The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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DR. HORN: I had last quoted some passages from Ribbentrop
Exhibit 159, Page 317 of the document book, and I wish to
briefly summarise what these documents refer to.

This document contains the request from the Polish
Government to England regarding certain consultations which
led to a concrete agreement. This agreement was in fact made
between England and Poland during the period 21st March to
26th March.

Furthermore, and as a parallel to this, there is the
coalition policy on the part of England which is proved by
Documents 182 to 186, on Pages 370 and following of Document
Book V. As is shown in Document 182, the following States
were concerned: I am quoting from Document 182, at the
bottom of Page 6:

  "The following countries are said to have been invited to
  participate in the question of guarantees - Russia,
  Poland, Turkey and Yugoslavia. It is said to be
  definitely established that Hungary was not approached.
  It was left to Poland to approach Lithuania, Estonia and
  Latvia. The same is supposed to apply to Turkey with
  regard to Greece."

As evidence of this policy of coalition, I refer to Document
185, Page 372 of the document book. This is a telegram from
the German charge d'affaires in London to the Foreign
Office, and I should like to briefly quote:

  "The available news proves clearly that the plan for a
  declaration on the part of Britain can be divided into
  two parts. The first part deals with guarantees to
  Belgium, Holland and Switzerland; the second part aims to
  protect the Eastern countries against aggression. The
  British Cabinet is supposed to be informed by a military
  spokesman that Roumania, because of her oil wells, will
  definitely have to be protected against German military

The same subject is dealt with in Ribbentrop Exhibit 186. I
ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it without my
reading from it, and I also ask that Document No. 183 be
taken judicial notice of, which is on Page 375 of the
document book and which, once more, so as to save time, I do
not propose to read.

Based on this policy of coalition on Britain's part, which
was directed against Germany, the Treaty of Friendship and
Alliance between Germany and Italy was concluded on 22nd
May, 1939. I am submitting it as Exhibit Ribbentrop 187, on
Page 376 of the Ribbentrop Document Book. I request the
Tribunal to take judicial notice of it without my reading

The result of the guarantee given by England to Poland was
that Ambassador Lipsky, on 26th March, 1939, on the occasion
of a conference with the Reich Foreign Minister von
Ribbentrop, declared - and I am here referring to Exhibit
Ribbentrop 162 and quoting from the third paragraph:

  "Mr. Lipsky replied that it was his unpleasant duty to
  point out that further pursuance of these German plans,
  particularly regarding a return of Danzig to the Reich,
  would mean a war with Poland."

                                                  [Page 227]

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this document.
The same applies to the previous document, Ribbentrop 160,
on Page 320 of the document book, which refers to the
consultations between Britain and the governments previously

On the strength of the declaration of Lipsky which I have
just read - namely, that further pursuance of an attempt to
alter the status quo regarding the Corridor and Danzig would
mean war - the Reich Foreign Minister declared to the Polish
Ambassador on 27th March, 1939 - I again quote from
Ribbentrop Exhibit 163 on Page 335 of the document book -
that this attitude of Poland could not be the basis for a
settlement of these questions so far as Germany was
concerned. The corresponding passage is the next to the last
paragraph on Page 2 of this document, where it says:

  "In conclusion the Foreign Minister remarked that he no
  longer knew what to make of the attitude of the Polish
  Government. They had given a negative answer to the
  generous proposals which Germany had made to Poland. The
  Foreign Minister could not regard the proposal, submitted
  yesterday by the Polish Ambassador, as a basis for the
  settlement of the problems. The relations between the two
  countries were therefore more and more strained."

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this document.

So as to prove that the Anglo-Polish pact for Mutual
Assistance was clearly aimed against Germany, I submit to
the Tribunal as evidence Ribbentrop Exhibit 164, which is on
Page 338 of the document book. I quote the last two lines,
where it says:

  "... that the pact applied only in the case of an attack
  by Germany. The Polish Government affirms that this is

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the document.

The result of the Anglo-Polish agreement of 6th April, 1939,
which has been submitted by the prosecution as No. TC 72,
and which appears on Page 337 of my document book, was the
termination of the Polish-German agreement of 26th January,
1934, since Germany was convinced that the Anglo-Polish
guarantee declaration was contrary to the spirit of this

Subsequently there were a number of excesses against the
German minorities in Poland. The documents referring to this
are contained in my document book under Nos. 165 to 181. I
am asking the Tribunal to take judicial notice of these
numbers and to save time I shall limit myself to very short

I refer to Ribbentrop Exhibit 166, which states that serious
incidents occurred in Pommerellen, Njevo and Bromberg.

I also refer to Exhibit Ribbentrop 167 on Page 353 of the
document book. This document shows that in the last days
there was a public appeal in Warsaw for the boycott of
German trade and handicraft.

Furthermore, as evidence for my statement, may I refer to
Exhibit Ribbentrop 180, which is on Page 368 of the
Ribbentrop Document Book. May I read this brief report,
which I quote as follows:

  "During the last few months the German Foreign Office has
  continuously received reports from the German Consulate
  in Poland about the cruel treatment to which members of
  the German minority are subjected by the Poles, who are
  being more and more lashed into fury and have abandoned
  themselves to unbridled fanaticism. Details of especially
  grave cases have been given in Appendix 38."

From Document 181 on Page 369 of the document book, it
appears that these clashes, as a matter of fact, took place
with the knowledge and under the

                                                  [Page 228]

protection of Polish statesmen and high officials. As
evidence for this, I refer to Document 181, but for reasons
of time I am not going to read from it, but ask the Tribunal
to take judicial notice of it.

At the beginning of August, 1939, the German-Polish
relations suffered an acute crisis. As evidence of this I
present Ribbentrop Exhibit 188, on Page 381 of my document
book. The cause was actually a small one. There was an
argument regarding the functions of the customs officials on
the Danzig frontier. Because of this argument, the
diplomatic representative of the Polish Republic in Danzig
made a protest to the President of the Senate of the Free
City of Danzig. This protest is contained in Ribbentrop
Exhibit 188. It contained an ultimatum, which becomes clear
from paragraph 3 of the document.

On 7th August the President of the Free City of Danzig at
that time replied to this as appears in Ribbentrop Exhibit
189. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this
document also.

In Ribbentrop Exhibit 190, on Page 383, the Reich Government
warns Poland not to deliver any ultimatum. I ask the
Tribunal to take judicial notice of this document, and I do
not propose to read from it.

The next document I am presenting is Ribbentrop Exhibit 192,
which is on Page 385 of the document book. This is a
document from the Under-Secretary of State of the Polish
Foreign Ministry to the German charge d'affaires in Warsaw,
and it is dated 10th August, 1939. It appears from the last
two lines of the document that any intervention of the Reich
Government to the detriment of Danzig's rights would be
considered an aggressive act by Poland.

These notes created an even mote critical situation in
German-Polish relations. The Reich Government and its
departments attempted, in the time that followed, to avoid a
threatening conflict. As evidence of this I submit
Ribbentrop Exhibit 193, which is on Page 404 of the document
book, and I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of it.

This is a memorandum regarding a visit of the French
Ambassador to the State Secretary of the Foreign Office,
Weizsaecker. During that conversation the then State
Secretary, Weizsaecker, emphasised that Germany had no more
urgent wish than a German-Polish agreement regarding Danzig.
The French Ambassador assured him that his government would
co-operate in attempts to attain this.

I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this document,
Ribbentrop Exhibit 193, and the next document, No. 194, on
Page 406 of the document book.

The last document concerns the discussion between the State
Secretary and the British Ambassador, Sir Nevile Henderson,
during which the German State Secretary pointed out the
seriousness of the situation.

I read from Page 1 of the document, the third paragraph,
fifth line, the following sentence which characterises the

  "Danzig was only protecting itself against its

Apart from that, the State Secretary pointed out that the
situation regarding Danzig had now reached extreme tension.

The next document I refer to is Ribbentrop Exhibit 195, on
Pages 408 to 415, of the document book. This document refers
to a conference between Hitler and Ambassador Henderson on
23rd August, 1939. This conference is contained in
Ribbentrop Exhibit 199, on Page 422 of the Ribbentrop
Document Book. I also ask the Tribunal to take judicial
notice of this document and, so as to clarify the subject
matter of that conference, I am going to refer to Page 4 of
the document, where it says:

  "He once more drew attention to the Danzig and Polish
  Question in connection with which England's attitude was:
  'Rather war than something to Germany's advantage.'"

                                                  [Page 229]

The second paragraph after that reads

  "The Fuehrer stated that the fact that England opposed
  Germany in the Danzig question had deeply shaken the
  German people.
  Henderson then stated that one was merely opposing the
  principle of force, whereupon the Fuehrer wanted to know
  whether England had ever found a solution by negotiation
  for any of the idiocies of Versailles.
  The Ambassador had no reply to this, and the Fuehrer then
  stated that, according to a German saying, it took two to
  make a friendship."

Because of the tense relations the late British Prime
Minister Chamberlain wrote a letter on 22nd August, 1939,
directly to Hitler. This letter is Ribbentrop Exhibit 200 on
Page 426 of the document book. I ask the Tribunal to take
judicial, notice of this document also.

The next document is Ribbentrop, Exhibit 201, and it
contains Hitler's reply to the British Prime Minister

On 25th August, 1939, there was yet another meeting between
Hitler and Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson. That meeting is
contained in Ribbentrop Exhibit 202, which is on Page 431 of
the Ribbentrop Document Book. May I refer to paragraph 5,
where Hitler emphasised once more that

  "The problem of Danzig and the Corridor would have to be

On the following page, in paragraph 3 on Page 2, Hitler

   "But after the solution of this problem he is prepared
   and determined to approach England with a major, all-
   inclusive proposal."

This offer is contained in the same Document 202, in detail.

Henderson made an entry regarding this discussion in his
diary, which is Exhibit 195, and on Page 415 he refers to
the meeting of 25th August, 1939.

  "My interview with Hitler," says Henderson, "at which
  Herr von Ribbentrop and Dr. Schmidt were also present,
  lasted on this occasion over an hour. The Chancellor
  spoke with calm and apparent sincerity. He described his
  proposals as a last effort for conscience' sake to secure
  good relations with Great Britain, and suggested that I
  should fly to London myself with them."

Under No. 8, on the same Page, 415, Henderson continues to

  "Whatever may have been the underlying motive of this
  final gesture on the part of the Chancellor, it was one
  which could not be ignored ..."

The next document, which gives in detail the course of
events and the crisis which led up to the outbreak of war,
is Ribbentrop Exhibit 208, on Page 451 of the document book.
To the extent that I do not read from it, I ask the Tribunal
to take judicial notice of the entire document.

The first extract from this document, which is a telegram
from Lord Halifax to the British Ambassador in Warsaw, Sir
Howard William Kennard, states the following, and I quote:

  "Our proposed reply to Herr Hitler draws a clear
  distinction between the
  method of reaching agreement on German-Polish differences
  and the nature of the solution to be arrived at. As to
  the method, we wish to express our clear view that direct
  discussion on equal terms between the parties is the
  proper means."

This request for direct negotiations is an essential part of
the events which followed.

Under No. 5 of the same document, on Page 52 of the document
book, it
states as follows:

  "As the Polish Government appear in their reply to
  President Roosevelt

                                                  [Page 230]

  to accept the idea of direct negotiations, His Majesty's
  Government earnestly hope that, in the light of the
  considerations set forth in the foregoing paragraph, the
  Polish Government will authorise them to inform the
  German Government that Poland is ready to enter at once
  into direct discussions with Germany."

In the following document, which has the same number and is
on the same page, is a telegram from Sir Nevile Henderson to
Lord Halifax, which was dispatched on 29th August, 1939.
Great Britain's role is once more clarified. It says under
No. 3 of this document:

  "Note observes that German proposals have never had for
  their object any diminution of Polish vital interests,
  and declares that the German Government accepts mediation
  of Great Britain with a view to visit to Berlin of some
  Polish plenipotentiary. German Government, note adds,
  counts on, arrival of such plenipotentiary tomorrow,
  Wednesday, 30th August.
  I said that this phrase sounded like an ultimatum, but,
  after some heated remarks, both Herr Hitler and Herr von
  Ribbentrop assured me that it was only intended to stress
  urgency of the moment when the two fully mobilised armies
  were standing face to face."

These proposals, which I have previously submitted in a
special exhibit, had the following reaction in Great
Britain. I read from Page 453 of Ribbentrop's Document Book.
It is a telegram from Lord Halifax to Sir Nevile Henderson
of 30th August, 1939. It says:

  "We shall give careful consideration to German
  Government's reply, but it is, of course, unreasonable to
  expect that we can produce a Polish representative in
  Berlin today, and German Government must not expect

In the meantime the situation had become so serious that Sir
Nevile Henderson didn't consider it possible that Britain's
action would be successful. This is shown in the same
document on Page 454. This is a telegram from Sir Nevile
Henderson to Lord Halifax. I am reading only a short
quotation, to save time, from point 3 of the telegram:

  "While I still recommend that the Polish Government
  should swallow this eleventh-hour effort to establish
  direct contact with Herr Hitler, even if it be only to
  convince the world that they were prepared to make their
  own sacrifices for preservation of peace . "

The Polish Government was, nevertheless, not willing to
enter into direct negotiations. This can be seen from the
same document on Page 455, from which I will only read the
first three lines. It is a telegram from the British
Ambassador in Warsaw to Lord Halifax, and it states:

  "I feel sure that it would be impossible to induce the
  Polish Government to send Mr. Beck or any other
  representative immediately to Berlin ..."

In the same telegram the British Ambassador emphasises in
point 4, and I quote:

  "I am, of course, expressing no views to the Polish
  Government, nor am I communicating to them Herr Hitler's
  reply until I receive instructions, which I trust will be
  without delay."

Through the failure to pass on the German Government's
proposals to the Polish Government, direct negotiations were
frustrated. As evidence of the fact that the Polish
Government, too, had no intention of entering into such
direct negotiations, I refer to Page 465 of the same
document, which is a telegram from Lord Halifax to the
British Ambassador in Warsaw. Once more he is asking the
Ambassador to invite the Polish Government to enter into
direct negotiations.

                                                  [Page 231]

I will not quote from this document, but I will quote from
the next document, Page 466, which is an extract from the
British Blue Book, and which refers to the Polish reaction.
It is a telegram from the British Ambassador to Lord
Halifax, 31st August, 1939. I am going to read the first
three paragraphs of this document. From these paragraphs it
becomes clear what the Polish attitude was regarding the
possibility of direct negotiations. I quote:

  "Mr. Beck has just handed me in. writing Polish reply to
  my demarche last night;"

The second paragraph states:

  "I asked Mr. Beck what steps he proposed to take in order
  to establish contact with the German Government. He
  replied that he would instruct Mr. Lipski to seek an
  interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs or the
  State Secretary in order to say Poland had accepted
  British proposals. I urged him to do this without delay.
  I then asked him what attitude Polish Ambassador would
  adopt if Herr von Ribbentrop or whomsoever he saw handed
  him the German proposals. He said that Mr. Lipski would
  not be authorised to accept such a document as, in view
  of past experience, it might be accompanied by some sort
  of ultimatum."

This extract from the British Blue Book proves that, as far
as Poland was concerned, all possibilities of clarifying the
question of Danzig or the minorities were refused. In this
manner it was no longer possible for the German Government
or the British Government to discuss this question with
Poland any further. As evidence of further efforts I submit
to the Tribunal Ribbentrop Exhibit 209 on Page 494, of which
I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice; I will not quote
from it, or from Ribbentrop Exhibit 210, which I also offer
to the Tribunal for judicial notice.

The next document is Ribbentrop Exhibit 213, which is on
Page 504b of my document book. This last document is an
official German report regarding the subject and basis of
negotiations during the time of the Polish-German crisis.

Since Poland was unable to discuss these questions of Danzig
or the Corridor with Germany, a war arose between these two
countries. In my final defence speech I shall discuss
specifically the legal aspect of this war and its nature in
respect to International Law. What I want to state today is
that the lack of any effective international institution for
the alteration of the insufferable status quo was the final
reason which led to the outbreak of war in 1939.

The next group of documents which I am submitting to the
Tribunal are those which refer to the occupation of Denmark
and Norway by Germany. These are the documents, Ribbentrop
Exhibits 216a, on Page 509 of the document book; 216b, and
217. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of these
documents, and as far as evidence and the actual events are
concerned I refer to the documents and statements which my
colleague, Dr. Siemers, will submit to the Tribunal when he
speaks on behalf of Raeder.

The next group of documents are those which refer to the
occupation of Holland and Belgium. They are Documents 218
and the following on Page 518 of the document book. The
documents are contained in Document Book VII. So as to
explain the German viewpoint, I quote from Ribbentrop
Exhibit 218 in Document Book VII. I am going to quote the
following brief passages. Paragraph 2:

  "As the Reich Government has long been aware, the true
  aim of England and France is the carefully prepared and
  now immediately imminent attack on Germany in the West,
  so as to advance through Belgium and Holland to the
  region of the Ruhr. Germany has recognised and respected
  the inviolability of Belgium and Holland; it being a
  natural prerequisite that these two countries,

                                                  [Page 232]

  in the event of a war between Germany and England and
  France, should maintain the strictest neutrality.
  Belgium and the Netherlands have not fulfilled this

On Page 2 in the same document, under No. 8, reference is
made to the evidence which was known to the German
Government at the time and which I will submit in due course
in support of the assertion just made. It says:

  "Documents at the disposal of the German Government prove
  that preparations by Britain and France on Belgian and
  Netherlands territory are already far advanced.
  Thus for some time all obstacles on the Belgian border
  towards France which might hinder the entry of the
  English and French invasion Army have been secretly
  removed. Air fields in Belgium and the Netherlands have
  been reconnoitred by English and French officers, and
  their enlargement has been ordered. Belgium has made
  transport facilities available at the frontier, and
  recently advance parties of staff personnel and units of
  the. French and English Army have arrived in various
  parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. These facts,
  together with further information which has accumulated
  in the last few days, furnish conclusive proof that the
  English and French attack against Germany is imminent and
  that this thrust will be directed against the Ruhr
  through Belgium and the Netherlands."

As proof of these statements I refer to documents in
Ribbentrop Exhibits 221 and 229, which I submit to the
Tribunal for judicial notice. They are the Anglo-French
plans in preparation for violation of Holland's and
Belgium's neutrality in agreement with these countries.

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