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[The witness Wimmer resumed the stand.]
M. DEBENEST: I still have a few questions to put to this witness.
Witness, in view of the answers which you made yesterday about the libraries which have been looted and taken to Germany, I would like to read to you a few lines taken from a document which I submitted the day before yesterday to the Tribunal. This document is F-803, Exhibit RF-1525, on Page 34 of the French text. This is c report from the Minister of Education and Art of the Netherlands We find the following:
"The collections as well as the libraries of the International Institute for Social History at Amsterdam have been closed down. The library, which has about 150,000 volumes, as well as a very important collection of newspapers, has been taken to Germany. The Library Rosenthaliana of the University of Amsterdam, which belongs to the city, has been packed in 153 crates and has also been taken to Germany. Famous collections concerning natural history of the College of St. Ignace at Valkenburg and the Museum of Natural History at Maastricht have also been taken to Germany, as well as the library which belonged to it.
"In 1940 all the property of the Freemasonry Lodges was confiscated and taken away to Germany. It included the well-known Klossiana Library."
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, haven't you put enough for the purpose of your question now? We have got the document already and you have put about half a dozen libraries which you are suggesting to him were taken to Germany, and you want to know what he has to say to it, I suppose. It is not necessary to go into the whole detail.
M. DEBENEST: What do you think about this story, Witness' Are these facts correct?
WIMMER: The question which you have put to me was answered in part yesterday, as far as it concerns the property of Freemasons
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It was said yesterday, and I confirmed it, that it is known to me that the property of the organizations, but not of the individual members, was confiscated.
THE PRESIDENT: That is not an answer to the question. The question is, was it true that these libraries were moved to Germany?
WIMMER: I know nothing of the removal of these libraries.
M. DEBENEST: But you did, nevertheless, claim that the Rosenthaliana Library had remained in the Netherlands, did you not?
WIMMER: The Rosenthaliana, I said that.
M. DEBENEST: The Rosenthaliana, yes; the report specifies that it was packed in 153 crates and taken to Germany.
WIMMER: I do know that instructions were given by the Reich Commissioner that this library was to remain in Amsterdam. If it was removed in spite of this, the action was contrary to instructions and I have no knowledge of it.
M. DEBENEST: But still it was you who were responsible for education, or at least for supervising education in arts?
WIMMER: Yes, but not of the arts.
M. DEBENEST: No, but as far as the libraries and universities were concerned?
M. DEBENEST: It is rather curious that you should not have been kept informed of this.
WIMMER: I do not know whether the library was removed or not.
M. DEBENEST: Very well, then. According to the statements which you made yesterday evening you seem to claim that the Reich Commissioner did all he could for the Dutch nation; is that not so?
M. DEBENEST: At any rate, he always did everything he could to avoid the worst; is that so?
M. DEBENEST: On the other hand, you know that numerous people in that country were interned, deported, and shot; that that nation was hampered and coerced in every sphere, under threat of heavy penalties and reprisals. Finally you know that that country was looted. Who were then the people who ordered these crimes and committed them?
WIMMER: I said that the Reich Commissioner did for the country what he could, and prevented as much as he could. In a 5 year
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period of occupation measures had to be taken which were difficult for the country to bear. I do not deny the fact; it is undeniable. I would ask you to formulate your question more concretely, and to mention the actions which you call crimes. The question is too general for me to answer it "yes" or "no," or even briefly.
M. DEBENEST: Who ordered the arrests?
WIMMER: Which arrests?
M. DEBENEST: The arrests of the Dutch people, of course.
WIMMER: The arrests were ordered by the Higher SS and Police Leader; he was chief of police.
M. DEBENEST: Who ordered the internments?
WIMMER: Which internments? Do you mean internments in the concentration camps?
M. DEBENEST: In concentration camps and in internment camps.
WIMMER: They were ordered by the Higher SS and Police Leader. That was his department.
M. DEBENEST: Who chose the hostages?
WIMMER: The Police.
M. DEBENEST: Who appointed Ranter as Commissioner for Public Security?
WIMMER: As Commissioner General for Public Security? He was appointed by the Reich Commissioner, but his main function was that of the Higher SS and Police Leader. For this function he was appointed by the Reichsfuehrer SS.
M. DEBENEST: But he had been appointed-I suppose you know the order-to assist the Reich Commissioner in his job of helping with the Police and for security.
WIMMER: He was to be at the disposal of the Reich Commissioner, but the Reich Commissioner did not have the unconditional right to issue instructions to the Higher SS and Police Leader. The Reichsfuehrer SS had this right. The appointment as Secretary General for Security was a formality. It was made because the Reichsfuehrer SS wished the Higher SS and Police Leader to have this title too. Originally he was not to be appointed Commissioner General.
M. DEBENEST: You therefore consider that Seyss-Inquart had no authority over Rauter?
M. DEBENEST: Very well. In that case I am going to read a document to you, and you will tell me what you think of it, whether
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Seyss-Inquart had no authority; and you can also make any explanations you choose.
That is Document 3430-PS, which has already been submitted as Exhibit USA-708. This is an excerpt from Seyss-Inquart's speeches made in Holland, and is to be found on Pages 124 and 125 of the German text. I submit it to the Tribunal. It will most probably also be found in the trial brief of Seyss-Inquart. I am afraid I do not have the exact page but I think it is Page 57 or 58.
[Turning to the witness.]
Seyss-Inquart in that speech of 29 January 1943 said:
"I will give the orders, and they must be strictly carried out by everybody. In the present situation, the refusal to carry out such an order cannot be called anything except sabotage. It is equally certain that we must, more than ever, eliminate and do away with all resistance directed against the struggle for life."
And further on, he says:
"At a time when our husbands, our sons, our fathers are fighting and meeting death in the East with bravery and fortitude and without weakening and are making the greatest sacrifices, it is unthinkable that we should tolerate conspiracies which seek to render insecure the rear of the front in the East. The person who dares to do that must perish."
If Seyss-Inquart had had no authority over the Police, would he have been able to make such a speech and say that he would issue the orders?
WIMMER: I did not say that Seyss-Inquart had no authority with regard to the Police, I only said that the orders were given by the Higher SS and Police Leader. The relationship with the Police was as follows:
The Reich Commissioner could, of course, turn to the Police in any case in which he needed them; but this only amounted to a wish and not a binding order. In such cases, if they were important, the Police first consulted the Reichsfuehrer SS or his office; and only if this office approved could a wish of the Reich Commissioner be carried out by the Police.
M. DEBENEST: The question is simpler than that. Could he- "yes" or "no"-issue orders in cases such as are mentioned in his speech? He himself mentioned this, you know.
WIMMER: He could make a request but not give orders.
M. DEBENEST: I merely note that you do not agree with Seyss-Inquart's speech.
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I will now speak to you of another document; and you will tell us how you explain that Seyss-Inquart could only make requests, as you term it, and not give orders. This is Document F-860, which I submitted yesterday. This document is a letter from Seyss-Inquart to Dr. Lammers. In this letter he writes that he had wanted to reorganize the Dutch police in order to adapt it to the German police organization; and in the same document he states the opinion that the police must be the strongest expression of the internal administration of a country, which should not be transferred to another agency. That is what Seyss-Inquart says in that document. How can you then co-ordinate your answer with what Seyss-Inquart writes?
WIMMER: This reorganization was not suggested by the Reich Commissioner but originated from the Police itself. The Reich Commissioner by this reorganization-and I myself, too-tried to have the Dutch police at least not completely separated from the administration, which in the main was already the case in Germany, and was what the German Police in the Netherlands- also wanted.
M. DEBENEST: You contradict what Seyss-Inquart himself wrote in this document. How do you explain what Seyss-Inquart wrote further on in the same document:
"I would not like to appoint expressly as administrator of court procedure the Higher SS and Police Leader here, for this appointment suggests to the Dutch a limitation of the authority of the Reich Commissioner. This is of particular importance because the Reich Commissioner was appointed as the guardian of the interests of the Reich by order of the Fuehrer. But I have myself given to the Higher SS and Police Leader all the powers which an administrator of courts needs."
WIMMER: Would you please read the first two sentences again?
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest, the document is before us; don't you think?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: It is scarcely worth while to argue with the witness about it.
M. DEBENEST: I will not insist upon it, Mr. President.
Witness, how do you explain the fact that Schongarth-you saw the document yesterday, did you not, which counsel for the defense submitted to you, the interrogatory of Schongarth-how do you explain the fact that Schongarth, on the very morning after the attempt on Rauter's life, went to Seyss-Inquart and that Seyss-Inquart gave him the order, as he himself states in the document,
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to take increased measures of reprisal and to execute 200 prisoners, and this with the aim of intimidating the population?
WIMMER: Yesterday, I believe, I exhausted this subject. I said everything I knew about it.
M. DEBENEST: Will you give me the explanation I am asking you to make?
WIMMER: I said yesterday that Brigadefuehrer Schongarth came to me and-to be brief about it-represented the matter to me to the effect that the Reichsfuehrer SS had demanded 500 shootings and that Schongarth, on the advice and the request of the Reich Commissioner, had succeeded in reducing the number to 200. That is what I said yesterday.
M. DEBENEST: You maintain that he had received orders previous to the ones he received from the Reich Commissioner then?
WIMMER: Not from the Reich Commissioner but from the Reichsfuehrer SS.
M. DEBENEST: Yes, from the Reichsfuehrer?
WIMMER: I can only say that Brigadefuehrer Schongarth reported the matter to me in that way. I was not there when he telephoned the Reichsfuehrer SS.
M. DEBENEST: Very well. Didn't you yourself take part in a meeting during which hostages were chosen?
WIMMER: A meeting?
M. DEBENEST: A meeting-a conference, if you prefer.
M. DEBENEST: On what occasion?
WIMMER: I recall that in the Rotterdam case the Reich Commissioner had a conference with the Commissioners General, and the matter was reported.
M. DEBENEST: Were you present at the meeting with General Christiansen?
WIMMER: I cannot say with certainty; I believe I was.
M. DEBENEST: Do you know what Seyss-Inquart said during that meeting, what his attitude was?
WIMMER: His attitude was that the intention of the Armed Forces to carry out 50-or as I heard yesterday, 25 shootings-was going too far and could not be done. In this connection, I already testified yesterday that the Reich Commissioner was able, after repeated remonstrations, to persuade the Armed Forces to agree finally to have only five hostages shot.
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THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Debenest, this has all been gone over with Seyss-Inquart, has it not?
M. DEBENEST: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: And with this witness?
M. DEBENEST: Yes, Mr. President. I just wished to see whether the witness agreed with the document which I submitted to the Tribunal
I have finished, Mr. President
THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to re-examine, Dr. Steinbauer?
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no questions to put to the witness, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
DR. STEINBAUER: With the approval of the Court, I shall call the witness Dr. Hirschield to the stand.
[The witness Hirschfeld took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
HEINZ MAX HIRSCHFELD (Witness): Heinz Max Hirschfeld.
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, when the Netherlands was occupied on 12 May 1940, were you Secretary General of the Economic and Agricultural Ministries?
HIRSCHFELD: Before I answer your question, I should like to state that I would have preferred to speak Dutch, but in order not to delay the proceedings, I will speak the foreign language which I speak best; I will speak in German.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
HIRSCHFELD: As for your question, I can say "yes."
DR. STEINBAUER: In this same capacity, did you direct the affairs of both Ministries until the end of the occupation?
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that the Reich Commissioner, in the first conference, told all the secretaries general that he expected loyal fulfillment of their duties, but that no one would have to fear any disadvantage if he should resign?
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HIRSCHFELD: In answer to that, I should like to say that the Netherlands secretaries general, who were ordered by the Netherlands Government to remain in the Netherlands, told the Reich Commissioner at that time that, in the interests of the Netherlands people, they would remain in of lice after they had received approval to do so from the Commander-in-Chief of the Netherlands Army who, at that time, was the authorized representative of the Netherlands Government. In answer to the question of the Reich Commissioner we said, yes, under those conditions.
As for his remark about not fearing disadvantages if we should resign, we answered that that had nothing to do with our decision.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the secretaries general who resigned receive their pension? For example, Mr. Trip, who was president of the Netherlands Bank.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Secretary General of the Interior, Frederiks, remain in office until September 1944?
DR. STEINBAUER: Now we will speak of your own department, Agriculture and Economy.
Did the Reich Commissioner interfere in the administration of your Ministry? In particular, did he release or transfer officials from the food service?
HIRSCHFELD: The Reich Commissioner personally did not interfere. His officials attempted to do so several times, but we refused to allow it.
DR. STEINBAUER: A so-called State Political Secretariat of the NSB existed. Did it have any influence on the administration?
HIRSCHFELD: According to the order of the Reich Commissioner, this State Political Secretariat had no influence on the Netherlands administration. However, I should like to add that through the appointments of NSB secretaries general later such influence actually took place in various departments, though not in mine.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner have the head of the food service, Louwes-who was known as being hostile to the Germans-retained in the interest of the food supply for the population?
HIRSCHFELD: I believe the Netherlands officials left behind by the Government had in general the same attitude as M. Louwes. However, M. Louwes was left in his office.
DR. STEINBAUER: Although it was demanded that he should be removed?
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HIRSCHFELD: This was reported to me by M. Van der Vense at that time.
DR. STEINBAUER: When the trade economy was reorganized,
was this done by order of the Reich Commissioner or by the secretary general?
HIRSCHFELD: The reorganization of the trade economy was carried out on the basis of an order signed by me; although there was originally a draft, which was to be signed by the Reich Commissioner. I refused this because I was of the opinion that this was a Dutch affair, and if the order was signed by me the danger of German influence could be prevented.
DR. STEINBAUER: The Reich Commissioner organized agriculture in the so-called "Landstand." Did this Landstand receive any executive powers?
HIRSCHFELD: The Landstand did not receive any executive powers. I should like to add that in a personal talk I advised the Reich Commissioner not to form the Landstand.
DR. STEINBAUER: Was the so-called Conscription Order of 1941 enforced to a great extent, particularly in the Netherlands?
HIRSCHFELD: As far as I know, the Conscription Order was only enforced to a limited extent in the Netherlands; but it was applied all the more to the deportation of Dutch workers to Germany.
DR. STEINBAUER: There was also a drive to remove members
of the population who were capable of military service, especially from Rotterdam and The Hague-who carried out this drive?
HIRSCHFELD: Which drive do you mean?
DR. STEINBAUER: To remove members of the population capable of military service.
HIRSCHFELD: In 1944?
DR. STEINBAUER: 1944.
HIRSCHFELD: This drive was carried out by the Armed Forces.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner weaken this action by making exemptions, particularly in your department?
HIRSCHFELD: As for issuing exemptions, I heard very little of this at the time.
DR. STEINBAUER: The shipyards and dock installations in Rotterdam and Amsterdam were to be blown up. Do you know the attitude of the Reich Commissioner on this subject?
HIRSCHFELD: I only know, from statements of the deputy of the Reich Commissioner, Volkers, in Rotterdam, that he resisted these measures in the face of the Armed Forces.
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DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I must remark that Volkers' affidavit has not yet arrived and at the moment cannot be traced at all; that is why I am putting this question to the witness.
[Turning to the witness.] Do you confirm the fact that through the intervention of the Reich Commissioner the area which was to be flooded was reduced by about 100,000 hectares?
HIRSCHFELD: I know that through the intervention of the Reich Commissioner, or his office, the area to be flooded in 1933 was reduced; I do not know exactly to what extent.
DR. STEINBAUER: You mean 1943. You made a mistake; you said 1933; it must be 1943.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it possible that this figure of 100,000 hectares is correct?
HIRSCHFELD: I recall that it might be about half of what the Armed Forces had intended to flood at that time.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that the Reich Commissioner, in view of the blockade, changed agriculture over to the production of food at an opportune moment?
HIRSCHFELD: When in 1940 the Netherlands was invaded and occupied by the Germans, the authorities who dealt with agriculture were of the opinion that a reorganization of agriculture was necessary. The Reich Commissioner and his office did not oppose us in this work.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true, in particular, that the stock of high quality cattle in the Netherlands was retained by these measures?
HIRSCHFELD: The livestock in the Netherlands was, to my knowledge, reduced by about 30 percent in the period of occupation. These measures of reorganization of agriculture made it possible to retain this 70 percent of the livestock throughout the war. Pigs, however, had been reduced to a much greater extent and it was necessary to slaughter almost all the poultry.
DR. STEINBAUER: The question of the embargo in 1944 was discussed in detail here. I have one question to put to you:
When did you speak to the Defendant Seyss-Inquart for the first time about lifting the embargo?
HIRSCHFELD: In answering this question, I must go back a little. When the railroad strike was proclaimed, M. Louwes and I on 17 September-I beg your pardon, on 22 September 1944-were visited by Van der Vense who on behalf of the Reich Commissioner
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told us that he expected that M. Louwes and I would issue an appeal to the railroad men in order to put an end to the railroad strike in the interests of the food supply for the country. If we did not do so, countermeasures would immediately be taken to threaten the Netherlands population in the west of the country with famine.
We refused to issue such a statement, and we told Van der Vense that he should report to the Reich Commissioner that reprisals against the population in connection with the railroad strike would place responsibility for the famine on the Reich Commissioner. That was the decisive discussion. Nevertheless, the embargo came into being. Thereupon protests were issued on this subject to the various agencies of the Reich Commissioner, and on 16 October 1944 the first discussion took place in which it was announced that the intention was to lift this embargo.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that unfortunately in this particular year the frost came earlier than in other years?
HIRSCHFELD: Perhaps it came a little earlier than in other years; but in Holland the question of frost is always uncertain. From the Dutch side it was pointed out-I did this myself in a press report-that we always have to expect an early frost.
DR. STEINBAUER: When the invasion threatened and a large part of the population was drawn upon to build fortifications, did the Reich Commissioner agree to your suggestion that a large number of the agricultural workers should be allowed to go home early?
HIRSCHFELD: I know of two cases. In the first place, it was a question of workers from the big cities who were sent to the northeastern provinces in order to dig potatoes; and the promise was made that these workers would not be used for fortification work. This promise was kept. Secondly, at the same time a large number of agricultural workers in the province of Drente, who were already being used for fortification work, were released for digging potatoes.
DR. STEINBAUER: I was unfortunately not able to ask the witness Fischbock about questions relating to finance. Do you know that M. Trip, who resigned on the question of the foreign currency blockade, was left in the Bank for International Payments by the Reich Commissioner in agreement with Funk, the Minister for Economy?
HIRSCHFELD: I recall in this connection that M. Trip intended to resign as a member of the administrative council of the International Bank. When this became known, the Germans were apparently somewhat scared; and M. Trip was asked not to hand
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in his resignation. I know that he did not hand it in. What this implied and what reasons were behind it, I do not know from my own experience.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have two last questions, which are extremely important. We know of an order of the Reich authorities under the title "scorched earth." It was actually issued in March 1945 for the Netherlands. Locks, pump stations, dikes, et cetera, were to be destroyed. Do you know what was the opinion of the Reich Commissioner with respect to this important matter? Did you speak with him about this question?
HIRSCHFELD: This question was discussed for the first time in a conversation which I had with the defendant on 14 December 1944. In this conversation he told me that in view of military developments he feared that the Armed Forces might receive an order to destroy the western part of the country. At that time he discussed with me to what extent it would be possible to keep the western part of the Netherlands out of hostilities. On 7 January 1945 this conversation was continued. As a result of this conversation I attempted to establish contact with London on this question. I did not succeed in obtaining an answer. These reports had to be made by secret radio stations. I never learned whether it was even possible to get one through. Then the Reich Commissioner visited me on 2 April and told me that the "scorched earth" order had arrived and that he had called on Speer for that reason. Speer had told him that the Reich Commissioner did not need to carry out this order in the civilian sphere. But Speer could not speak for the Armed Forces. Therefore, the Reich Commissioner had also talked with General Blaskowitz. Blaskowitz had told him that orders were orders, but if a way could be found to avoid this order he would be ready to do so. Then the Reich Commissioner asked me what possibilities I could see. This discussion was the result of a communication which I reported to London by telegram in April 1945. It was confirmed to me that this report had reached London. Further conversations followed then.
DR. STEINBAUER: The last question: Did the Reich Commissioner, in contrast to the central authorities, establish any contact with the agents of the resistance movement in order to stop the war prematurely?
HIRSCHFELD: A few days after the conversation on 2 April 1945 I had a talk with the deputy of the Reich Commissioner, Schwebel. He asked me to what extent the Reich Commissioner could have been in contact with the agents and whether the few men designated by Herr Schwebel were the proper men. I then confirmed this.
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DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any other of the defendants' counsel want to ask-questions?
DR. FRITZ SAUTER (Counsel for Defendant Funk): I should like to ask the witness a few questions.
Dr. Hirschfeld, you just said that the former president of the Dutch State Bank, Dr. Trip, was in the administrative council of the Bank for International Payments at Basel and remained there after he had resigned his office as bank president in Holland. You just confirmed that. I should like to ask you, do you know that the Reich Minister of Economy, Funk, urged the bank in Basel to allow Dr. Trip to remain in the International Bank in Basel although Dr. Trip was no longer authorized to represent Dutch interests?
THE PRESIDENT: How are we concerned with this, Dr. Sauter?
DR. SAUTER: In questioning the Defendant Seyss-Inquart the French Prosecution brought out the fact that the former president of the Dutch State Bank, Dr. Trip, was forced to resign or did resign; and the Defendant Seyss-Inquart was charged with this. As defense counsel for the Defendant Funk I should like to prove that the Defendant Funk took the part of Dr. Trip as president of the Netherlands State Bank and saw to it that Dr. Trip was retained in the International Bank at Basel.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Dr. Sauter, the Tribunal thinks it so remote and so trivial that really it is quite a waste of time for the Tribunal to listen to this sort of thing.
DR. SAUTER: Very well, Mr. President, then I will ask another question.
Witness, do you know that at the time when Dr. Funk was president of the Reichsbank, the Reichsbank shares in the possession of Dutch capitalists were taken over and that Dutch circles generally acknowledged that this was done in a fair and satisfactory way by Dr. Funk?
HIRSCHFELD: I know nothing at all about taking over shares in the Reichsbank.
DR. SAUTER: Do you know anything, Dr. Hirschfeld, about the opinion Dr. Funk expressed to you on the question of the treatment of the clearing debts?
HIRSCHFELD: After the outbreak of the war between Holland and Germany I never spoke to Funk. Therefore he did not express any opinion at all to me during the war.
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DR. SAUTER: Did you not learn from any other source what Funk's point of view was on the action to be taken in regard to the clearing debts?
HIRSCHFELD: I know from various reports and from publications during that time that the Germans represented these clearing debts as actual debts. We Dutch, however, never believed this; and if an expert on national economics had observed the development from the time when central clearing was organized during the war, he could have realized without difficulty that these debts could not represent any de facto value. In the course of the war they rose to more than 42,000 million marks. When the president of the Dutch Bank, who was appointed by Seyss-Inquart, compared the Reichsmark to the pound sterling in his annual reports, we in Holland laughed at it.
DR. SAUTER: Dr. Hirschfeld, you just spoke of a president of the Dutch State Bank who was appointed by Seyss-Inquart. I believe that was M. Rost van Tonningen?
DR. SAUTER: Do you know that the Defendant Funk, who was the president of the German Reichsbank at that time, endeavored to prevent the appointment of Rost van Tonningen and wanted Dr. Trip to remain in office as president of the Dutch State Bank?
THE PRESIDENT: That is the same question again, isn't it? That is practically the same question as we have already said we did not want to hear about-about Funk's support of Dr. Trip?
DR. SAUTER: If I may say so, Mr. President, the first time I wanted to ask whether Funk tried to have Dr. Trip retained on the administrative council of the International Bank in Basel although he was actually no longer competent to represent Dutch interests, you said that that question was immaterial. The present question refers to whether Dr. Funk endeavored to have the Dutchman, Dr. Trip, retained as president of the Dutch Bank. That is the last question which I have to ask, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: [Turning to the witness.] Well, do you know?
HIRSCHFELD: Yes. I should like to explain this a little. To understand this matter it is necessary...
THE PRESIDENT: Please, be very short about it then.
HIRSCHFELD: It is necessary to know that the Reich Commissioner and Dr. Fischbock were in favor of Rost van Tonningen, although it was known that we in the Netherlands considered Rost van Tonningen a traitor. When Trip was forced to resign, Wohlthat, the German Reichsbank Commissioner, told me that this matter was discussed in Berlin, and the basis of this information. . .
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THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but I think what you were asked was whether Funk tried to get Trip appointed to the presidency of the Dutch Bank when this other man was appointed by Seyss-Inquart. Do you know whether Funk...
HIRSCHFELD: I only know from Wohlthat that Funk attempted to do so and that Goering made a different decision at the suggestion of the Reich Commissioner and Dr. Fischbock.
DR. SAUTER: Anyway, you confirm that Funk attempted to have the Dutchman, Dr. Trip, retained as president of the Dutch State Bank?
HIRSCHFELD: I confirm that, having been told so by Wohlthat.
DR. SAUTER: I have no more questions, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Is there any cross-examination?
M. DUBOST: Of what nature were the orders left to you by the Dutch Government when it left for England?
HIRSCHFELD: There were written instructions by the Dutch Government for all Netherlands officials of the administration. These instructions were based on the Hague Regulations for Land Warfare.
M. DUBOST: These orders, therefore, did not imperil the German Army?
M. DUBOST: Will you then please explain, if you are capable of doing so, why Holland had an exceptional regime, since she was the only country in the West to have a Gauleiter immediately after the invasion?
HIRSCHFELD: We considered the appointment of a Reich Commissioner who was chief of the civilian administration in the Netherlands as an indication that the German Government had political intentions in the Netherlands and not purely the intentions of an occupying power.
M. DUBOST: In your opinion, therefore, Seyss-Inquart was appointed the day after the invasion had started because the German Government had the intention of altering the Dutch national institutions in contravention of international law?
HIRSCHFELD: We were convinced-and this was confirmed by experience-that all possible forms of National Socialist institutions would be introduced in the Netherlands and that one would attempt to force them upon the Netherlands.
M. DUBOST: This attempt was made?
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M. DUBOST: Is it true that during the occupation a great number of the members of the Dutch National Socialist Party were at the head of the police and carried out German orders to arrest Jews or members of the resistance movement or to take hostages?
M. DUBOST: When the Dutch police itself became involved in these arrests, did it make them only because it was forced to do so?
HIRSCHFELD: The conditions were such that old Netherlands policemen, if they ever took part in such matters, did so because they were forced to; but there were Dutch policemen who had been appointed by the German authorities. They were, in general, members of the NSB and they, in part, volunteered for such malodorous tasks.
M. DUBOST: Is it true that the wives and children of those members of the Dutch police who refused to carry out German orders were taken as hostages?
HIRSCHFELD: I know that in various cases the families were taken as hostages when police officials refused to carry out orders. It is further known that this did not happen only in the case of the police, but also in other cases.
M. DUBOST: It has been alleged here that the diamonds taken at Arnhem had all been found in Holland. Does that agree with the facts?
HIRSCHFELD: What was stolen at Arnhem?
M. DUBOST: Diamonds.
HIRSCHFELD: Diamonds. The diamonds affair is a typical example of how they wanted to deal with Dutch property. These diamonds were in a bank safe in Arnhem. After the invasion of Normandy attempts were made by the Germans to seize these diamonds. The director of the Netherlands agency which is concerned with diamonds and later I myself were asked for the keys to the bank safe. We refused. And then on the day of the airborne landings near Arnhem, the German Armed Forces blew up this safe. Apparently only half of the diamonds were found and they were sent to the Reichsbank in Berlin.
When I protested, Fischbock said that they had only been put in the custody of the Reichsbank in Berlin. Then I demanded that these diamonds should be given back. Meanwhile, it was learned that half of the diamonds were still in Arnhem. The Currency Protection Command again demanded the keys which were in my personal possession. I refused and had another discussion with Fischbock. The matter was obviously distasteful to him; and he
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agreed to the concession that the remaining diamonds, which we later found in Arnhem, be returned to the owner. But they were willing to give back the half which had been sent to Berlin only if they could be placed under German lock in a bank in the eastern Netherlands. I demanded from Fischbock that they be turned over without restrictions. Apparently Fischbock could not agree, and for this reason, after the liberation of the Netherlands, these diamonds were not given back; and as far as I know they have not yet been returned.
M. DUBOST: Did Seyss-Inquart return the property of the 1,000 Jews who were deported to Theresienstadt?
HIRSCHFELD: As to the Jews who were deported to Theresienstadt, I know that these people, on the basis of a promise given to my colleague Frederiks, were to be given preferential treatment; but that their property had been given back is not known to me and I do not believe it.
M. DUBOST: Was that property returned to them?
HIRSCHFELD: It had been confiscated. I did not hear that it was returned to them.
M. DUBOST: Seyss-Inquart said that in February 1941, 400 Jews had been transported from Amsterdam to Mauthausen as a measure of reprisal for the fact that a member of the NSB was supposedly murdered at Amsterdam by Jews. What do you know about this?
HIRSCHFELD: I know that in February 1941 there were two difficult situations in Amsterdam. One referred to shipyard workers. I believe 3,000 of them were to be forcibly sent to Germany. I intervened with Seyss-Inquart and succeeded in preventing this. There was, however, unrest in Amsterdam on this subject. In the second place, Jews were already being arrested in Amsterdam, which was the occasion for a strike. The incident of these 400 Jews of whom you speak took place after this strike in Amsterdam as far as I recall, because they wanted to make the Jews responsible for the strike. Fischbock told me so himself, and I said that I did not believe it and that this was only an excuse.
M. DUBOST: If I have understood you correctly, these Jews were arrested because the population in Amsterdam was opposed to their deportation. There were demonstrations and riots during which members of the NSB were killed. These Jews were therefore not deported in reprisal for the murder of the members of the NSB; on the contrary, the men of the NSB were killed at the time when they were going to arrest the Jews, before there was any idea of reprisal.
HIRSCHFELD: I recall that in these days the Amsterdam workers resisted when the Jews were being arrested, and this led
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to an uprising in Amsterdam and to the strike. Exactly what happened I do not know from my own experience.
M. DUBOST: Did Seyss-Inquart prohibit ration cards to be given to workers who evaded deportation to Germany?
HIRSCHFELD: When in May 1943 the so-called age groups were called up for labor commitment in Germany, instructions were sent on 6 May to the competent Netherlands authorities announcing that workers who were called in these age groups could no longer receive any food cards. That was a decree of 6 May 1943, signed by an official of the Reich Commissariat by the name of Effger. We received this instruction; and although it reached us when martial law was in effect, the instruction was not carried out by the Netherlands authorities. What the German authorities argued, in effect, was: "Whoever does not work for Germany gets nothing to eat."
M. DUBOST: Seyss-Inquart claimed that the Dutch people who left to work in Germany up to 1942 were all volunteers. Is that correct?
HIRSCHFELD: No, they could not all be volunteers. The unemployed in the Netherlands received unemployment compensation, and shortly after the occupation a directive was issued that people who were suited for work in Germany and refused to volunteer for this work were no longer entitled to receive unemployment compensation. Thus they were under economic pressure.
M. DUBOST: Much has been said here as to whether Rauter was subordinate to Seyss-Inquart. Could you inform us on this?
HIRSCHFELD: So far as we in the occupied territories knew, Rauter was appointed by Seyss-Inquart at the beginning of June 1940 as Commissioner General for Security. No order which was then known indicated that Rauter had any kind of special position. The decree of the German Reich Chancellor of 18 May 1940 made it clear to us Dutch that the Reich Commissioner was the only responsible man in the Netherlands for the occupying power within the civilian sphere. Much later, from talks, I, and perhaps others who were better informed, realized that Rauter received direct orders from Himmler or from the Reich Security Main Office. But the population of the Netherlands could not know this.
M. DUBOST: Perhaps you know the result of the abolition of the "currency frontier" and its repercussion on life in Holland.
HIRSCH.: Yes. I will try to describe this matter in a few words. At the outbreak of war there was a clearing agreement between the Netherlands and Germany. Thus we Netherlands
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officials, at the beginning of the occupation, were able to exercise special control for deliveries of goods and such to Germany, because there was not only border control by customs officials, but we could also control payment. It was particularly disagreeable to Fischbock that Dutch authorities could still refuse anything, and this was a cause for friction. He attempted to remove this clearing, and on the 1st of April 1941 the foreign currency border was removed. This made it possible for call goods to be bought in the Netherlands for Reichsmark, and they could be taken to Germany under the protection of the German authorities. I will give an example: According to an investigation, which I ordered at that time, there were a few hundred buyers of jewelry and gold and silver articles in the Netherlands. These articles are easy to carry with one. If there had been control of payment, it would not have been possible that in 1942 alone, according to our estimate, 80 to 100 million guilders' worth of such goods was taken away at high prices to Germany. The important point was that by lifting this control of foreign currency one could operate more freely. Furthermore, this was a possibility of buying Dutch securities on the Amsterdam stock exchange, for one of the German aims at that time was to tie Netherlands and German economy together. The easiest way to do this was to lift the "currency frontier," or more exactly, the currency control between the occupied territories and Germany; and thus Netherlands interests were prejudiced more severely than those of other occupied territories where this currency control was retained. I should like to add that of course even there ways of carrying out this exploitation were found.
The lifting of the currency control made the German policy in this connection much easier. This was clearly shown by an order of Hermann Goering of 1942, in which the control of the Netherlands German border was abolished and the Delegate for the Four Year Plan could write that there must be no control at the border even when price regulations or rationing regulations were infringed. That was what Hermann Goering added.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, the Tribunal thinks that this should be shortened, this discussion of the question of the abolition of the frontier policy for money.
M. DUBOST: I have no more questions on this point, Mr. President.
[Turning to the witness.] What amount of money did Holland pay Germany for the cost of occupation?
HIRSCHFELD: The total sum which was paid by the end of the occupation was 8,500 million Builder.
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M. DUBOST: In what form were these payments demanded?
HIRSCHFELD: These 8,500 million guilder consisted of credits which the Armed Forces demanded for the direct occupation costs in the Netherlands; furthermore, for the cost of the machinery of the Reich Commissariat; and third, payments which were imposed on the Netherlands under the expression which was used at first, "outside occupation costs," that is, expenses which the Armed Forces incurred in Germany in the interest of the occupation forces in the Netherlands. The form in which it was paid, as far as it concerned payments in the Netherlands, was in Dutch money. Payments in Germany were made in gold, which was demanded from the Netherlands Bank, or were taken from the account which the Netherlands Bank had with the Reichsbank.
M. DUBOST: Were these payments the result of one of the conditions of capitulation?
HIRSCHFELD: I know the capitulation conditions of 14 May 1940 and they do not mention anything about occupation costs.
M. DUBOST: What is the damage sustained by Holland in other ways as a result of the looting of the means of construction, machinery, stocks, ships, and so forth?
HIRSCHFELD It is extremely difficult to give an exact figure because it could not be determined during the occupation. But, after the German capitulation, the Netherlands Government reported the sum of about 25,000 million guilders to the Reparation Committee in Paris as damages for occupation. This would include the 8,500 million in occupational costs which I just mentioned.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, isn't this all contained in the Dutch report?
M. DUBOST: Oh no, Mr. President, certainly not.
How did Seyss-Inquart's attitude change during the occupation?
HIRSCHFELD: I should like to make a clear distinction with regard to his point of view after September, after the autumn of 1944, and during the first 4 1/2 years. After the autumn of 1944 he was much more outspoken in the Netherlands' interests than previously.
M. DUBOST: Before being the secretary general of the various administrations, which you administered during the German occupation, you were Director of Foreign Trade in Holland; and as such you were present at international negotiations, and in particular, you negotiated with the representatives of Germany about economic questions concerning your country. You therefore knew Schacht?
HIRSCHFELD: Yes, I believe I first met Schacht in 1933 at the World Economic Conference in London.
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M. DUBOST: During your negotiations with Schacht were you not led to ask him to restrict the rearmament of Germany which was ruining her credit?
HIRSCHFELD: If I am to answer this question, I must go back to a conversation in 1936, when I was in Berlin and saw Schacht in connection with trade treaty negotiations. During this conversation the international financial situation came up for discussion because there were various currency devaluations at that time affecting the French franc, the Swiss franc, and the Dutch guilder. The situation of German currency was also discussed in this connection. When I voiced my criticism, Schacht said, "How would you do it?"
I said I could only give him my private opinion. Then I asked if Germany-a question under discussion at that time-when taking up more international loans, would be ready to assume the consequences, as the interests and amortizations would imply a blocking of the importation of raw materials which would have an unfortunate effect on the labor market and on rearmament. Would Germany be wining to accept such consequences? If so, then, according to what was my private opinion in 1936, international loans might be discussed. If not, such a discussion would have little point.
Then Schacht gave me his opinion. Germany needed rearmament in order to be equal to the other great powers in international politics. Only on such a basis could one negotiate. And Schacht said to me in his own ironical pointed way, "I want a big and strong Germany; and to achieve that, I would even ally myself with the devil." In the course of this discussion, Schacht asked a few questions. First, he wanted to clear up the currency question, and secondly, he considered the colonial question important.
Regarding the colonial question, he said to me that in his opinion it was possible for Germany to take over colonies again and that she would accept the responsibility not to arm these colonies and not to set up any naval bases there. If such a policy was to be adopted, he believed that German economic and foreign policy might be reoriented. In this connection Schacht told me that he did not approve of the anti-Semitic tendencies then prevalent in Germany. He gave me examples of his attitude toward anti-Semitism and how he rejected it. I may add one example here that he gave me, his conversation with a certain Klagges, who was Prime Minister of Brunswick, and who made Hitler a German citizen.
M. DUBOST: That is of no interest to me. Schacht told you he had defended the Jews.
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Now, as to the General Staff, was it not the German General Staff who gave the order to have raids carried out in Rotterdam?
DR. HANS LATERNSER (Counsel for General Staff and High Command of German Armed Forces): Mr. President, if I understood the question correctly, the witness is to be questioned about the charges against the General Staff and the OKW. I object to this question for the following reasons...
THE PRESIDENT: You go too fast. Do you not see the light?
DR. LATERNSER: As defense counsel for the General Staff and the OKW, I was prohibited by a court decision promulgated on 8 June to question or cross-examine any witnesses. The same ought to apply to the Prosecution. If I am not allowed to question witnesses, then the Prosecution must not be allowed to question them either since the rules must be the same for Prosecution and Defense.
M. DUBOST: I will forego my question.
THE PRESIDENT: I did not hear what you said, M. Dubost.
M. DUBOST: I said, Mr. President, that I would forego my question about the General Staff; and I have two more questions about Seyss-Inquart.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, just one moment-go on, M. Dubost.
M. DUBOST: Did Seyss-Inquart give the order to have raids carried out in all the large Dutch cities?
HIRSCHFELD: Not to my knowledge.
M. DUBOST: Who gave the order for these roundups to be carried out? Who was it?
HIRSCHFELD These raids were carried out by the German Armed Forces. I do not know who gave the orders. It is only known that in Rotterdam, when these raids-I believe it was on 11 November 1944-were carried out, the divisional commander in Rotterdam made a speech in the town hall on the subject and organized this raid.
M. DUBOST: But didn't Seyss-Inquart have orphan children from the hospitals taken away for work in Germany?
HIRSCHFELD: The question is not clear.
M. DUBOST: Was it Seyss-Inquart who had orphan children seized and sent to work in the service of Germany?
HIRSCHFELD: From my own experience I know nothing about this.
M. DUBOST: Were orphan children compelled to serve in certain of the SS units, on Seyss-Inquart's orders?
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HIRSCHFELD: I know that the SS in the Netherlands recruited soldiers. As far as I know from the newspapers, bulletins, and handbills, it was always done by the SS as such.
M. DUBOST: Who pledged himself not to use chemical products made in Holland for war? Was it Seyss-Inquart who had pledged himself not to do so?
HIRSCHFELD: I beg your pardon?
M. DUBOST: Who had pledged himself not to use chemical products made in Holland for warfare and to have them reserved exclusively for Dutch agricultural purposes?
HIRSCHFELD: This is the question of the nitrogen fertilizer?
M. DUBOST: Yes.
HIRSCHFELD: With regard to the nitrogen fertilizer, the promise was made from the beginning that the nitrogen fertilizer industries in the Netherlands should only produce artificial fertilizers. This was done until about the middle of August 1944, when instructions came that the nitrogen fertilizer industry was to change its production over to explosives. These instructions had been issued by an office of the Reich Commissioner. It was signed by a certain Herr Brocke. Thereupon, after I had spoken to an official of the industry, I attempted to speak to Seyss-Inquart personally on this matter and to intervene. I was given the answer by his adjutant that he had already made his decision and that I could establish contact with Herr Fiebig, the representative of Speer in the Netherlands. I discussed the matter with Herr Fiebig and told him that Netherlands industry and Netherlands labor could not work on explosives. Thereupon I was told...
THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, cannot this question be answered a little more shortly? The question is, did Seyss-Inquart promise that chemicals should be used, I suppose, on the land in Holland and not used for purposes in the Reich? Isn't that the question?
M. DUBOST: You have heard what Mr. President has said. Try to answer more briefly.
HIRSCHFELD: We had the promise that only artificial fertilizer would be produced. Then the demand was made to produce explosives.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Dubost, we do not want it all again. Can't you get the question answered?
M. DUBOST: I did not hear the answer of the witness, Mr. President. It did not come through.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[A recess was taken.]
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M. DUBOST: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall ask the witness one more question.
Witness, do you know under what conditions and for what reasons the newspaper published in The Hague was destroyed by the agencies of the Reich Commissioner?
M. DUBOST: Can you tell us?
HIRSCHFELD: Yes. The newspaper published in The Hague was destroyed because the employees of this newspaper refused to publish an article which spoke against the railroad strike-an article which had been compiled by the information chief of the Reich Commissioner. That was the reason for refusing to publish it.
M. DUBOST: Yes. It was destroyed by means of dynamite, was it not? The buildings and machinery were blown up, were they not?
HIRSCHFELD: The equipment was blown up with dynamite.
DR. STEINBAUER: I have no further questions to put to the witness.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
DR. STEINBAUER: Now, with the permission of the High Tribunal, I should like to call my last witness to the witness stand, Ernst Schwebel.
[The witness Schwebel took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
ERNST AUGUST SCHWEBEL (Witness):Ernst August Schwebel.
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 functions did you have before you assumed service in the Netherlands?
SCHWEBEL: I was Oberverwaltungsgerichtsrat at the Prussian Administrative Court in Berlin.
DR. STEINBAUER: When did you come to the Netherlands?
SCHWEBEL: On 18 May 1940.
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that, beginning with June 1940, you were the delegate or plenipotentiary of the Reich Commissioner in the province of South Holland, including the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam?
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DR. STEINBAUER: In this capacity, as plenipotentiary for this province, did you have constant contact with the Dutch administrative authorities in this province and with the local authorities?
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know how many of the former mayors in the province were left in their office?
SCHWEBEL: At the end, about one-half to two-thirds.
DR. STEINBAUER: Did the Reich Commissioner replace and change many of the officials of the province and of the local government?
SCHWEBEL: No, he made very few changes. Shall I discuss these changes?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, but briefly. Perhaps you can just cite the reasons for the changes.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the changes have already been stated by other witnesses, have they not, and have not been cross-examined to. Is not that right? Did not Seyss-Inquart state the changes, and they were not cross-examined to?
DR. STEINBAUER: Then I shall turn to another question.
[Turning to the witness.] Is it true that in the second half of the year 1944 a state of emergency was declared?
SCHWEBEL: Yes, on 4 September.
DR. STEINBAUER: And the executive powers were turned over to the Armed Forces within a radius of 30 kilometers?
SCHWEBEL: Yes, but this transfer did not take place due to the regulation declaring this emergency state but as a result of a special military regulation.
DR. STEINBAUER: Due to military developments?
DR. STEINBAUER: Is it true that at the beginning of the year 1945 special Kommandos of the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler began to place time bombs in the public buildings of your province in case of an evacuation of this territory?
SCHWEBEL: As far as these special Kommandos of Himmler's were concerned, I know nothing about them. I know only one case in which an Oberleutnant appeared, but I believe that that was prior to the time you mentioned. He wanted to take such steps. I immediately got in touch with the Reich Commissioner and the military commander, and I learned that none of these gentlemen knew about this. Thereupon, at the request of the
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Reich Commissioner, this Oberleutnant was told to cease his activity, to remove the bombs which he had already planted, and to leave immediately. I know of no other cases like that.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know that difficulties arose in Gouda as a result of the so-called "Wehrfahige ins Reich" drive, meaning that these who were fit for military service should be taken into the Reich?
SCHWEBEL: Yes; the Armed Forces was carrying through this drive at the time and with them a deputy of Minister Goebbels in his capacity as Reich Delegate for Total War Effort. They set up special agencies in Gouda and in two other places in the province. The director of the Gouda office carried these duties out in an improper way-rather harshly. Thereupon I discussed this matter with the Reich Commissioner, and he immediately got in touch with the commanding general and had this officer dismissed on the spot.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know anything about the extent of the resistance movement in your province?
SCHWEBEL: The resistance movement was fought by the Security Police in connection with the Armed Forces. What I know is not from my own experience in my administrative post, but knowledge I received through my connection with the agencies. Thereby I know that the resistance movement approached 50,000, as an estimate. These were people who might be counted as such. By that I do not mean that they were people who were organized in groups or in permanent action.
DR. STEINBAUER: Do you know that the Reich Commissioner started a food drive for 250,000 Dutch children?
SCHWEBEL: Yes, I know that he initiated this drive.
DR. STEINBAUER: You were an eye and ear witness to the attempt on the part of Seyss-Inquart to end the war quickly. Will you tell us briefly how connections were established with the Chief of Staff of General Eisenhower?
SCHWEBEL: At the beginning of April 1945 a M. Van der Vlugt approached me. He was the leader of the so-called IKO. That was an interdenominational organization to assist in the food problems.
DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, please speak a little more slowly and clearly. I cannot understand you even in German.
SCHWEBEL: I was approached by M. Van der Vlugt, who was the director of an interchurch group whose purpose was to supply the population with special foodstuffs. I knew him for that reason. He told me that he was acting on behalf of the Dutch Government in London. He asked me whether the Reich Commissioner would be ready to negotiate with him briefly on three questions:
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1. A more extensive food supply for the Netherlands people through the Allies,
2. The stopping of flooding, and
3. The cessation of the fight against the resistance movement.
I immediately got in touch with the Reich Commissioner and he immediately declared himself ready to enter into discussions. Then, 2 days after that, we dealt with M. Van der Vlugt and another representative . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Witness, the yellow light means that you are going too fast, you see. So when you see the yellow light go a little more slowly.
SCHWEBEL: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You were telling us what Seyss-Inquart did.
SCHWEBEL: Yes. Seyss-Inquart declared himself ready to negotiate about these questions immediately. A discussion then took place between us and M. Van der Vlugt and another representative of the Dutch Government in London. That was Jonkheer Six. This discussion took place among the four of us.
On this occasion we agreed first of all about one point, to the effect that any combating of the resistance movement was definitely to be stopped immediately; and the resistance group, on its part, undertook to dispense with sabotage.
Secondly, the Reich Commissioner declared himself ready to give his permission to a generous food supply for the population on the part of the Allies and to stop the floorings. However, there were to be more detailed negotiations in this respect.
The result of this discussion was communicated to London and I brought two Dutchmen through one part of the front line as truce officers. Then, after various negotiations had been going on for some time, we received an inquiry from London as to whether the Reich Commissioner was ready to negotiate with the Commander-in-Chief, General Eisenhower, and deal with him about these questions. The immediate answer was "yes." Thereupon, first of all, I crossed the front line on 28 April at Amersfoort, and there I briefly negotiated with General Sir Francis Gengard, who was the Chief of Staff of Field Marshal Montgomery, and...
THE PRESIDENT: You do not need any more detail about it, do you?
SCHWEBEL: . . . and in this discussion with Sir Francis Gengard we agreed that another discussion was to take place 2 days later between . . .
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DR. STEINBAUER: Witness, we are not really concerned with the details. We are concerned with the results of this conversation, and how it worked out in the interests of the Dutch population.
SCHWEBEL: Yes. This discussion took place on 30 April, between the Reich Commissioner and the Chief of Staff of General Eisenhower, who was General Bedell Smith. In this discussion the Reich Commissioner agreed completely to the wishes of General Bedell Smith that there should be a very generous food supply for the Dutch population.
THE PRESIDENT: If he said he agreed with the demands of General Bedell Smith, surely that is all you want, isn't it?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, that is quite sufficient.
[Turning to the witness.] Through these negotiations-I would like to ask you-the war was ended 2 months earlier, was it not?
SCHWEBEL: One cannot say that exactly. The situation was as follows. For the Dutch population, of course, the war ended, practically speaking, on that day, because the supplies that could be carried by air, over highways, over canals, rivers, and by sea to Rotterdam, were so generous. In order to make these transports possible, an armistice had to be arranged from place to place, so that in fact, though not formally, we had a general armistice and the population at that time immediately benefited by it.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have no further questions to ask this witness.
SCHWEBEL: May I just make a few remarks, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: I think not. If counsel has finished examining you, we do not want any more remarks.
Do any other counsel wish to ask questions?
Is there any cross-examination?
M. DEBENEST: Witness, you spoke a short while ago of the negotiations which you undertook with delegates of the London Government. Are you aware of the fact that these delegates, before undertaking the negotiations with the Reich Commissioner in April 1945, laid down as a condition that no more people would be shot because of attacks against any German civil or military authority unless a court sentence had first been pronounced?
M. DEBENEST: As a further question did those delegates not request the Reich Commissioner whether the SS would conform to the conditions of an agreement which would put an end to hostilities?
SCHWEBEL: That also took place. After that time, nothing more was undertaken against the resistance movement.
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M. DEBENEST: Very good. Is it correct to say that the Reich Commissioner replied that in his capacity as Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS he was in a position to force the SS to observe the conditions of this agreement and that he could answer for it?
SCHWEBEL: An agreement in its true sense-all these conversations were gentlemen's agreements...
M. DEBENEST: Wait a minute. No, I am asking you whether the Reich Commissioner made that reply to the negotiators, that is, the delegates of the London Government?
SCHWEBEL: He said he was Obergruppenfuehrer of the SS as well, and in that capacity he was able to see to it that the SS would comply with this agreement.
M. DEBENEST: Thank you. The last question is this: Did you know Kiehl? He was an official in the Reich Commissariat.
SCHWEBEL: Kiehl? Yes, I knew him.
M. DEBENEST: Didn't he give instructions to flood the Wieringer Sea in April 1945?
SCHWEBEL: Herr Kiehl, to my knowledge, did not give any instructions; he could not do so. Herr Kiehl was an expert on waterworks, and he was a very good expert. But orders for the flooding could be given only by the highest military authority, and that was Generaloberst Blaskowitz.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I object to this manner of questioning the witness. The Prosecution is again questioning this witness in order to charge the General Staff and the OKW. In the objection I mentioned previously I said that if I must not question the witnesses with a view to exoneration, the same must apply to the Prosecution with regard to incriminating questions. I ask that the last statement be stricken from the record.
M. DEBENEST: I beg your pardon.
THE PRESIDENT: M. Debenest?
M. DEBENEST: Mr. President, I merely wanted to say that if I ask this question, it is based on the information that was given to me. There is no question of the Army; but of instructions that were given by a civil servant of the Reich Commissioner, and therefore originating from the Reich Commissariat. Therefore, I do not understand the interference of the defense counsel. There is no question of the Army and I am completely ignorant as to whether the witness is going to tell me whether the Army was responsible or an office of the Reich Commissioner, when I was talking of an official of the Reich Commissioner.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. You may ask the question.
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M. DEBENEST: Will you proceed?
SCHWEBEL: Herr Kiehl was the hydrostatic expert for the Reich Commissioner; but at the same time, he was a hydrostatic expert under the military commander. He was consulted by both authorities as an expert only. He was a very fine expert. But nobody had given him any right to give instructions. ..
M. DEBENEST: Please, do not make any speeches; answer directly. "Yes" or "no," did Kiehl transmit the order to flood the Wieringer Sea?
SCHWEBEL: But I must say how it was! Kiehl? No. He could not have done that.
M. DEBENEST: I am not asking you whether he gave the order; I am asking whether he merely transmitted this order.
SCHWEBEL: I know absolutely nothing about that. I do not know how far Kiehl was involved in this order.
M. DEBENEST: That is sufficient.
What was the interest at that time in flooding the Wieringer Sea? Did not people think that the war was over?
SCHWEBEL: No. When the Wieringer Sea-the Wieringer Polder-was flooded, the war had not yet ended and these agreements had not been concluded either. When the Wieringer Polder was flooded-and I found this out later from military men-there was the danger that an aerial landing on the terrain of the Wieringer Sea would take place, which might place the dike in the hands of the enemy, giving them access to Friesland and North Holland. That was the reason why the military authorities considered this flooding necessary. That is what I was told.
M. DEBENEST: But at that moment in Holland wasn't the war considered as being lost for Germany?
SCHWEBEL: No. At that time, it was not considered lost. At any rate, our Army had, at that time, the order to defend us which it had to carry out. There was the danger that this landing would take place.
M. DEBENEST: I have finished, Mr. President.
DR. STEINBAUER: I would not have had to put another question to you if the French prosecutor had not broached a certain subject. What did General Smith tell you about the flooding of the Wieringer Sea?
SCHWEBEL: General Smith said toward the end of the negotiation that any flooding that had been undertaken up to that time could be justified on the basis of military necessity. But no more was to be undertaken from that moment.
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DR. STEINBAUER: Was any undertaken after that?
SCHWEBEL: No, none was undertaken after that.
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, I have no further questions to ask this witness.
THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.
[The witness left the stand.]
DR. STEINBAUER: Mr. President, with this I have concluded my examination of witnesses. Now I should like to refer to those documents contained in my document books and which I have submitted to the Tribunal. I was notified that Document Book Number 3 has been submitted to the Tribunal, and to conclude my case I should like to submit another document, as Number SeyssInquart-91, concerning the Apostolic letter of the Catholic bishops on the plebiscite in Austria. In this statement, reference is made to the attitude of Gauleiter Burckel. We can gather from it that the persecution of the Churches cannot be charged to Seyss-Inquart, but rather the responsibility is to be placed on Burckel. In order to save time, I should like to ask that the Tribunal take judicial notice of this document without my reading it, and I conclude herewith my presentation of evidence on the case of Seyss-Inquart.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, have you offered all the documents that you want to offer in your books? Have you offered them as evidence?
DR. STEINBAUER: I did not understand the question.
THE PRESIDENT: Have you offered all the documents that you want to offer as evidence and given them exhibit numbers?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. Only a few affidavits are missing, affidavits which were admitted by the High Tribunal: Volkers', Bolle's, and Rauter's. I hope that we shall have them within a short time.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you see, you must offer each of these documents as evidence; you must say so. Merely putting them in the book does not offer them as evidence; and, therefore, you must offer these things to us as evidence, if you wish to do so, giving them the numbers. You can offer them all together, saying you offer . . .
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to offer your Documents Numbers 1 to-I do not know what the last number is; 105 seems to be the last one.
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. I ask that all numbers in my three document books be included, up to 107.
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THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, are the numbers given in the books the exhibit numbers which you wish to give to the documents?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President. They are in numerical order and they are found in that order in my document book.
THE PRESIDENT: You wish, then, to offer Numbers 1 to- whatever the last number is, as evidence. Is that right?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: You offered some in the course of your presentation of the witnesses.
DR. STEINBAUER: Some of them I submitted and quoted according to the numbers given in my document book.
THE PRESIDENT: You now wish, then, to offer the remainder?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, the remainder as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Under the numbers which they bear in your document book?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: And you are offering all the originals under those numbers?
DR. STEINBAUER: Insofar as they are in my possession and I can say upon oath that the extracts tally with the books.
THE PRESIDENT: You have certified that they are true copies of the originals in accordance with the Tribunal's rules?
DR. STEINBAUER: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. HEINZ FRITZ (Counsel for Defendant Fritzsche): Mr. President, I ask the permission of the High Tribunal that the Defendant Fritzsche be absent Monday and Tuesday of next week. He requires this time for the preparation of his defense.
imp; PRESIDENT: Certainly.
DR. FLACHSNER: Mr. President, I wanted to put the same request on behalf of my client, as he will be in the witness box immediately after Von Papen, who is the next, and I ask that he have permission to be absent Monday or Tuesday.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I shall only take a little of the Tribunal's time, but I must make a motion which is particularly important to me, a motion which concerns procedure; and I should like to give the reasons for my motion.
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I move that the Tribunal, first of all, rescind the resolution given on 8 June 1946, and secondly...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, if your motion is an important motion, it should be in writing. If it is not in writing, it must be put in writing. You know perfectly well that is the rule of the Tribunal.
DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, it is very important to me that this motion should appear in the record. May I continue?
THE PRESIDENT: But, Dr. Laternser, it will appear in the record if you make the motion in writing. You have been here for many months and you know perfectly well what the rule of the Tribunal is, that motions be made in writing.
DR. LATERNSER: Yes, but since we are concerned with a motion which applies to procedure and which applies to a resolution announced by word of mouth, I believe I am justified in putting my motion in this manner.
THE PRESIDENT: No, the Tribunal does not think so. The Tribunal would wish to have your motion in writing in accordance with the rule of the Tribunal.
Now the Tribunal will continue with the case against the Defendant Von Papen, which is, I believe, the next.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I am beginning with my presentation of evidence on behalf of my client, Von Papen, by calling the Defendant Von Papen as a witness.
[The Defendant Von Papen took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
FRANZ VON PAPEN (Defendant): Franz von Papen.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat the 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 defendant repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Please give the High Tribunal, briefly, a picture of your life, especially from the time you entered politics.
VON PAPEN: In order to describe my life briefly, I shall emphasize only such points as are essential for the High Tribunal to form a judgment of my personality and how they influenced my life and my political attitude and opinion.
I was born on soil which has been in the possession of my family for 900 years. I grew up with conservative principles which unite a man most closely to his own folk and his native soil, and as my
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family has always been a strong supporter of the Church, I of course grew up in this tradition as well.
As the second son I was destined for a military career. At the age of 18 I became a lieutenant in a cavalry regiment and I went...
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think you gave us the date of your birth.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Please give the date of your birth.
VON PAPEN: The date of my birth is 29 October 1879.
THE PRESIDENT: You have told us you joined a cavalry regiment at the age of 18.
VON PAPEN: Important for my development was my marriage with the daughter of a Saar industrialist, Geheimrat Von Boch. The relatives of this family brought me in contact with many French and Belgian families, and in this way I acquired an intimate knowledge of the spiritual and cultural factors of these neighboring countries, which made a very strong impression on me at the time. From that time on, that is from 1905, I have been convinced of how wrong a certain political attitude can be, namely, that France and Germany should be condemned to consider themselves eternal enemies. I felt how much these two peoples had to offer each other on a mutual basis, provided their peaceful development was not disturbed.
In the years that followed I graduated from the Kriegsakademie (War Academy), and in 1913, after training for 5 years, I was taken into the General Staff. At the end of 1913, at the command of His Imperial Majesty, I was appointed military attaché in Washington and Mexico. In this capacity, in the summer of 1914, I accompanied the U.S.A. Expeditionary Corps, which was dispatched to Vera Cruz as a result of the incident at Tampico. In Mexico, I was surprised by the outbreak of the first World War. Until the end of 1915 I remained at my post in Washington.
This period is of decisive significance for my political life. Our strife, carried on with legal methods, against the unilateral supplying of our enemies with war materials, led to heated polemics and propaganda. This propaganda, which was fostered by the enemy, tried by all means to cast suspicion upon the military attaches of Germany, accusing them of illegal acts and especially of having organized acts of sabotage.
At the end of 1915 I left the United States. I regret to say that I never tried to rectify and correct this false propaganda; but this propaganda followed me until the thirties and even until today, and has impressed its stamp upon me. In order to cite just one
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example, even after 1931, the Lehigh Valley Company stated before the Mixed Claims Commission that their claim of ~ 50,000,000 against the German Reich was justified, since I, the German military attaché, had caused an explosion which had taken place in the year 1917, 2 years after I had left the United States.
I am just mentioning this fact, Mr. President, since this propaganda honored me with titles such as "master spy," "chief plotter," and other pretty names; for this propaganda was the background for the judging of my personality, as I found out in 1932 when I entered public life.
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a convenient time to break off?
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, the report is made that the Defendants Funk and Speer are absent.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Kubuschok.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Witness, we stopped when you were talking about the formation of public opinion concerning you personally. Please continue telling us of your career.
VON PAPEN: I had spoken about the propaganda about myself which was carried on in the United States at the time of the first World War. No effort was in fact ever made to investigate whether this opinion was true or false. What I was able to accomplish in those years, that is, the fact that I opposed sabotage and fought against submarine warfare, never became known.
This propaganda was public defamation, and it reached its height in 1941 in a pamphlet published in New York, with the beautiful title "The Devil in Top Hat." It repeats all these fairy stories without criticism, and adds new ones. Thus a so-called public opinion was formed about me which, I believe, gives a completely distorted picture of my character, my opinions, and above all my motives during the period from 1932 to 1945. I ask the Tribunal to keep in mind these psychological associations as I attempt to give now a true picture of my thoughts and my acts.
After returning to Germany in 1916 I did my duty as a soldier, as a battalion commander and as a General Staff officer in the war in France. In 1917 I became Chief of the Operational Section of Army Group Falkenhayn in Turkey. When Falkenhayn was recalled in 1918, I became Chief of the General Staff of the Fourth Turkish Army until the Armistice.
Perhaps I may recall briefly-after so many bad things have been said about me by the world-an episode which shows that I was able to do something useful for the history of humanity. On 8 December 1918, after a hard struggle with the German and Turkish headquarters, I succeeded in getting Falkenhayn to evacuate Jerusalem. Because of this decision the city was not shelled or destroyed by the British Army.
THE PRESIDENT: The translation came through to me, I thought, the 8th of December 1918. That must have been 1917.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: No, My Lord, 1918.
VON PAPEN: 8 December 1918.
When in November 1918 I was negotiating with Ataturk about the evacuation of the German troops, we received the news of the
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collapse of the German armies and the abdication of the German Kaiser. This fact meant for me not only the loss of the war, a whole world had collapsed for me. The German Reich had collapsed after a thousand years of development, and everything that we had believed in was shrouded in the mists of the future. At this juncture I decided to face the issue.
After my return to Germany, I asked for and received my release from the Army. I went back to my home where I lived on a modest agricultural estate. There I was on traditional soil and devoted myself to home tasks. Before long my farmer friends entrusted me with the administration of their community affairs. They elected me honorary mayor and in 1923 they sent me to the Prussian Parliament.
When I was requested to do this, I decided not to join the Right, the German National Party, but the Center Party. This decision was influenced by my conviction that in this party I would be able to do much more in making adjustments in the social sphere than among the Conservatives. At the same time this party represented the principles of a Christian concept of the State.
The 8 years in which I belonged to Parliament were filled with struggles for the internal recovery and strengthening of the German Republic. In the Center Party I represented the conservative ideas of my agricultural electors. I endeavored to make this party, which in Prussia had formed a coalition with the Left, form a coalition with the Right also. Thus I wanted to help create an outlet for the tensions out of which National Socialism was really born. Also, -into the same period fall my efforts to remove the discriminations against Germany through the numerous terms of the Versailles Treaty, and that by way of reaching a better understanding with the French people. I became a member of the German-French Study Committee, a committee founded by the Luxembourg industrialist Meirisch, comprising a large number of outstanding men of both countries. Close relations and conversations also united me with the veterans' organizations of both countries, on the French side with the well-known leader of the Gueules Cassees, Colonel Piccat. I took an active part in the congresses of German-Frendh Catholic circles which took place in Paris and Berlin. All these efforts had as their aim to place European peace on the basis of a deeper knowledge and closer co-operation of our two countries.
This realization of mine was further strengthened when I moved to the Saar in 1929 which at that time was, as is well-known, under international control. When in 1929 the Young Plan was accepted by Germany I asked Herr Stresemann to arrange with M. Briand a settlement of the Saar question without plebiscite, because I was always of the opinion that a candid solution of this
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thorny question by both sides would leave less resentment and an increased sense of solidarity than a decision brought about by an election campaign carried on heatedly on both sides. Unfortunately, this did not come about.
Then in 1930 the great economic world crisis set in embracing victors and vanquished alike. Germany's new democratic regime was not able to cope with such a burden, and under the everincreasing economic pressure and increasing internal tension, the Papen Cabinet was formed in the spring of 1932. Here starts the political development which I am pleased to be able to account for before the Tribunal. I should like to add a request to the Tribunal. The Tribunal has ruled that the defendants have to be brief because the Defendant Reich Marshal Goering has completely presented the history of National Socialism. I ask that it be taken into consideration that I am not speaking here for National Socialism. My defense will be that of the other Germany.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In questioning the witness it will be necessary to go into the details of the events and the activities of the witness as Reich Chancellor in the year 1932. The Indictment covers the time from 1 June 1932, the date of the appointment of Herr Von Papen as Reich Chancellor. The Indictment sees in the conduct of his official activity as Reich Chancellor the preparation for Hitler's Government.
The defense will set forth that the Papen Government consistently fought for a new program, entirely independent of the ideas of National Socialism, a program representing Papen's own basic political ideas to which he remained loyal in the following period also. As the Indictment. . .
THE PRESIDENT: It is not proper for a counsel to make a statement of that sort. You must elicit the evidence from the witness by questions; and the questions ought to be questions which are not leading questions, which do not suggest the answers. You are now telling us what the witness is going to say. We want to hear it from the witness.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Mr. President, I wanted only to point out that this period of time before 1933 must also be discussed and I wish to ask for your indulgence. We shall...
THE PRESIDENT: We have not attempted to stop you from giving the evidence-from eliciting the evidence. Ask the witness. But you must not state the facts yourself.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Witness, will you explain to the Court what the situation was in Germany when Hindenburg called upon you on 1 June 1932 to form a Cabinet?
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VON PAPEN: Before I answer this question, will you please permit me, as one of the last Chancellors of the Reich, to make a brief statement on the Government directed by me? If and to what extent the Charter of the Tribunal, in our opinion, is compatible with the sovereignty of the Reich and its different governments, will later be expounded by one of the other counsels.
When the Prosecution deals with my activity as Reich Chancellor in 1932, I assume that this is done in order to get a clear, historically accurate picture of the developments and to form a judgment on my character as a whole. For this reason I will comment on this part of the accusation. However, I must state here emphatically that this Cabinet of 1932 governed, to the best of its knowledge and ability under the Constitution and under the emergency powers of the President, at a time of the most severe internal economic depression. It is a historical fact that the activity of my Cabinet would not justify the slightest suspicion of a crime in the sense of the Charter. I believe I must make this statement, My Lord, to uphold the integrity of my ministerial colleagues, and above all, the integrity of the President, Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, the last great historical figure of Germany.
As to your question: Dr. Bruning, my predecessor in office, was highly esteemed by all of us and had been welcomed with great expectations. During his period of office came the great economic crisis, the customs blockades by other countries, with production and trade almost completely at a standstill, with no foreign currency for the procurement of necessary raw materials, increasing unemployment, youth out on the streets, and the economic world depression leading to bankruptcy of the banks. Government was possible only through emergency decrees; that is, by one-sided legislative acts of the President. Support of the unemployed empties the Treasury, is unproductive, and is no solution. As a result of the wide-spread unemployment, the radical parties were increasing. The political splitting up of the German people reached its height. In the last Reichstag election there were 32 parties.
After the war we had all hoped that we might be able to build up an orderly democracy in Germany. The English democracy was our model, but the Weimar Constitution had given the German people a great number of rights which did not correspond to its political maturity. In 1932 it had long been clear that the Weimar Constitution made the mistake of giving the Government too little authority. I remind you that the forming of governments often took weeks because all parties wanted to participate.
In Prussia, the Social Democrats had ruled since 1919. They shared with the "Zentrum" in filling political offices in Prussia. The dualism between Prussia, the greatest of the provinces, and the
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Reich was constantly increasing. My wish that Bruning should return to the old construction of Bismarck's, to be Reich Chancellor and at the same time Prime Minister of Prussia, in order to coordinate the policy of the greatest province with that of the Reich, was rejected by Bruning. In all these years, in the last years, nothing was done to restrain the ever-increasing National Socialist movement, that is to direct it into a politically responsible course.
The entire political confusion and the realization that something had to be done in order to make it possible for the Reich Government to govern and to make it more independent, forced Hindenburg to the decision to appoint a Cabinet independent of the parties, directed by experts. The members of this Cabinet of mine were all experts in their fields. Von Neurath was an old diplomat; the Minister of the Interior, Gall, was an old administrative official; the Agricultural Minister was general director of great agricultural societies; the Finance Minister was formerly Ministerial Director in his Ministry; the Railroad Director, Eltz, had been president of the board of directors of a railroad, and so forth.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did the intention to govern authoritatively bring about a struggle of the parties?
VON PAPEN: Field Marshal Hindenburg had great confidence in Bruning, but he did not forgive him for failing to succeed in winning over the rightist parties, which had elected Hindenburg for the first time in 1925, for his re-election as President in 1932. At that time Hindenburg had been elected over the determined opposition of the Left and the Center. Now, in 1932, he was to be elected precisely by these leftist parties who had opposed him, and against the Right.
Beside the great old soldier of the World War, the opposing candidate was an unknown steel-helmeted soldier. This, of course, hurt the Field Marshal deeply. I wish to point out that in the presidential election in 1932 Hitler had already received over 11 million votes, which was more than 30 percent of the total in the presidential election.
Why the President chose me as Chancellor, I do not know. I can only say that I myself did not lift a finger. The course of events was the following.
I am telling this, My Lord, in order to answer the charge that this formation of a Cabinet was the beginning of an intrigue and a conspiracy. On 26 May 1932 I was on my estate in the Saar.
Herr Von Schleicher, the Defense Minister, called me up there and asked me to come to Berlin. On the evening of the 27th I arrived in Berlin. On the Seth I went to see Herr Von Schleicher. Herr
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Von Schleicher said to me: "There is a Cabinet crisis; we are looking for a Chancellor." He discussed various personalities with me, and finally he said: "The President would like to have you." I was greatly surprised, and said as much. I then asked for time to think it over. On the next day I discussed the matter with my friends. On the 30th I went to see Herr Von Schleicher again. I said to him: "I have decided not to accept." Herr Von Schleicher said: "That won't do you any good, the President wants you under all circumstances." I answered Herr Von Schleicher: "The President probably has a wrong conception of the political forces which I would bring to him for this government; he probably thinks that the Center would support me politically. But that is out of the question."
On the afternoon of this day I went to see the head of the Center Party. I asked him and he said: "Herr Von Papen, do not accept the office; the party would immediately oppose you." I said: "Thank you, that is what I thought."
I then went to see Hindenburg and presented the situation to him. Hindenburg stood up and said: "I did not call you because I wanted the support of any party through you; I called you because I want a cabinet of independent men." Then he reminded me of my duty toward the fatherland. When I continued to contradict him, he said: "You cannot leave me, an old soldier, in the lurch when I need you." I said: "No, under these circumstances I will not leave you in the lurch; I will accept."
DR. KUBUSCHOK: As proof for that discussion . . .
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, the Tribunal think this might be dealt with in slightly less detail. The facts could be stated with less detail.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: We will act accordingly.
As proof for the discussion with the Center Party I refer to Document Book 1, Document 1, Page 1. I submit Document Book 1 as Exhibit Number 1.
Witness, you have been accused of having intrigued against Bruning in some way. Is that true?
VON PAPEN: In no way. I have already said that I had a very high opinion of Dr. Bruning personally, and that from the day when Herr Von Schleicher called me in-that is, 3 days before my appointment-I never had the slightest idea of being appointed Bruning's successor.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did you previously talk to Hitler about the government to be formed by you?
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VON PAPEN: No, that is a completely false imputation on the part of the Prosecution. The History of the NSDAP by Volz, in which that is stated-and that is Document 3463-PS-is a purely private work and was probably sponsored by Goebbels and his Ministry. I state that my government, according to the wish of the Reich President, was to be created by a fait accompli, without any negotiations with any party or the head of any party.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: You did not promise Hitler the dissolution of the Reichstag beforehand either?
VON PAPEN: This statement of the Prosecution is also untrue. I did not previously discuss the dissolution of the Reichstag with Hitler for the Reichstag was dissolved on 4 June, and I saw Hitler for the first time in my life 5 or 6 days later. The dissolution of the Reichstag, as such, was a matter of course, because the new Government wished to have the opinion of the electors on the new course and on the Government's program.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What were the political aims of your Cabinet? Please state this briefly.
VON PAPEN: The central problem which occupied us was the economic one: The big economic crisis, and the 1 1/2 million unemployed young people, the 6 to 7 million completely unemployed, and the 12 to 13 million in part-time employment. Attempts of my predecessors to help with purely State means proved inadequate. They were a burden on finances and had no result. The aim of my Government, therefore, was to employ private economy to solve this problem. We wanted to bring the whole production machinery into working order again. With the investment of 2,200 million marks we wanted to put this process into operation and expected to return into the production process I3/d million workers in the current year.
Such a program could not have been agreed upon with the parties. The political aim was to achieve, simultaneously with the reorganization of the economy, the practical co-operation of the strongest of the opposition parties, the NSDAP. That was the central problem of German internal policy. It had been shown, through National Socialist Government in Thuringia, in Brunswick, and in Oldenburg, that this attempt could be made without becoming exposed to the danger of revolutionary movements. I could hope, therefore, through a national and social program to find the approval of the Reichstag.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: For the Government's statement, I refer to Document 1, Exhibit 1, Pages 2 and 3.
You spoke of the solution of the social problem as the main task of your Government. Will you please explain briefly how you regarded the problem and how you attempted to solve it?
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VON PAPEN: In no country in the world, I believe, was the problem of capital and labor as acute as it was in Germany, as a result of over industrialization and alienation of the soil. The reason is known; I need not speak of it. However, one of the reasons, which is generally overlooked, was the German inflation which had destroyed all mobile fortunes in Germany. This inflation had deprived the middle class and the workers, who form the backbone of the nation, of their savings and fortunes and it had proletarianized the workers, tradesmen, and the middle class.
Simultaneously with the social processes in Germany, a new social order had arisen in our great neighboring country, the order of a classless society and the totalitarian state. The democratic powers of the world resisted the exportation of this system. They took protective measures in the economic field, but these protective measures, the "New Deal," and "Ottawa," weakened the German position all the more.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, I think the defendant must realize that this is all very familiar ground to the Tribunal, and it is not necessary to restate it in detail.
VON PAPEN: I only wanted to explain to the Tribunal that this social problem was the basis for the whole historical development.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The question of the social problem is at the same time a question of the development of the NSDAP, and the witness is going to comment later from this point of view.
Witness, you said a little while ago that you had no contact with Hitler before the formation of the government. When did you see Hitler for the first time and what agreements did you reach?
VON PAPEN: I have already said that I saw Hitler for the first time on 9 or 10 June. The aim of the talk was to determine under what conditions Hitler would be willing to tolerate my Government. My program contained so many points in the social field that an approval of that program by the National Socialists was to be expected. Hitler's condition for such an approval of the Government program was the lifting of the ban on uniforms for the SS; that is, the political equalization of his party with the other parties.
I agreed to that at that time; all the more so as the ban of the SS by the Bruning Government was an obvious injustice. The SS, or rather the SA, had been prohibited; but the uniformed formations of the Socialists and the Communists, that is, the "Rotiront" and the "Reichsbanner," had not been prohibited.
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The result of my promise to Hitler was that Hitler obligated himself to tolerate my Government.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to correct a mistake made by the witness. He spoke of the SS, meaning the SA. There was no SS at that time.
I refer to Document 1, Page 3, which is a statement of the President concerning the lifting of the ban against the SA. The President points out that he decreed the lifting of this ban under the express condition that there would be no more acts of violence in the future. He says furthermore that he was determined-that he would use all constitutional means at his disposal to act against all violations of any kind if this expectation were not fulfilled.
Will you, Witness, make a brief statement concerning your efforts, and the course of the Lausanne Conference in June 1932 which had such a great influence on the growth of the NSDAP?
VON PAPEN: I ask for permission to go somewhat more into detail about this conference, because the result was closely connected with the enormous increase of the NSDAP immediately thereafter. This conference had been prepared long beforehand, as is known. It was to abolish reparations.
But I went to Lausanne with many other aims and hopes. The abolition of reparations was, so to speak, a cause jugee. But what was necessary was to remove Germany's moral discomfort, if Europe was to return peacefully to normalcy. This moral dissatisfaction had many causes. Germany had become a "second-rate nation." It had been deprived of important attributes of its sovereignty: No military sovereignty; the Rhineland unprotected; the Corridor, the Saar, and others. I have already described the economic conditions. These economic and political difficulties helped advance political radicalism, and the extremists increased in every election.
If therefore help was to be forthcoming, then not merely the reparations question had to be solved-that was a negative help- but positive, moral aid was required. My program was the restoration of the sovereignty of the Reich. In the first place, the famous Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty was to be struck out. That was the article which stated Germany's sole responsibility for the war. Historians of all countries had long established that we were not the only ones responsible. In the second place, relations with France based on confidence were to be established.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, the Tribunal do not think that this really is very important for them.
VON PAPEN: I shall briefly...
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DR. KUBUSCHOK: May I explain quite generally that the events of 1932, the internal and foreign political events, formed the key for judging the growth of the NSDAP which, after all, led to the 30th of January 1933. If we discuss certain questions here, we will be able to refer to them when we discuss the events of 1933. I believe we will thus save time. Therefore, I ask that a discussion of this period be permitted in somewhat greater detail.
VON PAPEN: I will make it as brief as possible, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: I think we had better go on, as you suggest, from 1933. Is that not what you were suggesting, that you should go on to 1933, and then possibly come back to 1932, if it is necessary?
DR. KUBUSCHOK: No, that is not what I suggested. I said that the discussion of conditions in 1932 provides the key for the growth of the NSDAP and the formation of the Hitler Government.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes; but the defendant has been discussing the conditions of 1932 for a long time now. Surely we can get on to something which has something to do with the National Socialist Party, now.
VON PAPEN: I will come to that immediately, Mr. President. I wanted only to say that I took up these subjects at Lausanne and tried to bring about understanding for the internal situation in Germany. I negotiated with the French Prime Minister, M. Herriot, about the cancellation of that famous article. I negotiated a consultation pact with him, but nothing came of all this, for reasons which I do not want to discuss any further. The final result of the conference of Lausanne at any rate was negative, so that the elections which were subsequently held...
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What was your point of view in the armament question?
VON PAPEN: I had established my point of view in the armament question, which played a role even in the year 1933, already at that time in Lausanne. I had discussed it with the British Prime Minister, Mr. Macdonald, and M. Herriot. Later, in an interview, I discussed this point of view with M. Herriot, so that it is on record. It is Document 55. In this document I said that it was not a question of German rearmament, but a question of the fulfillment of the disarmament promise of the other nations. Nothing is said about German rearmament, but only about German equality and equal treatment for Germany.
I need not quote this document. It is in the hands of the Court, Document 55.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I submit Document 55 as Exhibit 55, and further refer to Document 1, which has already been submitted, Page 9; and Document 6, which I submitted as Exhibit 3, Page 22.
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VON PAPEN: At the conclusion of the Lausanne Conference, I told Macdonald and Herriot, "You must provide me with a foreign political success, for my Government is the last bourgeois government in Germany. After me there will be only extremists of the Right and the Left." But they did not believe me, and I returned from Lausanne with only partial success.
THE PRESIDENT: I think this would be a good time to break of e.
[A recess was taken.]
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Witness, you said that the outcome of the Lausanne Conference did not come up to your expectations. Why did you, in spite of that, sign the Treaty of Lausanne?
VON PAPEN: In the first place, I had to sign it because otherwise the conference would have ended in a complete failure and Germany would have been confronted with an economic vacuum. We were faced also with the Reichstag election and I had to try to make the best of the situation.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In connection with this question, I should like to submit Document Number 7, to become Exhibit Number Papen-4. This document is a statement by Von Papen, in the Trierische Landeszeitung of 12 July 1932, about Lausanne. I take the liberty of reading a short extract in which Papen says:
"But just as little as we are unable to erase by a one-sided act the signatures given since 1918 by former governments, just as little was this possible with regard to the solemn obligations which were undertaken by the then governing parties in the name of the German people. The present Government simply had to liquidate a situation which had been created by all the former governments since the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The question as to whether this situation can be liquidated by Germany's denying the validity of her signature and thus, at the same time, placing herself outside the conception of cultural and other standards, must be answered with an emphatic 'no."'
In mentioning this quotation, I should like to point out that this attitude under the then prevailing situation and especially in view of the propaganda by the NSDAP is especially noteworthy.
On 18 July 1932 the Reich Minister of the Interior decreed a general ban on demonstrations after, as you have already said, the ban on uniforms had been lifted for National Socialists on 16 June. What were the reasons for the new ban on demonstrations?
VON PAPEN: The condition under which Hindenburg had rescinded the ban on uniforms for the SA was not fulfilled. Election
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campaigns became more and more radical and therefore I decided to suggest to the Reich President a decree prohibiting demonstrations. Contrary to the decree banning the uniforms, this decree applied to all parties equally. Therefore it did not only prohibit the SA, but all fighting formations of the other parties.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Now I shall turn to the 20th of July 1932. The Prosecution calls your action on that date a coup d'etat. The witness Severing has also fully elaborated on that point. What was the reason for your action on the 20th of July 1932?
VON PAPEN: The action was based on the necessity of restoring orderly conditions. I had received reports about the co-operation of ~ the police department of the Prussian Ministry of the Interior with the Communists. The situation of the Reich Government in Berlin must in this case be specifically taken into consideration, and I do not know whether the High Tribunal is cognizant of the legal position. The Reich Government at Berlin was not an extraterritorial area like Washington, D. C., in the United States, but came within the police power of the Prussian State. My own protection, that is, the protection of the Reich Chancellor, lay in the hands of the Prussian police. If, therefore, combinations with the Communists were made in the Prussian Police Ministry, then this affected the security of the Reich Government. This action against the Prussian Government did by no means constitute an action against Socialism as such. Neither did a Nazification of the republican police take place, as the witness Severing testified here. The officials, with the exception of a few higher officials, remained completely unchanged. How I regarded the situation there, I made known to the German people in a radio speech on the evening of the 20th of July. The High Tribunal will find this speech in Document 1, Page 4. However, I shall forego the reading of this speech.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should further like to point to Document 2, which I wish to submit as Exhibit Number 5. I should like to point out, on Page 15, the part where the Defendant Von Papen gives his account about the necessity of this measure.
[Turning to the defendant.] Was this action of yours on the 20th of July brought before the highest German tribunal, the Reich Supreme Court, and was any decision made?
VON PAPEN: Yes. The Prussian Cabinet brought an action against the Reich Government before the Reich Supreme Court at Leipzig; there the matter was properly argued and judgment passed. This sentence upheld entirely the action of the Reich President. It is therefore impossible for the Prosecution to characterize this matter as a Putsch.
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DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to call your attention to Document 8, which I wish to submit as Exhibit Number 6. This is an extract-I beg your pardon?
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, is it necessary for you to give the document exhibits numbers different from the document numbers? You see, it becomes a little bit confusing. Each one of these documents has got, at the head of the document, a number; 1, 2, 3, and so forth, and they follow each other...
DR. KUBUSCHOK: I should like to acquiesce to the suggestion of the High Tribunal and retain the same number. Therefore, Document 5 shall become Exhibit Number 5.
THE PRESIDENT: That would be much less confusing, I think, if you could.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes, indeed, My Lord. This Exhibit Number 5 is an extract from the judgment of the Reich Supreme Court, dated 25 October 1932. On Page 19, at the beginning, is the opinion which says that the decree of the Reich President of 20 July 1932 was entirely legal.
How did the Prussian Government, and specifically Prime Minister Braun, react to this judgment of-the Supreme Court?
VON PAPEN: The Prussian Government and the Prussian Prime Minister absolutely accepted the judgment, which became apparent from the discussions which I personally had later on in October with the Prussian Prime Minister.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Regarding the position taken by the Prussian Government, I should like to submit Document Number 86, which is contained in Volume III of my document book, which, however, because of technical difficulties, is not completely translated and cannot be submitted today.
Witness, on 29 July 1932 you had an interview with a United Press correspondent and you stated in detail your position on the armament problem. Since this topic is of special significance for your case and your defense, I should like to have you comment on this matter.
VON PAPEN: I should like to clarify my attitude on the armament question, for it is the same which I held at the time when I was Vice Chancellor in the Government of Hitler. I should like to refer to Document 1, which sets forth my interview for the United Press, and I will quote from Document Number 86, which is the radio speech which I made on 12 September. On that occasion I said:
"We want disarmament..."
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DR. KUBUSCHOK: Perhaps, Witness, you could just give us the contents in a few words.
VON PAPEN: If the Tribunal would like to check on the contents of my speech, in Document 86 the Tribunal will find that I was speaking for disarmament and for peace. On that occasion I appealed to the major powers, and I would like to quote this sentence:
"In these days Germany is undertaking a gigantic attempt, through the mobilization of her last internal reserves, to bring about work and social peace. That gives us a right to expect that the leading statesmen of the major powers, now, for their part, will decide to bring to an end the poisoning of foreign political relations through agreements which cannot be kept."
DR. KUBUSCHOK: On 31 July 1932 the Reichstag election took place. First of all, I should like to submit a diagram in which the election results of the various elections held in the years 1930 to 1933 are tabulated. This is Exhibit Number 98, which I hereby submit. From the figures shown there we can see the internal political development of Germany.
Witness, what was the result, and what were the political conclusions you drew from the result of the elections?
VON PAPEN: On 30 July, the eve of the elections, I spoke to the United States and I said:
"The world does not realize that Germany is confronted with a civil war. The world did not help us to overcome our difficulties at Lausanne, and it is unbearable that 14 years after the end of the war there is no equality of rights for us."
The election of 31 July brought more than a doubling of the Nazi votes, from 6.4 million to 13.7 million votes, or 230 members of the Reichstag as against 110. The conclusions to be drawn from the results of this election were that no majority could be formed, from the extreme right to the Social Democrats, without the NSDAP. With that, the Party had achieved a parliamentary key position. The Prosecution is trying to ascribe the increase of the Nazi vote to the lifting of the ban on uniforms. That is an explanation which is altogether too simple. Actually, the ban on uniforms was lifted from 16 June till 18 July, for 1 month. And already 2 weeks prior to the election I had issued a decree prohibiting demonstrations. The real reason for the increase in the Nazi votes was the desperate economic situation of Germany and the fact of the general disappointment about the lack of foreign political successes at Lausanne.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Now, what was your conclusion from the results of this election?
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VON PAPEN: The conclusion I drew was the same opinion which I had held before. On the next day I gave an interview to the Associated Press, and through this interview I told the entire world:
"The National Socialists have to be given responsibility, and when that has been done we have to bring about a reform of the Constitution."
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Regarding these historical facts I refer to Exhibit Number 1 which has already been submitted, and especially to Pages 4, 5, and 6.
Witness, please tell the Tribunal briefly about your negotiations with Hitler.
VON PAPEN: As a result of this opinion of mine I had a long discussion with Hitler on 12 August. I impressed upon him the necessity of his participation, and my own readiness to resign as Chancellor in a few months if the co-operation should prove successful, and after Von Hindenburg had gained confidence in Hitler.
Of the political parties, the rightist parties, as is well known, had supported my Cabinet. The Center Party was in opposition. Now, after these elections, the Center Party wanted Hitler as Chancellor, but Hitler himself did not want to become the head of a majority government.
The correctness of my statements is shown in Document 1, Page 6, the first paragraph, last line. I quote:
"Kaas, the leader of the Center Party, demands a so-called total solution of this crisis by the full responsible participation of the former opposition in the Reich Government."
I made an offer to Hitler that he should enter my Cabinet as Vice Chancellor. Hitler declined. On the next day we continued with our negotiations in the presence of the Reich President.
Hitler voiced the demand to the Reich President to join the Government with his Movement, but only on condition that he himself be appointed Chancellor. And this may be seen in this document on Page 6.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: It is Document Number 1, Page 6, Your Honor.
VON PAPEN: The Reich President did not believe that he should transfer complete authority to Hitler and rejected his proposal. At this point our efforts of drawing National Socialism into a responsible government activity had failed.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The Defendant Von Papen voiced his opinions about this in a speech at Munich, which can be found in the document book, Exhibit Number 1, Pages 10 and 11.
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After the failure of these negotiations, the National Socialists entered into the most intense opposition against the Government. Did this in any way change your basic course?
VON PAPEN: The oppositional attitude of the Nazis against my Government did not change my basic course at all. I spoke fully about this matter at Munster on 28 August.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: [Turning to the Tribunal.] This speech may be found in Document Number 1, Exhibit Number 1, Page 7. And on this page I would also like to call your attention to a report on a judgment of a special court at Beuthen. There the first death sentence was passed on the basis of the terror decree of 9 August. This terror decree, with which the Prosecution wishes to incriminate the Defendant Von Papen, resulted in the death sentence against five National Socialists.
[Turning to the defendant.] On 4 September you issued an emergency decree to revitalize economy. As this decree is the nucleus of your Government's activity in the solution of economic problems, I should like to have you comment on this emergency decree.
VON PAPEN: I have already discussed this emergency decree and stated that it concerned a program involving 2,200 million Reichsmark with the aim of creating work for 13/4 minion workers. We made this gigantic effort without increasing our foreign debt by a penny. It was, if I may characterize it in these words, the straining of our utmost and our last reserves of strength. The success became noticeable already in the first month through a decrease of 123,000 in the number of unemployed.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In 1 month?
VON PAPEN: Yes, in 1 month.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Within this general labor procurement program was rearmament contemplated?
VON PAPEN: Not at all. My Government did not spend a penny for rearmament.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The details of this emergency' decree may be found in Document 1, Pages 8 and 9.
Why was there another dissolution of the Reichstag on 12 September? What did you say about this on that evening over the radio?
VON PAPEN: The new Reichstag met according to the Constitution. My Government, as I have already said, could not obtain a majority; but the formation of any other government without Hitler was quite impossible. Therefore, I was justified in the hope
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that this Reichstag would give my Government time to test itself, especially as I had submitted to it a comprehensive and decisive economic program. But just then something unexpected and unheard-of happened.
The thing that happened was, so to speak, the prostitution of the German Parliament. Herr Goering, the President of the German Reichstag, gave to the Communist delegate, Clara Zetkin, the floor for a vehement attack on my Government. When I, the responsible Chancellor of this Government, asked for the floor in order to give an account of what I wanted to do, I was refused permission to speak, and the Reichstag President asked for a vote on a motion of no confidence brought in by the Communists, the Socialists and the National Socialists. The fact of this concerted motion on the part of the three parties should really show what would have taken place in Germany if these three parties were to have ruled in Germany together, and should also show how imperative it was for me to try not to crowd National Socialism into the leftist wing, but to bring it into my Government instead.
I was forced to put the order for the dissolution of the Reichstag on the table, and to leave.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: These historic facts may be found in Document 1, Page 8, and in the document which I have already referred to without having submitted it, Document 86, Page 192.
In a speech in Munich on 12 October you also dealt with the question of reforming the Constitution. Please tell us briefly just what opinion you voiced on that occasion.
VON PAPEN: The reform of the Constitution, as I have already mentioned, was one of the most urgent aims of my Government. The reasons for it are set forth in this document, on Page 9. This reform was to include an electoral reform, in order to end the multiplicity of parties, and the creation of an upper House. Above all, it vitas to give the Government more authority and more opportunities to govern than was possible under the Weimar Constitution.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: As an explanation I should like to mention that the reform of the Constitution which was to do away with the conditions at that time-that Government measures were issued solely on the authority of Article 48, the emergency decree. To what extent this took place may be seen in Document 4 which gives a picture of the great number of emergency decrees which were issued.
Witness, on 6 November 1932 the election for the Reichstag took place. What was the election slogan of the Government and what was your opinion about the result?
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VON PAPEN: Unfortunately, we had to vote once again. The program of my Government was the same as it had been before- that is, the endeavor to establish a new state leadership, a state leadership with the co-operation of an effective parliament with a government vested with strong authority.
In this manifesto to the electors of 4 November I addressed Hitler and I told him:
"It is the exclusiveness of your Movement, your demand for everything or nothing, which the Reich President could not recognize and which led to his decision of 13 August. What is at stake today is this: The question is not whether this or that party leader occupies the Chancellor's chair, whether his name is Bruning, Hitler, or Von Papen, but rather that we meet on common ground so that the vital interests of the German people can be assured."
I hoped that through this Reichstag election the National Socialists whom I opposed would be weakened in such a way that this party would be squeezed out of the central parliamentary position.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What was the result?
VON PAPEN: This result was not achieved. The National Socialists lost 34 seats, but that was not sufficient to crowd them out of their key position, for again the formation of a majority in the Reichstag from the Socialists to the extreme Right was possible only with Hitler; without him, no majority.
In order that we might be in a position to continue governing in a constitutional way, I tried once more to negotiate with the various parties and the National Socialists.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Please give us a description of these negotiations.
VON PAPEN: These negotiations are interesting, and the Tribunal must be made familiar with them so that they can judge the events of 30 January 1933.
First of all, I tried to clear the situation with those parties that were in opposition to my Government, and especially with the Social Democrats and with the Center Party. The Center Party took an adverse position. They desired a majority government with Hitler, but Hitler did not wish to govern with a parliamentary majority. From Document 2, Page 13, we can see what the attitude of the Center Party was.
Since Hitler's collaboration in a coalition government was out of the question, I again turned to Hitler in order to ask him whether he was now ready to enter my Government. I did this
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out of a sense of responsibility in order to achieve any sort of result at all; and, therefore, I wrote him the letter dated 13 November 1932, which is Document D-633, which was submitted by the Prosecution as an "undignified" document because, after all of my failures, I had once more turned to Hitler. In this letter I said:
"I would consider it a violation of duty if I did not turn to you, in spite of everything; and I am of the opinion that the leader of such a great Movement, whose service to the country and the people I always appreciated despite much that I had to criticize, that this leader should not refuse to confer with the responsible statesman."
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Then on 8 November you again turned to the foreign press and spoke to them on foreign political matters. . .
VON PAPEN: May I interrupt you for a moment? I should like to add here, with regard to the opinion on the letter as voiced for the Prosecution by Mr. Barrington: It is customary in every parliamentary state that, if the leader of the government turns to the opposition in order to obtain its co-operation, he writes a courteous and cordial letter to the leader of the opposition; that he does not call him an ass. Therefore, I cannot quite see why these remarks of mine are characterized as lacking dignity.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: On 8 November you turned to the foreign press and spoke about the revision of the Versailles Treaty. Can you explain briefly the statement you made at that time?
VON PAPEN: I only mention the speech made to the representatives of the foreign press in order to show to the High Tribunal the frequency of my appeals to foreign countries-appeals to foreign countries, to the victorious powers-to urge them to undertake a moral reconciliation; for then, Gentlemen, the radical tendencies in Germany would have disappeared of their own accord.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: This speech before the foreign press will be found in Document 1, Pages 11 and 12.
What were the consequences of the failure of your negotiations with the party leaders?
VON PAPEN: The failure of my negotiations with the party leaders and Hitler led to my resignation on 17 November. I was instructed to carry on the affairs of the Government until a new government could be formed.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What efforts were made by the Reich President, after your Cabinet resigned, towards forming a new government?
VON PAPEN: My resignation gave the Reich President the opportunity to try once more to form a parliamentary majority.
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He immediately tried to do that and beginning on 18 November he received all the party leaders, from the Right to the Center; and on the 19th he received Hitler. The topic was: How can we form a parliamentary majority government? He instructed Hitler to form a majority government; Hitler would then be Chancellor.
On 23 November Goering presented Hitler's answer to Hindenburg; it was: "Hitler could not undertake the formation of a majority government."
On the 24th, Hindenburg received Monsignor Kaas, the leader of the Center Party. He declared that Hitler had not even tried to find out whether a majority government could be formed, but Monsignor Kaas promised the Reich President to try once more to form a majority government. On 25 November he reported to Hindenburg that the attempt had been in vain, that the leader of the Nazi faction, at that time Herr Frick, had stated that the Party would not be interested in such discussions. The result: The formation of a majority government with Hitler is impossible.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did other possibilities for a coalition present themselves? Were there other possibilities for a coalition?
VON PAPEN: No. There was only the possibility of a cabinet such as I had had, or a majority cabinet.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: With regard to these negotiations I should like to refer you to Document 2, Pages 14 and 15.
After the discussion between the Reich President and the party leaders had failed, a conference took place on 1 December between the Reich President and you and General Von Schleicher. This consultation is especially important for the future political development and has a considerable historical significance. Therefore I ask you to go into the details of this conversation.
VON PAPEN: The Field Marshal on 1 December asked General Von Schleicher and me to meet him for a conference. I should like to remark that previously no conversation between Herr Von Schleicher and myself about the possibilities for the formation of a future government had taken place. Herr Von Hindenburg asked us about our attitude; I set forth the following:
The attempt to include the Nazi movement into the Presidential Cabinet of Hindenburg had twice failed. Hitler equally refuses to form a majority government. On the other hand, he is exercising a tremendous amount of opposition and is trying to have all my decrees rescinded by the Reichstag. If therefore there is no possibility to form a parliamentary government or to include Hitler in our Government without making him Chancellor, then a state of emergency has arisen which requires extraordinary measures. Therefore, I proposed a recess of Parliament for several months
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and immediate preparation of a constitutional reform bill later to be presented to the Reichstag or to a national assembly. This proposal involved a violation of the Constitution.
I emphasized that I knew how the great soldier and statesman cherished the sacredness of his oath, but my conscience led me to believe that a violation of the Constitution seemed to be justified in view of the extraordinary situation, for which the German Constitution provided no remedy.
Then Herr Von Schleicher spoke. He said:
"Field Marshal, I have a plan which will make it unnecessary for you to break your oath to the Constitution, if you are willing to put the Government into my hands. I hope that I will be able to obtain a parliamentary majority in the Reichstag by splitting the National Socialist Party."
During the discussion of this plan, I said that it was doubtful to me whether a splitting of the Party which had sworn loyalty to Hitler could be achieved. I reminded the Field Marshal of the fact that he should free himself of weak parliamentary majorities through a basic reform.
However, the proposals were thrown overboard through the solution offered by Schleicher. The solution offered by Schleicher was only a provisional matter, and a very doubtful one.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What was the decision of the Reich President?
VON PAPEN: The decision of the Field Marshal was perhaps the most difficult that he had to make in his long life. Without giving any further reasons, he told me: "I have decided in favor of the solution of Herr Von Papen, and I request you to start immediately negotiations for the formation of a government to which I can give the instructions in accordance with your proposals." The conference was over.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What did Herr Von Schleicher do then?
VON PAPEN: I exchanged only a few brief words with Herr Von Schleicher and tried to persuade him to recognize the decision that the Reich President had made. Herr Von Schleicher said "no."
Then, the same evening, I started discussions with several ministers with regard to the formation of a new government. These ministers told me, "The plan is excellent, but Herr Von Schleicher has told us that we will have a civil war and in that case the Reichswehr will not be in a position to keep law and order in the country."
I interrupted the discussion and called the Cabinet together the next morning, presenting the situation and informing them
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of Hindenburg's decision. Then I asked Herr Von Schleicher to tell the Cabinet now why he believed that there would be a civil war and why the Reichswehr would not be in a position to keep law and order in the country. Herr Von Schleicher called on one of his General Staff officers to tell the Cabinet that this case had been considered from a practical and theoretical point of view and that they had come to the decision that the Reichswehr and the police were not in a position to keep law and order in the country. Then I said to the gentlemen: "This is a new situation which I have to report to the Reich President."
I went to Hindenburg and reported to him. Herr Von Hindenburg, deeply stirred about my report, said to me, "I am an old man and I cannot face a civil war of any sort in my country. If Herr Von Schleicher is of this opinion, then I must-as much as I regret-withdraw the task with which I charged you last night." With that, Herr Von Schleicher was appointed Chancellor on the conditions which he had offered to the Reich President at this meeting.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did Herr Von Schleicher offer you the post of Ambassador to Paris?
VOW PAPEN: Herr Von Schleicher, who for a long time knew of my interest in German-French relations, asked me whether I wanted to become Ambassador in Paris. This would have been quite in accordance with my inclinations. But the Reich President objected to this, and...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, the Tribunal think that this is going in far too great detail into all this, all of which is known through history; and most of which we have heard before.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Now we shall turn to the year 1933. On 4 January a conference between Hitler and you took place at the home of the banker, Schroder. The Prosecution is presenting this conference as the actual beginning of your common conspiracy. Please give the Tribunal a description of how this conference came about.
VON PAPEN: I was...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Kubuschok, we have been hearing for the whole of the afternoon the background of the conference. Surely we can hear of the conference now.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: The defendant is charged with the fact that he was the promoter of the negotiations, which supposedly started on 4 January, for the formation of the government formed on 30 January. The role which Von Papen played in it is of decisive importance. Therefore, I consider it necessary that he tells us briefly about the background...
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THE PRESIDENT: The negotiations did not start on 4 January. The defendant told us earlier, about a couple of hours ago, that they started on 12 August 1932. The negotiations started earlier than this.
VON PAPEN: I may perhaps quite briefly say, Mr. President, what it concerns. This conference on 4 January, on the occasion of which the Prosecution asserts that I pledged myself to National Socialism, was a conference which took place on the initiative of Hitler. At this conference nothing was said about the overthrow of the Government of Von Schleicher; and there was nothing said about the formation of a government by Hitler, as it later actually took place on 30 January. We merely discussed the necessity for Hitler to decide to take a responsible part, not as Chancellor, but with his Party. And, My Lord, that I did not engineer this conference or have it called may be seen clearly from the statement of Herr Von Schroder, at whose home this conference took place.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: This may be seen from Document 9, Page 26.
Witness, you are accused of the fact that in this conference you discussed plans for the overthrow of the Cabinet of Von Schleicher. Did you keep the fact of this conference from Herr Von Schleicher?
VON PAPEN: On the contrary. Immediately after this conference at Cologne, I wrote a letter to Herr Von Schleicher, which must have reached him the next morning. And after I had returned to Berlin, I went at once to Herr Von Schleicher and told him just what had been discussed at this conference. Thereupon, Herr Von Schleicher caused an official communiqué to be issued. Document Number 9.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: 9(a)-I submit Document 9(a).
VON PAPEN: In this document it says:
"The conversation revealed the complete lack of foundation for the assertions deduced from this meeting by the press about controversies between the Reich Chancellor Von Schleicher and Herr Von Papen."
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did you then, that is, during the time until 22 January, participate in any political discussions about the formation of a new government?
VON PAPEN: No. Between 9 and 22 January I did not participate in any political discussions about the formation of a government.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Please give us a short summary of the political development from 10 until 21 January.
VON PAPEN: The Prosecution asserts that now, in the interval between 9 and 30 January, I was the chief factor in forming the government of Hitler on 30 January. A chronological recapitulation
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of the days between the 11th and the 30th will reveal how completely wrong this assertion of the Prosecution actually is. Therefore, I shall have to mention a few dates in this connection.
On 11 January: Hitler was in Berlin. He did not see Von
Schleicher, Hugenberg, or Von Papen. But the Reichstag decided through the Council of Elders: "We have to give a reprieve to the Government of Von Schleicher."
On 13 January: Schleicher receives Hugenberg, the chief of the rightist movement.
On the 14th: Hindenburg receives Hugenberg.
Later on we shall see that on both of these days, Hugenberg, the leader of the Right, negotiated with Von Schleicher about his entry into the Cabinet, not about the formation of a government with Hitler.
Then on 15 January, the well-known elections in Lippe took place. The Lippe elections gave the National Socialists a new impetus.
On 20 January, the Reichstag, the Council of Elders, decided to postpone their meeting from the 24th to the 31st.
The State Secretary of the Reich Government, Schleicher, declared in this connection: "The Reich Government intends to clarify the political situation as quickly as possible, but the Reich Government is not interested in majority questions."
From that can be seen that Herr Von Schleicher no longer considered the formation of a government on the basis of a majority.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Now we can leave the political developments
and turn to your personal. ..
THE PRESIDENT: If you are going into another subject, we had better adjourn.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 17 June 1946 at 1000 hours.]