The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Fourth Day: Friday, 8th February, 1946
(Part 22 of 22)

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I understand. The former practice will continue in operation. If the Tribunal will permit me, I shall draw your attention to the paragraph which led to the interruption of my report; I have in mind the three last lines of Page 196 of the document book before you:

"The final aim of the forthcoming negotiations between the Sudeten German Party and the Czechoslovakian Government is -- to avoid entering the Government by widening the scope of their demands and by formulating them with ever increasing precision." In the course of negotiations it must be pointed out very clearly that the sole partner in these negotiations with the Czechoslovakian Government is the Sudeten German Party, and not the Reich Government.

Now I can omit a few lines and go on to Page 197. For purposes of further collaboration Conrad Henlein was advised to maintain the closest possible contact with the Reichsminister and with the leader of the "Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle," as well as with the German Minister in Prague, who was representing the Reichsminister there.

The task of the German Minister in Prague was to uphold, unofficially, the Sudeten German Party's demands, especially in private discussions with Czechoslovakian statesmen, by referring to them as reasonable, but without exerting any direct influence on the scope of the Party's demands.

[Page 207]

Finally, the question was discussed of the advisability of the Sudeten German Party's collaboration with the other national minorities in Czechoslovakia, especially with the Slovaks. The Reichsminister decided that "the Party should be given a free hand to contact other national groups with activities of a parallel nature which might be considered useful."

Mr. President, your Honours: You will find, on Page 198, Volume I, Part 1, of the document book, a list of those present at the conference of 29th March, 1938, in Berlin. The part which I shall quote is marked with a red pencil. The list includes:

"Reichsminister von Ribbentrop, State Secretary von Mackensen, Ministerialdirektor Weizsaecker, Minister Plenipotentiary to Prague Eisenlohr, Minister Stibe, Legationsrat von Twardovsky, Legationsrat Altenburg, Legationsrat Kordt (Ministry for Foreign Affairs). Others of the group were S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Lorenz, Professor Haushofer (Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle), Conrad Henlein, Karl Hermann Frank, Dr. Kuenzel, Dr. Kreisel (Sudeten German Party)."
It is not difficult to draw the correct conclusions as to the genuine intentions of the Fascist conspirators with respect to Czechoslovakia, if only from the single fact that among those attending the conference were such people as the defendant Ribbentrop, two Ministers, two representatives of the so-called "Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle," including one Obergruppenfuehrer of the S.S., the prospective Secretary of State of the Czecho-Moravian Protectorate, Karl Hermann Frank, and the leader of the so-called Sudeten German Party, Conrad Henlein, a paid factotum and "agent provocateur" of Hitler.

German diplomatic missions directed the activities of Fascist Party branches abroad. For this purpose the leader of the A.O., Gauleiter Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, was appointed State Secretary in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

On 3rd June, 1938, two documents were prepared by S.S. Lorenz, a participant of the conference to which I have just called the attention of the Tribunal. I will read both of them. The first one, referring to the interview with Ward Price, indicates that Henlein was under the direct control of the S.S., and it was to the S.S. that he was responsible for his activities.

This document also contains the direct threat to resort to a "radical operation" in order to bring about the solution of the so-called Sudeten German problem. I will read this short document into the Record as Exhibit USSR 270 in full; it is on Page 200, Volume I, Part 1, of the document book:

"Regarding the interview with Ward Price which appeared in the foreign press, S.S. Obergruppenfuehrer Lorenz requested an explanation from Henlein. Henlein made the following statement:
"Ward Price was present at the burial of those executed in the town of Eger. He asked Henlein's collaborator, Sebekovsky, to arrange a meeting with Henlein for him. Henlein knew of the interview given by the Fuehrer to Ward Price. He had a talk with Ward Price over a cup of tea. He did not give him a real interview. The conversation about the Sudeten German and the Czech problems took the form of a talk about appendicitis. In this connection Henlein said that one should not suffer chronic attacks of appendicitis, but preferably undergo a radical operation. Later on, when Ward Price published an account of this conversation, Henlein intended to expose him. But at that moment, an order came through the Embassy in Prague from the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Henlein should settle the matter with Ward Price amicably, since the latter was in the Fuehrer's confidence and was not to be insulted by Sudeten Germans.
When Henlein met Ward Price again he backed out, putting the blame on the members of the Sudeten German Party. In addition to this, he wrote a letter to Ward Price, thus settling the matter. Signed -- Lorenz."
The second document, which is on Page 201, and is Exhibit USSR 268, shows that, following the orders of the S.S. and the leaders of the Hitlerite Conspiracy, Henlein negotiated with the Czech Government for the settlement of the Sudeten German question solely to create a provocation, and that these negotiations were closely followed by the leaders of the Fascist conspiracy who guided Henlein's further steps.

It was quite clear that this question at that moment was not acute, and that further lengthy and painful negotiations were inevitable. Nevertheless he asked for instructions on his possible line of action regarding this problem, in case he were not able to communicate with Germany.

"He himself suggested the following: If Czechoslovakia accedes to all my requests I will answer, 'Yes,' but I will insist upon the change of its foreign policy. This the Czechs would never accept. Henlein was promised that this question would be elucidated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Signed -- Lorenz."
A very brief excerpt from a top-secret document of State.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it not time to break off? It is now 5:15.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 9th February, 1946, at 1000 hours.)

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