg and then, I think, after 18th
January you had meetings with Hitler, and after 22nd
January, you had meetings with the defendant Goering, as he
said in his evidence, is that not so?

A. No, I did not meet Hitler from 4th January until 22nd

Q. We will call it about four days, as according to the
records of the Nazi Party you began negotiations on the
18th, but we will not quarrel about a day or two. The
crucial meeting was the meeting which was arranged with
Oskar von Hindenburg at the defendant von Ribbentrop's
house, was it not?

A. It was a preliminary talk; it was at any rate the first
contact with the National Socialists, with Hitler, and with

Q. And Oskar von Hindenburg had private conversations with
Hitler which lasted for about an hour, at that meeting in
von Ribbentrop's house; is that not so?

A. That is possible. I do not recall it any more.

Q. And thereafter, it was decided that Hitler would be
Chancellor in the new government and that he would bring
into the government the defendant Frick as Minister of the
Interior and the defendant Goering as Minister without

A. No; on the 22nd, we did not reach any agreement as to
this; rather we limited ourselves to -

Q. I said thereafter that had been agreed between you, had
it not?

                                                  [Page 335]

A. Yes, but it is very important to establish - forgive me
if I add this - that we did not begin these talks until
after it was certain that Herr von Schleicher could not form
a government, after the attempt to split the Nazi Party had
failed. That is very important.

Q. Now, are you telling the Tribunal that what you did at
this time was to bring Hitler into power simply because he
was head of the biggest party in the Reichstag; or because
you thought he was the most suitable man to be Chancellor of
Germany at that date; which was your motive?

A. My motive, Mr. Prosecutor, was very simple. In the
situation existing after 23rd January, there were only two
possibilities, either to violate the Constitution, which
would result in civil war, or to form a government headed by
Hitler. I believe I explained that in great detail to the

Q. You had been Chancellor of Germany yourself; you had had
contacts with Hitler. What I really want to know, defendant,
is did you think that Hitler, taking into consideration his
aims, intentions and personality, was a good man for Germany
to have as Chancellor? It is a perfectly simple question. I
want a straight answer. Did you think it was a good thing to
have Hitler, as you knew him then, as Chancellor of Germany?

A. To that I can say only that the coalition which I formed
on behalf of the Reich President was a forced solution.
There was no question as to whether it was good or bad. We
had to accept it.

Q. Well now, just let us see. I think you said that you were
not certain that Hitler would eliminate opposition after he
came into power. How long did it take you, after Hitler had
become Chancellor, to find out that his desire was to
eliminate all opposition?

A. I realised that finally when I made the last attempt in
my Marburg speech to make him adhere to the joint programme,
and when this attempt failed

Q. That was eighteen months later, on 17th June, 1934. Are
you telling the Tribunal that it took you seventeen months
to realize that Hitler wanted to eliminate the opposition?

A. No, I told the Tribunal -

Q. Just let me remind you of one or two things. Do you
remember Herr Ernst Heilmann who had been the leader of the
social democrats in the Prussian Diet?

A. Yes.

Q. He was, I think, for ten years a member of the Prussian
Diet with you. He went into a concentration camp at once and
was treated with the most terrible cruelty, was he not?

A. I learned of that later, here, for the first time. I did
not know it at that time.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that you did not know in
1933 that Ernst Heilmann went into a concentration camp?

A. I only knew that a number of political opponents,
communists and socialists, had been sent to concentration
camps by the Gestapo. That I knew.

Q. Now, answer my question. Here was the leader of the
social democrats in the Prussian Diet, a man who sat in
parliament with you for ten years. Do you say that you did
not know that he had been sent to a concentration camp?

A. I do not recall, no. I believe I learned of it only here.

Q. Well, now, let me give you a famous name, Karl von
Ossietzky, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the author
and journalist. Did you not know that he had gone into a
concentration camp?

A. I remember Herr Ossietzky only as the publisher of a
periodical; otherwise I know nothing about him.

Q. You did not know that he was the 1936 winner of the Nobel
Peace Prize, did you?

A. I could not possibly have known that in 1933.

                                                  [Page 336]

Q. No, but you did not know he won it later on? Did you not
know that he was put in prison?

A. No.

Q. I thought I might have connected his name with you. Let
me take somebody else. Take Dr. Ernst Eckstein who had been
a Reichstag Deputy, who was a well-known lawyer from
Breslau. Did you not know that he was put in a concentration

A. No, I did not know Dr. Eckstein, unfortunately.

Q. Or Dr. Joachim, the social democrat lawyer from Berlin.
Did you know he was put in a concentration camp?

A. No, nor did I know him.

Q. Well now, apart from individuals, did you not know that
within a few months of Hitler becoming Chancellor, hundreds,
if not thousands, of social democrats and communists were
sent to concentration camps?

A. Thousands?

Q. Well, let us say hundreds, if you like. That is the
figure defendant Goering agreed to, so let us take, as the
inside figure, hundreds of social democrats and communists.
Minister Severing put it at fifteen hundred of each; did you
not know that?

A. I recall very exactly that the defendant Goering came to
the cabinet one day after he had had the headquarters of the
Communist Party, the Liebknecht house, taken over by the
police. He told the cabinet that he had found a great number
of documents which showed to what extent the communists and
other elements were trying to disturb public order and
overthrow the new government.

Q. Now, will you answer my questions? Did you not know that
hundreds of social democrats and communists had been put in
concentration camps?

A. No, I did not know there were hundreds. I knew that
individual leaders had been thrown into concentration camps.

Q. Now, you mentioned, in giving your evidence to the
Tribunal, that the Amnesty Decree of 21st March was only the
sort of thing that had happened before. It was definitely a
one-sided amnesty, was it not? It was an amnesty to those
who had fought in the national revolution, that is, an
amnesty for nazis. It was not an amnesty for communists or
social democrats or anyone who had been on the other side,
was it?

A. Quite true, yes. It was not an amnesty for the people who
had worked against the formation of the government.

Q. Now, you knew these things. Well, in your speech at
Essen, let us just look at it again, your own account of
what you had done. It is Page 54 of Document Book II. You
just told me that it was true what you said in that speech -
this was in November - that you had tried to support with
all your strength the work of the National Socialist Party
and its leader and, if you will notice, you say later on
that you were "selected by a gracious fate to put the hand
of our Chancellor and Fuehrer into the hand of our beloved
Field Marshal." By November 1933 you must have had a very
good idea about the way that Hitler, your Chancellor and
Fuehrer, was dealing with those who were politically opposed
to him. Why were you - you told us your point of view - why
were you saying how proud you were to have supported with
all your strength the work of the National Socialist Party
unless you agreed with it?

A. Hitler's and the Party's acts in violation of the
coalition policy we opposed to the best of our power within
the cabinet. Certainly, we knew of these violations. I
personally, in many speeches which have not been submitted
to the Tribunal, referred to these violations, but, as long
as this coalition pact was in existence, I felt bound to
strive to get our views accepted, and only for this reason
did I therefore assure Hitler of my loyalty so that he, on
his part, would be loyal to me and my supporters.

                                                  [Page 337]

Q. I just give you the last words. Here you are making a
careful and special appeal to your Catholic fellow citizens
and you say:

  "Let us in this hour say to the Fuehrer and the new
  Germany that we believe in him and his work."

Why did you talk like that when you must have known, in
November 1933, that his programme was to smash opposition,
smash his political opponents, smash the trade unions and
put himself in complete control of Germany? Why were you
making speeches like that unless you believed and agreed
with everything Hitler wanted to do?

A. I will tell you that very precisely. You know that in
July of that year I concluded the Concordat and that I
received Hitler's assurance that he would make religious
peace the basis of his policy. The more conservative
elements could be brought to back the government, so much
the better it would be for the fulfilment of my programme.

Q. If that is your answer, we will pass to another point. I
think you said today, or you said a few moments ago, that
you began to realize what sort of team you were running with
when you made the Marburg speech on the 17th June. Now,
please do not think I am being offensive -

THE PRESIDENT: The Russian translation is coming through on
the same line as the French. We will adjourn now.

(A recess was taken.)

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for the defendant von
Neurath): Mr. President, may I request of the Tribunal that
tomorrow and the day after tomorrow my client, Herr von
Neurath, be absent from the session so that he may prepare
and complete his own defence?



Q. Defendant, you have told the Tribunal a considerable
amount about your Marburg speech. Was one of your associates
a gentleman called Jung?

A. Yes, that is quite correct.

Q. And - believe me, I do not mean it in any offensive way -
Herr Jung had helped you considerably with the composition
of the Marburg speech, had he not?

A. Herr Jung quite frequently drafted notes for speeches of
mine, and the same applies to the Marburg speech.

Q. Yes. He was shot after the 30th of June, was he not?

A. Yes.

Q. He was a man for whom you had not only great affection,
but for whose political views - I think you would call him a
progressive conservative - you had great respect and
agreement, is that not so?

A. Perfectly right, yes.

Q. You have told us about Herr von Bose. He was shot. Herr
von Tschirschky was arrested by two different lots of
people, was he not, after this occasion?

A. Yes.

Q. Was Herr von Savigny arrested?

A. I cannot remember. I do not think so.

Q. Well, in all -it does not matter about the names - there
were two members of your staff who were shot, and three were
arrested, were they not?

A. One member of my staff was shot, and two were arrested.
Herr Jung was not a member of my staff.

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