The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/25

Q. After these things had been concluded did Frick in any
way attempt to smooth matters over?

A. To answer this question correctly, I have to say first
that on Saturday, 30 June, we at the Ministry of the
Interior knew very little about what had happened. On
Sunday, 1 July, we learned much more, and beyond doubt
Frick, after these bloody days had passed, had on the whole
a clear idea what had happened. Also during these days, he
made no secret of his indignation at the murder and unlawful
arrests which apparently had taken place. In order to stick
to the truth, I have to answer your question by saying that
the first reaction of the defendant Frick, which I knew
about, was that he put his name to that Reich Law in which
the Reich Ministers declared the events of 30 June to be
lawful. This law had an unprecedented psychological effect
on the further developments in Germany, and it has its place
in the history of German terror. Apart from this, many
things happened in the Third Reich which an ordinary mortal
could not understand, but which were well understood in the
circles of ministers and State secretaries. I have to admit
that after signing that law the defendant Frick made a
serious attempt to remedy at least the most obvious abuses.
Maybe he had thought it was up to other ministers in the
Reich Cabinet to open their mouths first. I am thinking here
of Reich War Minister yon Blomberg, two of whose generals
who were shot, and who, in spite of that, signed this law. I
intentionally mention Blomberg's name here and ask to be
permitted to pause here to tell the Tribunal about an
incident which occurred this morning. I was in the room of
the defendants' counsel and was speaking to Dr. Dix. Dr. Dix
was interrupted by Dr. Stahmer, counsel for Goering. I heard
what Dr. Stahmer told Dr. Dix.

DR. STAHMER: May I ask whether a personal conversation which
I had with Dr. Dix has anything to do with the taking of

THE WITNESS: I am not speaking -

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Don't go on with your evidence
whilst the objection is being made.

Yes, Dr. Stahmer.

THE WITNESS: I didn't understand you.

DR. STAHMER: I do not know whether it is in order when
giving evidence to reveal a conversation which I had with
Dr. Dix in counsels' room.

THE WITNESS: May I say something to that?

THE PRESIDENT: Will you kindly keep silent.

THE WITNESS: May I finish my statement?

THE PRESIDENT: Keep silence, sit.

DR. STAHMER: This morning, in the room of the defence
counsel, I had a personal conversation with Dr. Dix
concerning the Blomberg case. That conversation was not
intended to be heard by the witness. I do not know the
witness; as far as I remember I didn't even see him, and I
don't know whether

                                                  [Page 214]

it is in order, that a witness, when giving evidence, should
make public such a conversation.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: This incident has been reported to me
and I think it is important that this Tribunal know the
influence brought to bear, the threats that were made
against this witness in the courthouse while waiting to
testify here, threats that is, not only against him, but
against the defendant Schacht. Now, the affair was reported
to me. I think it is important that this Tribunal should
know it. I think it is important that it should come out. I
should have attempted to bring it out on cross examination
if it had not been told, and I think that the witness should
be permitted to tell it. These other parties have had great
latitude here. This witness has been subjected to threats,
as I understand it, which were uttered in his presence,
whether they were intended for him or not, and I ask that
this Tribunal allow Dr. Gisevius, who is the one
representative of democratic forces in Germany, to take this
stand and tell his story.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, the Tribunal would like to hear
first of all anything further you have to say upon the
matter. They will then hear what Dr. Dix has to say if he
wishes to say anything, and they will then hear whether the
witness himself wishes to say anything in answer.

DR. STAHMER: I have no qualms about telling the Tribunal
exactly what I said. Last night, I discussed the case with
the defendant Goering and told him that the witness Gisevius

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) We don't want to hear any
communications which you had with the defendant Goering,
other than those you choose to make in support of your
objection to this evidence that has been given.

DR. STAHMER: Yes, Mr. President, but I must say briefly:
Goering told me that it was of no interest to him if the
witness Gisevius did incriminate him but he did not wish
that Blomberg, who died recently - and I assumed it was only
the question of Blomberg's marriage - he, Goering, did not
want these facts concerning the marriage of Blomberg to be
discussed here in public. If that could not be prevented,
then of course Goering, for his part - and it is only a
question of Schacht, because Schacht, as he had told me,
wanted to speak about these things - would not spare

That is what I told Dr. Dix this morning, and I am sure Dr.
Dix will confirm that and if I may add -

THE PRESIDENT: We will hear you in a moment, Dr. Dix.

DR. STAHMER: I said - and I was not referring to Schacht, to
the witness or to anybody else present - I said, for reasons
of professional etiquette, that I would like to inform Dr.
Dix. That is what I said and what I did. In any case I did
not even know that the witness Gisevius was present at that
moment. At any rate, it was not intended for him. Moreover,
I was speaking to Dr. Dix aside.

THE PRESIDENT: So that I may understand what you are saying,
you say you had told Dr. Dix the substance of the
conversation you had had with the defendant Goering, and
said that Goering would withdraw his objection to the facts
being given if the defendant Schacht wanted them to be
given. Is that right?

DR. STAHMER: No, I only said that Goering didn't care what
was said about himself; he merely wanted the deceased
Blomberg to be spared and he didn't want things concerning
Blomberg's marriage to be discussed. If Schacht did not
prevent that - I was only speaking of Schacht - then he,
Goering for his part, would have no consideration for
Schacht, would no longer have any consideration for Schacht.
That is what I told Dr. Dix for reasons of personal

THE PRESIDENT: Wait, wait, I can't hear you. (Pause.) Yes.

DR. STAHMER: As I said, that is what I told Dr. Dix, and
that finished the

                                                  [Page 215]

conversation, and I made it quite clear to Dr. Dix that I
only told him that as one colleague to another.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. That is all you wish to say?


DR. DIX: I remember the facts, as I believe, correctly and
reliably as follows: This morning I was in the room of the
defence counsel speaking to the witness Dr. Gisevius. I
believe my colleague, Professor Kraus, was also taking part
in the conversation. Then my colleague Stahmer approached me
and said he would like to speak to me. I replied that at the
moment I was having an important and urgent conversation
with Gisevius, and asked whether it couldn't wait. Stahmer
said no, and that he must speak to me at once. I then took
him aside, probably five or six paces from the group with
whom I had been speaking. My colleague Stahmer told me the
following: It is quite possible - I don't remember the
actual words he used - that he started by saying that he was
telling me that for professional reasons, as one colleague
to another. If he says so now, I am sure that it is so.
Anyhow I don't remember it any more. He said to me "Listen,
Goering has an idea that Gisevius will attack him as much as
he can, but if he attacks the dead Blomberg then Goering
will disclose everything against Schacht and he knows lots
of things about Schacht which may not be pleasant for him.
He, Goering, had been very reticent in his testimony but if
anything should be said against the dead Blomberg, then he
would have to reveal things against Schacht."

That was what he meant - that he would bring things up
against Schacht. That was the conversation. I cannot say
with absolute certainty whether my colleague told me I
should call Gisevius' attention to that. If he says he did
not say so, then it is certainly true and I believe him, but
I could only interpret that information to mean that I
should notify Gisevius of this development threatened by
Goering. I therefore thought, and hadn't the slightest
doubt, that I was voicing Goering's intention, or was acting
as Dr. Stahmer wished, and that that was the purpose of the
whole thing. What else could be the reason for Dr. Stahmer
telling me at that moment, immediately before my discussion
with Gisevius, while I was in conversation with Gisevius,
that he could not wait, that I must break off my
conversation; why then should he inform me, unless he meant
that the mischief hinted at and threatened by Goering might
possibly be avoided; in other words, that the witness
Gisevius, on whom everything depended, should think twice
before making his statement. I hadn't the slightest doubt
that what Stahmer meant by his words to me was that I should
convey it to Gisevius. As I said, even if Stahmer had not
asked me - and he was certainly speaking the truth when he
said he did not ask me to take action - I would have
replied, if I had been questioned before he made this
statement, and that probably with an equally good
conscience, that he had asked me to pass it on to Gisevius.
But, no - no - I will not maintain that he actually used
those words. Anyway, it is absolutely certain that this
conversation did take place, and it was in the firm belief
that I was acting as Dr. Stahmer and Goering intended, that
I went straight to Gisevius. He was standing only five or
six steps away from me, or even nearer. I think I understood
him to say when I addressed him that he had heard parts of
it. I don't know whether I understood him correctly. I then
informed him of the gist of this conversation. That is what
happened early this morning.

DR. STAHMER: May I still say the following: It goes without
saying that I neither asked Dr. Dix to pass it on to
Gisevius, nor did I count upon his doing so, but I surmised
that Gisevius would be examined this morning and that Dr.
Dix would question the witness concerning the circumstances
of Blomberg's marriage. That is what I had been told
previously, namely, that Dr. Dix intended to put this
question to the witness. Therefore, I called Dr. Dix'
attention to it, assuming that he would abstain from such a
question concerning

                                                  [Page 216]

Blomberg's marriage. That was not intended for the witness
in any way and I know definitely that I said to Dr. Dix that
I was telling him this merely as one colleague to another,
and he thanked me for it. He said: "Thank you very much." At
any rate if he had told me: "I am going to tell the
witness," I would have said immediately: "Good God, that is
only information intended for you personally." Indeed, I am
somewhat surprised that Dr. Dix has in this manner abused
the confidence which I put in him.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, we have heard the facts and we
do not think we need hear anything more about it beyond
considering the question as to whether the witness is to go
on with his evidence.


Q. Witness, has the explanation which has been given by Dr.
Stahmer and Dr. Dix sufficiently covered the matters with
which you were proposing to deal with reference to Field
Marshal von Blomberg? Is there anything further that you
need say about it?

A. I beg your pardon. I believe I did not quite understand
the question.

Concerning Blomberg, I do not now want to say anything
further, but I intended to make it clear, the first time
Blomberg's name was mentioned, that the whole thing gave me
the feeling that I was being submitted to pressure. I was
standing so near that I could not help hearing what Dr.
Stahmer said, and the manner in which Dr. Dix told me about
it - for I had heard at least half of it - could not be
understood in any other way than to mean that Dr. Dix, in a
very loyal manner, instructed me as a witness for the
defendant Schacht, to be rather reticent in my testimony on
a point which I consider very important. That point will
come up later and has nothing whatsoever to do with the
marriage of Herr von Blomberg. It has to do with the part
which the defendant Goering played in a certain matter, and
I know quite well why Goering does not want me to speak
about it. To my thinking, it is the most rotten thing
Goering ever did, and he is just using the cloak of chivalry
by pretending that he wants to protect a dead man, whereas
he really wants to prevent me from testifying in full on an
important point, that is the Fritsch crisis.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will hear the evidence then,
whatever evidence you wish the witness to give.

THE WITNESS: I beg your pardon. What I have to say in
connection with the Blomberg case is finished. I merely
wanted to protest at the first opportunity mentioned.

THE PRESIDENT: Well then, counsel will continue his
examination and you will give such evidence as is relevant
when you are examined or cross-examined by Dr. Dix on behalf
of the defendant Schacht.


Q. Witness, after the events of 30 June, 1934, had the
position of the Gestapo become so strong that no measures
against it had any chance of succeeding?

A. I must answer this in the negative. The Secret State
Police doubtlessly gained in power after 30 June, but
because of the many excesses committed on that day, the
opposition in the various ministries against the Secret
State Police had become so strong that, in the event of a
collective action, the majority of ministers could have used
the events of 30 June to eliminate the Secret State Police.
I personally made repeated efforts in that direction. With
the knowledge of the defendant Frick I went to see the
Minister of Justice, Guertner, and implored him repeatedly
to use the large number of illegal murders as a reason for
action against the Secret State Police. I personally went to
von Reichenau also, who was Chief of the Armed Forces Office
at that time, and urged him in the same direction. I know
that my friend Oster brought the files concerning this
matter to the knowledge of Blomberg, and I wish to testify
here that in spite of the excesses of 30 June it would have
been quite possible at that time to return to law and order.

                                                  [Page 217]

Q. After that, what did the Reich Minister of the Interior
do-that is, what did Frick do - to get the Secret State
Police to steer a legal course?

A. We started a struggle against the Secret State Police and
tried at least to prevent Himmler from getting into the
Reich Ministry of the Interior. Shortly before Goering had
vacated the Ministry of the Interior to Frick, he had made
Himmler Chief of the Secret State Police in Prussia.
Himmler, starting from that basis of power, had attempted to
assume the police power in the other States of the Reich
(Laender). Frick tried to prevent that by taking the stand
that he, as Reich Minister of the Interior, had an equal
voice in appointing police functionaries in the Reich. At
the same time, we tried to prevent an increase in the
numbers of the Secret State Police by systematically
refusing all requests by the Gestapo to increase its body of
officials. Unfortunately Himmler here also, as always, found
ways and means to overcome this. He went to the Finance
Ministers of the individual States and told them that he
needed funds for the guard troops of the concentration
camps, the so-called Death Head Units, and he drew up a
schedule, according to which five S.S. men were needed to
guard one prisoner. With these funds Himmler financed his
Secret State Police, since of course he could decide how
many men he wanted to imprison.

In other ways also, we in the Reich Ministry of the Interior
attempted by all possible means to block the way of the
Gestapo, but unfortunately the numerous requests we sent to
the Gestapo went unanswered. Again it was Goering who
forbade Himmler to answer, and who covered Himmler when he
refused to give any information in reply to our inquiries.

Finally a last effort was made during my term of office in
the Reich Ministry of the Interior. We tried to cripple the
Secret State Police at least to some extent by introducing
into protective custody the right of review and complaint.
If we had achieved the right of review of all cases of
protective custody, we would also have been able to get an
insight into the individual actions of the Gestapo.

A law was formulated, and this law was first submitted to
the Ministerial Council of Prussia, the largest of the
States. Again it was the defendant Goering who, by all
available means, opposed the passing of such a law. A very
stormy cabinet meeting on the matter, ended by my being
asked to leave the Ministry of the Interior.

Q. Witness, I have shown you a memorandum -

THE PRESIDENT: This will be a convenient time to break off.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Justice Jackson, the Tribunal wish me to
say that it anticipates that you will put any questions
which you think necessary with reference to the alleged
intimidation of the witness when you come to cross-examine.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Yes, Sir; thank you.

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