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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Sixty-Third Day: Tuesday, 25th June, 1946
(Part 8 of 11)

[SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE continues his cross examination of Constantin von Neurath]

[Page 181]

Q. (continuing): It is only the first two sentences, defendant:
"The Fuehrer stated initially that the subject matter of today's conference was of such importance that its detailed discussion would certainly, in other States, take place before the Cabinet in full session. However, he, the Fuehrer had decided not to discuss this matter in the larger circle of the Reich Cabinet because of its importance."
Then, if you will look at the people who were there: There is the Fuehrer; the Minister for War; the three Commanders- in-Chief; and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Now, defendant, supposing that in February or March, 1938, Hitler had wanted to discuss Austria before the same Council, the same limited number of people. Just let us see who would have taken the places of the people who were there. Instead of von Blomberg and von Fritsch, you would have had the defendant Keitel as Chief of the OKW, and von Brauchitsch as Commander-in-Chief, would you not?

A. Yes, I believe so.

Q. As a matter of fact, Raeder and Goering maintained their positions; the defendant von Ribbentrop had taken yours; and you were President of the Secret Cabinet Council. Lammers was Secretary of the Cabinet, and Goebbels had become more important as Minister of Propaganda.

Well, now, I would just like you to look and see who the people were that formed the Secret Cabinet Council.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Lordship will find that on Page 8 of Document Book 12; and it is Page 7 of the German Document Book.

Q. Now, do you see who they are? There are the defendant von Ribbentrop, the defendant Goering the Fuehrer's deputy, Hess, Dr. Goebbels and the Chief of the Reich Treasury, Lammers, von Brauchitsch, Raeder, and Keitel. You are saying, if I understand you, that this Secret Cabinet Council had no real existence at all. Is that your case?

A. Yes.

Q. Why were you receiving special funds for getting diplomatic information as President of the Secret Cabinet Council?

A. I did not receive any. I should like to know -

Q. Oh, did you not?

[Page 182]

A. No.

Q. Well, let us just have a look at this. Would you look at Document 3945-PS?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is 129 in Document Book 12-A. It will be Exhibit GB 518.

Q. If you will look at the letter of 28th August, 1939 from Lammers to you:

"In conformity with your request, I have had the sum of RM 10,000, which had been placed at your disposal for special expenses in connection with the obtaining of diplomatic information, handed to Amtsrat Koppen.

I enclose the draft of a certificate showing how the money was used, with the request to send me the certificate duly signed at the latest by the end of the financial year."

And if you will turn to the next page, 131, you will see that at the end of March, which was toward the end of the financial year, you signed a certificate saying:
"I have received ten thousand Reichsmark from the Reich Chancellery for special expenses entailed in obtaining diplomatic information."
Now, will you tell us why you were getting special expenses for obtaining diplomatic information?

A. Yes, I can tell you that. That is an expression used at the request of Lammers who had the Treasury of the Reich Chancellery under him, so that I could meet the expenses of my office; that is, for one typist and for one secretary. And in order to justify this to ... I do not know which authority, what this authority is called, to the Finance Ministry - I had no special budget - Herr Lammers asked me to use this expression. That can be seen from a certificate which is also in there.

Q. That is all right. I am going to refer to the other letters. But why was it necessary that the expenses of your one secretary and one typist should not be audited? As it shows on pages -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the pages are 134 and 135.

THE WITNESS: I just said that ...


Q. On Page 143 you will see there is a letter from you to Lammers:

"In my bureau there is a need to incur special expenses, to audit which it does not appear to me advisable."
Why was it not advisable to audit the expenses of your typist and secretary?

A. I can no longer tell you that just now. But at any rate, I did not use any more money for diplomatic information; but these are merely office expenses which I figured in there. And so at the end of this letter which you have submitted to me there is

Q. Well, now -

A. Please let me finish my statement.

Q. Certainly.

A. There is a report here to me, from my - from this secretary, in which he says - No, this is not the letter I thought it was.

Q. Well, now, if you are finished, I anticipated you might say it was office expenses. Would you look at Document 3958-PS?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, that will be Exhibit GB 519.


Q. I submit that shows you your office expenses were carried on the ordinary budget - the letter of 8th April, 1942, to you.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that in the book?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, yes; I am so sorry. It is 140. I beg your Lordship's pardon.

[Page 183]


Q. That is a letter to you which says:

"The Reich Minister for Finance has agreed that the budgetary needs announced by you for the financial year 1942 be shown in Single Plan I. I therefore have no objections to having the necessary expenditure granted - even before the establishment of Single Plan I - within the limits of these amounts, namely:

for personal administrative expenditures up to RM 28,500
for official administrative expenditures up to RM 25,500

Total RM 54,000."

That was providing for your office and personal expenditures during the same period for which you were getting these additional sums. So I am suggesting to you that if these sums of 10,000 marks which you got every now and then were not for office expenditures, I would like you to tell the Tribunal what they really were for.

A. Yes, I would be very pleased if I were also told about this, for I no longer know.

Q. Well, they are your letters, and you got the money. Cannot you tell the Tribunal what you got it for?

A. No, I cannot at this moment. Perhaps I can tell you afterwards.

Q. Possibly it was for obtaining diplomatic information, it says -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord. Dr. von Ludinghausen makes the point that the letter I put was in 1939. Of course, there were other letters. I have not troubled the Tribunal with each one, but there is another letter in which there is a reference to a payment on 9th May, 1941, and another reference to a payment on 30th June, 1943.

My Lord, these are Pages 133 and 134. I am sorry; I did not give the details. Perhaps I ought to have indicated that.

THE PRESIDENT: The letter on Page 137, which may have some bearing, is a letter from the man signed "K," from the man who made the previous applications?



Q. Perhaps you would like to look at that, defendant? It is No. 3945-PS, a letter of 14th July, 1943, signed "K":

"When I went into the matter of the Special Fund, the competent people in the Reich Chancellery showed an entirely understanding attitude in this matter and asked for a written application from your Excellency. When I replied that I did not wish to produce such an application before success was guaranteed, they asked for a little longer for a further exchange of views. After a few days I was told that I could produce the application without hesitation, upon which I handed over the letter which I had previously withheld. The amount requested has been handed to me today and I have duly entered this sum in my special cash-book as a credit."
A. Yes, but in spite of this -

Q. Well, now, does that help you? Can you tell the Tribunal what were the outlays, the special outlays for the obtaining of diplomatic information for which you received this money?

A. I am very sorry; I absolutely cannot ... I can no longer recall this matter at all. And the remarkable part is that this letter is dated 14th July, 1943, when I had no activity whatsoever any more, when I had left altogether. At this moment, I do not know.

Q. That is very strange, you know. In a further letter, in Document 3958-PS, on 8th January, 1943, and in succeeding letters on 4th March and 20th April, the end of your occupation of the premises of 23 Rheinbaben Allee is explained, and

[Page 184]

how your expenses ceased when you went to live in the country. I was just going to ask you about that - a little about that house. If you will just look at the affidavit of Mr. Geist, the American consul - my Lord, that is Document 1759-PS, Exhibit USA 420 - I referred to this, this morning - and the passage that I want you to tell us about is in the middle of a paragraph - my Lord, it is at the foot of Page 11 of the affidavit in the English version.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you have the separate document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, my Lord, it is at the foot of Page 11. The paragraph begins: "Another instance of the same nature occurred with regard to my landlord ...."


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship goes on another ten lines - after explaining about his landlord having to give up his house to the SS, he says:

"I know that on many occasions where it was thought necessary to increase the pressure, a prospective purchaser or his agent would appear accompanied by a uniformed SA or SS man. Because I lived in the immediate neighbourhood and knew the individuals concerned, I know that Baron von Neurath, one time Foreign Minister of Germany, got his house from a Jew in this manner. Indeed, he was my next-door neighbour in Dahlem. Von Neurath's house was worth approximately 250,000 dollars."

Was that 23 Rheinbaben Allee?

A. Yes, yes -

Q. Who acquired it for you, so that as President of the non-existent Secret Cabinet Council, you could have it as an official residence? Who acquired it?

A. I did not understand that. Who did what?

Q. Who acquired 23 Rheinbaben Allee? Who got it?

A. I can tell you about that. In the year 1937, when Hitler was erecting the large buildings for his Reich Chancellery, he told me one day that I would have to move from my apartment, which was behind the Foreign Office, because he wanted the garden for his Reich Chancellery, and the house would be torn down.

He said that he had given instructions to the Reich Building Administration to find other living-quarters for me. The Reich Building Administration expropriated Jewish residences to me. But I refused them. But now I had to look for a house myself, and my personal physician, to whom I happened to mention this matter, told me that he knew of a place in Dahlem, that was No. 23 Rheinbaben Allee, where he was house physician to the owner. This owner was Lieutenant-Colonel Glotz, who was the brother of a close friend of mine. I informed the Reich Building Administration about this and told them that they should get in touch with this gentleman. In the course of the negotiations, which were conducted by the Reich Building Administration, a contract of sale was drawn up for the price quoted by Mr. Geist, and the price was in marks, not in dollars. This sum, at the request of Lieutenant-Colonel Glotz, was paid to him in cash, and on his wish I persuaded the Finance Minister to have this money transferred to Switzerland.

I might remark that I was still Foreign Minister at the time. Afterwards, I remained in this house for the simple reason that I did not find another one, and Herr von Ribbentrop, my successor, moved into the old Presidential Palace.

Then, in the year 1943, this house was destroyed. At the moment, therefore, I still cannot explain what these moneys were for and whether they were official payments made by the Reich Chancellery. With the best intentions, I cannot tell you. But the statements made by Mr. Geist here are completely wrong as I have just stated. I did not buy or have this house taken over from a Jew, but from the Christian, Lieutenant-Colonel Glotz.

Q. You tell us that you passed the money on to Switzerland on his account?

[Page 185]

A. I? Yes. Because Herr - Herr Glotz went to Switzerland. I believe, indeed, his wife was non-Aryan.

Q. I see. I would just like to put the next sentence and then I will leave this document: "I know, too, that Alfred Rosenberg, who lived in the same street with me, acquired a house from a Jew in a similar fashion." Do you know anything of that?

A. I do not know how Herr Rosenberg acquired his house.

Q. Now, defendant, I want you to come now to March, 1938. Perhaps I can take this shortly if I have understood you correctly. You know that the prosecution complained about your reply to the British Ambassador with regard to the Anschluss. As I understand you, you are not now suggesting that your reply was accurate but you are saying that that was the best of your information at the time; is that right?

A. Yes, that is quite correct. It is true. That was an incorrect statement, but I made it in good faith, because I did not know any better.

Q. You say that neither Hitler nor Goering told you a word about these ultimatums which were given first to Herr von Schuschnigg and secondly to President Miklas; you were told nothing about that? Is that what you are saying?

A. No, at that time - at that time I knew nothing. I heard about them later

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, I am going to leave that. I am not going into that incident in detail - we have been over it several times - in view of the way that the defendant is not contesting the accuracy.

THE PRESIDENT: I should like to know when he heard of the true facts.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am much obliged.


Q. When did you hear of the true facts of the Anschluss?

A. I heard the details for the very first time here, when this report of Legation Counsellor Hewel was submitted to me. Prior to this time I probably heard that there had been pressure exerted on Herr Schuschnigg, but nothing else. I actually learned the exact details for the first time here in Nuremberg.

Q. I only want to get it quite clear. You say that between 11th March and your coming to Nuremberg, you never heard anything about the threat of marching into Austria, which had been made by the defendant Goering or Keppler or General Muff, on his behalf? You never heard anything about that?

A. No, I heard nothing of that sort.

Q. Well, then I do want to ask you about the assurance that you gave to Mr. Mastny, the Czechoslovak Minister in Berlin. I would like you to look at Document 122 which you will find in Document Book 12, Page 122 of Document Book 12. The passage that I want to ask you about is in the sixth paragraph. After dealing with the conversation with the defendant Goering about the Czechoslovak mobilization, it goes on:

"Mr. Mastny was in a position to give him definite and binding assurances on this subject" - that is, the Czechoslovak mobilization - "and today" - that is, 12th March - "spoke with Baron von Neurath, who, among other things, assured him on behalf of Herr Hitler that Germany still considered herself bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Convention concluded at Locarno in October, 1925."
Now, you have told the Tribunal - we have had the evidence of Baroness von Ritter - that the meeting on 5th November had this very disturbing effect on you and in fact produced a bad heart attack. One of the matters that was discussed at that meeting was attack, not only on Austria, but also on Czechoslovakia to protect the German flank. Why did you think, on 12th March, that Hitler would ever consider himself bound by the German-Czechoslovak Arbitration Treaty, which meant that he had to refer any dispute with Czechoslovakia to the Council of the League of Nations or the International Court of Justice? Why on earth

[Page 186]

did you think that that was even possible, that Hitler would submit a dispute with Czechoslovakia to either of these bodies?

A. I can tell you that quite exactly. I testified yesterday that Hitler had me summoned to him on the 11th for reasons that I cannot explain even to this day, and told me that the march into Austria was to take place during the night. In reply to my question, or rather to my remark that that would cause great uneasiness in Czechoslovakia, he said that he had no intentions of any kind at this time against Czechoslovakia and that he was ... he even hoped that relations with Czechoslovakia would be considerably improved by that step.

From this sentence and from his promise that nothing would happen, I concluded that matters would remain as they were and that, of course, we were still bound by this treaty of 1925. Therefore, I was able to assure M. Mastny of this with an absolutely clear conscience.

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