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-Eighth Day: Wednesday, 19th June, 1946
(Part 1 of 11)

[Page 351]

THE MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the report is made that defendant von Neurath is absent.


FRANZ VON PAPEN - continued


Q. Just before we leave Mr. Messersmith, defendant, I want to ask you three questions about the other countries in South-Eastern Europe that Mr. Messersmith mentioned. Did you know that the German Foreign Office financed and directed the Henlein movement among the Sudetendeutsche?

A. I do not believe that I learned of that at that time. In 1935 when this report was written, the Sudeten German question was not acute.

Q. When did you learn about it?

A. Mainly here in this room.

Q. I see. Did you know that the Reich was supporting M. Codrianu and the Iron Guard in Rumania?

A. I believe that that was also much later.

Q. You learned that some time later than 1935, did you? When did you learn that?

A. I cannot say; but I believe that events in connection with the Iron Guard in Rumania took place about 1937. I may be wrong; but I do not think so.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, I think perhaps you have the microphone a little too near you.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, your Lordship.


Q. Did you know that in 1944 you were discussed in a Reich State document edited by the defendant Kaltenbrunner as being a possible person to do the same thing in Hungary, to arrange for Hungary's acquisition by the Reich, doing the internal work inside Hungary in order that Hungary should be acquired: did you know that?

A. No. In the first place, I did not know that; and in the second place, I may say that the idea is impossible, because I was a close friend of the Regent of Hungary, Admiral Horthy. In my interrogatory to Admiral Horthy I asked him a question which he unfortunately failed to answer because he did not remember. It says that in the autumn of 1943 the Hungarian Minister of the Interior, Keresztes-Fischer, handed me a document showing that German or German and Hungarian forces wanted to bring about the incorporation of Hungary into the Reich through a revolt. At the Regent Horthy's desire, I at once handed this document over to Herr von Ribbentrop and asked him to take the appropriate measures to prevent it. That is all set down in the files, and the Hungarian Minister of the Interior will be able to confirm it.

Q. You see my point. I do not mind whether you would have taken it or not. The point that I am putting is that you were the choice. Do you not know that? You know the document I am referring to, D-679, with many comments by

[Page 352]

Kaltenbrunner, in which you were discussed as being the possible person to do the internal work in Hungary.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Page 78 of Document Book IIA.


Q. It is Page 46 of the German Document Book IIA.

A. Sir David, I went over this note the day before yesterday after you submitted it here.

Q. I will not trouble you with it if you only learned of it here. The only point I want to know is this. Did you know in 1944 that you were being suggested, in a German State document, as being the person who might do the internal work in Hungary in order that Hungary might be acquired by the Reich. If you say you do not know, I shall not trouble you with it any further. You say you only knew that since the day before yesterday?

A. Yes, and in the second place, it is a historical fact that I repeatedly opposed these efforts in Hungary which aimed, in one way or another, eventually by occupation, at making Hungary a part of the German Reich. I considered that the most mistaken and most impossible policy imaginable.

Q. I will not trouble you about the document as you did not know about it; we will turn to another point.

You remember Gauleiter Rainer, the gentleman with whom you had the fortuitous and, I am sure, very interesting talk on the eve of the Anschluss - Dr. Rainer, the witness? I would just like you to look at Dr. Rainer's view of the position when you took over, and tell the Tribunal whether you agree with that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Page 6 of Document Book II; the document is 812-PS. It starts on Page 6 and the passage which I am going to refer to is on Page 8.


Q. Have you got the passage that begins:

"Thus began the first phase of battle, which ended with the July rising of 1934 The decision for the July rising was right; but many mistakes were made in carrying it out. The result was the complete destruction of the organization, the loss of entire groups of fighters through imprisonment or flight into the 'Alt-Reich', and, with regard to the political relationship between Germany and Austria, a formal acknowledgement of the existence of the Austrian State by the German Government. With the telegram to Papen, instructing him to restore normal relations between the two States, the Fuehrer liquidated the first stage of the battle and began a new method of political penetration."
Would you agree that that is a correct description of your work, "a new method of political penetration"?

A. No, Sir David. That is a very inaccurate description of my activity.

Q. Well, if you do not agree with Dr. Rainer, tell me - you know the witness, you must know him very well, the witness, Dr. Paul Schmidt. You know him?

A. Yes.

Q. Very well. Now I think you will agree with me that he is one of the personalities against whom nobody has said a word during this trial. Do you agree? I have not heard a word of criticism of Paul Schmidt. Do you not agree with me?

A. Do you mean the witness - the interpreter Schmidt or the Foreign Minister Schmidt?

Q. Paul Schmidt, the interpreter.

A. Paul Schmidt, the interpreter. I will give you my opinion on that.

Q. Well, do you agree that he is a trustworthy person or not? Do you say that he is not a trustworthy person?

[Page 353]

A. I have nothing to say against the human qualities of Herr Schmidt, but I have a very strong objection to the fact that Herr Schmidt takes the liberty of criticising my political activities in Austria.

Q. Well, before you explain it, just have a look at it. You will find Dr. Paul Schmidt's affidavit on Page 41 of Document Book IIA; that is Page 37 of the German Document Book, Document 3308-PS. Now just listen to Dr. Paul Schmidt's view, paragraph 8:

"Plans for the annexation of Austria were a part of the Nazi programme from the beginning. Italian opposition after the murder of Dollfuss necessitated a more cautious approach to this problem for a time; but the application of sanctions against Italy by the League of Nations, plus the rapid increase of German military strength, made the resumption of the Austrian programme safer. When Goering visited Rome early in 1937, he declared that the union of Austria and Germany was inevitable and must be expected sooner or later. Mussolini, hearing these words in German, remained silent and uttered only a mild protest when I translated them into French. The consummation of the Anschluss was essentially a Party matter, in which von Papen's role was to preserve smooth diplomatic relations on the surface while the Party used more devious ways of preparing conditions for the expected move."
Then, defendant, so that we are being quite clear, he makes a mistake, and refers to a speech of Hitler on the 18th of February to which, unfortunately, the translator had put your name. I am not relying on that. But what I do want to know is whether you agree with his statement that it was your role "to preserve smooth diplomatic relations on the surface while the Party used more devious ways ..."

Do you agree with that as a correct description of your programme, your mission in Austria?

A. On the contrary, Sir David, the exact opposite is the case. I explained my task in Austria very clearly and distinctly to the Tribunal.

Q. I see.

A. It was a task of pacification and normalisation and a continuation of the policy of the grafting together of the two States in an evolutionary way. And now may I say a few words more concerning this affidavit of Dr. Schmidt? At the time when the witness sat here in this chair we established the fact that this affidavit was placed before him when he was still in bed in the hospital after a severe illness, and this document was given to him for his signature -

Q. Well, with respect to that, the Tribunal will deal with it. We have heard all about it and Dr. Schmidt has been cross-examined and I think you may take it that the Tribunal know everything about the circumstances of the affidavit. If you have anything to comment on the contents of it, I am sure the Tribunal would willingly let you, but you need not comment on the circumstances. That is all before the Tribunal.

A. I will comment on the contents. I will state that Dr. Schmidt, who later played a highly influential role with Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, during the years which are under discussion here, had a very subordinate position in the Foreign Office which did not afford him an insight - any exact insight - into conditions in Austria and into my policy and my reports.

Q. Well, if that is so -

A. Sir David, Herr von Neurath will be able to confirm that for you tomorrow or the day after.

Q. Well, we will not argue that any further. The Tribunal have the whole of Dr. Schmidt's record before them and the affidavit. Now you said you told the Tribunal about your conception of your mission in Austria. If that was your conception of your mission in Austria, why was it necessary for you to get hold of the knowledge of the position of the explosive chambers in Austrian strategic roads?

That was rather going back to the development of the "top hat" idea to which you objected so strongly, was it not? Well, if you do not remember, let me remind you by referring to Document 689-D, Page 101.

[Page 354]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The Tribunal will find the passage actually on page 102, Pages 90 and 91 in the German version of Document Book IIA, becoming Exhibit GB 504.


Q. This is an account of the opening of Grossglockner Road, which, as you know, is a road of some strategic importance going from Salzburg to Carinthia. Do you remember that, after your description about the people being in Salzburg and singing everything except the Horst-Wessel song, and then the German drivers competing, in the third and next paragraph you say:

"The building of this road is undoubtedly a first class work of culture, in which Reich German constructional firms took the main and decisive part. The chief engineer of the Reich German firm which built the tunnel at the highest point offered to inform me of the position of the explosive chambers in this tunnel. I sent him to the military attache."
That was your combining culture and showing the excellence of German road construction with obtaining the position of the explosives of the tunnel at an important strategic portion of the road. Why did you consider that of sufficient importance to report to Hitler and send three copies of the report to the Foreign Office?

A. Sir David, I am giving an exact account of what happened at the inauguration of this road.

Q. I do not really want that. The Tribunal can get that. What I am asking you is why you were sending to Hitler the fact that the Reich German engineer was disclosing to you the explosive chambers on the important part of this road where this road could be blocked? Why were you sending that to Hitler? That is what I want you to tell the Tribunal.

A. Because it seemed interesting to me that this man approached me voluntarily and told me, "At this and this point, the tunnel can be blown up." You know that at that time our relations with Italy were very strained and that Italy had mobilised on the Brenner border. For that reason it seemed of interest tome that this new connection between Italy and Germany could be broken again at any suitable time. Moreover, I referred the matter to my military attachí because it did not interest me personally.

Q. No, you had then moved out of the class of doing that sort of thing yourself. You were the head of the mission and it was a matter for the military attache.

But was that your plan, defendant, that you introduced German Kultur, as showing the road making, to get at the same time strategic information which you could pass on to your government, undermining the Austrian Government's strategic plans to use the road?

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant said, did he not, that it was a road which joined Germany to Italy?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord. The road actually goes from Salzburg, which is practically on the German frontier, to Carinthia in South Austria, so it was a new highway, taking traffic north and south in Austria.

THE PRESIDENT: Did it actually connect Germany with Italy, or did it connect Austria with Italy?



Q. Well, let us take something else in which you were interested. You were also reporting as to where, the Austrian supply of munitions and manufacture of munitions were going to be situated, were you not?

A. I do not remember.

Q. All right, if you do not recall it, let us look at Document 694-D. You will find it a few pages on.

[Page 355]

It is Page 110, my Lord, in the English book, Page 108 of the German book. It will become Exhibit GB 505. Its date is 26th November, 1935. It is Page 110 and the passage that I am going to read is Page 111.

Defendant, you ought to find it just at the top of Page 112 of the German version. You are dealing with the influence of Herr Mandel, whose Jewish extraction you referred to, and then you go on to Prince Starhemberg. It reads:

"After the manufacture of munitions for Italy in Hirtenberg had to be stopped because of Italian protests, he, Mandel, transported the entire factory by train, in order to continue work in Italy."
Then, note the next words in brackets:
"Incidentally, an interesting situation for Austria's supply of munitions."
Was that one of your conceptions of restoring normal relations, that you should report on the removal of the Austrian munition factory?

A. No, that was not my task proper, but this report shows, Sir David, that I was repeating a talk with the Polish Minister Gavronski, who told me that this munition factory, the only one which existed in Austria, was being moved to Italy. I wrote, with regard to this, that it is a remarkable circumstance if a country has to get its munitions supplies from a foreign country.

You must surely admit that that is a peculiar situation and one that deserves inclusion in a report.

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