The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/23

THE PRESIDENT: That was not the question. The question was
whether they were correctly stated, as a matter of fact. You
can answer that.

THE WITNESS: Yes ... no.

THE PRESIDENT: Which do you mean - Yes or no?

THE WITNESS: The decorations are correctly stated. Apart
from that, it is, not correct.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: I have no further questions to put.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Ludinghausen, do you wish to re-examine?

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: (counsel for defendant von Neurath):

Mr. President, yesterday afternoon, I had the feeling and
impression, probably not without reason, that Baron von
Neurath was visibly tired and strained after the previous
examination, and that he was no longer in a position to do
complete justice to the questions which were put to him.
This, after all, is not surprising, if one considers that
Herr von Neurath is in his 74th year, and besides that, is
also suffering from a fairly serious heart disease. I feel
obliged, therefore, to refer back to various points of the
cross-examination of yesterday and put a few questions to



Q. Herr von Neurath, you stated yesterday that because of
the excesses of the SA and other radical groups in 1933 and
later, you frequently protested to Hitler. What was the
reason? Why you remonstrated with Hitler directly and did
not raise your objections at the Cabinet meetings which were
still taking place at that time?

A. I had already learned from personal experience that
Hitler could not stand contradiction of any kind, and that
he was not amenable to any kind of petition if it was made
before a fairly large group, because then he would always
develop the complex that he was facing some sort of
opposition against which he had to defend himself. It was
different when one confronted him alone. Then, at least
during the earlier years, he was accessible, thoroughly
amenable to reasonable arguments, and much could be achieved
in the way of moderating or weakening radical measures.

Moreover, I should like to mention again that just after the
excesses mentioned in Mr. Geist's affidavit there was a
meeting of the Cabinet, during which strong protests were
raised against the repetition of such occurrences by various
ministers, including non-Nazi ministers. At that time,
Hitler thoroughly agreed with these objections, and declared
that such excesses would not be allowed to recur. Shortly
afterwards he also made a speech in which he publicly
expressed an assurance to this effect. From then until June,
1934, no more excesses took place.

Q. But in April, 1933, there was the well-known anti-Jewish
boycott, which lasted twenty-four hours, if I am not

A. Yes, that was one of Herr Goebbels's demands. But
actually there were no excesses and acts of violence
whatsoever on that occasion. It was confined merely to

Moreover, the fact that no further arguments arose in that
case was the result of a joint intercession by Herr von
Papen and myself with Hitler and especially with Hindenburg.
A perfectly correct description of this episode is to be
found, as I recall, in an article of Time for April, 1933,
which is also contained in my document book.

                                                  [Page 210]

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, it was submitted in my
Document Book 9.


Q. In connection with the events that occurred at that time,
arrests, and so forth, Sir David yesterday referred
particularly to the arrest of the well-known author
Ossietzky. Do you recall that this Ossietzky had already
been sentenced to a fairly long prison term by a German
court, even before the seizure of power?

A. Yes, I remembered that afterwards. I remember that even
before the seizure of power, I do not know under which
government Herr Ossietzky had been sentenced by a national
court to a fairly long term of imprisonment for high
treason, but he had not yet served it, and consequently was
arrested again.

Q. Now I should like to ask you another question with
reference to the report submitted by the prosecution
yesterday. It is the letter of Ministerial Director Koepke
of 31st May, 1934. That is Exhibit GB 668. In this report,
from the information noted down by Herr Koepke, do you see
any proof that the Foreign Office was drawn into the
subversive activities of the Austrian Nazis?

A. No, not at all. This has to do with a report which
Ministerial Director Koepke made to me about a visit by Herr
Wachter, whom he described as an Austrian with a sense of
responsibility. This Herr Wachter had tried to establish a
connection with the Foreign Office and with Hitler in order
to draw attention to the dangers arising from the growing
radicalism of the Austrian Nazis. The head of the Political
Department, Herr Koepke, identifies himself with Wachter
regarding these apprehensions and agreed to make an oral
report to that effect.

I do not think that anyone can doubt that my attitude was
not quite the same as that of Herr Koepke, and I passed this
report on to Hitler in order to draw his attention to the

Q. The prosecution - or rather, Sir David - referred
yesterday to reports which deal with the treatment of the
Czech problem by you and Frank. This is Document 3859-PS, a
letter which you sent to the Chief of the Reich Chancellery,
Lammers, on 31st August, 1940, for the preparation of your
oral report to Hitler. Were these reports, that is, the ones
drafted by Frank, identical with the memorandum mentioned in
the Frederici document of 15th October?

A. Yes, apparently these are the same reports.

Q. Now, during your examination you spoke about the
Frederici document, which you said was based on plans of the
SS, Party circles, and the Gauleiter of the Lower Danube
district, regarding a deportation of Czechs to the eastern
territories. You went on to say that in order to stop these
plans, which you yourself described as nonsensical, you got
Frank to prepare this memorandum, in which a less radical
solution was recommended, and that this, later, had also
been approved to a certain extent by Hitler, and that in
reality nothing happened, which was what you intended, and
that the idea of incorporation had practically been buried.
Is that right?

A. Yes, that is true. The whole affair and the origin of
these memoranda are extremely difficult to explain. It can
only be understood from the entire domestic political
development. The efforts of the Gauleiter of the surrounding
districts to partition the Protectorate had proceeded rather
far. They had all submitted memoranda and Herr Himmler
backed them up. All these memoranda envisaged a radical
solution of these problems, and, therefore, there was reason
to fear that Hitler would comply with the wishes of these
Gauleiter. In order to stop him, I had to make several
proposals which I myself had said were impracticable, and I
identified myself with them primarily so as to declare them
absurd later on.

That is the only explanation of the origin of these
memoranda. I did not draft the memoranda myself, but that
was done in my office, in accordance, to be sure, with
instructions given by me.

This was, however, and I should like to emphasize this
expressly, a purely tactical manoeuvre to reach Hitler,
because I was afraid that he would follow the

                                                  [Page 211]

radical suggestions made by Himmler and his associates. I
did actually manage to get Hitler to issue a strict order -
which is what I had requested - to the effect that all these
plans were no longer to be discussed, but that only the so-
called assimilation plan was left, which could only be
carried out over a period of years and, as a matter of fact,
nothing more happened, and that was exactly what I was
aiming at.

Q. A decree was submitted by the prosecution yesterday,
which was issued to the German authorities in the
Protectorate, regarding the treatment to be given to the
German-Czech problem publicly. That is Document 3862, dated
27th June, 1941.

Is that in any way connected with these memoranda or the
discussion you had with Hitler about it?

A. Yes, it is most closely connected, and I think I said so
yesterday. In the following year the same agitation started
all over again for this Germanisation and partitioning of
the Protectorate, and I opposed it, and, once the question
was decided, I prohibited it from being reopened.

Q. A document was submitted yesterday, as Exhibit USSR 487,
of the Chief of the Security Police, addressed to State
Secretary Frank, dated 21st July, 1943, that is to say,
after you had resigned. From that document the prosecution
are attempting to draw the conclusion that you, in
accordance with a decree dated 5th May, 1939, used the
leader of the SA and Security Police in Prague as your
political adviser.

In what way did he act in this capacity? Did he act at all?

A. No, he did not; that is just it. It is clearly apparent
from this letter of reminder, dated 21st July, 1943, that he
never became at all active in this respect.

MAJOR-GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, I should like to
state here that the question was incorrectly put. This
document is not dated 1943 or 1942, but 21st July, 1939.

A. May I remark here that it makes no difference, as nothing
had happened. I did not appoint any political adviser.


Q. What measures followed Documents 3851-PS and 3858-PS,
which were introduced yesterday by the prosecution, and
which were proposals submitted by various departments and
department heads of your administration regarding the
utilization of labour of the students who became unemployed
through the closing down of the Czech universities?

A. I have already told you yesterday that this apparently
concerned a suggestion by an adviser which never even
reached me, but was rejected by my assistant State Secretary
before it got to me. Just how I could possibly be held
responsible for the contents of a draft submitted by an
adviser, I cannot understand.

Q. Now I should like to put one more question to you
regarding the German-Austrian agreement of 11th July, 1936.
As is mentioned in a report by Dr. Rainer to Burckel, which
the prosecution has already submitted - I refer to Document
PS-812 - is it correct that Hitler, immediately after the
signing of that agreement, had personally declared to Dr.
Rainer and the Austrian Nazi Leader Globocnik that this
agreement of 11th July, 1936, was signed by him in all
honesty and sincerity, and that the Austrian National
Socialists too should under all circumstances adhere
strictly to it, and that they were to let themselves be
guided by it in their conduct toward the Austrian

A. Yes, that is correct. As I think I said to you yesterday,
I believe I can also remember that Rainer actually confirmed
it here when he was on the witness stand.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. von Ludinghausen.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: One last question, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: He answered these questions perfectly
clearly, according to his view, yesterday.

                                                  [Page 212]

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Yes, I have finished now, except for
one more question, which will conclude the entire
examination of my client.


Q. The prosecution and also Sir David brought the following
charge against you yesterday. They charged that although by
your own admission you were not in agreement with the Nazi
regime and its methods, and although you considered many of
the things that occurred reprehensible and immoral and
abhorred them, you did not resign, but remained in the
Government. Will you please explain that to us once more?

A. I have already mentioned that I had given my promise to
Hindenburg to enter the Government and to remain there as
long as it was at all possible for me to follow a moderate
course that did not favour the use of violence, and to
protect Germany from warlike developments. That was my task
and nothing else. But it was not only this promise I had
given to Hindenburg that bound me to this office, but also
my sense of duty, and my feeling of responsibility towards
the German people - to protect them from warlike
developments as long as it was at all possible. Beside these
considerations, all my personal wishes, which were quite
different, had to take second place.

Unfortunately, my power and influence as Foreign Minister
did not extend far enough to enable me to prevent pernicious
and immoral actions in other spheres, as for instance, that
of domestic policy, although I did try in many cases, not
least of all in the Jewish question itself.

However, I considered that my highest duty was to carry out
the work assigned to me and not try to avoid it, even if in
another sphere where I had no influence, things occurred
which hurt me and my conscience very deeply.

There may be many people who have different ideas and a
different attitude to mine. I experienced similar attacks
when I placed myself at the disposal of a Social Democrat
Cabinet in the year 1919 after the first revolution; at that
time, too, the strongest attacks and the most serious
accusations were made against me.

Q. Yet you yourself have struggled hard with your
conscience, you have often told me.

A. Yes, of course I have. It is not easy to belong to a
government with whose tendencies you do not agree, and for
which one is to be made responsible later on.

DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, this completes my
examination. I would suggest we adjourn now and then I might
be permitted to begin the examination of my witnesses.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you have some questions to ask?

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I ask permission for my client to
be absent from the session this afternoon and tomorrow,
because I have important questions to discuss with him.

THE PRESIDENT: The defendant von Ribbentrop?

DR. HORN: Von Ribbentrop, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

DR. HORN: Thank you.

DR. THOMA (counsel for the defendant Rosenberg): Mr.
President, yesterday afternoon General Raginsky asked
whether Rosenberg interfered in Neurath' s foreign policy.
The interpreter has just told me that she erroneously
transmitted Rosenberg's name instead of that of Ribbentrop.
In order to clarify the situation, may I be permitted to ask
Herr von Neurath whether his foreign policy was interfered
with by Rosenberg.

                                                  [Page 213]

THE WITNESS: No, in no way. I never talked to Rosenberg
about matters of foreign policy.

DR. THOMA: Then I ask that the transcript be corrected

THE PRESIDENT: The record will be corrected.

BY THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Justice Biddle):

Q. I want to ask you just a very few questions. You will
remember that the Baroness yon Ritter said that after 5th
November, 1937, you recognized - I want to read it exactly:

  "When Herr von Neurath had to recognize for the first
  time from Hitler's statement on 5th November, 1937, that
  the latter wanted to achieve his political aims by using
  force towards neighbouring States, this shook him so
  severely mentally that he suffered several severe heart

That is a correct description; is it not, of what you then

A. (Nods head.)

Q. Now, you stated that you spoke immediately after that
meeting to General Beck and General yon Fritsch. Do you

A. Yes.

Q. And I think you said to Sir David that you did not speak
to the defendant Goering. What I am asking you now is
whether you spoke of what Hitler had said to anyone else
during the next two or three months. Did you speak to anyone
in the Foreign Office?

A. I spoke to my State Secretary.

Q. And to whom else from the Foreign Office?

A. No one, for Hitler had laid down the Condition that
silence should be preserved about all of these meetings; and
for that reason I did not speak to my assistants about them.
They knew nothing. They had learned nothing from the
military men, either.

Q. Did you speak to the defendant Papen when you saw him

A. No. I believe I did not see him at all at that time.

Q. And did you discuss it with anybody else before your

A. No.

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