4000bce - 399
400 - 1399
1400 - 1499
1500 - 1599
1600 - 1699
1700 - 1799
1800 - 1899
1900 - 1999
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has considered the question of the time to be taken by counsel in their concluding speeches. The provisions of Article 18 of the Charter directing the Tribunal to confine the Trial strictly to an expeditious hearing must be observed, and counsel clearly could not be permitted to speak at any length they choose. Necessity dictates that there must be some limitation, or this already lengthy Trial might be prolonged beyond all reason.
The Tribunal understands that the Prosecution will voluntarily limit their concluding speeches to 3 days in all, and some voluntary limitation should be made by Counsel for the Defense. The evidence for the defendants has been fully heard in great detail, and what is now needed is not a detailed analysis of the evidence but a concise review of the main matters.
The Tribunal wishes to make clear that no admission will be inferred from failure to mention any particular matter in argument. On this view, in the opinion of the Tribunal, the speeches of the Counsel for the Defense-including the speech to be made on behalf of all the defendants on the' submission of law-should be concluded in 14 days in all. This will allow the Defense double the time taken by the Prosecution, both in opening and in summing up. By mutual arrangement between counsel, these 14 days could be apportioned as they think fit; and the Tribunal would prefer that they make the apportionment rather than make the apportionment itself.
The Tribunal expects, therefore, that Counsel for the Defense will prepare their speeches in accordance with what I have said and will advise the Tribunal as soon as possible of the apportionment of time that they have made. If they find themselves unable to agree on this apportionment, the Tribunal will give further consideration to the matter.
The Tribunal desires also to point out to counsel-both for the Prosecution and for the Defense-that it will materially help the
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Tribunal if counsel would submit translations of their speeches at the time they make them.
That is all.
DR. OTTO NELTE (Counsel for Defendant Keitel): Mr. President, the decision which you have just announced to us has surprised the Defense, since they have not been previously heard with reference to this question. This appears to us to be all the more regrettable since the decision is against the most elementary rights of the Defense, because it prevents us from stating in Court what, in this most important Trial, has to be said with regard to the defendants and the problems with which they are confronted.
At this moment we are not yet in any position to survey the entire material. If I were to state, without wishing to forestall the other defendants' counsel the case of the Defendant Keitel as an example, you will understand that the material alone which has appeared after the cross-examination puts me in an extremely difficult position. I am sure that a large number of the other defendants' counsel will also share my opinion that these matters cannot be dealt with collectively. While every attempt should be made to deal comprehensively with these matters, nevertheless, in my opinion, the cases of the individual defendants should be dealt with separately.
Fourteen days appears to me a very short time. In practice, it is almost impossible to make a fair apportionment, that is, to deal properly with the individual questions.
Might I suggest, therefore, that the decision which you have just announced-I am not sure whether it was only a suggestion- should be reconsidered after consultation with the Defense. Without wanting to anticipate the argument which the whole Counsel for the Defense intends to offer; I wish, nevertheless, formally to raise objection now to the decision limiting the Defense beyond the limits of what is possible.
THE PRESIDENT: Do counsel either for the Prosecution or the Defense wish to make any other observations to the Tribunal upon this subject?
MR. DODD: Mr. President, I would like to state that I take exception to Dr. Nelte's argument. What I wish to say very briefly is that with respect to Dr. Nelte's argument that a restriction in time with respect to the final argument is a violation of a fundamental right of these defendants, I wanted to call the Tribunal's attention that in our country it is, I would say, rather common practice for our courts to restrict counsel in time in final argument, as the Tribunal has pointed out.
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THE PRESIDENT: Does any other counsel wish to make any other observations?
DR. OTTO FREIHERR VON LUDINGHAUSEN (Counsel for Defendant Von Neurath): Mr. President, to begin with, I should like to make some remarks regarding the limit imposed upon our time. If we are limited to 14 days, then that means approximately 4 hours per defendant for our final speeches. But in reality these 4 hours are not 4 hours, since, because of the technical arrangements in this courtroom, we are forced to speak much more slowly than we would speak in a direct final speech, in a free statement. That is to say, from the 4 hours left to us on an average, we must deduct the time which we lose through having to speak more slowly. In my opinion, 4 hours would in reality amount to only 3 hours.
Mr. President, I believe that if you consider these facts you will agree with us that in these 3 hours we cannot possibly do justice to all the material available for every defendant, and thus fulfill that purpose which the final address is intended to fulfill.
The main purpose of this Tribunal, which is unique in history, is to establish the truth; but we cannot establish the truth by merely making an arbitrary selection of individual actions. Our main task must be to show what led to these individual actions. Accordingly, it is for me in my capacity as defense counsel for the Defendant Von Neurath, who Divas the responsible leader of the foreign policy of the Reich until 1938, to show that all the actions of which my client is accused were logically and unavoidably the outcome of the circumstances as they developed. This sequence of historical events explains everything that happened up to the day when my client handed in his resignation. But I can make that clear only if I am able to present the different stages of development, at least in broad outline. Moreover, Gentlemen, if you take into consideration that I still have to deal with the activities of my client as a Reich Protector, which for legal reasons is not altogether as simple as it might appear, you will no doubt admit that I cannot possibly do that in a period which is tantamount to only 3 hours.
I want to say to the statement of the American prosecutor, that we are not before an American court here. I have just been trying to make inquiries about this, and there is no information to the effect that in international tribunals, such as, for instance, the Hague Courts, or the courts in Egypt, a limitation has ever been imposed upon the duration of the final speeches of the defense. That is why I beg to take into consideration that we are not before an American court here but that this is an international tribunal and that this International Tribunal goes far beyond anything that
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has existed before. It also goes far beyond the task of any military tribunal in Germany which has up to now dealt with small particles of this tremendous complexity, and never have the military tribunals imposed a time limit upon the defense when making their final speeches.
Gentlemen, if you take all this into consideration, then I hope you will allow me to ask you once more to reconsider your decision and not have us give the impression that we are not able to do our duty in presenting our cases for our clients.
GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): Gentlemen of the Tribunal, I will only add very little to what my colleague Mr. Dodd has already said. The penal code of our country admits the right of the tribunal to impose limitations upon both the prosecution and the defense in their final plea.
I believe that the argument of the Defense, to the effect that this decision of the Tribunal is putting limits on their rights and is unjust, is unfounded. In practice the Defense is already submitting evidence now in the case of their clients and has every opportunity to give a complete presentation. I believe, Gentlemen of the Tribunal that justice does not consist in the endless conduct of the present Trial.
I therefore uphold the argument of Mr. Dodd and consider the decision of the Tribunal quite just.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Mr. President, will you please permit me to make a brief statement? At no stage of the proceedings can the duration of a trial be foreseen.
At the beginning one cannot foresee the time required and therefore one cannot limit the time which the taking of evidence will require. Neither can the following stages of the proceedings, the length of the statements presented by the Defense, be forecast and cannot therefore be limited. The value of the Defense-and, after all, that is the only reason why a defense is included ire these proceedings at all-is that a man who is given that professional task and who possesses the necessary qualities must be able to put before the Tribunal all the material which, after long hours of work and intimate conversations with his client, he has found worthy of presentation.
That must be done through such an intermediary; and to what extent he should state his case is something that he, as an expert, must be able to decide. Nobody participating in the proceedings, whether of the Tribunal or of the defendant's counsel, can even approximately foresee what might be necessary in this connection.
That is why I believe that no dates should be fixed for the case for the Prosecution or the hearing of evidence or the case
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for the Defense. During the other stages of this Trial we have had to contend with the same difficulties. In limiting the proceedings as to time we can only be guided by what is relevant and expedient. Thus in this Court we have witnessed again and again how the President has steered the proceedings with skill and benevolence, always keeping them within the necessary limits. I cannot understand why the same procedure should not be applied to the final speeches, and I believe that the self-discipline which naturally every experienced counsel applies to himself, will keep the speeches within suitable limits. But I honestly believe that no one, with the exception of the immediate participant, and he probably only after all the evidence has been heard, can anticipate how much time will be required; and this, in my opinion, precludes the imposing of a time limit at this stage. If the statement made by the Tribunal should be considered as a suggestion to limit our speeches-and in this connection we are particularly grateful for the indication given as to the way the evidence should be handled- then by following the Tribunal's suggestion we shall most certainly be able to impose upon ourselves a limitation which will do justice to all parties.
THE PRESIDENT: I don't propose to go fully or at all into the argument which led the Tribunal to make the announcement which I made this morning, but I think it would be desirable for Counsel for the Defense, before they make any formal objection to that announcement, to study it. But I do desire to say on behalf of the Tribunal that that announcement was not made without consultation both with Counsel for the Prosecution and Counsel for the Defense and that was done in closed session; and we heard both Counsel for the Prosecution and counsel whom we understood to be representative counsel for the Defense, and they made the suggestion which they thought right to us at that time, and we fully considered it. We intimated to them that they should draw the attention of their brethren to what passed at that hearing in closed session. Therefore, it is entirely inaccurate to say, as Dr. Nelte did, that the announcement was made without hearing Counsel for the Defense.
I only desire to add to that that in the circumstances the Tribunal will give further consideration to the matter, but the suggestion made in the announcement was that the 14 days, which the Tribunal thought sufficient for the speeches for the defendants, should be apportioned voluntarily among counsel. Those 14 days are full days and will not be taken up at all by any argument on the organizations; and until the defendants' counsel have attempted to make that apportionment, it must be obviously impossible for them to know whether they will be able to make
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their speeches, which are not speeches that are necessarily detailed examinations of the evidence but are arguments drawing the attention of the Tribunal to the main points which they desire to draw the attention of the Tribunal to. It will not be possible for them to know whether they can make their speeches satisfactorily within the 14 days. The Counsel for the Defense ought, therefore, to go into the matter together, as the Tribunal understood they were doing, and see whether they can satisfactorily present their speeches within that time. All the arguments which have been presented to us this morning were fully presented to us by Counsel for the Defense who appeared before us at the closed session, one of whom has addressed us this morning.
Now the Tribunal will go on with the hearing of the case.
[The witness Rainer resumed the stand.]
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, in answer to the last question put by the American prosecutor yesterday you stated that you wrote your letter with a certain purpose, and I now ask you what that purpose was?
RAINER: Some time after the Anschluss there were hostile activities, intrigues against Dr. Seyss-Inquart and some other people. They came from dissatisfied radical elements in Austria and the Reich. They took advantage of Dr. Seyss-Inquart's hesitant attitude on 11 March, his clinging to the revolutionary line and to the principles of the two agreements between the two States, to accuse him of being a separatist or even worse...
DR. STEINBAUER: Perhaps, Witness, you can be a little more brief.
RAINER: These people seemed to be dangerous, because Burckel and, I believe, Heydrich too, were behind them. I considered these attacks to be unfair and therefore I brought out certain facts and arguments and worded my report in such a way that the addressees would understand it and be calmed down.
DR. STEINBAUER: So that, if I have understood you correctly, in this letter you sought to stress the merits of the Party on the one hand, and to claim indulgence for Seyss-Inquart on the other hand?
RAINER: Yes. That is how I would express it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, my second question. In this letter you mentioned that Seyss-Inquart had taken a letter of ultimatum to Schuschnigg. Have you any recollection to the effect that he himself dictated it and had this letter written in his office?
RAINER: Dr. Steinbauer, you mean the letter of ultimatum written in the afternoon of 11 March?
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DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, that is the one.
RAINER: I believe that that letter was written in his of lice and I also believe I participated in writing it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Then you go on to say, in the letter put to you by the prosecutor, that, through the collaboration of Dr. Jurv and Dr. Leopold, Seyss-Inquart had become State Councillor. I ask you whether Dr. Jury and Dr. Leopold had any influence at all on Schuschnigg?
RAINER: No, that cannot have been the intention.
DR. STEINBAUER: The prosecutor, in support of his statement yesterday, submitted a second document. It was a speech which you had made as Gau speaker in Carinthia. Do you remember that?
DR. STEINBAUER: Was that a typical Gau speech? I mean, from the point of view of the propaganda of Goebbels? A speech which gives prominence to one's own merits and disparages one's opponents?
RAINER: I would not say that. It was a comradely meeting of the Old Guard on the occasion of the 11th of March. We drank beer and there was music and I described events rather like telling a stole; I spoke for a very long time; in fact, it was the longest speech I ever made. I spoke more than 3 hours. I spoke suite freely and without any notes, and the shorthand record which is submitted here appears to me not to tally with my statements on every point.
DR. STEINBAUER: You mean, therefore, that it was more your intention to procure an effect upon the members of the Party than to write history?
RAINER: Yes, of course.
DR. STEINBAUER: Thank you very much. That is enough for me and I have no further questions.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: During the cross-examination yesterday it was mentioned that on one occasion you were with Von Papen at Garmisch. What did you talk about to Von Papen at the time, and how did that conversation come about at all?
RAINER: Dr. Seyss-Inquart and I had been invited to Garmisch by the Reich Sport Leader. The German-Austrian Alpine Club was to be discussed. Together with Von Tschammer we were watching the bobsled races at the Riesser Lake and there we met Von Papen. Herr Von Papen, Seyss-Inquart, and I then walked from there to Garmisch, and on the way we discussed the political situation and the . . .
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THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, you don't need to give the details of it. I suppose the point of the question is that the conversation was not political. Is that the point of the question?
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The conversation was political, but it is a question of the type of political conversation it was.
Perhaps, Witness, you can confine yourself to the facts. You just said it was an accidental meeting. You were coming back from the bobsled track. What did you talk about?
RAINER: We talked about the situation in Austria, about the pacification of the country; and while we did not exhaust the subject, we did discuss other matters which interested us and which dealt with the immediate future.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: So that nothing was discussed which could not have been put before the Austrian public?
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Were these matters in keeping with the July Agreement?
RAINER: Yes, of course they were.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: But then, in the course of the speech which has already been mentioned, you said that you had been with others in Von Papen's apartment on the evening of 9 March 1938. I should like to know whether that was a prearranged meeting or whether it was a more or less chance meeting?
RAINER: It was just a casual meeting. I do not remember who arranged it. The conversation dealt, naturally, with the situation arising out of Schuschnigg's plan for the plebiscite, which was an entirely new and most surprising move, so that we had to think it over from every point of view and clarify it by discussion.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What stand did Von Papen take during that conference?
RAINER: I remember that Von Papen, who just happened to be in Vienna that evening, acted in a reserved way. I think he considered that an affirmative vote would have met the situation perfectly.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What reason had you for thinking he considered that an affirmative vote was plausible and necessary? Was it for practical reasons or was it due to the plebiscite which the Austrian Government had suggested?
RAINER: It was because of the plebiscite.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Once again, my question is: Would the matters which were discussed have led one to believe it was a specially called conference, or rather was it a social gathering
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during which political questions cropped up and this topical matter came up for discussion?
RAINER: It was a casual meeting which had been improvised because Von Papen's presence in Vienna coincided with the new political situation.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Were any resolutions passed?
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STEINBAUER: With the permission of the Tribunal I shall now call the witness Dr. Guido Schmidt.
[The witness Schmidt took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name.
GUIDO SCHMIDT (Witness): Dr. Guido Schmidt.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, what positions did you hold in the Austrian Republic?
SCHMIDT: I was a diplomat by profession. I was in the Austrian Foreign Service under Dr. Seipel and for about 6 years I was a member of the Austrian Legation in Paris. In 1936 I was recalled and assigned to the Austrian State for service with the diplomatic corps and the Foreign Office. In 1936 I became State Secretary under Dr. Schuschnigg, and later Foreign Minister.
I was a member of the Schuschnigg Government until his resignation by violence. From that time on, I had no political activity.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, what were the reasons in regard to foreign policy and economics which led to the Agreement of 11 July 1936?
SCHMIDT: At the beginning of 1936, the situation of Austria with regard to foreign policy had changed to Austria's disadvantage. After the events of July 1934, England, France, and Italy drew up a three-power declaration at Stresa concerning the maintenance of Austrian independence. Over and above the international obligations existing up to that time, the three powers now set up a new guarantee for the maintenance of Austria, the Stresa Front, which during the whole year of 1935 gave protection to Austria. The collapse of the Stresa Front, as a result of Mussolini's
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Abyssinian enterprise, meant for Austria the loss of the only practical international guarantee, and for Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg the creation of a completely new situation. According to his conception of foreign policy, Austrian independence should rest not only on the shoulders of Italy, but if possible on other shoulders as well, that means of England and France. Then there were difficulties resulting from the developments of the situation in Europe from 7 March 1936, the day on which Adolf Hitler started his surprise tactics by occupying the Rhineland without encountering serious resistance from the Western Powers. This gave the Austrian Government cause for anxiety and fear lest some day the Austrian question as well might be solved by surprise or, as we later saw, by violence.
These are the reasons we must give if we are asked about the considerations on which the agreement was based. There was also the rapprochement between Rome and Berlin which began at this time and was due to the sanctions policy of the League of Nations. Austria, lying between Italy and Germany, had to expect that one day that Austrian-Italian friendship, which had existed since the time of Dollfuss, would fall victim to the closer relationship between Rome and Berlin.
For this reason and for other considerations, Dr. Schuschnigg sought a means to improve relations, that is, to restore relations, between Austria and the German Reich.
It would perhaps be useful in this connection to give a few of the guiding rules of Austria's foreign policy. The underlying idea was the maintenance of Austrian independence. Austrian foreign policy was furthermore based on the knowledge of the extremely difficult and delicate geographical situation of the country between two totalitarian states, at the crossroad of European ideologies. Therefore, it had to be the task of Austrian foreign policy to reach an understanding with her big neighbor, the German Reich. The foreign policy further had to be based on the determination to avoid everything that could lead to a conflict with the German Reich, to avoid everything that could antagonize the Reich, in order to prevent any violent action which, after 7 March, was to be feared.
There were reasons in practical politics which were decisive in this determination to restore relations with the German Reich, to the ethnographic area of which we belonged, relations which had been unnaturally interrupted. Apart from the reasons of foreign policy, there were also economic considerations. Because of Austria's economic constitution, which, although alive, was nevertheless extremely weak, the world economic crisis had affected Austria very seriously.
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This can be understood only if we look back to the beginnings of this young state. From the very start, all Austria's neighbors had carried on an economic policy of egotism, of chauvinistic self-interest, and in no case had it been possible to reach really close co-operation of all the Danube countries. It is true that some separate agreements had been reached, such as the Rome Protocols; but the mutual distrust which all had brought from their former home, their common home, the Austrian Monarchy, continued to exist and obstructed any healthy development.
From 1931, the beginning of the world economic crisis, there were a number of attempts to relieve the situation. I will mention them one after the other. It begins with the attempt of the Government to create a customs union, which failed because of the resistance of the League of Nations. In 1932, there was an attempt by France to bring Austria and Hungary into the Little Entente and to reach economic co-operation here. Germany and Italy opposed this. England was also against it. In 1933, the economic crisis was aggravated by the internal struggle against National Socialism. That also had its effect on the economic life of Austria) because the economic life of Austria was also used as a weapon in the internal struggle.
THE PRESIDENT: This is undoubtedly interesting, but it has rather a remote bearing, perhaps, upon the questions which the Tribunal has to decide. I don't know whether the witness has dealt with it sufficiently for your purposes.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, in this presentation of the facts I wanted to show that from the economic and foreign policy point of view the situation was such that the role of the defendant was forced into the background; but we can continue now.
Witness, will you speak quite briefly.
SCHMIDT: An this led to the breaking off of economic relations with the German Reich, and now Austria's life and death struggle for economic existence entered upon a very serious phase. Because of these considerations, that is, for economic reasons, too, Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg attempted to reach an agreement with the German Reich and to restore economic relations which had been completely broken off, to remove the "1,000 mark blockade," to restore tourist traffic, to restore the flow of economic goods, to silence the complaints which were coming from the provinces in Austria because of the lack of a market for agricultural products, wood, grain, cattle and so forth. These were, generally speaking, the main considerations.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, I now ask you: Did Dr. SeyssInquart help in preparing or concluding this Agreement of July 1936?
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SCHMIDT: No. The Chancellor worked with Glaise-Horstenau who represented the so-called National Opposition.
THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid there is a defect in the sound equipment, so we had better adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, in the spring of 1937 Seyss-Inquart entered politics, and presumably you met him then.
SCHMIDT: Yes, I met him first in the summer of 1937.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, I shall go on, and I should like to ask you what reasons in domestic and foreign policy led to the well-known meeting between Adolf Hitler and Dr. Schuschnigg in Berchtesgaden.
SCHMIDT: This question calls for a detailed answer. I ask for permission to express myself in somewhat more detail.
By New Year 1938, the Austrian foreign policy situation had become worse. Italy had entered into an engagement in Spain in favor of Franco, which reduced still further her military and political influence in Central Europe. What we called "The Watch at the Brenner" had in effect ceased to exist, and Germany had more or less a free hand with regard to Austria.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the Tribunal has common
knowledge of the history of this time. It is not necessary, really, to go into it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, I should like to ask you to tell me if you were present at the Obersalzberg at that time.
SCHMIDT: Yes, I should like to add, if I am to pass over the historical events-that is how I understood the question-that the Federal Chancellor accepted the invitation in order to prevent Austria's being reproached for having refused a peaceful attempt to clear up existing differences between Austria and the German Reich. The Chancellor was by no means optimistic, the more so because the existing differences of opinion were very great and also because of the personality of his partner in the talks. I recall that Schuschnigg, before leaving for this meeting, told me that he was of the opinion that instead of him it might have been better to send Professor Wagner-Jauregg, the greatest psychiatrist of Vienna; but he believed, in view of the exposed position of Austria, that he had to accept in order to forestall a coup and to gain time until the international situation should improve in Austria's favor.
Unfortunately, we were right. Our fear of a coming attack or of coming difficulties was justified. The fear that Austria would
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be left entirely alone was also justified. The realization of the fact that we were completely deserted was perhaps one of the primary reasons which carried greatest weight with Schuschnigg together with the need of bridging over this difficult period and gaining time. Austria had to tread this path in the dark winter days from the end of 1937 until March 1938 without the hope of any immediate or prospective assistance. And then we came to Berchtesgaden.
DR. STEINBAUER: As Foreign Minister, did you inform the big powers of the events of Berchtesgaden?
SCHMIDT: Yes. Contrary to frequent press reports, the interested big powers were informed in detail both before and after Berchtesgaden. I gave all the material to the head of the political section to whom the diplomatic corps applied first. The Federal Chancellor himself and I gave detailed reports to the accredited foreign representatives in Vienna and drew their attention to the dangerous situation of the country.
THE PRESIDENT: Forgive my interrupting you. We don't want the details. You said you informed the foreign powers beforehand and after. That is sufficient.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now we return to the defendant. Did Dr. SeyssInquart take part in these talks?
SCHMIDT: What talks?
DR. STEINBAUER: The talks in Berchtesgaden.
DR. STEINBAUER: He became Minister of the Interior and Police Minister, and went to see Hitler in Berlin. Did he report to Schuschnigg the substance of his first talk with Adolf Hitler?
SCHMIDT: I do not know, but I do know of individual statements by State Secretary Zernatto, the head of the Fatherland Front, from which I can conclude that a conversation between Minister Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart, at which this talk was mentioned, must have taken place.
DR. STEINBAUER: It can therefore be assumed that, through Zernatto, Schuschnigg also learned of it?
SCHMIDT: Yes, I assume so.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now we will pass over events until we come to March. Schuschnigg planned a plebiscite. Do you know whether Schuschnigg informed Seyss-Inquart of this and discussed it with him?
SCHMIDT: Yes, Seyss-Inquart was informed of it. I learned that an agreement between Seyss-Inquart and the Federal Chancellor was reached on or about 10 March. The Chancellor told me that
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Seyss-Inquart had declared himself willing to speak on the radio in favor of the election.
DR. STEINBAUER: When Glaise-Horstenau reported that there was a threat of invasion, did you, in your capacity as Foreign Minister, inform the foreign powers of this?
SCHMIDT: Yes. I did not receive a 'direct report from Glaise-Horstenau. I learned of the critical situation only from the ultimatum which demanded the cancellation of the plebiscite planned by the Federal Chancellor on 13 March. From then on there was constant contact during 11 March with the diplomatic corps in Vienna and later, during the hours which followed, with our foreign representatives also.
DR. STEINBAUER: Then the demands of the German Reich followed closely upon one another. Especially, the demand was made that Schuschnigg should resign. The ministers were assembled, and a member of the Government is said to have told SeyssInquart the following: "We now see clearly that the Reich is putting an end to Austria. It would be best for Seyss-Inquart to take over the office of Chancellor so that the transition may at least be bearable."
Do you remember such a statement?
SCHMIDT: No. Only later did I hear of a statement by Minister Glaise-Horstenau which contained this request to Seyss Inquart.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you have the impression that with the farewell speech of Schuschnigg, the Fatherland Front which was directed by him had also collapsed?
SCHMIDT: I believe the question does not quite fit the situation. The resignation of the Chancellor was demanded by ultimatum; and finally the State itself was taken over, so that the Fatherland Front no longer existed. With the entry of the German troops, National Socialism had become a reality and developments showed that it did not permit the Fatherland Front to live any longer.
DR. STEINBAUER: Seyss-Inquart was then appointed Chancellor. Me set up his Cabinet; and you, Witness, were proposed as Foreign Minister, is that correct?
SCHMIDT: That is correct. I refused. I was approached again, and I refused again, and I was asked to give my reasons. SeyssInquart told me that he intended to keep Austria independent as long as possible; but he was afraid that with his Government, which had a National Socialist majority, he would encounter difficulties in the West. Therefore, he wanted to retain my diplomatic experience and connections for the Government. He added
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that he intended to create a broader platform for this Government by calling in positive Austrian representatives.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you find the names of such positive Austrians on the list of ministers?
SCHMIDT: There were names of such men. I have been puzzled about it myself, but I cannot recall any individual names with any certainty.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know why another list of ministers was drawn up which was the final list?
SCHMIDT: In the evening State Secretary Keppler arrived from Berlin; and as I learned later, he rejected me, and others too, I believe. I think I can remember one name. I believe that he suggested at the request of Berlin that Weber should take over the Foreign Ministry. Thus this list was discarded and Seyss-Inquart no longer tried to persuade me to go back on my decision.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you believe that Seyss-Inquart had the intention of keeping Austria independent, even under National Socialist leadership?
SCHMIDT: As a witness, I can only say what I know. Opinions are very difficult to express. I have stated what he told me.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions to put to this witness.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: According to a statement by the American Ambassador in Vienna at that time, Mr. Messersmith, Herr Von Papen, at the beginning of his activity in Vienna, is said to have stated that his real task in Vienna was the economic and political incorporation of southeast Europe into Germany, and that south. east Europe was the natural hinterland of Germany.
Did you, Witness, ever hear of such a statement?
SCHMIDT: No. In view of the close contact which I had already with Mr. Messersmith before my appointment as a member of the Government, and especially later, I would probably have heard of it. I assume, however, that no special significance was attached to this question at the time, because in first visits between diplomats, as a rule, a tour d'horizon is usually made and questions are discussed which interest both countries, that is, general political questions. Nor did I observe later that a southeast Europe policy was being carried on from the German Legation.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: According to Mr. Messersmith, Herr Von Papen is supposed to have said at that time that he was working to weaken and undermine the Austrian Government.
Did the witness Messersmith report such a statement by Herr Von Papen to you?
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DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did the Austrian Government consider it advisable and necessary to normalize relations with the Reich by an agreement in July 1936?
SCHMIDT: Yes. I have already explained the reasons for conducting a realistic policy which were of an economic nature and based on foreign policy.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In these and in later negotiations, did the international political situation, particularly the settlement of the Party question, also have a part in deciding this?
SCHMIDT: Of course, it was the task of the Government to ease inner political tension. The Federal Chancellor had to try to find a way out of the difficult situation which he had inherited from Dollfuss by liquidating the inner political fronts.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Do you believe that Herr Von Papen concluded the July 1936 Agreement with treacherous intent?
SCHMIDT: No, I have no reason to disbelieve that he considered this agreement a serious endeavor to create a modus vivendi between Austria and the Reich. The fact that it resulted in a modus male vivendi does not alter this.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did the Germans complain that after the Agreement of 11 July 1936 there was no essential change in the inner political course of the Austrian Government?
SCHMIDT: Yes, many reproaches were made; and thus we come to the last and the real cause of the conflict with the Reich. The struggle against National Socialism within the country in the interests of maintaining the independence of the country and, on the basis of the Agreement of 11 July, insuring co-operation with the German Reich, whose leaders were-National Socialists-these were the two imperative demands which, after a time, the Austrian Government found to be irreconcilable. This also explains the difficulties encountered by all persons entrusted with carrying out this agreement in Vienna, including the German Minister.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: As a result of these conditions, particularly those arising out of the July Agreement, were questions of internal policy, such as questions of policy and personnel of the so-called National Opposition, the subject of discussions between the Federal Chancellor and Herr Von Papen?
SCHMIDT: The situation as just described shows that such discussions were unavoidable; and tallies on the inner political situation also took place between the Chancellor and the German Minister, as well as with the Italian Minister, in a general way that is not unusual. I know of no diplomatic memoirs which do not contain
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such entries. The Chancellor would never have tolerated interference of any kind. In questions of personnel Schuschnigg was especially reticent, because, if I may say so, he was afraid of "Trojan Horses."
That, more or less, represents the situation which was discussed in talks between the Chancellor and the German Minister.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did Herr Von Papen make it clear that he was opposed to the methods of the illegal Party?
SCHMIDT: Yes. According to the information received by the Government, Papen opposed the leaders of the illegal Party, that is, Leopold in particular. This was doubtless due to fundamental differences, differing political ideas and differing political methods, which Von Papen on the one hand and the leaders of the illegal Party on the other were determined to pursue.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did Herr Von Papen, on the basis of the July Agreement, ever adopt an aggressive attitude in Austrian foreign policy?
SCHMIDT: There existed between Austria and the Reich, not only in cultural and inner political relations, but also in the field of foreign policy, irreconcilable differences of opinion. I will only mention the demand of the Reich that Austria should leave the League of Nations, which we rejected by pointing to the fact that Austria, by reason of her geographical position and her history, had a continental mission, and also to the loans received from the League of Nations. A second point was Austria's attitude. . .
THE PRESIDENT: Is this at all answering the questions that you have put to him?
DR. KUBUSCHOK: He is introducing the answer to the question.
THE PRESIDENT: Try and get on with the answer to it, will you? Get the witness on to the answer rather than the introduction.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to know whether Herr Von Papen took advantage of the opportunities for an aggressive intervention in Austrian foreign policy in the individual cases mentioned by you.
SCHMIDT: I wanted to say that in spite of the deeply rooted differences this did not occur and that an ambassador with a more radical point of view would certainly have had the opportunity and the occasion to adopt a more severe attitude towards Austria. There was not a single case where we reached an agreement with the German Reich on a joint foreign policy. Von Papen did remind us of that, but that was all. As for aggression, or aggressive activities, I cannot say anything about this.
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DR. KUBUSCHOK: On the contrary, did Herr Von Papen act on occasion as mediator? I would like to recall the Pinkafeld case.
SCHMIDT: The Pinkafeld flag incident is an example of Von Papen's activity as mediator. In itself it was a minor incident, but it led to threats of invasion by Hitler. Von Papen was called to Berlin and had a great deal of difficulty in calming down Hitler's fury, who, as I said, threatened to invade Austria.
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, if it is convenient to you, it would be more convenient to the Tribunal if you spoke a little faster.
SCHMIDT: He succeeded in settling the matter and there were no consequences.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: He settled the matter. Did Herr Von Papen speak to you about the reasons for his being recalled on 4 February 1938?
SCHMIDT: On the occasion of a visit on the 5th he expressed his astonishment-and I might say his anger-at his being recalled, which in his opinion and also in our opinion was due to the events of 4 February 1938, the dismissal of General Von Fritsch and of 30 other generals, and the dismissal of Von Neurath. He thought that Austria would not be unaffected either, especially in view of the man who had been proposed to succeed him. At that time, Burckel or Consul General Kriebel was proposed. That was approximately what Von Papen said to me and I believe also to the Federal Chancellor.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Then he believed and feared that his successor would adopt a more severe policy against Austria?
SCHMIDT: That conclusion was inevitable in view of the two persons just mentioned.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did Von Papen take part in the pressure exerted on you and Schuschnigg in the Berchtesgaden talks?
SCHMIDT: No, he did not.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: On the contrary, did he not, insofar as he had any opportunity of taking part in the negotiations, attempt to tone down Hitler's demands?
SCHMIDT: In view of the atmosphere of violence which prevailed and the program of demands which was presented, this was not difficult. I believe that he, like many others who were present, endeavored to restore calm and thus enable the negotiations to proceed in an atmosphere of reason.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In the course of the negotiations, a number of concessions were made. Do you believe that Von Papen's attitude and his part in these negotiations had a restraining effect, and led to your obtaining these practical results?
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SCHMIDT: His attitude on the whole was no doubt mediatory. One cannot speak of success at Berchtesgaden as far as the result is concerned; but that is not Von Papen's fault.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, do you think you will be able to finish in a few moments?
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes.
[Turning to the witness.] In order to answer my question I believe it would be better if you would not consider the final result of Berchtesgaden but rather the fact that Hitler had presented to you a very large program of demands going far beyond the final results, and if you would consider that actually some points which were of great importance to you were changed in the course of the negotiations.
SCHMIDT: As far as there was any help coming from the other side it came from Von Papen.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Do you perhaps recall that the Hitler-Schuschnigg negotiations were especially violent because Hitler was trying to win Schuschnigg over to his German attitude and Von Papen came to Schuschnigg's aid and thereby put Schuschnigg in a better position to negotiate than at the beginning?
SCHMIDT: I was not present for the first hour or two of the talk. I cannot answer the question.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: My last question is this: Did Herr Von Papen, after 26 February, the day on which he took leave of the Austrian President, still carry on any official activity in Vienna?
SCHMIDT: No; the Vienna Embassy was administered by the Charge d'Affaires, Embassy Counsellor Von Stein, who made the two official demarches of the Reich, on the afternoon of the 9th or the morning of the 10th, against the plebiscite planned by Schuschnigg. Von Stein, together with General Muff and State Secretary Keppler, also handed to the Austrian President the ultimatum demanding the resignation of Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg. This shows that Ambassador Von Papen was no longer active.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will recess until a quarter past two.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1415 hours.]
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THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will not sit on Saturday.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I ask the indulgence of the Court and have permission to put one more question to witness Schmidt, a question which I had overlooked putting before the recess?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Witness, in November 1937, in the course of measures introduced against the illegal movements, certain materials were confiscated which were given the name "Tafs papers." Is Herr Von Papen referred to personally in these "Tafs papers"?
SCHMIDT: As far as I can recollect, a number of documents were discovered one after the other along with this material which we called the "Tafs plan." I think I can remember that in one of these documents Papen was mentioned. An attempt on the life of the German Ambassador to Vienna was to be the cause for internal disturbances in Austria, which were to be followed by repressive measures by the Government; and then later this was to lead to measures on the part of the German Reich. I cannot remember the details of that plan any more.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Thank you.
DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: With the permission of the Tribunal, I should now like to put a few questions to this witness.
Dr. Schmidt, when and on what occasion did you meet Herr Von Neurath?
SCHMIDT: I met Von Neurath in November 1937 in Berlin, where I paid him a visit in response to his invitation.
DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Can you tell us what attitude Von Neurath, as German Foreign Minister, had with regard to the relations of the German Reich with Austria? In particular, can you tell us his views regarding the Agreement of 11 July 1936? In this connection I should like to draw your attention to the fact that the Prosecution has alleged that, as it is expressed, Von Neurath concluded this agreement in a deceptive way.
SCHMIDT: During the few times I met Von Neurath he always expressed the view that he was in favor of an independent Austria, and together with this he wanted the closest possible co-operation in the foreign political, economic, and military spheres. Our negotiations always proceeded on the basis of the 11th of July Agreement, and differences of opinion arose only about the interpretation of the agreement. Neurath, on behalf of the German Government, held that the agreement should, if possible, work actively in his interest, while we, for defensive reasons, preferred
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a different interpretation. At any rate, Neurath rejected means of violence and followed approximately the line of an Austria which was independent, but as close as possible to Germany.
DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: What was Neurath's attitude toward the extreme factions of the Party in the Reich which, in practice, followed a policy of intervention in the internal affairs of Austria?
SCHMIDT: As I already mentioned, Neurath rejected methods of violence, and with them the methods of intervention, and also the methods of the illegal party in Austria. From conversations which I had with him I believe that I can state this unequivocally. This is also attested by his complete rejection of the activity of State Secretary Keppler and Veesenmeyer, who were certainly among the pioneers of the new development in the Southeast and primarily in Austria. The expressions which he used in that connection allow no doubt regarding his attitude.
DR. VON LUDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
DR. ALFRED SEIDL (Counsel for the Defendants Frank and Hess): Mr. President, may I have permission to represent my colleague Dr. Stahmer, who is absent, and put a few questions on behalf of Defendant Goering to the witness?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
DR. SEIDL: Witness, you have just stated that in November 1937 you paid an official visit to Berlin?
DR. SEIDL: On that occasion, did you also talk to the then Field Marshal Goering?
DR. SEIDL: Is it correct that even at that time Field Marshal Goering already told you that the Austrian problem could only be solved by the complete union of the two sister nations, that is to say, by the annexation of Austria to the Reich, and that he for his part would do everything to achieve that end?
SCHMIDT: It was not told me in those words. The former Reich Marshal probably did refer in an insistent way to close co-operation with Austria, but a demand for an Anschluss was not mentioned, as far as I can remember. As an illustration of that, I might say that at that time the events of 25 July 1934 were discussed. I expressed the view that the Agreement of July 1936 ought to put a final touch to that development, and Reich Marshal Goering stated that he had called the wire-puller of this affair to account-I believe
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he mentioned Habicht-and had banished him to some obscure part of Germany. From this remark alone it appears, therefore, that there can have been no talk of an Anschluss. The former Reich Marshal welcomed the development caused by the 11th of July 1936, that is, that a full stop had been put to the then existing development, which one had to describe as a state of war, as it had been up to the 11th of July 1936.
DR. SEIDL: Is it correct that on the morning of the Anschluss, that is to say, the morning of 12 March 1938, Goering had you come to Berlin by airplane?
SCHMIDT: No. That was either Monday or Tuesday; it must have been the 15th or 16th.
DR. SEIDL: When you were in Berlin, did he put the question to you whether you yourself or Schuschnigg had asked for help from foreign powers, military help, on the day before the Anschluss?
SCHMIDT: I cannot remember having heard that question.
DR. SEIDL: You stated this morning that with the Anschluss National Socialism in Austria became a reality. I now ask you, was not National Socialism also a political reality in Austria even before the Anschluss?
SCHMIDT: Yes, certainly a political reality, but I am talking of a political reality in the sense of an organized power in the State.
THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid you are going a little too fast- well, I do not know what it was. Anyhow, you had better repeat it, because the interpreters do not seem to have it.
DR. SEIDL: The question was whether or not National Socialism in Austria had been a political reality even before the Anschluss, and I put this question with reference to the fact that the witness had said this morning that National Socialism did not become a reality in Austria until the German troops marched in.
SCHMIDT: By the term "political reality" I meant that National Socialism had then got the State power into its hands, because until then it represented a prohibited party, which of course after the agreement of February 12 was supposed to be drawn within the framework of the Fatherland Front for responsible co-operation in political affairs.
In other words, I wanted to show the basic change which came about for National Socialism with the arrival of the German troops.
DR. SEIDL: Now, one last question: After the Anschluss, did you not repeatedly tell the Reich Marshal that the Fatherland Front, on the occasion of the Anschluss, collapsed like a house of cards?
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SCHMIDT: Yes; of course, I cannot remember individual statements, but the collapse of the Fatherland Front did naturally come about when the Chancellor resigned. The Fatherland Front was the gathering point of the resistance, and with 11 March the resistance collapsed.
DR. SEIDL: I have no further questions.
The; PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution want to cross-examine?
MR. DODD: Dr. Schmidt, when, for the first time-if you know- did the Defendant Von Papen suggest to Chancellor Schuschnigg that he, Schuschnigg, have a meeting with Hitler?
SCHMIDT: Late in the autumn of 1937-it must have been November-Von Papen made the suggestion for such a meeting. These discussions did not, however, have any concrete results at the time. The official invitation was brought by Von Papen on or about 6 or 7 February, after he had returned from his visit to Hitler. I heard about the invitation on that day.
MR. DODD: Will you also tell us if you know whether or not Von Papen assured Schuschnigg that this meeting would be restricted to very well-defined points, and that it would concern itself only with matters that were agreed upon between Schuschnigg and Von Papen before the conference took place?
SCHMIDT: The Chancellor himself demanded exact wording for the agenda of the conference, that is, as a basic topic the 11th of July, the final removal of existing differences, and so on and so forth. That had been agreed between Von Papen and Schuschnigg.
MR. DODD: And did Von Papen assure Schuschnigg that the meeting would proceed favorably for Austria?
SCHMIDT: Assure him? No. But a declaration was given by Von Papen to the effect that the situation at the time was favorable. In this connection, Von Papen referred to the conditions such as had been created on 4 February: He believed then that Hitler would need a foreign political success, following these events, and so a certain success could be scored by the Chancellor for a low price.
MR. DODD: Of course, what I am trying to clear up here-and you can answer briefly, which, I think, will help us-is that: You and Schuschnigg had the impression that advantage would accrue to you and to Austria if you attended the meeting, is that not so?
SCHMIDT: I said earlier that the Chancellor was not optimistic. An improvement of the situation, therefore, was hardly expected, only a removal of the existing differences.
MR. DODD: Now, the night before you left for Berchtesgaden, you had a conversation with a man by the name of Hornbostel, is that so? The Minister.
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MR. DODD: And had you already had a conversation with SeyssInquart that same evening, you and Schuschnigg?
SCHMIDT: It is possible. During those days, repeated discussions took place.
MR. DODD: Well, maybe I can help you a little. Do you not recall that Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart were drawing up a memorandum of some sort about domestic questions, while you and, I believe, Hornbostel, or someone else, were preparing a paper or papers on international matters or matters of foreign policy? Does that help you any?
SCHMIDT: I could not understand.
MR. DODD: Well, I am referring to the time when you and some of your associates were preparing a memorandum of some sort about the foreign questions, and Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart were preparing papers about domestic affairs. You remember that, do you not?
MR. DODD: Now, you were alarmed that night about Says Inquart, were you not?
MR. DODD: And why were you alarmed? What was the cause of your alarm? What did you fear at the hands of Seyss-Inquart?
SCHMIDT: The drafts which I saw before my departure and which had been worked out by Zernatto and Seyss-Inquart as a basis for a part of the political discussions appeared to me to be politically useless and impracticable. It was my impression that two men were at work here who perhaps enjoyed making up stories, but who did not do justice to the seriousness of the situation. There were expressions used, such as the difference between the Austrian National Socialist ideology and the National Socialist. But there is no difference. An Austrian National Socialist ideology can only be National Socialist. I criticized these matters in one of my talks.
MR. DODD: Will you agree that he was in some kind of combination with Hitler and that bad things would result from it for Austria? By "him" I mean Seyss-Inquart.
SCHMIDT: No, at that time I had no fear that there was a secret agreement between Hitler and Seyss-Inquart.
MR. DODD: Now, when you got to Berchtesgaden the next day, you found that much of the material that had been discussed
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between Zernatto and yourself and Seyss-Inquart and Schuschnigg was the basis for Hitler's demands on Schuschnigg, is that not so?
MR. DODD: And were you not convinced, at least that day, that Seyss-Inquart had been in communication with Hitler some time before you got to Berchtesgaden and had communicated to him these basic demands?
SCHMIDT: We merely had the impression that the basis for this conference was a draft which had been prepared by men who knew the conditions. Therefore, this list of demands was based on a large portion of the Zernatto-Seyss-Inquart agreements. The entire program of demands had not been made known to us previously.
MR. DODD: You and Schuschnigg represented Austria that day at Berchtesgaden?
MR. DODD: Hitler, Von Papen, Von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Sperrle, and Reichenau, is that not so, were there for Germany?
MR. DODD: You and Von Papen and Schuschnigg rode from the border together in the same railroad coach, did you, to Berchtesgaden?
MR. DODD: And in the course of that...
SCHMIDT: Whether Papen was in the same coach I am not sure, but we were together on the way back.
MR. DODD: Well, he was on the train, was he not, whether he was in the same coach or not? Did he not get on the train at the border and ride on with you and Schuschnigg?
SCHMIDT: That I no longer know.
MR. DODD: Did he not meet you at the border?
SCHMIDT: He was waiting for us at the border.
MR. DODD: Perhaps I am confused, but what I am getting at is a particular conversation that you and Schuschnigg had with Von Papen, either right at the time you met him at the border, or in the course of your trip up to Berchtesgaden, when he told you that, "Oh, by the way, there are going to be a few generals up here. I hope you would not mind." Do you remember Von Papen saying that?
SCHMIDT: Well, generals were mentioned, yes. Schuschnigg had said-whether Keitel's name was mentioned, that I can no longer remember-that he would be there.
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MR. DODD: Well, it was rather casually said, and you did not have any opportunity to object at all, did you? And up to that time you had not known there were to be military men there?
SCHMIDT: No, up to then we did not know.
MR. DODD: Now, you got to Berchtesgaden at what time of day? Early in the morning or midmorning? What time of the day?
SCHMIDT: In the course of the morning.
MR. DODD: Yes, and I wish you to tell the Tribunal, as well as you can, just what happened there that day. We have heard much testimony about this meeting at Berchtesgaden, and you are the first person on the stand who was actually there. I guess that is not so-Keitel was there also. Well, but at any rate, you participated in the discussion. How did the discussion start?
SCHMIDT: To begin with, the discussion started with a conversation between Hitler and Schuschnigg. That conversation took place privately, so that neither I nor the other gentlemen were present. Later, the gentlemen were called in individually, and then there were also conferences without Hitler with the then Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, during which the points of the program which had been submitted to us before were discussed. In the course of these conversations, individual demands were canceled.
MR. DODD: While Hitler and Schuschnigg were talking, who were you talking with, if you were talking with anybody, or what were you doing?
SCHMIDT: I was together with the other gentlemen whom you have already mentioned; some of us were in the large hall and some of us sat and waited in the anteroom right outside the room where the four-man conference was taking place.
MR. DODD: Did you talk to Von Ribbentrop, for example' while Schuschnigg was talking to Hitler? What was going on there? What were you talking about with Ribbentrop, if you were talking to him?
SCHMIDT: In the afternoon session we went through the list of demands with Ribbentrop-I did that partly on my own-and I succeeded in having certain points eliminated.
MR. DODD: Well, during the morning-I wish you would limit yourself to time here, so that we will know the exact sequence of events. During that morning session between Hitler and Schuschnigg were you just sitting around in an informal conversation or were you actually in conversation about Austria and Germany with Ribbentrop or with anybody else?
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SCHMIDT: Not in the morning, no, because we, or at least I, had not yet seen the program, and the political talks could only take place on the basis of the demands presented by both sides.
MR. DODD: Well, there were recesses, were there not, so to speak, between the conferences, and during those recesses, did you not have a chance to talk to Schuschnigg? During those few intervals?
SCHMIDT: Yes, after about an hour Schuschnigg came out, gave me a summary of the situation, and discussed it with me.
MR. DODD: Tell us what he told you, right there at first hand.
SCHMIDT: He first of all described the atmosphere, the violence of the language used, and then said that the demands which had been presented had the character of an ultimatum.
MR. DODD: Try to tell us what he said if you remember. What did he say about the atmosphere, about the language used? That is what we want to know.
SCHMIDT: First of all, he began with the greeting he had received. He said that the Fuehrer had accused him of not being a German, or that Austria was not following a German policy. It had always been so, even during the time of the Hapsburgs. He also held the Catholic element in Austria responsible for this. Austria was always a stumbling-block in the way of every national movement, and the same was true today. Then Hitler also mentioned the fact that Austria had not left the League of Nations. Then there were very serious arguments between Hitler and Schuschnigg personally, during which the Federal Chancellor felt that even he personally was being attacked badly. The details of this conference I cannot now remember, but the atmosphere, according to the Federal Chancellor's description, was extremely rough.
MR. DODD: You had luncheon there, I assume, at midday or shortly after?
SCHMIDT: After the conference, at or about 12:00 or 12:30, there was a joint luncheon. Here there was a perfectly normal tone of conversation again. In the meantime the tense feeling had subsided once more.
MR. DODD: Now, was Schuschnigg quite a heavy smoker?
SCHMIDT: You mean then, or when?
MR. DODD: I mean at that time, of course.
SCHMIDT: Of course, Schuschnigg was a heavy smoker.
MR. DODD: Now, we have heard that during that day of conferences, he was not permitted to smoke, until you pleaded with Ribbentrop to let him have one cigarette. Now, what about that? Is that so, or is that a story?
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SCHMIDT: We were told at the time that there could be no smoking in Hitler's presence. That is true. Then I tried to find a chance for the Chancellor to be allowed to smoke one cigarette. Whether I asked Ribbentrop about it I cannot remember exactly, because that detail was not of any importance.
MR. DODD: Well, all right. Anyhow, at this conference did Schuschnigg tell you that Hitler demanded that Seyss-Inquart should be made Minister of Security of the Government?
SCHMIDT: That was one of the demands on the program.
MR. DODD: Made by Hitler?
MR. DODD: Did he also demand that Glaise-Horstenau be named Minister for the Army?
SCHMIDT: That was the second position which was demanded.
MR. DODD: Did he also demand that certain expelled students from the universities in Austria be reinstated?
SCHMIDT: Yes, the expelled students were to be pardoned and admitted to the universities.
MR. DODD: And certain discharged officials were to be reinstated in their offices?
SCHMIDT: That too.
MR. DODD: Second, certain discharged members of the police forces of Austria were to be restored to their places as well?
SCHMIDT: That was included in the chapter "Acts of Reprieve.'' Accordingly, officials who had been discharged from executive positions were to be returned to status again.
MR. DODD: Were there also demands made with regard to currency exchange and customs unions?
SCHMIDT: Yes, economic demands of this kind were discussed The expression customs union itself was not used. However, there were demands that came close to it.
MR. DODD: Now, as soon as Schuschnigg heard these demands of course, you knew that the conference was exceeding the limitations that had been placed upon it by the agreement between Von Papen and Schuschnigg, did you not? You knew that right away?
SCHMIDT: Yes, the program was more far-reaching than we expected, that is quite true, but I do not know whether Von Paper knew the program beforehand. I assume not.
MR. DODD: Well, I did not ask you that, but that is all right if you want to say something for Von Papen. My question it
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however: Did you not immediately go to Von Papen or did you not go to Schuschnigg and say: "There, this is not what you told us we came here to do"? Did you not have any such conversation
with him during one of these recesses?
SCHMIDT: Of course, statements were made to the effect that this program was more far-reaching than we had expected.
MR. DODD: What did Von Papen say?
SCHMIDT: We had the impression that Von Papen himself was unpleasantly affected by certain points.
MR. DODD: Did he not suggest, however, that you agree to Hitler's terms?
SCHMIDT: Papen certainly recommended that the final conditions be accepted, that is, after we had already obtained some of the concessions because in his opinion an agreement ought to be reached. The Federal Chancellor, too, gave his personal word, because he did not want to go away without a result being reached, so as not to endanger Austria's position.
MR. DODD: Now, also, Hitler agreed that he would dissolve the new National Socialist Party in Austria, did he not? Did he not assure you that day that he would do so?
SCHMIDT: Yes, indeed.
MR. DODD: That he would recall Dr. Tafs and Dr. Leopold, the leaders of the Nazi Party in Austria?
MR. DODD: And also, you agreed to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Minister for Security?
SCHMIDT: The Chancellor agreed with this decision.
MR. DODD: And you agreed to take men by the names of, or men like, Fischbock and Wolf, into the Austrian press service?
SCHMIDT: They were to be admitted. Fischbock was to be in the Ministry of Commerce, and Wolf in the press section. Nothing was said about the form in which that was to take place.
MR. DODD: And you agreed also to try to absorb some of the National Socialists into the Fatherland Front, to absorb them into your own political group?
SCHMIDT: The expression "some of the Nazis into the Fatherland Front" does not meet the situation. It was the question of incorporating the National Opposition-which at that time was described as the Austrian National Socialist ideology-into the Fatherland Front, and so insure the co-operation of this entire group in the political life of Austria.
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MR. DODD: All right; now, Hitler told you that you had until 15 December to accept his terms, did he not? I mean, 15 February.
MR. DODD: And he told you that if you did not do so, he would use force?
SCHMIDT: The ultimatum was-yes, it was an ultimatum-to the effect that Hitler intended to march into Austria as early as February, and was still prepared to make one last attempt.
MR. DODD: And what about these generals, were they walking in and out while the conference was going on? Men like the Defendant Keitel?
SCHMIDT: The generals were called in several times.
MR. DODD: Were you and Schuschnigg frightened? Did you think at one time that you were to be taken either into custody or to be shot?
SCHMIDT: We were worried that possibly we might not be allowed to leave, yes; but that we might be shot, no.
MR. DODD: Well, do you remember Schuschnigg telling you, when on your way back to Vienna, that he was frightened when Keitel was called in, that Schuschnigg thought he was going to be shot, or something drastic was to be done to him, and you told Schuschnigg that you, too, were frightened at that time, that the end had come, or words to that effect?
SCHMIDT: No, I do not remember that conversation. There was never any talk about shooting, but as I have already said, we were just afraid. The Chancellor was also of that opinion that if the negotiations did not go well we might not get away.
MR. DODD: Very well. What was Von Papen doing while the generals were moving in and out? Did he see that as well as you?
SCHMIDT: After such a heated discussion it is quite difficult to say, after 8 years, what each individual was doing at the time.
MR. DODD: There were not too many of you there-six or eight. Were you pretty generally in a group?
SCHMIDT: There were continuous changes. We were not always in there together. Various combinations were certainly made.
MR. DODD: Let me put it to you this way: There was not any possibility of Von Papen failing to see the generals there that day, was there?
SCHMIDT: On that day he must have seen them when we were there.
MR. DODD: Von Ribbentrop told you that Hitler was in a very angry frame of mind, did he not?
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SCHMIDT: Yes, we were all agreed on that.
MR. DODD: And he also urged that you, of course, accept the terms as the best thing for you and for Schuschnigg, did he not?
SCHMIDT: At any rate, Ribbentrop at the time did not take part in this pressure. He represented the German demands, too, yes, but not in an unpleasant or forceful way. I mentioned that to the Chancellor even at the time.
MR. DODD: Yes, this is what the situation was, was it not: Von Ribbentrop was playing the role of the nice man, while Hitler inside was playing the role of the horrid man, and you and Schuschnigg were being passed back and forth from one to another?
SCHMIDT: It was my impression, at the time, that Ribbentrop was not acquainted with the subject very well and that for that reason alone he had kept himself somewhat in the background.
MR. DODD: Yes, that is interesting, and it is not altogether news in this case; but in any event, is it not a fact that you were being played off, so to speak, as between the nice man Von Ribbentrop and the bad man Hitler?
SCHMIDT: It cannot be described like that. That was not the case. We had to negotiate the details with Ribbentrop. Hitler had stated that we should discuss the detail together with the experts.
MR. DODD: Well, could it be that you do not realize it yet? Are you sure that that was not the situation, or is it only that you have not realized it to this day?
SCHMIDT: About what?
MR. DODD: That situation that I suggested-that you were being maneuvered between the good man and the bad man.
MR. DODD: Well, if you do not understand, I do not think we need to go on with it.
Now, how late did you stay there that day, and what time did you leave Berchtesgaden?
SCHMIDT: In the late hours of the evening. It must have been between 9 and 10, as far as I remember.
MR. DODD: And when you got back to Vienna, did you tell Seyss-Inquart about what had happened in Berchtesgaden?
SCHMIDT: First of all there was a conference between Zernatto and Seyss Inquart in which Zernatto gave Seyss-Inquart an exact picture of the situation, since Zernatto had been informed by the Federal Chancellor as well as by myself. Later I joined in this
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conversation. However, I had the impression that most of the description was already over and only details were still being mentioned.
MR. DODD: You told the Tribunal this morning that SeyssInquart told you that he wanted to retain some independence for Austria-some semblance of independence, anyway. Now, you did not believe that, did you, when he told you?
SCHMIDT: I cannot say either "yes" or '`no'' to that. I turned him down, and therefore I did not bother my head any more about Seyss-Inquart's political ideas because I did not intend to enter the Government. The demand had to be regarded as being meant seriously.
MR. DODD: Well, you used some particular language you turned him down, did you not? What did you say about wanting to be truthful and decent?
SCHMIDT: I stated at that time that I belonged to Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, that The laws of decency and loyalty still applied for me, and that therefore I would resign with him.
MR. DODD: Then did you not use the language, "I still believe in the rules of truth and decency"?
SCHMIDT: No, the laws regarding loyalty and decency were still applicable to me. That is what I said. I had been with Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg all the time, and I would also resign with him. In this connection you would have to know my relationship to the Chancellor; anyone who knows that knows what it means and that I could not have acted any differently.
MR. DODD: Now, I am not suggesting that. I am merely trying to show that you yourself used language in refusing Seyss-Inquart that indicated that you did not think he was truthful or faithful or decent. Is that not so?
SCHMIDT: I did not mean that by it. What I said then referred to myself, to my reason for refusing. There was indeed a difference, was there not, which arose from the fact that I was on terms of friendship with the Chancellor.
MR. DODD: Well, you know we have your testimony down there in Vienna where you testified under oath before the Court, and you remember telling the judge down there that Seyss-Inquart participated in the violent removal of Schuschnigg.
SCHMIDT: Yes, I stated that I could not belong to Seyss-Inquart's Government since it was, after all, partly responsible for the removal of Schuschnigg's Government. Since I was a friend of Schuschnigg, I could not participate in such a Government.
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MR. DODD: Well, the point of it all is that, knowing SeyssInquart, and as he had been in the closest association with the Nazis, and having had your experience at Berchtesgaden, are you serious when you tell the Tribunal that you really thought-you really believed Seyss-Inquart when he said he wanted to maintain some independence for Austria?
SCHMIDT: I doubted that, too, at the time, just as I still doubt it today. What went on in his head I cannot say.
MR. DODD: I am not asking you for that. I am asking you what went on in your head.
Now, you had a conversation with the Defendant Von Papen about Seyss-Inquart not too many years ago, did you not?
MR. DODD: Now, tell the Tribunal when and where that conversation took place.
SCHMIDT: I met Von Papen in Turkey-it must have been in the late autumn of 1943. Our conversation turned on the events of 11 March 1938. At the time Von Papen expressed himself in a severely critical way about the procedure at that time, about SeyssInquart, for the reason, he thought, that he had done nothing for the independence of Austria, and also because the procedure had not served German interests either. He wanted to express his criticism by this, and I had the impression that he was indeed against a violent solution, that is, against a solution by violence such as had occurred.
MR. DODD: Well, I want you particularly to tell the Tribunal just what it was that Von Papen said about Seyss-Inquart-and this was 1943, was it not, not 1940? It was when you were in Turkey and so was Von Papen? Or was he not?
SCHMIDT: Yes, he was.
MR. DODD: Now, maybe I can help you a little if you have forgotten. Did not Von Papen say that he would not shake hands with Seyss-Inquart?
SCHMIDT: He did say that. He said that he would-that he would have-it must have been some time after the Anschluss- refused to shake hands with him, and actually he referred to his behavior in 1938.
MR. DODD: And he said his behavior was utterly impossible?
Is that not the language that Von Papen used about SeyssInquart, or some of the language?
SCHMIDT: He did express himself in that way.
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MR. DODD: What were the other things that he said? You told down there in Vienna that Von Papen used the harshest language imaginable in describing Seyss-Inquart and his conduct in March 1938. I think that is of some interest to the Tribunal, and I wish you would tell us exactly what it was. It is only 3 years ago, you know, that you and Von Papen had this conversation, and you have not told us very much about it.
SCHMIDT: He spoke in a very vehement way, passing judgment to the effect that Seyss had offered no protection to the Austrians and that he had done nothing to keep order in Austria, that is, to safeguard Austria's individuality and Austria's interests.
That was Papen's basic thought. His second thought was that the German interests had not been served by this either, by which he meant more or less that a quite justified interest of the German Reich had been made to look wrong in the eyes of the world because of the way in which it had been handled and that the foreign political interests of the Reich had been damaged thereby.
That was the principal thought in his conversation, and I think he made similar remarks during conversations with other people.
MR. DODD: All right. I am afraid I have passed on from Berchtesgaden and have omitted something that is probably of some importance.
Do you remember-some time, I guess not long before you broke up your session there-Hitler turning to Von Papen and saying, `'Von Papen, you made it possible for me to be Chancellor, and I shall never forget it."
Did you hear Hitler say that to Von Papen that day at Berchtesgaden?
SCHMIDT: Yes, some such remark was made.
MR. DODD: What did Von Papen say?
SCHMIDT: That I can no longer tell you.
MR. DODD: He said, "Yes, my Fuehrer," or something like that, did he not?
SCHMIDT: Yes, I assume so, because upon being addressed like that he had to give an answer.
MR. DODD: He certainly did not deny it, did he?
SCHMIDT: I do not assume he did, but I cannot remember the answer. I can only remember the question.
MR. DODD: The night in Vienna, when the SS and the SA people were climbing in the windows and doors of the Chancellery, did Seyss-Inquart do anything to have them excluded?
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SCHMIDT: Not to my knowledge. I do not know; I was on the other side.
MR. DODD: Yes. It was a very tense situation, as we know. As a matter of fact, you were fearful that some harm would be done to Schuschnigg, were you not?
SCHMIDT: It was a very tense situation.
MR. DODD: How did you and Schuschnigg go home that night from the Chancellery?
SCHMIDT: We left in three cars-the Federal Chancellor in one, the President in the other, and I was in the third. The departure was escorted and organized and accompanied by SS men.
MR. DODD: Schuschnigg was not taken home in Seyss-Inquart's private automobile by Seyss-Inquart; he was taken home by the SS; is that so?
SCHMIDT: No, they left in a car together. I myself heard SeyssInquart say: "Then I will take him home." Whether it was the Federal Chancellor's car or Seyss-Inquart's car, I do not know, but at any rate they traveled in the same car.
MR. DODD: Escorted by the SS?
SCHMIDT: No, that was not the case. The SS, as far as-I do not know whether there were SS in the Chancellor's car. The SS only escorted us during the actual departure, that is, out of the house. There was nobody else in my car, or the President's car, after that.
MR. DODD: That is not what you told the court in Vienna. Down there you said, "Dr. Schuschnigg and I were driven home, escorted by the SS."
SCHMIDT: No, I said the SS escorted or conducted us during the departure from the Ballhaus Platz. There were about 40 SS men present who conducted the departure from there. Whether someone remained in the car after that, I do not know.
MR. DODD: All right. You probably can help us clear up one other question. When Seyss-Inquart made his radio speech, he was not actually a member of the Government, was he, or was he not?
SCHMITT: There has been a lot of debate about that question. The Federal Chancellor had resigned in the afternoon session. At first, the President had not accepted the resignation, so therefore he was still Chancellor, and Seyss was still Minister. Whether the resignation was accepted later on I cannot say. Some are of the opinion that the President may, for all practical purposes, have entrusted the Federal Chancellor with the continuation of business, and Seyss-Inquart along with him. Others think that that would
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not have happened. Only the head of the State himself can answer that question.
MR. DODD: As a former member of that Government, I want you to look at one document, and perhaps you can tell us whether or not you have seen it before.
It is Document 4015-PS. It becomes Exhibit USA-891.
That states that President Miklas had relieved not only Schuschnigg as the Federal Chancellor, but all other members of the Federal Government, as well as all secretaries of state, of their respective offices; and that is March 11.
MR. DODD: That establishes, does it not, that Seyss-Inquart was not in office when he made this radio speech? That is our understanding of it. Is that so?
SCHMIDT: Well, I believe that I have had a lot of experience in this question, because I worked with the Federal President for a long time. Releases of this kind go...
MR. DODD: Just tell us exactly-is that true or not? Is our understanding correct?
SCHMIDT: It does not necessarily have to be interpreted in that way. Releases of this kind go out to the offices days later, because red tape will have its way, despite revolutions and in disregard of history. Therefore, it cannot be said when that was actually done. I assume that this release was not issued until long after 11 March.
MR. DODD: Did Seyss-Inquart use the term "Trojan Horse" quite often in the days preceding the events of 12 March? Was that a common expression of his?
SCHMIDT: He has stated a few times that he was not a "Trojan Horse leader," by which he wanted to express his loyalty, and wanted to explain that it was not his job to open the back doors to National Socialism.
MR. DODD: Did you ever think he protested too much?
SCHMIDT: Against what?
MR. DODD: About not being a Trojan Horse.
SCHMIDT: I did not hear that expression more than two or three times and it was used by Zernatto.
MR. DODD: That is all.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have only one brief question in connection with these last events. Witness, did Seyss-Inquart not also post men from the guards battalion outside the Minister's room?
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SCHMIDT: Guards were present.
DR. STEINBAUER: At what time did Schuschnigg's actual resignation occur?
SCHMIDT: Well, it is difficult to say when that happened; at any rate when the new Government was formed. I assumed that it must have taken place roughly between 9 and 10 o'clock, since the Federal President had conducted serious negotiations at this time about the choice of a new Chancellor, and I think the former Federal Chancellor, Dr. Enders, was up for debate.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions for this witness.
1~; PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STEINBAUER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall now call Chief of Police Dr. Skubl as witness.
[The witness Skubl took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
MICHAEL SKUBL (Witness): Michael Skubl
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the absolute truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, what offices did you hold in the Austrian Republic?
SKUBL: At the end I was Chief of Police in Vienna, and State Secretary for Matters of Public Security. Apart from that, I was the Inspector General of the Austrian executive authorities.
DR. STEINBAUER: Were you called to these offices at the suggestion of Dr. Dollfuss, in accordance with instructions he gave before he died?
SKUBL: Dr. Dollfuss had appointed me Inspector General of the Police the day before he was murdered on 24 July. I had enjoyed his full confidence.
DR. STEINBAUER: Can one, therefore, describe you as having had the confidence of his successor and friend, Dr. Schuschnigg?
DR. STEINBAUER: When Seyss-Inquart became Minister, were you attached to him in your capacity as State Secretary and Inspector General at the same time?
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SKUBL: Yes. When Seyss-Inquart was appointed Minister of the Interior and of Security, I was attached to him as State Secretary. Consequently, I was directly subordinate to him, whereas until that time I had been subordinated directly to the Federal Chancellor as Chief of Security.
DR. STEINBAUER: Were the police and the constabulary in your hands or in the hands of Seyss-Inquart, practically speaking?
SKUBL: Practically speaking, they had been in my hands.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you have the particular task of combating illegal movements?
SKUBL: As Chief of Police and State Secretary for Matters of Public one of my leading tasks was, of course, to combat illegal movements, and particularly National Socialist aggression.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you observe any connection between Seyss-Inquart and the July 1934 Putsch? I mean, when Dollfuss was murdered.
DR. STEINBAUER: What was his attitude in general towards National Socialism?
SKUBL: Dr. Seyss-Inquart admitted being a National Socialist. However, as far as I know, the so-cared 120 or 150 percent National Socialists-that is to say, the leaders of the illegal movement lid not consider him a 100 percent National Socialist. He was, however, considered a very suitable person to be used as a piece on the chessboard of the National Socialist movement.
DR. STEINBAUER: If I understand you correctly, then, he was more a person who was led than a person who was leading?
SKUBL: It was my impression that he was more led than leading.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, how did you work together with Seyss-Inquart in his capacity as Minister of the Interior?
SKUBL: There were no rifts in our understanding. It was a completely harmonious understanding.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did he exert any influence upon the police? Did he, for instance, bring National Socialists into the police corps?
SKUBL: No; that happened in no case.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you have an opportunity to bypass the Minister and report directly to Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg?
SKUBL: Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg was the chief of the Government, and in that capacity he was naturally my highest superior. It was natural that I should make reports to the Federal
13 June 46
Chancellor regularly and upon special summons, and that I should also have received instructions from him in return.
DR. STEINBAUER: Soon after Dr. Seyss-Inquart was appointed Minister he went to visit Hitler in the Reich. Was that an official journey, or was it kept secret?
SKUBL: It was official
DR. STEINBAUER: How did you come to that conclusion?
SKUBL: It had been announced. I knew about the journey; and Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg, so far as I know, also knew about the journey. It was also suggestive that in his capacity as liaison man between the Austrian Government and the Reich he must necessarily have an opportunity to speak to Hitler.
DR. STEINBAUER: Well then, when Seyss-Inquart came back, did he make a report on the contents of his discussions with the Fuehrer?
SKUBL: Yes. Upon his return I met Seyss-Inquart at the station, and I asked him how the conferences with Hitler had gone off. Seyss-Inquart, still being fresh under the impression of the meeting and discussions, informed me of what he had stated to the Fuehrer. I still remember the individual points exactly. SeyssInquart told the Reich Chancellor the following:
"Herr Reich Chancellor:
"1. I am an Austrian Minister, and as such I have taken an oath of allegiance to the Austrian Constitution. I have taken an oath, therefore, to Austria's autonomy and independence.
"2. I am a believer and an active Catholic, and therefore, I could not follow a course which might lead to a cultural battle.
"3. I come from a country where a totalitarian regime is out of the question."
DR. STEINBAUER: In spite of these views, did the Reich appoint a new Landesleiter for the illegal NSDAP?
SKUBL: Yes. As far as is known to me, on 21 February Klausner was appointed Landesleiter.
DR. STEINBAUER: When Dr. Schuschnigg announced the plebiscite, did he order any special security measures?
SKUBL: The order for the plebiscite naturally had the effect of a bombshell on the National Socialists, not only on the National Socialists in Austria, but also in the Reich. There was feverish activity, therefore, and preventive measures naturally had to be introduced.
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This special activity can be explained by the fact that the National Socialists were afraid that in the event of a plebiscite they would suffer a great defeat, for the election slogans would have been accepted by the overwhelming majority of the Austrian population.
In this connection it is most interesting to draw your attention to an article which appeared on 11 March in the Deutsch-Osterreichische Tagesreitung, in which the fear could be read that this plebiscite would open the way for a democratization of Austria, the formation of a people's front, and subsequently as a result of this, for bolshevization. From this one could recognize the consciousness that the Austrian National Socialists were a minority.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now we come to the memorable 11th of March 1938. When did you, as chief of the executive authorities, learn that German troops were marching in?
SKUBL: The 11th of March was, of course, an exceptionally exciting and eventful day. The feeling of time was completely lost during those hours. I know that in the evening hours a report was submitted to me showing that German troops had crossed the border, a report which could not be verified, however, but which was supplemented by the fact that unusually alarming troop movements were taking place on the Austrian border.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did not Seyss-Inquart, after Schuschnigg's resignation, say on the radio that in order to avoid chaos he was asking the population to remain quiet and orderly since he was still Minister of Security?
SKUBL: Seyss-Inquart did make that statement on the radio.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you make any observations to the effect that before Schuschnigg's resignation he, Seyss-Inquart, gave instructions, sent telegrams, made telephone calls, or transmitted any other information regarding the seizure of power in the State by himself?
SKUBL: What I observed was that Seyss-Inquart's behavior until the critical moment was certainly very passive, and as I have already said earlier, he did in fact give more the impression of a man who was being led rather than a man who was leading, and indeed there were clear indications that he felt embarrassed.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you not yourself, in the afternoon or evening, receive an offer from President Miklas to take over the Federal Chancellorship?
SKUBL: Federal Chancellor Dr. Schuschnigg first summoned me in the late afternoon, and he stated to me there had been an ultimatum from Germany-that is to say, from Hitler-to the effect
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that he would no longer be satisfied with calling off the plebiscite, but was demanding Schuschnigg's resignation. Then Schuschnigg told me that he personally was ready to resign, but that he could not expect his staff to accept Seyss-Inquart's appointment as Federal Chancellor. He had a question to ask me, he said, and that was whether I was prepared to take over the Chancellor's office. He did this in agreement with the President who, a few moments later, made me the same offer.
I refused this offer, and I refused it because I considered that my appointment as Chancellor would, in Hitler's eyes, mean a declaration of war. As State Secretary for Matters of Public Security I was at the head of the defensive front against National Socialist aggression, and consequently was also in personal opposition to Hitler. Therefore, had I accepted the Chancellorship, this would have offered Hitler a welcome opportunity to have his troops march in. My acceptance of the Chancellorship, therefore, would have meant the beginning of the struggle against invasion, and such a struggle was probably hopeless, in view of the superiority of the German Armed Forces compared with the Austrian Armed Forces and Austrian executive personnel.
DR. STEINBAUER: Then Seyss-Inquart formed his Cabinet and took you over, too, as State Secretary. Why did you join that Ministry?
SKUBL: Seyss-Inquart proposed that I retain direction of matters of public security in the State Secretariat under his Government. I accepted the offer, having confidence that Seyss-Inquart would remember the conditions which he had stipulated with the Fuehrer; that is, that he would be Federal Chancellor of an independent Austria. Apart from that, I was impelled by the desire
and hope that I could keep the executive force in my hands, and that in the event that Seyss-Inquart had difficulties in representing the Austrian point of view, I could be of assistance to him. In other words, there should be an Austrian strong point, an Austrian enclave, in the Cabinet of the Austrian Federal Chancellor SeyssInquart.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did Seyss-Inquart still at that time speak in favor of Austrian independence?
SKUBL: He did not speak about it in detail. We took that for granted during the conference.
DR. STEINBAUER: When did you leave the Cabinet, and why?
SKUBL: During the night between March 11 and 12 I took over the task of going to the airfield to receive the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, who had been announced from Berlin On that occasion he did not arrive alone, but with a whole entourage. I can no
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longer remember the names of the individuals, the number was toe large; one name I understood very clearly, and that was the name of Meissner-Meissner, the Austrian naval officer who had joined the National Socialist uprising on 25 July, and who then, after the collapse of this uprising, had fled to the Reich and now had returned under Himmler's protection.
That to me was such an impossible situation that I made the firm decision not to have any more to do with all this, and so when I entered the Federal Chancellery at noon and received the surprising news from Glaise-Horstenau that Himmler had demanded my resignation, I answered, "He can have that very cheaply, because I had already decided on that in the early hours of the morning.'
Subsequently I also informed Federal Chancellor Dr. SeyssInquart that I had had knowledge of Himmler's request, and that I had naturally decided to resign and asked him to take official notice of my resignation.
Upon this Seyss-Inquart replied, "It is true that Himmler has demanded your resignation, but I am not going to have anything dictated to me from outside. At the moment the situation is such that I think it is perhaps better for you to disappear for a few weeks, but then you must come back because I consider your cooperation important."
Naturally I declared that I would not do that. And the following day, in writing, I handed in my resignation as Chief of Police and State Secretary, after I had already on the evening of the 12th actually handed the affairs of the office over to Kaltenbrunner, who had been attached to me as a so-called political leader of the executive force.
DR. STEINBAUER: You were then confined and have not gone back to Vienna to this day?
SKUBL: First of all, I was held prisoner in my official apartment under SS and police guard and then, on 24 May, two officials of the Kassel Gestapo conducted me to a forced residence in Kassel, where I remained until my liberation by the Allies.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions of this witness, Mr. President, and perhaps this would be a suitable moment for a recess.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other defendants' counsel want to ask any questions? The Prosecution?
MR. DODD: No questions, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
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DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, may I now call the next witness, Dr. Friedrich Wimmer?
[The witness Wimmer took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
FRIEDRICH WIMMER (Witness): Dr. Friedrich Wimmer.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: I swear by God-the Almighty and Omniscient-that I will speak the pure truth-and will withhold and add nothing.
[The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have finished the questions concerning Austria with the cross-examination of the witness Skubl and I shall now proceed to deal with the Netherlands.
Witness, were you, from July 1940 until May 1945, commissioner general for internal administration and justice in the Netherlands?
DR. STEINBAUER: In that position did you have to deal with internal administration, justice, education, health, archives, museums, and the legislature?
DR. STEINBAUER: Were you not also, at the same time, the deputy of the Reich Commissioner?
WIMMER: In exceptional cases, not otherwise.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did you also participate in the regular weekly official conferences of the commissioners general and the secretaries general with the Reich Commissioner?
DR. STEINBAUER: Therefore, you were fully informed about events in the occupied Netherlands?
WIMMER: In general, yes.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I ask you: Was the German Police a part of the offices of the RK, or the Reich Commissioner, or was it not rather independently subordinate to the Berlin central offices?
WIMMER: The German Police was a distinct office, separate from the Reich Commissioner's office, and was subordinate to the respective central offices in the Reich, both administratively and actually.
DR. STEINBAUER: That is to say, then, directly subordinate to the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler?
13 June 46
WIMMER: It was directly subordinate to the Reichsfuehrer SS.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, did the German Police, apart from the duties of the Regular and Security Police, have other special duties in the Netherlands?
WIMMER: They had a number of special duties in the Netherlands.
DR. STEINBAUER: Can you enumerate them?
WIMMER: I could not enumerate them completely but, for example, the combating of resistance movements in the Netherlands belonged exclusively to their sphere of activity; furthermore, the establishment, direction, and supervision of concentration camps belonged to their jurisdiction. Furthermore, the removal of Jews from the body of the Dutch nation belonged exclusively to their sphere of activity.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, we come to internal administration. At the head of each of the former ministries there was a secretary general, that is to say, a Dutchman. Were these men persecuted in any way if they resigned?
WIMMER: No. The Reich Commissioner had told the Dutch secretaries general upon assuming office that if they should feel in any way embarrassed by the decrees or demands of the occupation authorities, they should apply to him without any fear and explain their difficulties to him, and that then, if so desired, he would let them resign from their office in such a manner that in no way would they ever have to fear any unpleasantness, of any kind whatsoever, and that they would also be assured of financial security and get their pensions.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner also dismiss provincial commissioners?
WIMMER: He probably dismissed provincial commissioners also, but these changes also occurred-I can recall two cases-through the death of the provincial commissioner.
DR. STEINBAUER: What about the mayors?
WIMMER: As far as the appointment of mayors is concerned, in principle the same thing holds true as for all other officials in the Netherlands. The mayors in the Netherlands, contrary to the rule in many other nations, are not elected to office, but are civil servants in the true sense of the word. They were appointed by the Queen, even the mayors of the small communities. Since the head of the State was not present in the Netherlands, the Reich Commissioner was confronted with the necessity of regulating the appointment and dismissal of mayors and he made the regulations in such a way that insofar as the most important positions of the
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State were concerned, he reserved for himself the right to make appointments, whereas he placed the appointments and dismissals of lesser importance in the hands of the Dutch Secretary General.
DR. STEINBAUER: So if you look back today and examine the question of how conditions were between 1940 and 1945 regarding the offices and civil servants in the Netherlands, what can you state in that respect?
WIMMER: I believe I may say that at the end of the period of German occupation the majority of the civil servants who had been in office when the German occupation force came into the Netherlands were still in office.
DR. STEINBAUER: Seyss-Inquart has been accused of dissolving the political parties. When and why did that take place?
WIMMER: The dissolution of the political parties was necessitated by the fact that some political parties displayed an attitude which, especially in critical times, the occupying power could not tolerate, apart from the fact that in an occupied territory it is generally difficult, if not impossible, to deal with political parties. Report after report came from our intelligence services about conspiracies of the most various kinds, and so the Reich Commissioner felt himself called upon to dissolve the parties. Nevertheless, he did not constitutionally remove the parties as such; the institution of parties, as such, still remained.
DR. STEINBAUER: It was suggested on the part of the Reich that the administration be reorganized and that the Netherlands be divided into five administrative districts instead of the traditional provinces. Did Seyss-Inquart do that?
WIMMER: The Reich Commissioner refused such suggestions or demands every time, and indeed he could do that all the more easily because the Dutch administration was on a high level and primarily because the Reich Commissioner expected, and on the basis of all kinds of assurances was able to expect, that the Dutch administration would co-operate with the occupying power.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now we also have a party which was very close to the National Socialists, the NSB, led by Mussert. Did this NSB party gain a leading influence in the administration or not?
WIMMER: The NSB, as a party, gained no influence at all in the administration. It was only that the occupying power, as was very natural, applied to the NSB and consulted it in certain cases, for no occupying power, in history, I believe, as well as in our day, is going to approach those parties or groups which assume a hostile attitude towards it.
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DR. STEINBAUER: Did the leader of the NSB, Mussert, try to create a similar situation as existed in Norway under Quisling; that is, for him to become Prime Minister of the Netherlands?
WIMMER: Mussert did have that aim. He expressed it persistently, again and again, and I can say that by doing so he put the Reich Commissioner into disagreeable situations.
DR. STEINBAUER: Well, briefly, the Reich Commissioner . . .
WIMMER: The Reich Commissioner rejected this every time.
DR. STEINBAUER: Another question. Did Seyss-Inquart in any way exert pressure in religious matters on the population of the occupied territory?
DR. STEINBAUER: Did he, in the field of education, issue decrees which reduced the rights of the Netherlands?
DR. STEINBAUER: Did he not encourage the Dutch Red Cross, although there were cells of the illegal resistance movement in it?
WIMMER: He not only permitted the Red Cross to carry out its functions without hindrance, but, as you say, he even encouraged it. As far as the political attitude was concerned, he would have had plenty of reasons to interfere because broadcasting stations, illegal broadcasting stations, had been found under Red Cross control.
DR. STEINBAUER: They were resistance centers?
DR. STEINBAUER: Furthermore, he has been accused of interfering with the existing legislation by issuing laws concerned with citizenship and also with marriage. You were in charge of the Justice Department. What can you say about that, quite briefly?
WIMMER: Acts of interference of that kind did occur. However, they occurred because they were necessary from the point of view of the conduct of the war and for the Armed Forces in particular for, to mention the question of citizenship, those Dutchmen who had entered the German Army wanted to have the assurance of also obtaining German citizenship. The Reich Commissioner, however, who was of the opinion that by acquiring German citizenship they should not incur any disadvantage in Holland, decreed-and this can be found in the corresponding decree-that these Dutchmen who acquired German citizenship should retain their Dutch citizenship, so that by so doing they would not be alienated from their people and their nation.
So far as marriage laws are concerned, the necessity arose that if soldiers, in particular, wanted to marry Dutch girls, the parents'
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approval of the marriage was not asked, and not for political reasons. This approval was of some importance in that connection because the parents, contrary to the rule in many other nations, retained this right of approval until, I believe, the thirtieth year of the daughter concerned.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I come to another chapter. That is the question of the so-called summary courts-martial (Standgericht). Will you tell us how these courts-martial were organized and how long and when they were in session?
WIMMER: The creation of courts-martial was seen as a necessity after a general strike had broken out in Amsterdam and we wanted to have a legal basis for future cases so as to prevent future strikes as far as possible, that is, to be able to combat them effectively
after they had broken out on the basis of the proper law.
How these courts-martial were organized and when they had to function is exactly set down in the corresponding decree of the Reich Commissioner. However, if I am to answer your specific question here about the composition of these summary courtsmartial, I can in any case only say from memory that the president of these courts was a judge, and moreover a judge who fulfilled all the requirements which a judge in the German Reich had to fulfill.
DR. STEINBAUER: Well, that is the essential point, and if I understand you correctly, before these courts became police courts a judicial functionary was president of these courts-martial. Is that correct?
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it known to you whether Seyss-Inquart had so-called collective fines imposed on certain cities and communities?
WIMMER: The Reich Commissioner actually imposed such collective fines. The largest which was imposed, I believe, was the one which was imposed once on Amsterdam on the occasion of the general strike which I have already mentioned. The fines were decreed in accordance with established procedure on the basis of existing decrees, and they were proclaimed in an official decree by the police.
DR. STEINBAUER: If I understand you correctly, therefore, these collective fines-you mentioned the words "general strike"- were imposed when actions of a large community were involved, and not actions by individuals.
WIMMER: The collective fines were imposed in cases of violations which were charged to a fairly large portion of the community in question.
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DR. STEINBAUER: I believe we can conclude that chapter However, you did not tell me how long these so-called police courts-martial were in session.
WIMMER: The police courts-martial were in session as long as police martial law was in force. That was 2 weeks. Moreover that was the only time that martial law had been imposed in Holland by the Reich Commissioner, that is, if you do not count the state of emergency that was declared after the invasion as such
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I come to one of "the most severs accusations brought against my client. That is the accusation that he had hostages shot illegally and contrary to international law, or participated in their execution.
With the permission of the Tribunal I submit two statements to you which were put to my client yesterday by the Prosecution. one is a statement by General of the Air Force Christiansen, as a defendant, dated 20 February 1946, and the other one is also an interrogation of a defendant, a higher police official, Dr. Schongarth. It is F-886.
Will you please look at it and tell me what you know about these questions. Take your timpani remind you of your oath-and answer these questions as far as you can do it in good faith.
Have you read it?
WIMMER: No, not yet.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, I will help you. Are you through?
WIMMER: No, I am not through yet, but please go ahead.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know that hostages were shot in August 1942, on the occasion of an act of sabotage in Rotterdam?
DR. STEINBAUER: Why were these hostages shot? On whose orders?
WIMMER: It is well known what the Rotterdam incident was all about. It was an attempt to blow up an Armed Forces leave train. In this affair, the Armed Forces applied to the Reich Commissioner and therefore...
THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to the question. The question was: Who gave the order?
WIMMER: The order for what?
DR. STEINBAUER: For shooting the hostages.
WIMMER: The order for the execution was, I believe, given by the Police.
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DR. STEINBAUER: What did the Reich Commissioner have to do with it? You have read here how Christiansen accuses him in that connection.
WIMMER: The Armed Forces applied to the Reich Commissioner, because it was customary in fairly important matters for the two offices, that is, the commander of the Armed Forces and the Reich Commissioner, to get together and discuss these things. I recall that the commander of the Armed Forces appeared in a very determined manner and demanded that an example should be made so that such cases might be prevented in the future as far as possible. It was stated on the part of the Armed Forces that they considered hardly any other means possible than the shooting of a considerable number of hostages.
I no longer recall the figure very exactly today, but as far as I do remember it was about 50. I also recall that it was stated on the part of the Armed Forces that they could dispense with such a selection of hostages if the assurance could be given by the Police that on the basis of some sort of material which the Police had in their possession there was a chance that the perpetrators might be found and brought to punishment by a German court, that is to say, by the court of the Armed Forces.
On the part of the Armed Forces it was also pointed out that at the time resistance in the Netherlands was beginning to develop in increasing measure, and that this was finding expression in an increase in sabotage and other acts hostile to the occupation forces. I also recall that it was pointed out that if the Armed Forces and the Police had been present in larger numbers than was actually the case, it would perhaps not have been necessary to take a severe step of that kind. The forces at that time at the Army's disposal in the Netherlands were extremely small and in case of an increase in the resistance movement the position of the Armed Forces in the Netherlands might have been seriously endangered.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, I shall ask you several questions so that we can go ahead.
You have stated that the commander of the Armed Forces came and reported that in view of this outrage he would have to shoot some hostages.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it known to you that there was a Reich decree stating that saboteurs in the occupied western territory should not be tried by the courts but turned over to the Police? Can you remember that?
WIMMER: I do not think that was the case at this particular time, especially if you refer to the so-called "Night and Fog Decree"
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which, to my recollection,- is of a later date. I remember very clearly that an order was mentioned at that time, but I believe this order was one which applied exclusively to the military sector, so I do not know the wording of that order.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it known to you that the Reich Commissioner used his influence to see that instead of the 50 you mentioned-in reality, it was only 25 hostages-the number was reduced to 5?
WIMMER: That is known to me.
DR. STEINBAUER: And that he also succeeded in having this done?
WIMMER: And that he succeeded.
DR. STEINBAUER: And that he particularly succeeded in having fathers of families excluded?
WIMMER: Yes, indeed.
DR. STEINBAUER: That concluded one case. There is another case which has been presented to you. That is the case of the attempt made on the life of the Higher SS and Police Leader Rauter when, in fact, more than 150 persons were shot as hostages. Have you finished reading that?
DR. STEINBAUER: Please read it all then.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, why is it necessary for the witness to read the whole document? You can put the facts to him.
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
Witness, at that time it was demanded that as a reprisal for the attempt on the Police and SS Leader hostages should be shot?
DR. STEINBAUER: Who ordered that and who carried it out?
WIMMER: I know of the case because-that is, I know of it from the report of Brigadefuehrer Schongarth, who was at that time the Chief of the Security Police. He had applied to me to find out what his proper title was, after Rauter had become incapacitated for duty and he had to sign a proclamation and in so doing add his official title. On that occasion he told me this story and he also told me that he had gotten in touch with Berlin, to find out what they would consider necessary as reprisals for the attempt on Rauter. Berlin wanted a considerable number of hostages shot. He mentioned a figure to me which was something like 500, at any rate, not less than 500, but rather more than 500. Then he also
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told me that he had talked to the Reich Commissioner and told him about this wish on the part of Berlin.
DR. STEINBAUER: Would you be more specific please; Berlin is large and had various Reich offices.
WIMMER: That was the Reichsfuehrer SS, of course; it was quite clear that where one of the highest functionaries in the sphere of the Police and SS was concerned one had to approach the Reichsfuehrer SS personally, and not only his office. He also told me he reported it to the Reich Commissioner, and that the Reich Commissioner, who as such was not authorized to deal with that matter, had asked him to tell the Reichsfuehrer SS that he asked and advised him to refrain from carrying out such a large number of executions. Thereupon-naturally everything was done only by telephone-the Reichsfuehrer agreed to reduce the number and I believe that in the end, on the basis of several telephone conversations back and forth, a number of about 200 or 150-I no longer know it exactly today-was decided upon.
I am convinced that if this advice and this request and these representations had not been offered by the Reich Commissioner through Schongarth, the number originally demanded by Berlin would have lost their lives, so that one can say with full right that in this case the Reich Commissioner saved the lives of several hundred Netherlanders.
DR. STEINBAUER: Were the people who were actually shot collected at random in the streets or were they people who had already been officially condemned?
WIMMER: Of course, on this point, I can only report what Brigadefuehrer Schongarth told me at that time during the conference. Indeed I have no reason to assume that he did not tell me the truth. He informed me that only such persons were considered who had already been condemned, so that it was only a question of advancing the time of the execution, and if the number should not suffice, then possibly others might be selected who in any case were already in prison and would certainly be sentenced to death.
DR. STEINBAUER: I believe I can conclude this chapter by asking you what happened to the hostages who were sent as such to Buchenwald by way of a so-called Dutch East Indian reprisal.
WIMMER: After some time, I no longer remember just how long, when complaints were received about their treatment, a large number of these hostages, or perhaps all of them, were brought back into the Netherlands and a very large number of them were released; not all together and at once, as I remember, but a few at a time.
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DR. STEINBAUER: A small town, Putten, was destroyed because of serious acts of sabotage; was this ordered by the Reich Commissioner or someone else?
WIMMER: Since it was a purely military affair, just like the Rotterdam incident, where a plot was directed against the Armed Forces the incident was handled by the Armed Forces. The order was given by the commander of the Armed Forces and if I remember correctly, the Reich Commissioner-in any case, I-only learned about the incident after the execution had taken place.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now I pass over to the next chapter, and that is the combating of so-called enemies of the State.
Yesterday it was mentioned that the property of the Freemasons and Jehovah's Witnesses was confiscated. I should like to ask you, so that there may be no mistake, whether it was only the property of the organizations which was claimed, or was it also the property of the individual members? And so, taking the Freemasons as an example, was the property of the individual Freemason claimed as well as the property of the lodges?
WIMMER: In all these cases property that belonged to organizations was demanded, never that belonging to individuals. If there were individual cases where this happened, then these were abuses by individuals, but I cannot recall any such abuses.
DR. STEINBAUER: The Dutch Jews were also counted among the so-called enemies of the State. Who was responsible for handling the Jewish question in the Netherlands-you have really already told me that.
WIMMER: From the very beginning, the Police laid claim to the handling of the Jews, to jurisdiction over the treatment of the Jews, as a matter of fundamental principle.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, we have an entire list of decrees here which bear the name of Seyss-Inquart and which indicate encroachments on the right of the Jews. Can you remember when the legislation against the Jews was introduced and in what form?
WIMMER: The development was briefly more or less as follows: Seyss-Inquart was opposed to the entire idea of taking up the Jewish question at all in the Netherlands, and in one of the Reich Commissioner's first conferences it was ordered that this question was not to be dealt with.
After a certain time-it may have been a few months-the Reich Commissioner informed us that he had received an order from Berlin to take up the Jewish problem because Jews had participated in a relatively large number in various movements and actions in the Netherlands which at that time, indeed, could only be characterized essentially as conspiracies.
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Apart from that, one had to expect that if the war should last a fairly long time, the Jews who naturally because of the treatment they had undergone were not, and could not be, friends of the Germans, might become dangerous, and, therefore, that they should be considered as enemies-if not in the formal sense of the word, at least, practically so.
The Reich Commissioner began to carry out this order with much hesitation, although in the official conference he pointed out that he could not help doing so because he could not assume such a responsibility.
So far as I remember, this can be ascertained immediately from the Reich Commissioner's ordinance bulletin. At first, steps were taken to register the property of the Jews, then to prevent German maidservants from being in Jewish households; the Police
requested that especially, because naturally all kind of information could be carried back and forth in this way. Then, when Berlin became more insistent in that question, the Reich Commissioner finally decided to decree and regulate a registration of all Jews by ordinance. It was pointed out particularly that we would at least have to know where the Jews were, because only in this way could the proper Security Police control and supervision be made possible.
In themselves those were measures which were far behind those which were already being carried out in the Reich at that time.
Then more pressure was exerted; I do not know whether it was perhaps Heydrich who did this at that time, whether he was already in the Netherlands at that time-I never saw him. I know only that he visited the Reich Commissioner in the Netherlands at least twice.
At any rate, in the course of the year 1941 and particularly in 1942, a comprehensive treatment of the question was urged. At first the Reich Commissioner still believed that he could meet these demands by bringing the Jews in the Netherlands together in one place where they could be more easily supervised, and therefore the idea arose that in Amsterdam one, two, or three districts of the city might be used to house the Jews there, which was also connected with the necessity of resettling a part or a considerable number of non-Jewish Netherlanders because there was not yet a completely separate Jewish quarter at that time. The non-Jewish Dutch did not live completely apart from them.
THE PRESIDENT: All this evidence that the witness is giving is all in the decree and has already been given by the defendant, has it not? What is the difference?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: What is the point of it?
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DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I wanted to say only one thing, and that is that on such an important question I wanted to have confirmation briefly by the witness.
WIMMER: I have not much more to say.
DR. STEINBAUER: All right, I shall now summarize. Is it true that one wanted to put the Jews together in a ghetto in Amsterdam?
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that Heydrich demanded the evacuation of the Jews?
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that the Reich Commissioner tried, insofar as was possible under existing conditions, to use more humane methods in this deportation of the Jews?
DR. STEINBAUER: I believe that I have now finished that chapter, too.
There were also concentration camps in the Netherlands. Is it known to you that Seyss-Inquart had these camps inspected by judicial commissions and corrected abuses found there?
WIMMER: Yes. Not only in concentration camps, but in camps of this kind in general.
DR. STEINBAUER: At the end of 1944 and early in 1945 there was a large-scale operation to deport all the men in Holland able to bear arms. Was that operation directed by the Reich Commissioner or by a different officer
WIMMER: That was an operation by the Reich, primarily an operation by the Armed Forces.
DR. STEINBAUER: Why did that operation take place?
WIMMER: It took place because during those critical times there were objections to the fact that men who were able to bear arms remained in Holland. First, because a large number of former prisoners of war who were released by order of the Fuehrer in 1940 were later on mostly brought back to the Netherlands and a part of them remained there. Secondly, the resistance movements increased greatly during that time, and so it was stated that, from the military point of view, the responsibility of leaving those people able to bear arms in the Netherlands could not be assumed.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner, in order to moderate that operation, issue so-called "release certificates" (Freistellungsscheine)?
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DR. STEINBAUER: Did not a part escape this operation by way of the Allocation of Labor?
WIMMER: As far as I know, yes; but I have no detailed knowledge of it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know what happened to the diamonds confiscated after the battle of Arnhem
WIMMER: These diamonds were placed in safety in Arnhem, during artillery fire, by a German office, the Economic Testing Office I believe, and then after some time they were taken to Berlin, from where, as indeed I learned in Holland, after the surrender they were brought back to Amsterdam again.
DR. STEINBAUER: How was the financial economy in the administration? Was the tax money used sparingly, or was a very lax management displayed?
WIMMER: I am not really competent in this field. The Commissioner General for Finance and Economy could say much more about that and with much greater authority than I can, but so far as my impressions went, I may say...
THE PRESIDENT: If he is not competent to speak about it, I do not see why he should speak about it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, the witness Fischbock cannot be found. However, as a deputy of the Reich Commissioner, this witness must know something about the general features of it. I will ask him for details.
Did the Reich Commissioner save fairly large sums of money in his budget and deposit them in a special fund?
DR. STEINBAUER: You know nothing about foreign currency restrictions, apparently?
DR. STEINBAUER: How were raw materials, manufactured items, and foodstuffs requisitioned in the civilian branch of the administration?
WIMMER: It was regulated by an ordinance in the Reich Commissioner's ordinance bulletin and can be seen there. As a matter of principle, the requisitions were sent from the Reich to the Reich Commissioner and the Reich Commissioner passed them on to the Dutch offices concerned, which then carried out those requisitions themselves.
DR. STEINBAUER: So it was not the German offices, but the Dutch offices headed by the Dutch secretaries general?
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WIMMER: Yes. They also were authorized to do this by a special decree.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner or his offices take anything from the large museums?
WIMMER: I did not quite understand that. From where?
DR. STEINBAUER: From the public museums.
WIMMER: No. I do not recall a single case, and I would have had to know about it because the museums were under me.
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, that is why I asked you. Were there possibly any archives that were carried away?
WIMMER: In general, no; but an exchange of archives was probably worked out during the occupation, which had been under consideration even before the war. There was an exchange of archives between, in particular, the "Hausarchiv," but also other Dutch archives, and German archives, and-to be exact, this was done according to where they came from-on the so-called principle of origin.
DR. STEINBAUER: Was it possible for everybody to confiscate what he wanted, or was that controlled in any way?
WIMMER: No, that was controlled, and the respective regulations were again repeated in an especially stern decree of the Reich Commissioner during the last year. Those who transgressed or intended to transgress these regulations were given serious warning. There were only two agencies which, according to the decree, were allowed to carry out confiscations at all, and these were the Police and the Armed Forces.
DR. STEINBAUER: In conclusion, I should like to refer back once again to the Armed Forces operations. Was that discontinued in the fall? By "Armed Forces operation" I mean the deportation of those members of the population able to carry arms.
WIMMER: That was stopped on the basis of an objection made by myself on behalf of the Reich Commissioner to General Student, who at that time was chief of the army group, and under whose jurisdiction the Netherlands also came at that time.
DR. STEINBAUER: Then one last question. Can you remember the Jewish Library Rosenthaliana?
DR. STEINBAUER: What happened to that?
WIMMER: As far as I know, it remained in the Netherlands.
DR. STEINBAUER: Was that not to have been removed?
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WIMMER: Yes. There were such intentions, but since this library was public property, the property of the City of Amsterdam, the Reich Commissioner, upon my suggestion, ordered that this library was to remain in Holland.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have concluded the questioning of this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: Any other defendants' counsel want to ask questions?
Do the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
M. DEBENEST: Witness, you were selected to fill the of lice of commissioner general in the Netherlands by Seyss-Inquart himself?
M. DEBENEST: You had known Seyss-Inquart for several years?
M. DEBENEST: Had you not been one of his assistants ever since 1938?
M. DEBENEST: Is it true that during the occupation of the Netherlands a large number of members of the NSB and pro-German elements were appointed not only to leading positions, but also to subordinate positions in the Dutch police, and that they were charged with executing orders issued by the occupation authorities, such as the arresting of Jews, members of the resistance, and hostages?
WIMMER: I can confirm the fact that members of the NSB and of groups friendly to the Germans were employed in high and low positions by the Reich Commissioner. However, as to their proportional part within the total of Dutch civil servant employment in the civilian branch, I believe that even at the end of the occupation period the participation of these groups in proportion to the Dutch population was not greater...
M. DEBENEST: I spoke to you expressly about the police; reply to that point.
WIMMER: You mean only the police?
M. DEBENEST: I told you, the police.
WIMMER: Yes, that is known to me. However, I do not believe that those members of pro-German groups received special assignments, but rather I believe that they received their assignments in exactly the same way as the other civil servants in the same positions. I cannot, however, say anything in detail about that, because I had very little to do with the police.
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M. DEBENEST: When officials of the Dutch police refused to carry out orders which had been given to them by the occupation authorities and abandoned their posts, did not the German authorities take members of their families as hostages-women and children, for instance?
WIMMER: I cannot recall that.
M. DEBENEST: In no case?
WIMMER: That relatives of police officials were arrested? Members of their families?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, of those who were not carrying out the orders of the German authorities.
WIMMER: I do not remember that.
M. DEBENEST: That is fine. Well, perhaps you may remember that members of families of Dutch citizens who offered resistance in one way or another were arrested as hostages?
WIMMER: I have heard about that.
M. DEBENEST: There were some hostages arrested in such cases, for example, were there not? There were hostages arrested in those cases?
WIMMER: You call it "hostages." Do you also use that expression in cases where the individuals concerned did not have to expect that they would lose their lives, that it would cost them their heads?
M. DEBENEST: So far I have been asking you the questions, and you have been answering them.
For instance, did you not receive protests from the Board of the University of Amsterdam against the fact that the wife and children of a professor of that university had been arrested as hostages?
WIMMER: I do not remember that. It is possible, however, that such a complaint came to the Main Department for Education, which belonged to my Commissariat.
M. DEBENEST: In any case, you do not deny the fact?
WIMMER: I could not deny it 100 percent, but I do not know anything about it.
M. DEBENEST: Another question. Following the declaration of loyalty which was imposed on the students, those who refused, were they not forced to present themselves immediately for work, and were they not deported to Germany without waiting for their group to be called up?
WIMMER: Yes, but not by the Labor Service. Do you mean the Office for the Allocation of Labor?
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M. DEBENEST: That is of little importance; but they were deported to Germany for that reason, were they not?
WIMMER: Yes, by virtue of a decree by the Higher SS and Police Leader.
M. DEBENEST: Is it not true that numerous and extensive reforms were introduced by the Reich Commissioner in all the activities of the life of the Dutch people, and that these reforms were all contrary to the Constitution?
WIMMER: One cannot say that.
M. DEBENEST: But there were reforms, were there not?
WIMMER: Certainly, yes, which were caused by the necessities of war and the fact of the occupation. And there is a third factor involved, too, which was that there were measures necessitated by the absence of the head of the State and the Government.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Debenest, would it not be better to put the particular points you want to him, rather than general questions, which will enable him to deal with the matter at length?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President.
[Turning to the witness.] Did the civil administration service in the Netherlands enjoy a certain freedom?
WIMMER: Yes, a great deal of freedom.
M. DEBENEST: I am going to read to you a passage from a report by the Defendant Seyss-Inquart, a report drafted on 19 July 1940. You shall tell me whether you still maintain the reply that you have just given me. This is what Seyss-Inquart wrote:
"The civil administration"-he means the civil administration in the Netherlands-"at present finds itself in a sufficient and otherwise progressive way under the direction and control of the German authorities."
Is the answer which you have just made in agreement with what Seyss-Inquart wrote?
WIMMER: If mention is made in Dr. Seyss-Inquart's reply that the control was in German hands, that can only mean that the supervision was in the hands of German authorities, for it is naturally to be taken for granted that the German occupation authorities reserved for themselves a certain control and supervision over Dutch legislation, as well as over all important acts of administration and government; and if everything went as it should, important decrees could not be issued without the approval of the occupying power.
M. DEBENEST: That is enough. The Tribunal will judge your answer with regard to this document.
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Will you explain why a civilian government was established in the Netherlands, whereas no such government was set up in other countries, such as Belgium, for instance?
WIMMER: I do not know the real reason for that, but from what I have heard and could find out myself the main reason was that Germany attached the greatest value to establishing a good relationship with the Netherlands, and the leaders in the Reich probably thought that this could be more easily done through men of the civilian administration. than through the Armed Forces.
M. DEBENEST: More exactly, were they not pursuing a political goal in this, the goal of placing the country in the hands of the National Socialists, in order to bring about some sort of Germanic federation of Germanic states?
WIMMER: Whenever I spoke with the Reich Commissioner about such things, the Reich Commissioner expressed the point of view that the Dutch people had all the characteristics of a distinct and independent people and therefore should remain independent and sovereign as a state. It goes without saying that during the occupation period the Reich Commissioner and the German administration maintained fairly close contact with these parties and groups which were pro-German, and I do not have to give any reasons for that. But that the Netherlands, especially during a period of occupation, were not going to accept completely the political ideology of the occupying power was quite clear to the Reich Commissioner, as indeed to anyone who was able to judge the conditions at all reasonably.
M. DEBENEST: You said a few moments ago, if I understood correctly, that the Reich Commissioner did not want to force the secretaries general of the Netherlands to make decisions which might be contrary to their conscience, and if they felt uneasy about it, they could ask for their dismissal. Is that what you stated?
M. DEBENEST: Did he dismiss any secretaries general who had not asked to resign?
WIMMER: There was only one exception, that of Secretary General Spitzen. That was the Secretary General to the Ministry of Waterways who did not carry out an order of the Reich Commissioner and in spite of this did not hand in his resignation.
M. DEBENEST: What secretary general was this? In which department?
WIMMER: That was the Ministry of Waterways; that was the Ministry that was responsible for canals, reclaimed land, highways, inland waterways' and so forth.
16 June 46
M. DEBENEST: Is that the only case that you knew of?
WIMMER: That is the only case of which I knew.
M. DEBENEST: In what year was that?
WIMMER: That, I believe-one moment-at any rate, that was in 1944; in the summer, I believe.
M. DEBENEST: Do you not remember the dismissal of the Secretary General for National Defense, Mr. Ringeling?
WIMMER: The dismissal of the Secretary General for National Defense was not a matter for the Reich Commissioner, but fell within the jurisdiction of the military commander, since by virtue of the Fuehrer's decree all military matters fell within the jurisdiction of the military commander.
M. DEBENEST: Why was he dismissed?
WIMMER: That is not known to me.
M. DEBENEST: Try to refresh your memory with the aid of Seyss-Inquart's report and then we will see whether this was in agreement with the head of the Armed Forces. This is what the defendant writes:
"One of the secretaries general tried..."
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, the witness does not know anything about it, apparently.
M. DEBENEST: He says that he does not know the reasons, Mr. President, but he adds-he had previously added-that it was in agreement with the military authorities.
THE PRESIDENT: It is a matter which would come under the competence of the military authorities; and he does not know about it. That is what he said.
WIMMER: All the matters of the Ministry for National Defense fell within the jurisdiction of the military commander, for it is perfectly clear that everything of a military nature which took place or was directed in the Netherlands there was directed by this Ministry, and it is clear that the commander, the German
military representative of the Reich, was competent in this sphere.
THE PRESIDENT: If you have a document which proves that the man's dismissal was done by Seyss-Inquart, I suppose you can put it to him.
M. DEBENEST: I wanted simply to demonstrate that the answer he gave was inexact, merely by reading four lines of the document.
THE PRESIDENT: As I said, if you have a document which proves that the man's dismissal was by Seyss-Inquart, you can put it to him.
13 June 46
M. DEBENEST: That is what I intended to do, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Do it; put it to him, then.
M. DEBENEST: I do not have the original in German. I handed it in yesterday evening to the Secretary of the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Read it to him, M. Debenest. Read it to him.
M. DEBENEST: That is what I am going- to do, Mr. President.
[Turning to the witness.] Here is what Seyss-Inquart wrote: "One of the secretaries general tried to appeal to the authority of Winkelmann"-Winkelmann was the military chief-"concerning the question of the continuation of work in armament factories for the Armed Forces, but this official . . ."
WIMMER: I did not understand that. Will you please read the last two sentences once more?
M. DEBENEST: ". . . concerning the matter of the continuation of armament factories for the Armed Forces. But this official was immediately dismissed."
WIMMER: But that does not say that the Reich Commissioner dismissed this official.
M. DEBENEST: Certainly it is not said that the Reich Commissioner did it; but it is none the less clear in this report that the Reich Commissioner indicates here that when an official, no matter who he may be, does not obey the orders which are given to him, he is dismissed from his office and he quotes this case as an example.
WIMMER: But here it is a question of the military branch. What I have said before deals exclusively with the civilian sector branch, the Reich Commissioner's branch. It is perfectly clear and possible that in a report to Hitler the Reich Commissioner should speak about other things also, because he was the guardian of the interests of the Reich. And he reported about other things to his superior, besides those which were exclusively within his sphere of activity. Nor do I know whether by these officials or these workers, for example, the secretary general is meant, the Secretary General for National Defense.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. We will leave this question.
Did you not require that the Secretary General for Education should place the Kamerlingh Onnes laboratories in Leyden at the disposal of the German authorities for research on atomic energy?
WIMMER: But only in the Netherlands; not in Germany.
13 June 46
M. DEBENEST: But if it was not for Germany, the Secretary General for Education had perfect freedom to decide for himself; you did not have to intervene, did you?
WIMMER: No. That was a German measure which had been demanded by the Reich and which was now carried out in such a manner that all the materials, machinery, and so on, remained in the Netherlands, and German scientists were to have the opportunity to carry out their researches there. Moreover I do not believe that that had anything to do with atomic matters. Who said that?
M. DEBENEST: You claim that important public libraries and private libraries were not confiscated or transported to the Reich? You said so just now, is that not a fact?
WIMMER: Just now? I did not talk about libraries at all just now.
M. DEBENEST: But just now when Seyss-Inquart's defense counsel was questioning you, you certainly said, unless I misunderstood you, that no libraries had been transported to the Reich which came from the Netherlands.
WIMMER: I did not say that. Will you please show me that in the transcript?
M. DEBENEST: Then it is doubtless a mistake. Were not the professors of the University of Amsterdam threatened with the death penalty if they handed in their resignations, and did you not threaten them yourself?
WIMMER: I neither expressed such a threat, nor do I know of any such threat. I consider it quite impossible that anybody could have uttered such a threat.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn now.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 14 June 1946 at 1000 hours]