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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th June to 19th June 1946

One Hundred and Fifty-Third Day: Wednesday, 12th June, 1946
(Part 7 of 12)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Artur Seyss-Inquart]

[Page 167]

Q. Now, one other matter. Did you tell the Tribunal, or did I understand you correctly when I heard you testify that Miklas resigned without any request from you? That is, President Miklas, who was then the Bund President of Austria. Is it your testimony that he resigned without any request from you?

A. It was my request that he should sign the Anschluss Law, and he said he would not do that. According to the Constitution his powers would then pass

[Page 168]

to me. He did not want to stand in the way of developments. I do not think I told him to resign; I merely demanded that he sign the law.

Q. Well, he has testified before a court in Vienna, and in his testimony he says that you demanded it. Now do you remember, or have you forgotten, of do you say that is untrue?

A. No; I consider that is out of the question because I clearly remember that he said: "I cannot sign the law, but I shall not stand in the way of developments. If you confirm to me that it is necessary that the Anschluss should be carried out, then I shall resign and you will have my powers." If he understood that as a demand to resign, then I do not want to contradict him. I do not want to make his position any more difficult, because I confess that I was in favour of the Anschluss.

Q. Well, I want to offer this in evidence, and you may look at it if you like. In any event, it is his testimony before a court in Vienna, on 30th January, 1946. It is Document 3697-PS, and it becomes Exhibit USA 884. If you would like to see it, you may. He says just about what I put to you, that you talked around it a good deal, said it was very distasteful for you, but nevertheless you were bound to comply with the order from Germany and therefore he had to resign.

That is on Page 17 of the English text of the testimony of President Miklas.

Did you once write a letter to Himmler, or did you twice write letters to Himmler, about Burckel? One of them is in evidence, and I want to ask you if you remember the other one. Do you remember the letter that you wrote to Himmler in which you said that it was not true that you were interfering with the deportation of the Jews, that you had only insisted that they be turned over to Kaltenbrunner's men, the SD?

A. I know it. It was submitted here. I know I have seen it in this court.

Q. I think you may have seen it, but it has not been submitted in evidence; however, I wish to do so.

A. Yes, the letter is certainly correct.

Q. It is Document 3398-PS, which is Exhibit USA 885.

In the letter you said that you gave instructions that the deportation of the Jews should be carried out only in agreement with the SD and through the SD, and that you could not permit wild actions.

A. Right. Do you want me to state my views with regard to it, Mr. Prosecutor?

Q. Well, I want to ask you this. Then you knew all about it, anyway I understood you to say that you did in the course of your direct examination. You knew about the deportation of the Jews, and you were doing your part to see that the SD carried it out. That is the only point I am trying to make with you, and I assume that you agree.

A. Yes, of course, I knew that a few trains had been loaded with Jews in Vienna. They were then taken to Poland and unloaded. No preparations whatsoever had been made, and the Jews were in serious difficulties. I fought against that, and when Burckel complained, I told Himmler: "If such actions take place, then they ought to be carried out by the SD," because I was under the impression that then better preparations would be made. When I say that today, it sounds very tragic and bitter, but I thought that at least emergency quarters, etc. would be provided somewhere. Apart from that, I knew, from the 9th November, 1938, how these things were carried out. The Party forges ahead, and then the State has to take over these matters and carry them out.

Q. Yes. At any event, you knew that Kaltenbrunner at that time was deporting, or had charge of the deportation of Jews out of Austria.

A. I do not recall Kaltenbrunner in this connection. I think that was done by the Party alone. I think the Party alone did that. I believe Kaltenbrunner had no part in it.

Q. Did you not say the SD, and was that not under Kaltenbrunner in Austria, at that time?

[Page 169]

A. I said that it ought to do it, but these transports were not run by Kaltenbrunner, Globocnik ran them.

Q. Well, they were under Kaltenbrunner, were they not? He was the head of the whole police system in Austria at that time.

A. Well, he was rather the commander of the Security Police, and how much influence he had there, I could not say, but I think it was very little.

Q. You found out since you have been sitting here that he had quite a lot, did you not? You know now that he had a lot to do with it.

A. No.

Q. You mean to say you have not heard here that Kaltenbrunner had something to do with the removal of the Jews?

A. Yes, I shall leave that to Kaltenbrunner. From my own observations I do not know it.

Q. Well, I am not going to labour the point, but that is not what I asked you. I asked you if you have not heard in this court room, that Kaltenbrunner had much to do with the removal of the Jews.

A. Yes.

Q. Certainly. And do you not know now that he had something to do with the removal of Jews at the time you wrote the letter?

A. In my opinion, Kaltenbrunner had nothing at all to do with the evacuation of Jews as mentioned here, because that was a wild action carried out by the Party or Gauleiter Globocnik.

Q. Do you remember when you got the authority that you asked for through Lammers, for the confiscation of property in Austria?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you seen these documents? They are new: your letter to Lammers, his reply to you, and the order which was issued at your request. Those are three documents.

A. Yes.

Q. Your letter to Lammers is dated 23rd October, 1938, and it is Document 3448-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 886.

And Lammer's reply to you is dated 24th October, 1938 and it is Document 3447-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 887.

The order itself is Document 3450-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA 888.

That was a confiscation of the property of the Jews in Austria, was it not, which you requested?

A. Yes. I testified yesterday, or the day before, that I co-operated in this matter by issuing decrees.

THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now?

MR. DODD: I can finish in five minutes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on, then.

MR. DODD: I would like to finish, and I think I can do it.

Q. Defendant, when did you first learn about the many Austrians who were dying in the concentration camps after the Anschluss?

A. About the many Austrians who died in concentration camps? I really learned about it in this court-room; but as to the numerous Austrians who were in concentration camps, perhaps, in the course of 1943-44; in 1938-39 I knew that some political opponents were in concentration camps, and that they were gradually being released again, or at least some of them.

Q. Did you not know that they were being killed n Buchenwald as early as 1939? Did you not know some of the people, and know about their deaths? Now think a minute before you answer this. Did you not know about the deaths in Buchenwald of people who had been your political opponents?

A. I do not remember, Mr. Prosecutor.

[Page 170]

Q. You never heard a word about it

A. I do not mean to say that at all. If you give me a name, then I shall tell you at once whether I remember.

Q. I know if I tell you the name you will tell me you heard it, I suppose. However, I am asking you first if you did not in fact know that some of them were dying in these camps? That is all I want to know. It was pretty common knowledge in Austria, was it not?

A. I shall most certainly admit that it is possible that I was told that one or another died in the camp even as early as 1938 or 1939.

Q. Well, you still continued with the Nazis, although you knew at least that vast numbers of your fellow countrymen were being thrown into concentration camps. Did that not make any difference to you? Whatever you thought before, you certainly knew what they were doing after the Anschluss.

A. That I knew that large numbers were dying, is out of the question. That there were a few who died, that would not have affected me particularly because, between 1934 and 1938, at least as many National Socialists had died in the concentration camps of Dr. Dollfuss and the Fatherland Front, that is to say, of the Austrian State.

Q. Well now, would you not agree with me that conditions were very bad in Austria after the Nazis took over, and they went from bad to worse, and you knew it and everybody else in Austria knew it? Or is it your view that they improved? I would just like to know what your opinion is.

A. I will tell you quite frankly. Of course, if you listen today to the leaders of the political opposition and believe them, you must think they were terrible. However, if you had seen the people up to 1939, then you would have seen that they had taken a new lease of life, because unemployment disappeared, and there was quite a different spirit. But then the war altered all that.

Q. One last question, if you can answer it for me briefly. Do I understand you to accept responsibility for whatever went on in Poland, whatever is established as having gone on in Poland? That is, joint responsibility with Frank? Do you accept that as his deputy?

A. First of all, that can only apply to the time when I was there, and acted as deputy.

Q. Of course. I certainly do not mean after you left there. I am only talking about the time that you were there.

A. Well, then, as deputy, only where I acted as deputy, or where crimes came to my knowledge without my taking measures against them.

MR. DODD: I just want to read into the record one sentence from a document that has already been offered in evidence, Mr. President. It is Document 2233-PS, and from that document, Page 1, paragraph 4, I would like to read this, because part of it was read by the defence, but this part was left out. It is under the small Arabic figure three

"The necessary police and other measures arising therefrom will be under the immediate direction of the Chief of the Security Police; every arbitrary action is to be strictly avoided."
This had to do, by the way, with the AB Action, concerning which this witness has testified.


Q. The records show that you, defendant, were present at the time that the defendant Frank discussed this AB Action and made this statement which I have just read into the record. Certainly you do not deny responsibility for whatever was done under the AB Action, do you? Because you did know about that.

A. Neither in connection with the AB case nor in any other case did I deny anything. I spoke especially about the AB Action.

[Page 171]

MR. DODD: Mr. President, Document 2233-PS, which is Exhibit USSR 223, now available in the French. It is already in evidence and has been accepted by the Tribunal, but a French copy was not available at the time it was offered. It has now been completely translated into the French, and I offer it to the Tribunal for assistance.

I have concluded my examination.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, you said that the document of 11th November, 1937, 3369-PS, was a new document. Did you give it a number?

MR. DODD: Just a moment, Mr. President. I will check that. I meant to offer it, and I fear that I omitted to do so. That would become Exhibit USA 889. It was a new document, and I did intend to offer it. .

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn, and we will reconvene at ten past two.

(A recess was taken until 14.10 hours.)



BY DR. STEINBAUER (Counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. Witness, the French Prosecutor asked you whether you were the deputy of the governor-general, Frank, and for that reason, knew Auschwitz. Can you tell us where Auschwitz is located?

A. Auschwitz was not in the region of the Government General, but rather in the area which belonged to the Gau Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien).

Q. Thank you. Then the same prosecutor confronted you with the testimony of a girl of twenty years of age, by the name of Kunze, in Document 3594-PS. According to this testimony, you, it is alleged, repeatedly sent reports to Himmler.

A. Yesterday evening, when I was confronted with this matter, I was rather tired, and made a statement somewhat in contradiction to the fact contained in the document, and said that under paragraph 3 certain reports are mentioned which had no connection with me. Now this witness asserts that reports from me went to Himmler by way of the Security Police dealing with the condition of the Jews. That is utter nonsense, which the results contradict. The Reich Commissioners were in no way subordinate to Himmler as far as the Jewish question was concerned. I sent perhaps two or three letters concerning individual cases. They went from my staff to the staff of Himmler; but never by way of the Security Police.

Q. That is sufficient. You were, in addition, confronted with the testimony of a Dr. Karl Georg Schongart in connection with the question of the shooting of hostages.

A. Yes. Schongart was the successor, or more accurately, the deputy of Rauter; and it is correct that he came to me after he had inspected the scene of the assassination. He told me that Himmler was demanding the shooting of 500 hostages, prominent Dutchmen. I was aghast; and Schongart said immediately that that was completely out of the question. Thereupon I most certainly said to Schongart: "But we must do something, we must react in some way to this." He then told me that a number of cases of death sentences were on hand which were to be carried out by shooting within the next few days and weeks. He suggested that these people be shot and that an announcement be made to the effect that this was in retaliation for the assassination.

Q. Did you and the Wehrmacht commanders in the Netherlands, in connection with the question of hostages issue warnings to the population, as is customary under International Law?

A. I believe there is a document available which contains a warning by me against sabotage, etc., in which I threatened, in the case of violation of the laws, to confiscate property, and to draft the population for guard duty.

[Page 172]

DR. STEINBAUER: I should like to call the attention o f the Tribunal to the fact that this warning is contained in Document 1163-PS.


Q. Further, I have to confront you with a document which is an interrogatory of the defendant General Christiansen, in which he says that you were the one who issued the order for the shooting of hostages.

A. I believe that Christiansen does not say that. He admits that he issued the order; but what he means is that I, so to speak, was urging the matter behind the scenes. I have made my statement, but perhaps the witness Wimmer can give us more exact details on this, as he was present at this discussion, as Christiansen himself states.

DR. STEINBAUER: Yesterday evening I once more studied this question, since the Tribunal's ruling was, in my mind, to the effect that this statement by the witness, which is really the interrogation of an accused person, should be admitted. In my opinion, Article 21 of the Charter means something else here. I believe that a partial matter like that has no probative value, for it is theoretically possible that Christiansen could now be sentenced by the British on the grounds that his statement is not correct. Now, I do not want to delay these proceedings, but I wish to call attention to the equivalent statement of Criminal Commissioner Munt, which I have already submitted in Document 77, Page 199.

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