The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
23rd March to 3rd April, 1946

Ninetieth Day: Monday, 25rd March, 1946
(Part 9 of 11)

[DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN continues his direct examination of Karl Stroelin]

[Page 44]

Q. What was von Neurath's attitude toward war?

A. On the first day of the war I saw von Neurath to the railroad station. He

[Page 45]

was depressed and rather dismayed. He called the war a terrible disaster, a gamble with the existence of the nation. He said that all his work from 1932 to 1938 had thereby been destroyed. I understand that during the war he saw the Fuehrer occasionally and on each such occasion he used the opportunity to ask Hitler to consider the idea of peace. That he, Neurath ...

THE PRESIDENT: How can the witness say this? He was not present at these meetings; how can the witness tell us what the defendant von Neurath said to the Fuehrer?

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: As you will understand that is what the defendant told him. That was told the witness by the defendant directly.

WITNESS: Von Neurath told me so repeatedly. He told me ...

THE PRESIDENT: It will all be extremely cumulative.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: I do not believe so. The defendant himself needs only to corroborate this.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Luedinghausen, the Tribunal imagines that the defendant von Neurath will give this evidence himself, and the Tribunal does not wish to hear evidence from witnesses of what was told to them.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Very well, I shall dispense with any further questions along those lines. I should like to ask only one more question.


Q. Did not von Neurath with you and other people make an effort to put an end to the war and to the Hitler regime? Or at least consider the possibility of doing so? These are facts that the witness knows from his own observation.

THE WITNESS: Von Neurath discussed this question with me on several occasions after his return from Prague. He tried particularly to bring about a meeting of the Reich Cabinet, as did the other ministers, but he did not succeed since Hitler disapproved of this Reich Cabinet as a "defeatists' club." As a basis for ending the war von Neurath tried to bring about a change of ministers and the appointment of a Reich Chancellor, which was also in general demand. This also failed. During the year 1943 Neurath became more and more convinced . . .

THE PRESIDENT: This is the same thing over again - nothing about what von Neurath did but all about what von Neurath said to this witness.

DR. LEUDINGHAUSEN: I beg your pardon; these are only preliminary remarks to clarify what is to follow.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you said you had one last question?

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Yes, we come to that now. The question shows the attempts he made to carry out his intentions.

THE WITNESS: When von Neurath failed in his attempts at reform, that is when he saw that it had miscarried and that Hitler's attitude was negative and intransigent, von Neurath was convinced at the beginning of 1944 that they should not fail in saving Germany from complete destruction out of consideration for Hitler. He considered the question of how to speak to Hitler once more and persuade him to end the war. He thought of Fieldmarshal Rommel and asked me to discuss the matters with him. Rommel was at that time very popular in Germany and abroad, and von Neurath believed that due to the position he took, Rommel was the right person to replace Hitler, if necessary. In the beginning of March, 1944, I went to Fieldmarshal Rommel and discussed the matter with him. Rommel was just as critical of the situation. I knew him from the First World War, so that I could speak to him frankly. He was also of the opinion that if the war could not be won on a military basis unnecessary bloodshed and senseless destruction -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Luedinghausen, we really do not want all this conversation between this witness and Rommel. We do not want it. We will not hear the conversation between this witness and Rommel.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: I also do not want the witness to discuss this matter.

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you not stop him then? Why do you not stop him?

[Page 46]

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: I did not want to hear it from the defendant himself, but from the person who was employed by the defendant to take these steps. That in my opinion has more weight than if the defendant makes the statement himself. That is why I asked the witness about it. But it is almost finished now.

THE PRESIDENT: When we come to the defendant then we will not hear him on these subjects.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: No, that is not our intention - moreover, as far as I know, that matter will be finished in just a few words.


Q. Please, witness.

A. Upon von Neurath's instigation, Rommel wrote a letter to Hitler saying that because of the military situation he believed that it would not be possible to continue the war, and that he, Rommel, suggested to Hitler that he start political negotiations. Consequently, as he told me, after his accident Rommel fell from favour for this reason, and thus von Neurath's attempt to end the war with Rommel's aid also failed.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: And then came the 20th of July and soon afterwards the end. I have no more questions, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the other defendants' counsel want to ask questions of this witness?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: May the witness be handed Exhibit GB 262. My Lord, that is the same document of which an extract has already been handed up to the Tribunal while I was cross-examining the last witness.



Q. Witness, I want to be quite clear as to what you say about the Deutsche Auslandsinstitut. Do you say that that institute had no connection with either Hess or the Ausland Organisation?

A. The Auslandsinstitut had no connection with Hess. The connection with the Ausland Organisation was due to the fact that the Ausland Organisation had its rallies at Stuttgart.

Q. So that the fact that the Ausland Organisation and the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut both had their meeting at Stuttgart, that is the only connection between the two organisations; is that so?

A. The Ausland Organisation to my knowledge did not consult the German Auslandsinstitut on practical matters for it had its own collection of material. The Ausland Organisation was, as far as I know, created in the year 1932, and ...

Q. Now, I do not want to stop you but if you can answer my question "yes" or "no" it will save us all a great deal of time. I will repeat my question in case you are not quite clear about it. Do you say that the fact that both those organisations held their meeting in Stuttgart is the only connection between the two? Now you can answer that "yes" or "no."

A. I cannot answer that question with "yes" or "no." I must say that the connecting link was the fact that Stuttgart was the city of foreign Germans and, so-to-speak, the representative of Germans abroad, because of its historical background.

Q. Do you read English?

A. A little.

Q. Will you look at page 461 of the book that you have? At the bottom of page 461 you will see reproduced a copy of an article from the "Stuttgarter Neues Tageblatt" of the 21st of September, 1933.

The Tribunal will find the extract on page 4 of the translation.

[Page 47]

That article describes the annual meeting of your institution after its reorganisation in 1933 after the Nazi Party came to power. I just want to read four short extracts from that article 2 and ask you for your comments.
"The chairman of the Deutsche Auslandsinstitut, Chief Mayor, Dr. Stroelin, opened the celebration."
That is yourself presumably, is that so?

A. Yes.

Q. "Among those present, he greeted in particular, Minister-president and Minister of Religion in Wurttemberg, Mergenthaler, as the representative of the supervisory authorities, General Haushofer of Munich as representative of Rudolf Hess, who has been entrusted by the Fuehrer with the supreme direction of all matters concerning Germans in foreign countries."
Did you say that?

A. I cannot remember having said that. Haushofer was to my knowledge the representative of the V.D.A., and I cannot conceive how he could have been the deputy of Hess at this occasion. However, it is probably true.

Q. Do you think the Tribunal is safe in taking it that the "Stuttgarter Neues Tageblatt" on the day after that celebration would accurately report what you said in your opening address?

You need not look at the rest of it for the moment. It is not likely that that article is untrue or incorrect, is it?

A. No, the article is probably correct, but I did not remember that Haushofer was at that time the deputy of Hess, for Rudolf Hess had no connection with the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut as such.

Q. It appears that you are saying there, and you are saying it in a speech, that Haushofer is representing Hess, and that Hess has been charged by the Fuehrer with the supreme command of all matters concerning Germans in foreign countries. Do you understand what you are saying there?

A. Yes, it may have been Put that way at that time, but in practice, we never reached the point where I received a directive of any kind from Rudolf Hess.

Q. Your institution could correctly be said to concern itself in matters concerning Germans in foreign countries, could it not?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. Did your institution, the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut, concern itself in matters concerning Germans in foreign countries?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well, I shall leave that. Will you look down the page and omit the next

A. I would like to add to this point. It was the first time that I made a speech for the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut and the speech was, of course, drafted with the approval of the personalities who were to be greeted. I cannot now remember that Haushofer was present in that capacity on that occasion, and can merely repeat my statement that as the honorary president of the Institute I know nothing of Rudolf Hess having given directives to the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut.

Q. You may have known nothing about it, but you were the new chairman of the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut at that time, were you not?

A. No, I was not the chairman. The chairman of the Institute was a special Leader. In my capacity as Lord Mayor it was merely one of my many extra duties to act as president of the institute. It is impossible for me to remember which personalities I greeted at the time, and how I did it.

Q. Please confine yourself to answering the particular question I put to you: Were you or were you not the chairman of the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut on the 20th September, 1933?

A. Yes, I was appointed to that position.

[Page 48]

Q. You had just been appointed because you were a good Nazi and the Nazi Party had come to power and was reorganising this institution.

A. I was appointed to this post because I was Lord Mayor of Stuttgart and because later the city of Stuttgart was called the "city of foreign Germans" since, because of its history and tradition it had always had very close connection with Germans abroad.

Q. Very well, now, we will go on. Will you miss out the next short paragraph and look at the paragraph which starts off, "Deputy Gauleiter Schmidt, representing Dr. Goebbels, stated the local Party leadership -

A. What page is that on?

Q. It is on the same page.

A. Page 461?

Q. I beg your pardon, it is on page 462. We turn over the page. Page 462. And it is the third paragraph in the centre of the page.

A. Yes, I have found the place.

Q. "Deputy Gauleiter Schmidt, representing Dr. Goebbels, stated the local Party leadership (Gauleitung) is prepared to cooperate through thick and thin with the new officers of the D.A.I."
Hess, you know, was in charge of the party leadership, was he not - the Gauleiter? We will go on:
"National Socialism will demand the blood community of all Germans as its historic right."
Will you look now - we will leave that - will you look now - at page 463 -

A. May I say something in connection with this?

Q. If you please, yes.

A. The Deputy Gauleiter, Schmidt, was here purely in his capacity as a Deputy of the Gauleiter, but he was not the Deputy of Rudolf Hess.

Q. No. But the point I am putting - I will make it quite clear-is that the Gauleiter which came under Hess was going to cooperate with your institution through thick and thin. You appreciate that?

A. That is self-explanatory.

Q. Would you look at page 463, and at the second paragraph. In his address the new director of the D.A.I., Dr. Csaki, stated:

"We have followed with deep distress the inner disunity of the German people. Now, since that has been overcome, since we see that all the Germans, who are citizens of foreign countries (Volksdeutsche) are aligned, we are filled with a sense of pride in our German mother- country, a feeling of happiness that Germany is united.

The sense of unity among the German people gives us a feeling of happiness. In the course of centuries various positions have been lost. We must avoid any further loss. It gives us a feeling of pride and self-reliance that we are the bridges for the German Lebensraum."

Was that in fact what the purpose of the Deutsches Auslandsinstitut was?

A. Dr. Csaki said in this quotation that the Germans abroad were bridges to the German Lebensraum. This German Lebensraum also applied to the Germans in Hungary and Roumania and to that extent it is true when he says the Germans are "bridges" to this Lebensraum, i.e. the space in which Germans live. This has also always been the attitude of the Deutsche Auslandsinstitut; to build bridges to the Lebensraum in which these Germans live.

Q. Very well. Now, have you ever read a book by Dr. Emil Ehrich, entitled "The Ausland Organisation der N.S.D.A.P."? You need not took at that. Have you ever read that book? A title of that kind?

A. I do not think so.

Q. Do you know that Dr. Emil Ehrich was the personal adviser to Bohle?

[Page 49]

A. I believe he was Bohle's adjutant at one time.

Q. Will you look at page 305 of the book that you have in front of you - my Lord, this passage appears on page 5 of the document the Tribunal has - and that is a reproduction of Dr. Emil Ehrich's book. Would you look at the second paragraph on page 305, half way down that paragraph, starting:

"On August 27th, 1936 the Fuehrer designated Stuttgart the city of foreign Germans, and the Gauleiter of the Foreign Organisation of the N.S.D.A.P. undertook the protection of this beautiful city, which also houses within its walls the German Foreign Institute, which works in hearty co-operation with the Ausland Organisation."
Would I be right in saying that throughout the whole history, from 1933 onwards, the Deutsches Auslandinstitut was working in the heartiest co-operation with the Ausland Organisation?

A. This is not correct, inasmuch as there was no practical or scientific co-operation between the Deutsches Auslandinstitut and the Ausland Organisation. The hearty co- operation, as I have already mentioned, referred to the fact that the Ausland Germans had their meetings in Stuttgart. That was the hearty co-operation between them. There was no co-operation in practical matters since it was not necessary.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.