The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/06/23

Q. In the answer to that question, he says this:

  "I clearly remember an incident in spring 1944 when I
  called upon von Papen at the request of Herr Barlas, the
  Refugees Commissioner of the Jewish Agency, to request
  his assistance in saving 10,000 Jews in France from
  deportation to Poland for extermination. These Jews had
  formerly held the Turkish nationality which they later

Then he says, through your intervention "the lives of these
Jews were saved."

Is that statement true?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. So at any rate, by the spring of 1944 you knew that
10,000 Jews in France were about to be deported for

A. I believed they were to be deported to Poland, my Lord.
But we did not know in 1944 that they were to be
exterminated. We wanted to protect them from deportation.

Q. I thought you said the statement was true.

A. For the purpose of exterminating - I believe that was not
said to us at the time. The question was only whether I was
willing to help keep 10,000 Jews who were in France from
being deported to Poland.

THE PRESIDENT: That is all. You may return to the dock.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I had three witnesses approved by the
Tribunal. The witness Freiherr von Lersner could not come
here at the time because of transportation difficulties. He
cannot be here before the end of July. After the questioning
of the defendant, and considering the fact that Lersner has
answered an interrogatory, I believe I can dispense with the
witness. I regret this, because he is a man who was a
companion of the defendant during his whole political
career, a witness who would have been especially valuable
because of his objectivity in these questions. He was
president of the German Peace Delegation at Versailles.

THE PRESIDENT: If you have the affidavit or the
interrogatory, you can put it in. We do not need any further
statements about it.

                                                  [Page 380]


The second witness was Count Kageneck. Since the questions
which were to be asked of Kageneck have been covered in
answers of the defendant to relative questions, and the
cross-examination did not challenge them, I can also
dispense with this witness.

There remains only the witness Dr. Kroll, whom I now call to
the stand.

HANS KROLL, a witness, took the stand and testified as


Q. Will you state your full name, please?

A. Hans Kroll.

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 was your occupation in Ankara?

A. I was the First Counsellor of the embassy, and later
Minister. I was in Ankara from the autumn of 1936 until
April 1943; from April 1939 until April 1943 I worked
together with Ambassador von Papen, as his principal
collaborator. Daily, mostly in the morning and in the
afternoon, we conferred together for several hours, so that
I believe I am well informed about the various phases of his
activity during this period in Turkey; that is, about his
activity during the war.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: For explanatory purposes, I would like to say
that these questions will refer mostly to the peace policy
of the defendant.


Q. Did you know Herr von Papen before he became ambassador
in Ankara?

A. No. We met in Ankara.

Q. Were you a member of the NSDAP?

A. No.

Q. After taking over the position as ambassador, Herr von
Papen came to Ankara for a short stay. What was the purpose
of this visit?

A. Herr von Papen wanted, first of all, to present himself
to the Turkish Government and to obtain information on the
general situation.

Q. Did Herr von Papen at that time, through his conduct and
his statements, express his agreement with German foreign.
policy, and in particular with the policy towards Poland? Or
did he, as far as he was able, attempt to work against this

A. After the arrival of Herr von Papen, I was, of course,
interested to learn what he thought the future development
of the general situation would be, and, in particular, of
the Polish question. I assumed, of course, that, as he came
from Germany, he was well informed about Hitler's plans, and
I was disappointed to find that he knew no more than I did,
which was nothing at all.

Then we discussed the situation in detail, and, as far as I
was able to gather, Herr von Papen, who spoke very frankly
with me about these things, distrusted Hitler's foreign
policy. He was an opponent of war, a true and sincere
opponent of war, and, of course, he was also opposed to war
against Poland. He was quite convinced that an agreement
could be reached on the Polish question if it could only be
made clear to Hitler that a conflict with Poland would, of
necessity, lead to a world war. He then endeavoured, and I
must say in very open and clear and courageous language, to
point out this view in his reports. And from his talks with
the Turkish statesmen, as well as with the accredited
diplomats in Ankara,

                                                  [Page 381]

he attempted to prove that, in fact, a conflict with Poland
would of necessity lead to a conflict with England and
France. He often told me later he was convinced that if
everyone, Germans as well as foreigners, had spoken to
Hitler in this clear manner, the war would probably have
been avoided.

Q. After the outbreak of the Polish war, what was the
attitude of Herr von Papen towards the spread of the war to
the Nordic States, Holland, Belgium, and, finally, Russia?

A. Herr von Papen, of course, hoped that during this winter
pause some agreement would be reached or at least a meeting
arranged. He knew that once the action spread to the West, a
world war would spread out with all its horrors and that
then it would probably be too late to talk things over. Of
course, as far as possible, he looked for mediation in
Turkey and other countries, and he was glad and willing to
seize any opportunity such as had resulted from talks with
his friend, the Dutch Minister in Ankara, Mr. Visser. The
motive behind this offer of Visser was Holland's wish to
have the war ended before spring, by getting England and
Germany to engage in peace negotiations.

Q. I am interested in knowing what Herr von Papen's opinion
of such a peace was. Did he think that he would be able to
achieve annexation by way of peace or what was the purpose
of this peace which he had in mind?

A. I believe it is known from the previous activity of Herr
von Papen that he was a friend and believer in European
understanding. He knew that this war had not begun because
of a territorial problem, but because of a principle; that
is to say, the prevention of future, one-sided aggressive
wars. And so, in the restoration of the legal status before
the beginning of the war, that is, in the restoration of the
status quo ante on the basis of 1938, including the
restoration of Poland and Czechoslovakia, he saw the
prerequisite for instituting pourparlers.

He considered the second prerequisite for the successful
carrying on of such pourparlers the restoration of
confidence in the German signature, which it is known was
destroyed through Hitler's foreign policy. The only question
was how this confidence could be restored. He clearly
realised that the prerequisite for this was a basic reform
of the regime, with the aim of making Germany a legal State
once more. Finally, Herr von Papen, being posted as he was
in Turkey, believed he saw the possibility of ending the war
by reaching an understanding, because Turkey, like hardly
any other State of equal importance in foreign politics, was
in an ideal position for mediating. It enjoyed the
confidence of both belligerent parties, and that is
essential for arranging a pourparler. And so he endeavoured,
in all his talks with Turkish statesmen, to win Turkey over
to the idea of mediation. During all his years in Turkey,
that was the leit motiv of his work, namely, to bring the
war to an end as soon as possible. Then, it is a fact, his
efforts led to some success, for the Turkish President in
1942, in an important public speech before the Turkish
National Assembly, offered the services of Turkey for
mediation between the belligerents.

Q. Did you have knowledge of the efforts of Herr von Papen
to avert a spread of the war towards Turkey, contrary to the
efforts of certain circles of the Axis partners around
Hitler? During the war there were several crises which you
might briefly mention.

A. I should like to say first that Papen's activity in
Turkey can be summed up in one word. He considered it his
mission to make one and the same the interests of Germany,
his country, and the interests of peace. That meant, in
effect, that he endeavoured to prevent the spreading of the
war to Turkey and the Near East and thus create the
prerequisite for having Turkey intervene as mediator at the
proper time.

Now, as to the crises. I should like to limit myself to
those cases in which Herr von Papen had the impression that
the neutrality of Turkey was endangered by the intentions of
the Axis partners.

                                                  [Page 382]

THE PRESIDENT: I think I did before draw your attention to
the fact that there was no charge against von Papen in
connection with his activities at Ankara; and also, I may
add, that I thought this was a summing up in one word.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: There are only a very few cases, your
Lordship. He will tell us about them briefly to complete the
general picture.

THE PRESIDENT: The only way in which the evidence can be
relevant at all is in so far as it throws light upon von
Papen's activities before he went to Ankara. That is what I
pointed out to you before.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: I said the other day, your Lordship, that the
personality of a person charged with war conspiracy cannot
be judged correctly if only one period of his activity is
covered. He was at a post where he could do only negative or
positive things. Evidence relative to his activities in that
post is not immaterial.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, this witness has been telling
us for a considerable time that his activities - that
Papen's activities were entirely peaceful, and that they
were endeavours to make Turkey mediate; and what he is doing
now is simply going on with further details on the same
subject and it is over a period when, as I say, no charge is
made against von Papen at all by the prosecution.

DR. KUBUSCHOK: If the Tribunal understands that the
defendant von Papen actually interpreted his mission in
Ankara as a peace mission, I need put no further questions
to the witness. Then I come to my last questions.


Q. What was the position of Herr von Papen in regard to the
Party, especially as to the Landesleitung in Ankara?

A. On his arrival, von Papen was received with unconcealed
distrust. No wonder, for it was known that he was no
National Socialist. During these four years in Turkey, I did
not meet anyone who considered him a National Socialist. His
relationship to the Party became worse in the course of the
years, and finally it resulted in open conflict. That was in
1942, when the Landesgruppenleiter of the Party in Ankara
once told his colleagues if it rested with him he would have
Herr von Papen shot. Then he was challenged about it and
corrected himself. He said he did not say that; he only said
he would have him put in a concentration camp.

Q. What was the attitude of von Papen to the Jewish

A. Repeatedly in public speeches as well as in his actions,
Herr von Papen quite clearly opposed the anti-Jewish policy
of the Party. He was acquainted with Jewish emigrants. He
had Jewish doctors; he bought in Jewish stores. In short, I
believe that was one of the main reasons which caused this
tension between him and the Party.

Q. Did Herr von Papen even employ a Jewish woman in the

A. As far as I know, yes. I believe that was the wife of his
servant, his porter.

Q. She was employed as a telephone operator there? Frau B
... , is that right?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know a Herr Posemann? Did he have any connection
with the German Embassy?

A. At my time, Posemann was not in the German Embassy. I
recall that he had a bookstore in Ankara. He had nothing to
do with the embassy.

Q. What was the attitude of Herr von Papen on the personnel
question? Did he employ National Socialists in the embassy,
or what preference did he have?

A. It is well known that the Party was never quite satisfied
with von Papen's choice of workers. That was shown by the
very severe consequences on 30th June and after the
Anschluss. It was somewhat dangerous to be one of his
intimate co-workers.

Of course, he was regarded with suspicion because he did not
make a National Socialist centre of command (Kommandostelle)
out of the embassy as was done in

                                                  [Page 383]

the Balkans and because, when he asked for personnel, he
chose people whom he knew were not National Socialists.

I think I need only mention two names, Herr von Haften and
Legationsrat Trott zu Solz, two men who, I believe, were
executed in connection with 20th July. It was especially
held against von Papen that he opposed all efforts to remove
me from my post. I do not know whether I should go into

Q. Please do, briefly.

A. Repeatedly - I could really say every month - attempts
were made to have me eliminated as a deputy of von Papen.
Finally, these efforts being unsuccessful, since von Papen
always opposed these attempts, the Landesgruppenleiter and
the Ortsgruppenleiter of Ankara and Istanbul in the spring
of 1942 came to see von Papen and officially, in the name of
the Party, demanded that I should be removed from my post.
Von Papen refused, but, finally, in 1943, the pressure of
the Party became too great, especially since other sources
conspired against me, and so at last I was removed.

Q. A final question: During the years you worked together
you became well acquainted with the activity of von Papen
and his personality. Perhaps you can give us a brief picture
of the defendant.

A. I already said before -

THE PRESIDENT: No, he has already sketched it at very
considerable length and we do not want it briefly

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Then I shall dispense with this question. I
have finished the examination of the witness.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I have no questions, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel want to ask
any questions? Then the witness can retire.

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