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-Fourth Day: Wednesday, 26th June, 1946
(Part 1 of 10)

[Page 200]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will not sit on Thursday, to-morrow, afternoon, in open session, but will sit in closed session. That is to say, we will sit to-morrow, Thursday, from 10.00 till 1.00 in open session, and we will sit in the afternoon in closed session.

On Saturday morning, the Tribunal will sit in open session from 10.00 till 1.00.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I am aware that yesterday when I submitted Exhibit USSR 494, the necessary copies were not submitted to the Tribunal. I am very sorry about this, and I would ask you to accept the necessary copies now.




Q. Let us go back, defendant, to your warning issued in August, 1939. If I understood you correctly, you said here before the Tribunal that this warning was issued in connection with the military situation of the time; is that correct?

A. With reference to the military situation nothing had happened at that time; absolutely no political tension had become noticeable in the meantime, therefore it was not directly in connection with the military situation. There was certainly nothing wrong at that time.

Q. It did not depend on the military situation? Do you acknowledge that by this order of yours, or warning, you had decided on a system of hostages?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. I am going to repeat my question. I am asking you, do you acknowledge that by means of this warning of August, 1939 - I am submitting this document as evidence as Exhibit USSR 490 - that by this order you were setting up a system of hostages?

A. I did not understand.

Q. Was it correctly translated to you just now?

A. Yes, but the translation did not come through on the last question, or rather the last sentence. I did not understand the last sentence.

Q. Well, I will put you -

A. Yes; but I did not understand the last sentence of your question.

Q. I shall try to say it in such a way that you will understand it now. In this order of yours, in the penultimate paragraph, it is stated: "The responsibility for all acts of sabotage will be borne not only by individuals but by the entire Czechoslovak population." This means that not only guilty persons were to be punished, but that there were punishments for innocent people too. With this order you inaugurated a massacre against the Czech population.

A. Not at all. It only meant that the moral responsibility for any possible acts was to be laid to the account of the Czech people.

Q. Well, in Lidice, was this not applied in practice? Was it only a question of the moral responsibility there?

A. Yes. Yes.

[Page 201]

Q. In this order you state the following: "Those who do not take these necessities into account will be considered enemies of the Reich." To the enemies of the Reich you applied only the principle of moral responsibility and nothing else?

A. Yes, if someone did not obey orders, then naturally he was punished.

Q. That is exactly what I am trying to determine and that is why I put this point to you, that just by this order of August, 1939, You set up the beginning of a massacre and punishments applied to innocent people.

A. Well, I do not know how you can draw this conclusion from this warning.

Q. We are going now to the deductions which we can make out of this. In the report of the Czechoslovak Government, submitted as evidence in Exhibit USSR 60, which is a report on investigations of the crimes committed by you and your collaborators, all this has been stated, and you just flatly deny all this documentary evidence. I am not going to argue with you regarding this document but I am going to read into the record some of the testimony by the witnesses, and I would like you to say whether you corroborate this evidence or whether you deny it. I am going to read into the record an excerpt from the testimony of the former Minister of Finance, Josef Kalfus, of 8th November, 1945.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: The Tribunal will find these excerpts on Page 12 of the British text, Exhibit USSR 60.

Q. (continuing): Kalfus stated:

"The economic system introduced by Neurath and after him by the later German regime, was nothing else than systematic, organized robbery. As to the filling of key positions in the Czech industry and finance, it should be pointed out that, together with Neurath, a vast economic machinery was installed which immediately filled the chief positions in industry. Skoda Works, Brno Armament Works, Steel Works at Vitkovice, important banks - Bohemian Discount Bank, Lander Bank, and Bohemian Union Bank, were occupied as well."
Do you corroborate this evidence?

A. I talked about this matter in great detail yesterday, and I refer you to my statement I made yesterday. I have nothing to add.

Q. Thus, you do not corroborate this evidence?

A. Not in the least.

Q. The former President of Czechoslovakia, Richard Bienert, during the interrogation of 8th November, 1945, stated ...

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, this excerpt is on Page 13 of the English text of Exhibit USSR 60.

Q. (continuing)

"When we got to know him more closely, we noticed that he, Neurath, was ruthless toward the Czechs. I knew that it was Neurath, as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, who subjected the political administration in Bohemia and Moravia to German control, both the State administration and the local government as well. I remember also that Neurath caused the abolition of the Regional School Councils, and the appointment of German School Inspectors in their place. He ordered the dissolution of the regional representative bodies; lie caused Czech workers to be sent to the Reich from April, 1939, onwards, in order to work for the war machine of the Reich. He ordered the closing down of the Czech universities and of many Czech secondary and elementary schools. He abolished the Czech gymnastic groups and associations, such as 'Sokol' and 'Orel' and ordered the confiscation of all the property of these gymnastic organizations; he abolished the Czech recreation homes and sanatoria for young workmen and students, and ordered the confiscation of their property. The Gestapo carried out the arrests, but on the order of the Reich Protector. I myself was arrested on 1st September, 1939, as well."
[Page 202] Will you still deny this testimony?

A. No, no. About all the matters which are listed here, I spoke yesterday in great detail. I do not intend to repeat it all over again now. Moreover, it seems peculiar to me that Mr. Bienert of all people, who knew perfectly well what I had ordered and what my relations were to the Gestapo and so forth, that he of all people should say things like that.

Q. Very well. Let us look at some other testimony. The former Prime Minister of the so-called Protectorate, Dr. Krejci, during the interrogations on 8th November, 1945, stated ...

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, this excerpt can be found on Page 17 of the English text of Exhibit USSR 60.

Q. (continuing):

"I know," Krejci testified, "that the gymnastic associations have been disbanded and their property confiscated at the order of the Reich Protector, and their funds and equipment handed over to be used by German associations such as SS, SA, Hitler Youth and so on. On 1st September, 1939 when Poland was attacked by the German army, arrests took place on a large scale, especially arrests of army officers, intelligentsia and important political personalities. The arrests were made by the Gestapo, but it could not be done without the approval of the Reich Protector."
I am reading into the record one more excerpt from the next page of the testimony
"As far as the Jewish problem was concerned, the Government of the Protectorate was forced by the Reich Protector into a campaign against the Jews and when this pressure had no result, the Germans of the Reich Protector's office started persecuting the Jews according to the German laws. The result was that tens of thousands of Jews were persecuted and lost their lives and property."
Are you going to deny this testimony, too?

A. With reference to the order which you mentioned at the beginning, concerning the physical training schools, I have to tell you that that was a police measure which I had not ordered; and I go on to repeat, as I said yesterday, that the arrests at the beginning of the war were carried out by the Gestapo, but on the strength of a direct order from Berlin, without my even having heard about the matter. I did not learn about it until afterwards. Finally, with reference to the Jewish problem which is mentioned in the end, the statement, which is contained in the Indictment, I think, namely, that I had attempted to get the Government of Czechoslovakia to introduce anti-Jewish laws, is an incorrect statement. I, or rather my State Secretary, talked to Mr. Elias, as far as I know. I myself have never talked to him. I only talked to Dr. Hacha afterwards on a later occasion, when there was an attempt to introduce racial laws with reference to the Czechs. Dr. Hacha objected to this and I told him that I would be responsible for his not having to do this. The introduction of the anti-Jewish laws was carried out by a decree of mine, to be sure, because as early as the beginning of April, 1939, I had received orders to introduce the anti-Jewish legislation in the Protectorate which was not incorporated in the Reich. I delayed this step until July by means of all sorts of inquiries in Berlin, so as to give time to the Jews to prepare themselves in some way or other. These are the actual facts.

Q. Tell me, do you know Dr. Havelka?

A. I know Herr Havelka, yes.

Q. He knew exactly about your conversations with Hacha?

A. Yes, how much he knew about that, I don't know. Herr Havelka came to see me once or twice. He was Minister of Transport, I think.

Q. Yes, that is quite correct. He was the Minister of Transport, but before that, he was the head of the chancellery of Hacha's office.

[Page 203]

Havelka, during his interrogation on 9th November last year, gave the following testimony, which can be found on Pages 18 and 19 of the English text of Exhibit USSR 60. I am quoting an excerpt.
"He" - Neurath - "was not interested in the Czech nation, and interventions by Cabinet members and Dr. Hacha, pressing Czech demands, were on the whole without any result.

There were the following actions in particular:

Arrests of Czechoslovak officers, intelligentsia, members of the Czechoslovak Legion of the First World War and politicians. At the time of the attack on Poland by the German army about six to eight thousand persons were arrested. They became hostages. The Germans themselves described them as 'held in protective custody.' The majority of those hostages were never interrogated and all steps taken at the office of the Reich Protector in favour of these unfortunate men were without result.

Neurath, as the only representative of the Reich Government in the territory of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was responsible for the execution of nine students on 17th, November 1939. The execution was carried out soon after ..."

THE PRESIDENT: General Raginsky, would it not be better and perhaps fairer to the defendant to ask him one question at a time? You are reading large passages of these documents which contain many questions. Perhaps you could take these two paragraphs you read now about the arrest of officers and ask him whether he says those are true or untrue, and then go on to the other paragraphs you want to. It is very difficult for him to answer a great number of questions at one time.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, he has these documents before him and he is acquainted with the testimonies in question, but I will take into consideration what you have just told me. I will speak about the shooting of the students separately.


Q. Do you corroborate this part of the evidence which I have just read into the record, regarding the hostages?

A. About the arrest of the members of the so-called Vlajka, at the beginning of September, 1939, I have spoken earlier, and I spoke in detail about that yesterday.

I said that these arrests - I am repeating it once more - were carried out by the Gestapo without my knowledge. Mr. Havelka's statement, that no steps had been taken in the interest of these people, is untrue. He ought to know that I continuously fought for these people and that a large number of them were released through my efforts.

Q. Very well, let us go over to another question. Here, before this Tribunal, a certain document has already been introduced several times under No. USSR 223. This is the diary of Frank.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I am not referring to Karl Hermann Frank, who was sentenced to death for his crimes, but it is the defendant Frank that I am speaking .about. This excerpt has already been quoted here, but I should like to put a question to the defendant about it. I shall read it into the record:

"During an interview with a correspondent of the Volkischer Beobachter in 1942, the defendant Frank stated as follows: 'In Prague, for instance, some red placards were put out saying that many Czechs were being shot that day. Then I said to myself: If I had to issue an order for such placards to be put up regarding every nine Poles who were shot, then there wouldn't be enough timber in Poland to manufacture enough paper for such placards.'"

Q. Please tell me if it is true that such red placards were put up in Prague?

[Page 204]

A. I mentioned that yesterday. I have already said yesterday that this was the poster where my signature was misused, and that I hadn't seen it in advance. That is that red poster.

Q. Well, if you haven't seen these posters, will you please look at one of them. We are going to show it to you now.

A. Yes, I know it very well.

THE PRESIDENT: General Raginsky, he didn't say he hadn't seen it. He said it was put up without his knowledge.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I shall come back to this, but I should like to establish that these were the red posters which were mentioned by Frank in his diary, and I should like to submit this poster as Exhibit USSR 489.

I should like to read it into the record; it is very short, and it won't take much time. The text is as follows:

"In spite of repeated serious warnings, a number of Czech intellectuals, in collaboration with emigre circles abroad, are trying to disturb peace and order in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by committing major or minor acts of resistance. In this connection it was possible to prove that the ringleaders of these resistance acts are especially to be found in the Czech universities. Since on 28th October and 15th November these elements committed acts of physical violence against individual Germans, the Czech universities were closed for the duration of three years, nine of the perpetrators were shot, and a considerable number of the participants were arrested.

Signed: The Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia Baron von Neurath, 17th November, 1939."


Q. You state here that you never signed this warning?

A. Yes, indeed. I have already explained yesterday or the day before how this came about, to wit, in my absence.

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