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[The Defendant Fritzsche resumed the stand.]
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Bench, the Defendant Fritzsche, toward the end of yesterday morning's session, testified as to how he tried to aid persecuted persons, within the scope of his limited opportunities. In order to conclude this subject, and with the approval of the Prosecution, I submit Document Number Fritzsche-6, an affidavit of Count Westarp, which is to be found in my Document Book Number 2 on Pages 23 to 25, dated 15 June 1946. I beg the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the contents of this document.
Furthermore, as another piece of evidence, I should like to offer another affidavit, made by a Frau Kruger, Berlin, which is to bee Document Number Fritzsche-8. This affidavit has not yet been included in my document book. However, the original was made by Frau Kruger in German as well as in English and both copies have been affirmed and sworn to. I should like to refer to the contents of this affidavit, especially to the last two paragraphs. From the last paragraph but one we can see that apart from individual cases Frau Kruger has a general knowledge of the defendant's activities. And the last paragraph is quite interesting; it deals with the manner of life led by the Defendant Fritzsche.
Apart from that, I also refer here to the entire contents of this article and I ask the High Tribunal to take judicial notice of this document.
Finally, in this connection, I should like to refer to an affidavit made by Dr. Scharping which has been frequently quoted, Document Number Fritzsche-2, which is to be found in the Fritzsche Document Book Number 2, Pages 6 to 15. I refer particularly to Page 13 at the bottom of the page, and the top of Page 14.
Herr Fritzsche, I should like to put two more general questions to you on this topic. During the last period of the war, did you not try to find out something about the final fate of the Jews?
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FRITZSCHE: Yes. I made the most of an opportunity to which I will refer briefly later on. I asked a colleague of Obergruppenfuehrer Glucks, in Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, about the Jews. Briefly summarized, his answer was as follows: The Jews were under the special protection of the Reichsfuehrer-SS who wished to make a political deal with them. He looked upon them as a kind of hostages and he did not wish a single hair from their heads to be harmed.
DR. FRITZ: Some of the Prosecution's witnesses have asserted during this Trial that the German public knew about these murders. Now I just want to ask you, as a journalist who worked in the National Socialist State, what was, as far as you know, the attitude of the broad mass of the German people to the Jews? Did the people know about the murder of the Jews? Please be brief.
FRITZSCHE: Leaving out all those matters which have already been mentioned at this Trial, I should like to mention only a few observations which to me seem important. I shall omit the period shortly after the first World War, which has already been described, during which certain anti-Semitic feelings were popular in Germany. I should like to state only that in 1933 at the time of the Jewish boycott, which was organized by the NSDAP, the sympathies of the German people clearly turned again in favor of the Jews. For a number of years the Party tried hard to prevent the public from buying in Jewish stores. Finally they even had to resort to threats. A profound and decisive factor in this development was the promulgating of the Nuremberg Laws. As a result of these the fight against the Jews was taken for the first time out of the sphere of pure agitation, that is, the kind of agitation from which one could remain aloof, and, shifted to the field of State Police.
At that time a deep feeling of fear ran through the German people, for now dissension spread even to individual families. At that time many human tragedies resulted, tragedies which were obvious to many, probably to everyone, and there was only one justification for these racial laws. There was only one excuse for them and one explanation; that was the assertion and the hope: Well, now that the separation of the two peoples is being carried out, although painfully, there will at last be an end to the wild and unbridled agitation; and due to this separation there will be peace where formerly only unrest reigned.
When the Jews were forced to wear the emblem of a star and when, for instance, in Berlin they were prohibited from occupying seats on streetcars, the German people openly took sides with the Jews and it happened again and again that Jews were ostentatiously offered seats. In this connection I heard several declarations by
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Dr. Goebbels, who was extremely bitter about this undesired effect of the marking of the Jews.
I, as a journalist who worked during that period, am firmly convinced that the German people were unaware of the mass murders of the Jews and assertions to that effect were considered rumors; and reports which reached the German people from outside were officially denied again and again. As these documents are not in my possession, I cannot quote from memory individual cases of denial; but one case I do remember with particular clearness. That was the moment when the Russians, after they recaptured Kharkov, started legal proceedings during which killing by gas was mentioned for the first time.
I ran to Dr. Goebbels with these reports and asked him about the facts. He stated he would have the matter investigated and would discuss it with Himmler and with Hitler. The next day he sent me notice of denial. This denial was not made public; and the reason stated was that in German legal proceedings it is necessary to state in a much plainer manner matters that need clarification. However, Dr. Goebbels explicitly informed me that the gas vans mentioned in the Russian legal proceeding were pure invention and that there was no actual proof to support it.
N was not without reason that the people who operated these vans were put under the ban of strictest secrecy. If the German people had learned of these mass murders, they would certainly no longer have supported Hitler. They would probably have sacrificed 5 million for a victory, but never would the German people have wished to bring about victory by the murder of 5 million people.
I should like to state further that this murder decree of Hitler's seems to me the end of every race theory, every race philosophy, every kind of race propaganda, for after this catastrophe any further advocacy of race theory would be equivalent to approval in theory of further murder. An ideology in the name of which 5 million people were murdered is a theory which cannot continue to exist.
DR. FRITZ: Now I shall turn to a different topic. You are accused by the Prosecution of having incited atrocities, and that the results of your propaganda covered every phase of the conspiracy, including abnormal and inhuman treatment and behavior. In this connection I shall, therefore, have to ask you about the whole question of concentration camps.
Did you know that the concentration camps existed?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, the fact of their creation was announced publicly, I believe in 1933; and the concentration camps were mentioned later in official communiqués.
DR. FRITZ: What was the purpose of these camps in your opinion at that time?
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FRITZSCHE: As far as I can recollect, the persons to be taken to these camps were those who could not be restrained from taking an active part against the new State. It was stated that the reason for the establishment of these camps was the abnormal internal political situation prevailing at that time: A weak center party and two strong extreme parties, one of which had now assumed power. Steps were taken to put matters on a proper legal basis. Only later was it mentioned that habitual criminals were also to be brought to the concentration camps to prevent them from reverting to crime.
DR. FRITZ: Did you know anything about the number of concentration camps which were established in the course of time?
FRITZSCHE. Before the war I had heard about three camps. During the war I suspected there were five to six; and the chart of a large number of camps which was exhibited here, was quite a surprise to me.
DR. FRITZ: Did you know anything about the number of prisoners in these camps?
FRITZSCHE: Nothing definite. At the beginning of the war, foreign reports mentioned millions of prisoners. At that time, together with a few journalists, I asked Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich to arrange an interview with members of the local and foreign press in order to discuss the matter. He did so. As far as I can recollect, he did not give any definite figures; but rather he compared them with the number of inmates at the prisons and penitentiaries in former days. This comparison did not seem to be disquieting. That was in the winter of 1940 or 1941.
DR. FRITZ: Did you not have any doubts as to the accuracy of those figures?
FRITZSCHE: Not at that time.
DR. FRITZ: Did you know anything about the conditions in the concentration camps? Did you speak to anyone who had ever been in a concentration camp?
FRITZSCHE: Yes. Even as early as 1933 or 1934 I spoke to a journalist who had been interned for a few weeks in the Oranienburg concentration camp, which was the old Oranienburg camp. He informed me that he himself had not been tortured but that he had seen and heard how others had been beaten and how their fingers had deliberately been squeezed in a door.
DR. FRITZ: Did you just accept these reports and do nothing about them? ~
FRITZSCHE: Quite the contrary! I made quite a row. This journalist-I believe his name was Stolzenberg, as far as I remember- did not wish to have his name mentioned. I wrote three letters, one
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to Dr. Goebbels-and he informed me that he would look into the matter-another letter to Frick as Minister of the Interior, and one to Goering as Prussian Prime Minister.
Senior officials from both these offices rang me up and told me that an investigation was being carried out. A short time afterwards, I heard that this old camp Oranienburg had been dissolved and that the commander had been sentenced to death. This was a report given to me by a Herr Von Lutzow, who was press reporter for Diels or Diehl, who at that time was chief of the State Police.
DR. FRITZ: After this first successful protest against ill-treatment, did you receive any further reports about atrocities in concentration camps? '
FRITZSCHE: No. I received no further reports about ill-treatment. On the contrary, I frequently made individual inquiries of members of the Gestapo or of the press section of the Reichsfuehrer SS. All of the individuals whom I asked declared the following: Beastliness in the concentration camps only occurred in 1933 or at the beginning of 1934 at the time when these camps were guarded by members of the SA, who had no profession-that is to say, by those members of the SA who had the whole day at their disposal, and some of them were far from being the best type of men. In this connection I was told further that the 30th of June signified that a purge had taken place. The 30th of June had removed those Gauleiter and those SA leaders who had abused their power. They declared finally that the concentration camps were now being guarded by the SS, who had engaged professional guards, professional administrators and officials expert in dealing with criminal matters, and prison control officials. I was told that this would be a guarantee against abuses.
DR. FRITZ: Did you inquire about certain individuals who were in concentration camps?
FRITZSCHE: Of course, I inquired about well-known personalities such as Parson Niemoller or Schuschnigg, also about Leipkins, Hess' private secretary who had been arrested; and in each case I received information which was reassuring.
DR. FRITZ: They, of course, may have been exceptions because they were well known and were prominent people. Did you not try to speak to other people who had been in concentration camps?
FRITZSCHE: Yes. In April of 1942 I met a former official of the Communist Party, whose name was Reintgen. We had been soldiers together for 6 months; and therefore he reported quite frankly to me, without keeping anything back. He said that he had been illtreated in 1933, having had lashes on his back, but not afterwards. This information fully coincided with my observations.
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DR. FRITZ: Did you yourself visit concentration camps?
FRITZSCHE: No, I have never been inside the compound of a concentration camp. However, during the winter of 1944-45 I was frequently in the administration building near the Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen camp. Apart from that, I spoke to prisoners as often as I was able to do so, if I happened to see them either on the march or at work.
DR. FRITZ: With whom did you speak at Oranienburg?
FRITZSCHE: With a colleague of Obergruppenfuehrer Glucks and twice also with him personally. They told me that the foreign reports regarding cruel treatment were false. They said that the treatment was not only humane but decidedly good, as after all, the prisoners were valuable laborers. I spoke at some length about the working hours, for at that time a rather silly decree had been issued about a general extension of working hours. The attitude taken by Glucks was very reasonable, namely, that longer working hours would not necessarily result in greater output. Therefore the working hours of 8 to 10 hours a day remained as before. He did not mention anything about extermination through overwork. That is something I heard about for the first time in Court.
DR. FRITZ: And how about your questions which you put to the prisoners direct?
FRITZSCHE: Well, first of all, there was always a guard present, and quite naturally the prisoners were suspicious; but eventually I always received positive replies to positive questions. Briefly, the gist of these replies was always the same, that they had been unjustly arrested. Their food was really better than in prison and I frequently heard this phrase: "Well, anyway we are not soldiers here." The weapons carried by the guards were only rifles or revolvers; I did not see any truncheons.
DR. FRITZ: Did you not become more and more suspicious about these concentration camps, after listening to foreign radio reports?
FRITZSCHE: Not for a long time, for the reasons which I gave yesterday. Reports from English members of Parliament regarding the Buchenwald case were first mentioned in April 1945. But this case is so very recent that for brevity's sake I do not need to describe particulars of the incidents that occurred in the Ministry of Propaganda.
DR. FRITZ: How can you explain the fact that crimes and illtreatment of the worst kind undoubtedly took place in concentration camps?
FRITZSCHE: I am on the horns of a frightful dilemma, since I heard the first reliable reports about these things here in prison
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Only a part of these terrible conditions, which were found to exist, can be explained through the stoppage of traffic and communications at the end of the war. The rest is more than enough. Obviously,
the decree for the secret murder of masses of people had brutalized to a terrible extent those people who were entrusted with the execution of this decree.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not know whether this explanation is of any value to us as evidence. We have already heard all about this matter. He has given us his explanation as to why he says he did not know.
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I have but two more questions I should like to put to the defendant.
Herr Fritzsche, it has been said here in Court that conditions in concentration camps were generally known to the German people. As a journalist, will you give us your opinion and the reasons on which it is based?
THE PRESIDENT: Has he not given us that already?
DR. FRITZ: No, I beg your pardon, Mr. President. He gave his opinion when it was a question of the ill-treatment and extermination of Jews, but on the topic of the extermination of Jews, I asked him. . .
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you are asking him what his opinion as a journalist was. I do not see that that is of any importance to us.
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I should be grateful if you would allow me to put the question, as this is my last question but one. I expect an answer from the defendant, an answer which would assist the Tribunal in arriving at a judgment.
THE PRESIDENT: On what matter do you want his opinion as a journalist?
DR. FRITZ: The Defendant Fritzsche would like to repeat a few statements such as some made, for instance, by Dr. Goebbels.
THE PRESIDENT: All right, you may ask the question.
[Turning to the defendant.] Did you understand the question?
FRITZSCHE: I believe a confusion has arisen, inasmuch as I do not wish to quote Dr. Goebbels on this subject but rather in relation to our last series of questions which seem to me more important than the question you have just put to me now.
DR. FRITZ: In any event, I should like you to give me a brief answer to my question. Shall I repeat the question?
FRITZSCHE: Thank you, no. In this connection I should like to refer briefly to the statements which I already made about the murders; that there were many rumors but those rumors were
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denied. Undoubtedly an iron ring of silence surrounded these terrible events and the only thing I observed in the course of my work, and which appears to me to be important, is that in the RSHA and some of its branches there must have existed groups who worked systematically with the view of concealing these atrocities by issuing reassuring statements and denials to the offices which represented the public.
DR. FRITZ: Now I should like to put a last comprehensive question. In the course of your examination by me, you made statements about Hitler and his policies which were entirely different from those you made long ago in your radio broadcasts, et cetera. Can you tell us briefly the date and the reason for your change of opinion?
FRITZSCHE: I would like to answer this question very precisely. The first milestone on the road to this realization was not due to the German defeat, for right or wrong is independent of victory or defeat. The fact was that Hitler tried to use this defeat for the extermination of the German people, as Speer has now horribly confirmed and as I was able to observe during the last phase of the conflict in Berlin when, through deceit by raising false hopes, boys of 15, 14,13, and l2 years of age were equipped with small arms to fight against tanks and called into battle, boys who otherwise might have been the hope for future reconstruction. Hitler found escape in death, leaving behind him the order to keep on fighting. He also left behind him the official report that he had died in battle.
I learned that he had committed suicide; and thus my last public statement, on 2 May 1945, was to let everybody know of this suicide, for I wanted to kill a Hitler legend in the bud.
Then, while in prison, I heard from a fellow prisoner, a German major named Sforner, that he had been arrested by the Gestapo, that he had been tortured in order to make him confess, and that in his presence, his wife had been beaten. That was the second milestone.
The third stage concerned another coprisoner, the world-famous geographer, General Niedermeier, who proved to me that the reasons given by Hitler for the attack on Russia were false, at least on one important point. After he had talked with the interpreter, he could tell me that in the decisive discussion between Molotov and Ribbentrop in 1941, Molotov had not put forth any new demands but that, rather, he demanded that the assurances which had been given in 1939 should be effective. Therefore, a part of the reasons given-and I stress this point-that our attack on Russia was to anticipate a Russian attack, was no longer valid.
The fourth factor was the proof submitted in Court here of the murder of 5 million Jews. I have already spoken about this matter.
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I consider it only my duty to testify to still another statement, a statement which Dr. Goebbels made in my presence on Saturday, 21 April 1945. Dr. Goebbels, who was in a great state of utmost excitement, speaking about the last decisive break-through of the Russians near Berlin, said,
"After all, the German people did not want it otherwise. The German people by a great majority decided through a plebiscite on the withdrawal from the League of Nations and against a policy of yielding and chose, instead, a policy of courage and honor; thereby"-concluded Dr. Goebbels-"the German people themselves chose the war which they have now lost."
These were the last words which I heard from Dr. Goebbels and these words are untrue. I declare under oath: Dr. Goebbels had never previously given such significance to that plebiscite. Never had he given it that interpretation. The exact opposite was the case. At the time of this plebiscite, the German people were explicitly given once again a solemn assurance of the will for peace on the part of Hitler and his associates.
Therefore, I am convinced that Hitler and at least some of his colleagues had deliberately lied to the people on decisive points, right from the beginning of their political career; and, something that is not so important to history, I personally felt deceived on these points, too.
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I have no further questions to put to the Defendant Fritzsche.
THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendants' counsel wish to ask any questions?
DR. STAMMER: Witness, did you ever hear or ascertain, at the beginning when the concentration camps were being organized, that in addition to the regular camps other so-called "wildcat camps" existed which had been established by the SA leaders without the knowledge of the competent authorities?
FRITZSCHE: No. I heard nothing about it at that time. I heard about this distinction in the concentration camps for the first time here in Court.
DR. STAMMER: On the basis of your present-day knowledge, can you assert whether the abuses which you described occurred in these "wildcat" concentration camps?
FRITZSCHE: I can give you a very precise answer to that question. These abuses about which I learned occurred in the old camp Oranienburg, a camp situated in the Berliner Strasse. I do not know to which category that camp belonged. However, these abuses were
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stopped; and I emphasized in my testimony that, almost immediately after I sent my letter to the Prussian Prime Minister, I was called in by a ministerial counsellor or Ministerialdirektor, and I was assured that an investigation would be made-a promise which was kept-but in any case I do not remember whether a final report was sent me from this office.
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In June 1934 the publication of Von Papen's Marburg speech was forbidden. Is it correct to say that from that time onward, any statement on the part of the Defendant Von Papen could be published only with the previous approval of the Ministry of Propaganda?
FRITZSCHE: That is correct, and in even a closer sense. Confiscation of the Marburg speech, as I remember distinctly, was carried out at the instigation of Berndt, who later became Ministerialdirektor. This man drew Dr. Goebbels' attention to the speech. With regard to any other of Papen's announcements, the principle was that not even the Ministry of Propaganda had the right to release them for publication but, rather, that they had to be forwarded either to the Minister personally or to the Fuehrer.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: In your testimony you mentioned that you had known the Defendant Von Papen for some time and that you got to know him when you visited Turkey. Just when did you visit Turkey?
FRITZSCHE: In January, I believe it was 1944.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: What was the purpose of your visit?
FRITZSCHE: I delivered a speech to the German colony in Istanbul and Ankara on the occasion of the 30th of January.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: Did Herr Von Papen have anything to do with this speech and with this festivity?
FRITZSCHE: No, less than nothing. I received an official request from Berlin to see to it that Herr Von Papen would not ostensibly depart before the celebration of the 30th of January, as he wanted to do. I did not attempt to persuade Herr Von Papen to stay and so he left his office in time to go skiing.
DR. KUBUSCHOK: That is all.
DR. THEODOR KLEFISCH (Counsel for SA): Witness, you just now said that it had been reported to you that at the end of the year 1933 and at the beginning of 1934 unemployed SA men were guarding certain concentration camps and that abuses were probably to be traced back to that fact. I have but one question: Who reported that to you? Who was the author of that report?
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FRITZSCHE: The then press chief or press expert of Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, whose name was Gerhard Ratke.
DR. KLEFISCH: Thank you very much.
DR. FRITZ SAUTER (Counsel for Defendant Funk): Witness, the day before yesterday you stated that the Defendant Funk was not concerned with propaganda in the Propaganda Ministry but that in the main he was concerned with organizational and financial matters. Now I should like to ask you to answer several questions regarding the activities of the Defendant Funk in the Propaganda Ministry.
You know, Witness, that at the beginning there was a Press Department of the Reich Government and that it was a State institution. How long did this Press Department exist, and what became of it?
FRITZSCHE: It had existed for quite some time, at least up until March 1933, when it was a branch of the Foreign Of lice. From then on it became a branch of the Propaganda Ministry, and it had a dual mission to carry on: First of all to be the Press Department of this Ministry and secondly, to continue functioning as the Press Department for the Reich Government.
DR. SAUTER: Witness, can you tell me who, beginning with March of 1933-that is, from the incorporation of the Press Department into the Propaganda Ministry-was the chief of this Press Department and, for all practical purposes, was the chief of the press system? Was that Funk or was it someone else?
FRITZSCHE: No, that was Ministerial Counsellor Jahnke, successor to Ministerial Director Berndt. This Press Department was then divided into three sections: German press...
DR. SAUTER: I am not interested in that, Witness, I am interested only in knowing whether the chief of this department was the Defendant Funk or whether it is correct to say that he had nothing to do with these matters.
FRITZSCHE: Nominally, of course, he was the chief, but with the practical operation he had nothing to do. That was taken care of by Dr. Goebbels, Hahnke, and Jahnke.
DR. SAUTER: And later Berndt?
DR. SAUTER: Witness, I have another question. Who had the management of the press policy in the Propaganda Ministry? I am still referring to the State organ. Did the Defendant Funk have anything to do with it, or just who was it? Who directed the press policy?
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FRITZSCHE: At that time Dr. Goebbels himself exercised that function. Later on it was the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich.
DR. SAUTER: The Defendant Funk was State Secretary in the Propaganda Ministry, or at least he had the title of State Secretary. Now, looking at this matter rather generally, I would be interested in knowing this: Did he, in fact, have the position of a State Secretary and exercise authority as such, or did another official exercise the function of State Secretary as the regular deputy of the Minister?
FRITZSCHE: As a matter of course, naturally, he had the position, the power, the prestige, and the salary of a State Secretary; but the practical work was. distributed a little differently.
DR. SAUTER: Just how was it handled?
FRITZSCHE: I have already mentioned that. Practically, Funk concerned' himself with organization and finance as they applied to the gigantic cultural concern which was being developed at that time; whereas the actual policy was set up by Dr. Goebbels with the chief of his ministerial 'office, Hahnke, who was the successor of Funk as State Secretary.
DR. SAUTER: I have one final question, Witness, which refers to another topic.
Do you know what Minister Dr. Goebbels, in November of 1938 or later, said about the Jewish pogroms of 9 November 1938, with regard to Defendant Funk?
FRITZSCHE: Much later Dr. Goebbels stated in my presence that sometimes radical measures would just simply have to be taken, for instance, when Funk had constantly declared that the Jews could not be eliminated from economic life; but he, Dr. Goebbels, had to prove to Funk that it could be done by organizing the riots of 8 November.
DR. SAUTER: In this connection did he say anything about the fact that this Jewish action, for which Dr. Goebbels was responsible, was also instigated' with the purpose of discrediting Dr. Funk and confronting him with a fait accompli? Did he state anything like that?
FRITZSCHE: That was the sense of the answer that I just gave you.
DR. SAUTER: I have no further questions, Mr. President.
DR. WALTER SIEMERS (Counsel for Defendant Raeder): Herr Fritzsche, in this Court we have heard what grave accusations are made against the Defendant Raeder because of an article in the newspaper Volkischer Beobachter. The article I refer to is "Churchill Sinks the Athenia," which was published on 23 October 1939.
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Mr. President, this is Document 3260-PS, or Exhibit GB-218.
I should like to put a few questions pertaining to the Athenia case. Herr Fritzsche, when did the Propaganda Ministry receive the report about the torpedoing of the Athenia, and through what channels?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot give you the date from memory, but I do know that we received this report by wireless; that is, we listened in to a foreign broadcast.
DR. SIEMERS: This wireless report came in shortly after the sinking of the Athenia, is that right?
FRITZSCHE: Without doubt.
DR. SIEMERS: Did the Propaganda Ministry get in touch with the High Command of the Navy in order to learn the details of this matter?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I personally did that because I happened to have a liaison officer from the Navy High Command in my office for censorship advice.
DR. SIEMERS: Whom did you get in touch with in the High Command of the Navy, and what did you learn?
FRITZSCHE: First of all, I spoke to the officer who was with me, whom I have just mentioned, Kapitanleutnant Hahn. Then he telephoned, and in all probability I phoned, too, to the OKM (the High Command of the Navy). As far as I recall, I spoke to Korvettenkapitan Wolf.
DR. SIEMERS: And what did Korvettenkapitan Wolf tell you?
FRITZSCHE: He told me already at this early stage that no German U-boat was in the area in question.
DR. SIEMERS: I should like to remind you that the Athenia was sunk on 4 September 1939.
What did the Propaganda Ministry do after the High Command of the Navy had stated that it was not a German U-boat which had sunk the ship?
FRITZSCHE: Then this report was announced.
DR. SIEMERS: Herr Fritzsche, how did it happen that about 6 to 7 weeks later the article, "Churchill Sinks the Athenia," appeared, which was published on 23 October 1939? Shall I show you the article?
FRITZSCHE: Thank you, no. I remember this incident especially well, as I have checked my memory about it since this case was mentioned again for the first time here in the Court.
I know that Hitler himself ordered this article to be written, giving detailed instructions. The order to write the article came
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through two different channels: First, through a telephone call by the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich; and secondly through a telephone call by Dr Goebbels or one of his officials-I am not able to tell you which of the two. This order was to be transmitted to the Volkischer Beobachter.
Now we come to the circumstances on account of which I remember the details. When I told one of my co-workers to inform the Volkischer Beobachter, he came back to me with the report that it would not be necessary because the Volkischer Beobachter had already heard the necessary details directly from the Fuehrer's headquarters.
DR. SIEMERS: When was this order given by Hitler, or rather, Goebbels?
FRITZSCHE: The day before it appeared, I assume.
DR. SIEMERS: Did any office in the High Command of the Navy have any connection with this article?
FRITZSCHE: According to my knowledge, no.
DR. SIEMERS: Before this article was published, did you speak with Grossadmiral Raeder about this article, or did you advise him of the order given by Hitler in this direction?
FRITZSCHE: No, I believe that the High Command of the Navy had no knowledge of the article at all. The article originated in the manner that I have just described to you.
DR. SIEMERS: Did you at any time speak with anyone in the High Command of the Navy, or with Grossadmiral Raeder about this case?
FRITZSCHE: Only here in the prison.
DR. SIEMERS: Herr Fritzsche, is it correct that in September of 1939 the Times claimed that in Czechoslovakia Germans had murdered 10,000 Czechs at Prague, including the Lord Mayor?
FRITZSCHE: I do not know whether that was published in the Times, but at any rate it was published in the News Chronicle.
DR. SIEMERS: What did the Propaganda Ministry undertake to do thereupon?
FRITZSCHE: German and foreign journalists were taken to Prague. If I am not mistaken, one of the foreign journalists who went along to Prague on that trip is present in this courtroom.
DR. SIEMERS: What did these foreign journalists find out?
FRITZSCHE: They had an interview with the Lord Mayor of Prague, who allegedly had been killed; they traveled about the country, and they reported accordingly.
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DR. SIEMERS: According to that, the report was clearly untrue?
FRITZSCHE: At that time this report was shown to be quite false. However; I must add that since Monday of this week, since the testimony given by Herr Von Neurath, it has become quite clear to me that under cover of this great and effective denial an action of arrests was actually carried out in Czechoslovakia. I must add this; I have to clarify this. And if...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, how does this affect Raeder?
DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I believe that in a certain way it is a parallel case to the article in the Volkischer Beobachter, which the Prosecution is stressing for reasons not quite clear to me.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the evidence is not competent.
DR. SIEMERS: Herr Fritzsche, do you know what Dr. Goebbels' attitude was to Grossadmiral Raeder?
FRITZSCHE: From the few statements which Goebbels made about Grossadmiral Raeder it could be seen that he had an adverse attitude toward him. His reason, frequently expressed was Raeder's negative attitude toward the Party and the Party's wishes and his positive attitude on Church matters, including the protection which he accorded Navy clergymen who were subject to attacks on the part of the Party.
DR. SIEMERS: Mr. President, I have no further questions.
DR. HORN: Witness, you stated that a General Niedermeier was present at the conference which took place between Molotov and Ribbentrop. Just where did you get your information?
FRITZSCHE: There is a mistake contained in your question. I did not say that General Niedermeier participated in this conference. What I did say was-and I shall be a little more explicit-that during my imprisonment I ran into this General Niedermeier who, for weeks or months just before that time, had shared a cell with the interpreter who had the task of interpreting the discussion of Molotov and Ribbentrop.
DR. HORN: Did General Niedermeier give you the name of this interpreter?
FRITZSCHE: Without doubt, but I did not try to remember it.
DR. HORN: I have one more question. After the last discussion on 30 August 1939 between the British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson and the then Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop, in which the conditions for negotiating with Poland were made public, these conditions were published the next day in the Daily Telegraph; and allegedly this issue of the paper was recalled. What do you know about this article?
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FRITZSCHE: First of all, I should like to correct another error which has found its way into your question. On the following morning in question, the Daily Telegraph did not publish the conditions or the note, but only published a report that during the preceding night the British Government had been in consultation on the German demands to Poland, conditions which had been transmitted to them by their Ambassador in Berlin. Therefore it could be seen from this article-at any rate, it could not be interpreted in any other way-that these conditions were known in London.
DR. HORN: Thank you very much.
DR. THOMA: Herr Fritzsche, you stated yesterday that the Volkischer Beobachter was in direct contact with the Fuehrer and with the Fuehrer's headquarters throughout the war. What individual members on the staff of the Volkischer Beobachter were you referring to?
FRITZSCHE: I was not especially referring to people in the Volkischer Beobachter; I was thinking mainly of people at the Fuehrer's headquarters. So, Dr. Dietrich and his delegates made it their business always to call the Volkischer Beobachter directly.
DR. THOMA: You know that Rosenberg was no longer the chief editor of the Volkischer Beobachter after 1937?
FRITZSCHE: I am of the conviction that even before that time he held that position in name only.
DR. THOMA: Witness, can you tell the Court, as far as the socalled actions of the Party were concerned-for instance the burning of the books, the boycott in April of 1933, the pogrom in November of 1938-who the driving force in all of these actions was?
FRITZSCHE: Today I am of the firm conviction that it was Dr. Goebbels.
DR. THOMA: Witness, do you know that Goebbels, whenever Hitler was in Berlin, always was Hitler's guest?
FRITZSCHE: That does not hold quite true. Years before the war Dr. Goebbels saw Hitler, without doubt, only rarely.
DR. THOMA: I have another question. Do you know that Goebbels had a direct telephone line to Hitler?
FRITZSCHE: That is news to me. This is the first time I heard of it.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Thoma, this has nothing to do with Rosenberg, has it, the fact that Goebbels had a direct line to Hitler?
DR. THOMA: Mr. President, I wanted only to ask Fritzsche by that whether Rosenberg had the same connection with Hitler as Goebbels.
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FRITZSCHE: I do not know what telephone lines Rosenberg had, but I know and I have heard frequently that Rosenberg seldom visited Hitler.
DR. THOMA: Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Is there any other defendant's counsel who wants to ask questions?
[There was no response.]
THE PRESIDENT: Then we will recess.
[A recess was taken.]
THE PRESIDENT: Does the Prosecution wish to cross-examine?
GENERAL R. A. RUDENKO (Chief Prosecutor for the U.S.S.R.): I should like to begin the cross-examination in determining the role which German propaganda played in the criminal activity of the Hitler Government. Tell me, do you admit that German propaganda disseminated racial theories and introduced into the minds of the German people the ideas of the superiority of the German race- that means, the idea of the "master race"? Do you admit that?
FRITZSCHE: The question touches upon two problems. May I reply to both of them? I admit that German propaganda spread the racial theory, but I deny that German propaganda spread the theory of the "master race."
GEN. RUDENKO: You do not admit it?
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You admit that the German propaganda incited in the German people racial hatred toward the Jews and propagated the necessity of their extermination?
FRITZSCHE: Once again two problems are contained in this question. May I answer to both?
GEN. RUDENKO: I beg your pardon, you do not have to emphasize this. Just answer the question; if there are two, answer two.
FRITZSCHE: I admit, as I have done in my answer to your first question, that German propaganda spread the racial theory but I deny most emphatically that German propaganda, had made preparations for, or had called for, the mass murder of Jews.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you do not deny that German propaganda preached to the German people racial hatred toward Jews? You do not deny that?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot even affirm that without reserve. That is the reason why, in my answer to the second question, I made a
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slight distinction. German propaganda, and under that I understand official German propaganda, did not even preach racial hatred. It only spoke about racial distinctions, and that is something quite different; but I will admit that there was a certain type of German propaganda which went beyond that and which did preach the clear-cut and primitive racial hatred.
GEN. RUDENKO: You will admit that the activity of German propaganda was also directed against the Church?
FRITZSCHE: No, even that I have to deny.
GEN. RUDENKO: Will you pretend that the German propaganda was not directed toward the persecution of the Church?
FRITZSCHE: That is exactly what I wanted to say. The official German propaganda did not persecute the churches. On the other hand, in order to clear up this point for you, here again there was an unofficial, illegal propaganda which preached against the Church. However, the State and its organizations, during the time of the struggle with the Church, made many utterances and declarations which might have created an impression as if they had participated in the struggle against the churches. By this I mean the trials against clergymen which were given sensational importance.
GEM. RUDENKO: Very well. You will admit that the propaganda conducted by the Hitlerite Government in connection with the so-called problem of the expansion of the Lebensraum of Germany, cultivated and developed in the German nation militaristic tendencies.
FRITZSCHE: I deny that, too, and most emphatically.
GEN. RUDENKO: Do you admit that German propaganda used provocative methods, lies, and slander in order to camouflage the aggressive plans of the Hitlerite Government?
FRITZSCHE: Mr. Prosecutor, it is most difficult for me to answer that question after all I have voluntarily testified to in this courtroom yesterday. If I am to make the attempt to summarize very briefly, then I shall have to say this: I maintain that the German propaganda gave the German nation in the case of every individual action which was carried out, from the occupation of the Rhineland to the attack against the Soviet Union, a picture of the events which, among the Germans, must have created the impression that we were in the right. On the other hand, however, I myself-and I explained already when this happened-had recognized that the structure of these arguments had a basis which was shaky in various respects.
GEN. RUDENKO: That is to say, on the basis of lies and slander?
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FRITZSCHE: No. Please let me apologize, but your way of putting it does not appear to be quite factual enough.
GEN. RUDENKO: You will persist then in denying that German propaganda used methods of slander and lies; you do deny this?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, certainly, I deny it, based on my thorough knowledge of German propaganda; and I should like you to permit me to give you a very brief explanation in this connection.
GEN. RUDENKO: Please, will you give an explanation, but directly, to my question?
FRITZSCHE: But of course. Looking at it today, it was the misfortune of the German people that its propaganda, particularly with regard to those details which can be checked and controlled, was so clean that it was completely overlooked that in its three basic principles there were three fundamental mistakes. I cannot be more explicit.
GEN. RUDENKO: What kind of mistakes are you speaking about?
FRITZSCHE: The first, the trust in Adolf Hitler's humaneness, which was destroyed by the order to murder 5 million people; the second, the trust in the ethical purity of the system, which was destroyed by the orders to apply torture; and the third, the absolute trust in Adolf Hitler's peaceful intentions, shaken by what has been brought up in this courtroom.
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, we shall revert to these questions later when we speak about your personal participation in the conducting of the German propaganda. I should like to ask you now the following: Of course you were aware that in the OKW there was a special section for propaganda, which was subordinate directly to Defendant Jodl?
FRITZSCHE: That was known to me, but you are mistaken if you are under the impression that that department was under Defendant Jodl. It was under the jurisdiction of General Von Wedel and he was succeeded by Standartenfuehrer Gunther d'Alquen.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I do not wish to deal with this subject any longer, at the moment. I am interested in something else; what were the relations between the Ministry of Propaganda and the OKW?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot tell you what they were between the Ministry of Propaganda and the OKW in general, but I can give you detailed information about the relationship between the Ministry of Propaganda and the Propaganda Department of the OKW which you have just mentioned. A permanent representative from that department worked in the ministerial office of Dr. Goebbels. He
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participated daily in the ministry conferences which I have already mentioned once, he who was really always to be found in close proximity to Dr. Goebbels.
GEN. RUDENKO: Who gave the propaganda tasks and the directives to the OKW?
FRITZSCHE: I can only imagine that the propaganda tasks of the OKW were drawn up according to Dr. Goebbels' wishes and to the instructions of the Chief of the OKW, which was Keitel or Jodl.
GEN. RUDENKO: How was the general German propaganda applied with regard to the propaganda tasks and measures taken by the OKW?
FRITZSCHE: I am afraid I do not quite understand the meaning of your question.
GEN. RUDENKO: How was the general German propaganda brought into line with the propaganda measures taken by the OKW?
FRITZSCHE: Very probably it was just fitted into the propaganda measures adopted by the OKW, because Dr. Goebbels was so strong a personality that he would not have tolerated any disregard of his propagandist principles.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I would like to have your answer to the following question: What relations existed between the Ministry of Propaganda and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
FRITZSCHE: Sometimes relations were a bit tense, but during the later years of the war a representative from the Foreign Ministry participated always in the ministry conferences of the Propaganda Ministry.
GEN. RUDENKO: What part did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs play in the carrying out of propaganda measures especially in connection with the preparation and execution of aggressive wars?
FRITZSCHE: May I say the following to this: At the very beginning of an action of war, a representative from the Foreign Office used to appear with a completed document book, a White Book. I know nothing about the origin of these White Books. At any rate, they were not prepared in the Ministry of Propaganda. In a few cases I later received some knowledge of their compilation in the Foreign Office.
GEN. RUDENKO: Would it be correct to make the following deduction: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated directly and actively in the preparation of propaganda tasks and directives; is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: No doubt that is true because the Foreign Minister reserved for himself the decisive word with reference to propaganda
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which was connected with foreign policy or any propaganda which went abroad.
GEN. RUDENKO: Did you have in mind Defendant Ribbentrop when you just replied and when you spoke about the role of the Foreign Minister?
FRITZSCHE: Of course.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You acknowledge and maintain that Defendant Ribbentrop personally gave out the propaganda orders for explaining the attack on the Soviet Union as a preventive war?
FRITZSCHE: That question cannot be answered with "yes" or "no" but with a very brief description of the facts. The then Foreign Minister Von Ribbentrop received, in the early morning hours of the day when the Russian campaign started, the foreign press correspondents and the German press. He put a White Book before them and he went on to explain in a speech what the situation was and concluded with the following emphatic statement:
"For all these reasons Germany was forced to begin this attack against the Soviet Union in order to forestall a Soviet attack. I ask you, gentlemen of the press, to please present the facts in this manner."
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to determine by this that the propaganda tasks were given by Defendant Ribbentrop himself. Do you admit it?
FRITZSCHE: I beg to apologize, but I have admitted exactly what I have said. Your last question is a conclusion based on what I have said, and to that I do not want to agree.
GEN. RUDENKO: However, replying to my previous question you spoke about the decisive role of Defendant Ribbentrop in questions concerning the carrying out of the foreign policy propaganda; is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: Perfectly correct.
GEN. RUDENKO: Well. It is enough; let us skip that question. Tell me now what were the relations between the Ministry of Propaganda and the so-called Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories? Please explain to me in this connection how these two Ministries collaborated and what the relations were between them?
FRITZSCHE: There was a permanent liaison officer who was a member both of the Eastern Ministry and the Ministry of Propaganda; and beyond that, there was an institution which had been founded by both Ministries jointly and which was jointly administrated by them. It was the institution called "Vineta," which dealt with the entire propaganda in the East.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, I understand. By what order-or who prepared the propaganda slogans, as you called them in Germany, which were intended for the occupied territories? Who planned and prepared them?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot tell you under oath, because I am not sure about it, but it is my assumption that they were developed based on the existing principles of general propaganda by Dr. Tauber who was mentioned, and his associates, in this Vineta institute.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. But apparently you are aware of the fact and will confirm that the leading influence of the Ministry of Propaganda has been maintained in all these measures.
FRITZSCHE: Quite definitely. Indubitably the Ministry of Propaganda had the superior initiative here and the greater influence.
GEN. RUDENKO: That is clear. Now tell me, what kind of influence did the Defendant Bormann have on German propaganda? What role did he play in this respect?
FRITZSCHE: That role was unusually great. I know that it is somewhat frowned upon when statements are made here about a man who presumably is dead. In the interests of the historic truth, however, I shall nevertheless have to tell you the following.. .
GEN. RUDENKO: We do not know yet whether Bormann is dead. We know only that he is not present on the defendants' bench; but he is, however, one of the defendants. Go on, please.
FRITZSCHE: The influence of the Defendant Bormann was unusually strong not only in all the other fields but also in the propaganda sector. It became apparent in the following:
First, in the general type of Party agitation which I mentioned yesterday, that of the most radical trend. A teleprint message from Bormann to Dr. Goebbels with, shall we say, the following contents: I heard complaints from Party circles regarding this, that, or the other, would always be the cause of a rapid acceleration of Dr. Goebbels' entire machinery.
Second-and this is something which I cannot express under oath in other words-Dr. Goebbels was quite clearly afraid of Martin Bormann. And he always tried scrupulously to justify in Bormann's eyes any actions of his which might have been misinterpreted by radical elements in the Party.
GEN. RUDENKO: Perhaps you will tell us who else of the defendants who were not named here during my cross-examination actively participated in the propaganda activities, and in what way. Maybe you would rather not tell us anything about the defendants who are present here.
FRITZSCHE: I certainly would rather not, but I shall answer.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, please.
FRITZSCHE: By the way, a very favorable influence on propaganda was exercised by one of the offices of the Defendant Kaltenbrunner. Whether he was responsible for it in person I do not know, but here are the facts: During the struggle for realistic news service which I mentioned yesterday, I repeatedly met with resistance from the Party and the Foreign Office; but I found the support of a department of the RSHA, the name of which I have forgotten, most useful. This department used to issue reports about the general frame of mind or temper of the German people, and these reports were distributed to various supreme authorities in the Reich. In these reports showing the mood of the people there was frequent praise for realistic news, the very thing which had been combated by the other two parties which I have mentioned.
GEN. RUDENKO: You just mentioned the office of Defendant Kaltenbrunner. Who else of the defendants could you name?
FRITZSCHE: None of the others played a part in German propaganda.
GEN. RUDENKO: Defendant Hess is not present here, but did he have any influence or not?
FRITZSCHE: Most unfortunately not.
GEN. RUDENKO: Why do you say "unfortunately"?
FRITZSCHE: During the period when he was still in office, he fulfilled a very beneficial task. He was, shall we say, the "complaint department" for all shortcomings in the Party and the State. I wish he could have continued...
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, there is no use to speak about it in detail. Now, let us go into the explanation of your personal participation and your personal role in the field of German propaganda. I should like you to state exactly what relations you had with Dr. Goebbels. Yesterday you spoke about it in detail, but here I should like you to state it briefly.
FRITZSCHE: The briefest formula is this: Personally, little relationship; officially, in the course of time, more and more relationship.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes. Do you know the name of General Field Marshal Ferdinand Schorner?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I know the name.
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to read into the record an extract from his testimony. Mr. President, I am submitting this document. (USSR-472) as Exhibit USSR-472.
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[Turning to the defendant.] We are going to hand you this document in a minute. In order to facilitate the reading of it, the paragraphs which I am going to read here are underlined in red pencil. I am going to read the first excerpt; will you please follow the text-I quote:
"Everybody, including myself, was aware that Fritzsche was not only a close associate of Goebbels, but was also a favorite of his. He gained Goebbels' sympathy by frequently copying him in his political activities and quoting Goebbels in his speeches. Goebbels, in his printed and verbal speeches, referred to the conclusions and prognoses made by Fritzsche as having the force of official declarations."
Please tell me, Defendant Fritzsche, is that in accordance with reality?
FRITZSCHE: May I ask you which quotation you have been reading, 1, 2, or 3?
GEN. RUDENKO: I have already told you, it is quotation Number 1.
FRITZSCHE: According to my text, the first one says:
"Everybody, including myself, was aware that Fritzsche was not only a close associate of Goebbels, but was also a favorite of his."
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, that is quite correct. That is exactly what I quoted. I am asking you, is that in accordance with reality?
FRITZSCHE: I should, not have expressed it like that, and I think it is a question of taste. This statement...
GEN. RUDENKO: I understand.
FRITZSCHE: Just a moment. I have something to add.
The expression "close associate of Goebbels" is wrong, objectively seen, and "favorite"-well, I do not think so.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, very well. Let us go further.
You enjoyed the complete confidence of Goebbels and you carried out your duties in the Ministry of Propaganda entrusted with fullest powers. Do you admit that?
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Thus, enjoying the confidence and disposing of full powers, in your utterances you fully mirrored the demands of the Hitler Government which were made tasks of German propaganda; is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, to the exact extent which I described yesterday.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Now, I should like to read into the record some extracts from your testimony of 12 September 1945. I am submitting this document (USSR-474) as Exhibit USSR-474. I am going to read into the record Excerpt Number 1.
FRITZSCHE: May I have the document?
GEN. RUDENKO: Certainly, it win be handed to you immediately. Will you please follow my quotation of Excerpt Number 1. It is underlined in red pencil. I am reading:
"During a long time I was one of the leaders of German propaganda."
I skip a few lines and further read:
"I must say that Goebbels valued me as a convinced National Socialist and a capable journalist so that I was considered his confidential aid in the German propaganda machine."
Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: Mr. Prosecutor, that is not correct. I know that I have signed this report but at the very moment when I signed it in Moscow I stated:
"You can do what you like with that record. If you publish it, then nobody in Germany will believe it and no intelligent person in other countries either because this is not my language."
I state that not a single one of the questions contained in this report was put to me in that same form and I go on to declare that not a single one of the answers in that record was given by me in that form and I signed it for reasons which I Will explain to you in detail if you want me to.
GEN. RUDENKO: You therefore do not confirm these statements?
FRITZSCHE: No, only the signature is true.
GEN. RUDENKO: All right, let us say only the signature is true.
Well, we want to bear in mind that in this quotation which I just read and which you deny, it is said that Goebbels valued you as a National Socialist and a capable journalist and that therefore you were a trustworthy person in the German propaganda machine. This is the essence of the quotation; is that right? Do you deny this? Just a minute please. I am going to remind you. . .
FRITZSCHE: Yes, General, I admit that, I admit these facts.
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, then the quotation was correct, was it not?
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GEN. RUDENKO: Well then, what else are we speaking about? That means you do corroborate this statement?
FRITZSCHE: I am talking about the record which has been put before me in its entirety.
GEN. RUDENKO: At present I am questioning you with particular reference to this quotation which I just read into the record. You are not going to deny it? You admit it?
FRITZSCHE: I will not confirm the quotation but I will confirm once more the contents which you have just summarized again.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. The sense is not different from the actual quotation, but results from it. I should like to remind you of an excerpt...
THE PRESIDENT: One moment. What is it you are saying, Defendant? Are you saying that you did not sign this document or that you did?
FRITZSCHE: Mr. President, I signed the document, although its contents did not correspond with my own statements.
THE PRESIDENT: Why did you do that?
FRITZSCHE: I gave that signature after very severe solitary confinement which had lasted for several months; and I wrote that signature because one of my fellow prisoners, with whom I came into contact once, had told me that once every month a court was pronouncing sentences based merely on such records and without interrogation; and I hoped that in this manner I would at least achieve being sentenced and thus terminate my confinement.
So as not to be misunderstood I should like to emphasize that no force was used and that I was treated very humanely, even if my detention was very severe.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Of course, you never thought, Defendant Fritzsche, that after all you had done you would be sent to a sanatorium? It is obvious that you had to land in a prison and a prison is always a prison. This was just an aside, however.
I should like to ask you about the following: You stated that in 1945 you signed this because of a very strict regime to which you were subjected; very well-when you arrived in Nuremberg you were interrogated on 3 November 1945 here in Nuremberg by General Alexandrov; is that correct?
GEN. RUDENKO: So that is correct? Very well. I should like to remind you of some of your answers. You were put the following question-on 12 November 1945 questions were put to you and you replied. Do you remember these statements?
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You answered, "I have very often been interrogated and I do not know what statements and testimony are in question now."
Thereupon, General Alexandrov submitted to you your testimony of 12 September and you answered him, I am fully aware of this document."
You were asked, "I should like you to peruse this document. Do you remember these statements?"
You said, "Of course, there is no doubt about it."
And further: "Do you corroborate this document, which you perused and which was signed by you?"
And you replied, "Of course."
Do you remember these statements which you made in Nuremberg?
FRITZSCHE: In the statement which you have quoted, all those passages are missing where I stated again and again that the record was put before me complete and finished for the purpose of obtaining my signature. I wished to make 20 or 30 alterations. Some of them were granted but passages were missing wherein I said in Nuremberg that some of the answers in that protocol contained a certain amount of truth but that none of them actually do represent my own answers.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I should now like to remind you of an extract from your statement of 7 January 1946.
Your Honors, this is Document 3469-PS. It is not in my book of documents as it was submitted by the Counsel for the Defense. I am going to quote from that document; it is a very short passage.
[Turning to the defendant.] This is Paragraph 39 of your statement:
"Once Goebbels tried to coerce me into submitting my texts for perusal. I refused this request and explained that usually I dictated a short resume of my speech immediately before my broadcast and consequently, so to say, improvised my speeches. He said it was all right but on condition that if he would wish it, I should at least speak on specific, given themes."
Is that right?
GEN. RUDENKO: Does that not indicate the confidence Goebbels had in you? Is that not right?
FRITZSCHE: No doubt he had a great deal of confidence in me, and I did not deny it.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Let us proceed.
In this very same document, which I have just mentioned to you, that is to say, in your statement of 7 January 1946, in Paragraph 35 there is the following sentence-I think it was written by your own hand. It was in reply to some of the questions put by your counsel. You say, "More and more I became the only official authority in the Ministry in the field of radio communication."
Is that right?
FRITZSCHE: Unfortunately I did not hear the end of your question but you have quoted the passage correctly and I have written it.
GEN. RUDENKO: So, it does correspond to facts?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, absolutely.
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, you therefore will admit that in the German propaganda machinery you occupied the most prominent position after Goebbels?
FRITZSCHE: No, my previous answer does not contain such a statement.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am asking you that now.
FRITZSCHE: I will admit that I had. a most influential position in German radio, of which I was the head.
If you now put a new question, asking who held the second position in the entire set-up of propaganda after Dr. Goebbels, I will reply: Dr. Dietrich, the State Secretary, or Dr. Naumann, the . . .
GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me just a minute, please. I did not say the second position; I only said the most influential position. Are you going to deny this?
FRITZSCHE: I have no objection to your use of the word "influential," but it does not change my answer.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well, "influential position," if you like. That is still stronger. Let us proceed, however.
In the same statement of 7 January you wrote-it is contained in Paragraph 15:
"During the entire period from 1933 to 1945 the task of the 'German Press Department' was the supervision of the local press and supplying it with directives... More than 2,300 German newspapers were thus supervised."
"In the execution of this task given to me by Dr. Goebbels, in accordance with instructions of the Ministry of Propaganda,
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my activity encompassed the entire news and information system of the German press and radio."
Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: I do not know whether you have quoted the last sentence correctly, but I have certainly fully recognized the first sentences. It is my affidavit Document 3469-PS.` That corresponds word for word with the truth.
GEN. RUDENKO: Quite correct. Please tell me this: You organized in the German Press Department, the head of which you were, the Schnelldienst, the so-called speed service, which supplied the German press with provocative material. Do you admit that?
FRITZSCHE: If you will eliminate the word "provocative" and replace it with the word "propaganda" material, then I will admit it.
GEN. RUDENKO: All right. The Tribunal will consider this. We are not going to argue about it.
Now, the last question from this group of questions: Tell me, were your broadcasts on the radio, which were presented with "Hans Fritzsche Speaks," considered official Government broadcasts?
FRITZSCHE: I explained this subject to you yesterday. Actually, they were a private work of my own; but the private work, publicly audible, of a Ministerialdirektor of the Ministry of Propaganda and the head of the German radio system will, of course, be regarded as semi-official, though not fully official; and this fact I had to consider, and I did consider it.
GEN. RUDENKO: All right. Now, I should like again to revert to the testimony of Ferdinand Schorner, which I have already submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR-472. I should like to quote Paragraph Number 2. Do you find it, Defendant Fritzsche?
GEN. RUDENKO: I am going to read it into the record.
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, the Tribunal would like to see the whole of this document, or at any rate would like to see the questions to which these are answers.
GEN. RUDENKO: Mr. President, this document has been submitted to you in full.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I see. You mean that what we have in English here are only the parts that have been translated into English?
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, that is quite correct. I am doing to read into the record Extract Number 2:
"I am fully aware that Fritzsche was a prominent collaborator of the Ministry of Propaganda and that he was extremely
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popular in National Socialist circles and among the German people. He gained great popularity, especially by his weekly war political radio commentaries on the international situation. I often heard Fritzsche's broadcasts in peacetime as well as during the war; and I perceived his broadcasts, which were filled with fanatical devotion to the Fuehrer, as directives from the Party and the Government."
Do you agree with this evaluation?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot raise any objection to this quotation, but beyond that...
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, is the document sworn?
GEN. RUDENKO: This document was put into official form in accordance with the processes which are in use in the Soviet Union.
THE PRESIDENT: Where was it taken?
GEN. RUDENKO: In Moscow.
THE PRESIDENT: The man who made the statement-was he free or was he in prison?
GEN. RUDENKO: He was at the time a prisoner of war.
THE PRESIDENT: Did the man who is alleged to have made the statement sign it?
GEN. RUDENKO: Of course, it was signed by him.
THE PRESIDENT: Go on.
GEN. RUDENKO: Thank you. And so you . ..
FRITZSCHE: May I add that it is known to me that on distant battle fronts or, for example, with German colonies abroad, my radio speeches were considered, shall we say, as a political compass.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, I understand. I should like to put to you another document which I will ask you to peruse.
Your Honors, I am submitting as Exhibit USSR-471 the testimony of Hans Voss.
Defendant Fritzsche, do you know this name, Vice Admiral Hans Voss?
FRITZSCHE: I know the name, but not the man personally.
DR. FRITZ: I apologize, Mr. President. It may be that the statement of General Field Marshal Schorner does not deserve too much attention, but at any rate I am unable to ascertain from the document the place where it was taken.
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko says that it was taken at Moscow.
DR. FRITZ: But the record, the protocol itself, does not show that; and then I have noticed also that the photostatic copy which
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I have here does not show the signature of the Field Marshal. It just says "signed." Later on in the right margin a handwritten signature has been affixed, but I do not know whether this document is admissible from a legal point of view.
THE PRESIDENT: You can see the original and compare it.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am speaking about the Document USSR-471, which is a written statement by Hans Voss. Please look at the Excerpt Number 1, which is underlined; I quote:
"Fully devoted to Hitler and the National Socialist Party, Fritzsche rendered priceless services in helping to spread National Socialism throughout Germany."
Is that in accordance with reality?
FRITZSCHE: Well, at least I will not object.
GEN. RUDENKO: In other words, you are in accord with it?
FRITZSCHE: As I told you, I do not object, but I do not want to say by that that I concur.
GEN. RUDENKO: On the other hand, you do not deny this?
FRITZSCHE: No, I say for the third time that I do not raise any objection.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I should now like to question you regarding your attitude toward the racial theory. You gave yesterday a detailed explanation in this connection to your counsel, so that I am going to put to you only two or three questions, and I should like you to reply briefly.
Did you agree with this racial theory?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, and precisely to the extent which I described to you yesterday.
GEN. RUDENKO: All right. In a radio broadcast on 6 April 1940 you spoke about Poland.
Your Honors, this is Document USSR-496. I am not going to read this document as I do not want to propagate the views contained in it, but I should like the defendant to peruse this document.
Please will you look at Excerpt Number 1 of this document. It is underlined in red pencil. This refers to your evaluation of the Polish nation. I simply should like to ask you about this speech of yours.
FRITZSCHE: It is impossible for me to recognize a radio speech of mine when I see an extract of only 20 lines, considering that I have spoken about a thousand times, as I said yesterday. In that case, you will have to let me have the full speech so that I can recognize my line of thought at the time.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Did you not examine the document? This is a full text of your utterance which took place on 6 February 1940 on radio station, Deutschland Sender.
FRITZSCHE: General there are 20 lines here. They begin with the words, "Considerable effort was necessary to..."
GEN. RUDENKO: That is enough, all right. There is no need in further quoting. That is the document to which I am referring. I am asking you, is that your speech?
FRITZSCHE: It is quite possible, but if you give me only 20 lines of that speech, I can only confirm that: At the time when I had seen the official German documents dealing with the atrocities committed against Germans in Poland I talked about that with great disgust on the radio, talked about what I saw in those documents.
THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now?
GEN. RUDENKO: All right, Mr. President.
DR. THOMA: I ask you to grant leave for Defendant Rosenberg to be absent from the Court this afternoon because I have an important conference to hold with him.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
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GEN. RUDENKO: Defendant Fritzsche, extracts from your speech dated 5 July 1941 will be handed to you. They concern the opposition which the German Fascist troops encountered while entering Soviet territory. My Lord, this Document Number 3064-PS has already been submitted by the Defense.
Will you look at Paragraph 7, the last paragraph? I do not intend to read it.
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I have noted it.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Do you admit having used those very expressions?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I admit that and I should like to emphasize, without quoting it, in what connection this statement was made.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I merely want to ask you the following: When, in your speeches you insult the Polish and Russian peoples by calling them "subhumans" do you not consider that these are expressions of misanthropic theories?
FRITZSCHE: Mr. Prosecutor, I should like to state that I never called the Russian people or the-Polish people subhumans.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I do not intend to argue with you; the documents speak for themselves.
I would like to turn again to the statement of Hans Voss. This is Document USSR-471. It has already been submitted. Will you pay attention to Excerpt Number 2? It is underlined. It is just a short excerpt, and I will read it:
". . . and he"-Fritzsche-"understood how to influence the German mind when he tried to convince them that they, the Germans, were the superior race and therefore had to rule over other peoples as their slaves."
Does that agree with the facts?
FRITZSCHE: No, it does not agree with the facts; rather, it contradicts the facts in all points.
GEN. RUDENKO: Let us say it contradicts your assertions.
Very well, I will put another question to you. Do you know the name Lieutenant General Rainer Stahel, who was the former commander of the city of Warsaw?
FRITZSCHE: I am not familiar with that name.
GEN. RUDENKO: You are not familiar with that name? Very well. You will be handed a document.
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Mr. President, this is Document USSR-473, and it is the testimony of Rainer Stahel, dated 15 September 1941. The passage is underlined in your copy.
I will read the first excerpt:
'Goebbels and Fritzsche took every measure in order to popularize the racial theory among the Germans and to convince them that the Germans were a master race and that other peoples, as inferior races, must be subordinated to the German 'master race.'
"In order to convince the Germans of this and to compel -them to believe in this theory, the Ministry of Propaganda, run by Goebbels and Fritzsche, made a large number of films before the war and during the war and published books, pamphlets, periodicals, and other literature in which the authors attempted to prove the 'superiority' of the Germans over other nations.
"It can be said that as a result of the energetic activity of Goebbels and Fritzsche the racial theory gained a firm hold on the minds of large numbers of the German people. This contributed to the fact that during the- war the German soldiers and officers, having assimilated the teaching of the leaders of German propaganda, committed bestial crimes against peaceful populations."
Tell me, did Rainer Stahel correctly describe the part played by you in the propagation- of racial theory?
FRITZSCHE: No, I should like to add that the level of this statement is even lower than that of the other statements submitted to me. I should be happy if just one of those people whose testimony has been submitted to me in this form, could appear here in person in order to testify as to the documentary basis of his statement.
GEN. RUDENKO: I believe that during the 6 months that the Trial has lasted, you have heard enough testimony. Well, let us go on.
FRITZSCHE: No, I have to make this observation: I have not
been confronted with any testimony of witnesses dealing with the subject matter discussed here.
GET. RUDENKO: You remember, I hope, the testimony of the witness Hoess regarding the extermination of millions of persons.
[There was no response.]
GEN. RUDENKO: I say that you, I hope, remember the testimony of Hoess, the commander of the concentration camp in Auschwitz, concerning the extermination of millions of people.
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FRITZSCHE: I did not forget this testimony, and not for a minute did it escape my memory.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I merely wanted to remind you. I do not intend questioning you on this matter. I am passing on to questions connected with the propaganda regarding the preparation for aggressive war by Hitler Germany. In order to shorten the cross-examination, I shall quote a few of your own statements, dated 12 September 1945, which have already been submitted to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR-474. Please look at the second excerpt. It is underlined.
FRITZSCHE: I object to the reading of this quotation in the same way as I objected to the submission of the entire minutes of the interrogation, and I refer you to what I testified a few hours ago as to the origin of this record.
GEN. RUDENKO: You already gave an explanation to the Tribunal, and the Tribunal will consider your explanation. This document is submitted, and I intend to cite this part of the testimony. Please follow me-Excerpt Number 2:
"In order to justify this aggressive action, Goebbels summoned me to him and gave me instructions to conduct a hostile campaign against Austria. Among other things he instructed me to to dig out old documents in the archives which in any way incriminated the Austrian Government and to publish them in the press. Goebbels stressed that the documents to be published must first of all show that the Austrian people wished to unite themselves with the German nation and that the Austrians adhering to these ideas were being persecuted by the Austrian Government. Furthermore, Goebbels said that the German press had to show that the Germans living in Austria were being systematically persecuted by the Austrian Government which even went to the length of carrying out mass reprisals against them."
And further on:
"When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Norway, and the Balkan countries, acting on the instructions of Goebbels, I organized a similar calumnious propaganda."
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, surely it would be better to ask him with reference to one of these paragraphs: Did he say that?-rather than to put to him the whole document at once.
GEN. RUDENKO: Mr. President, I have only one paragraph left, and I intended to read it and then to put the question to him.
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THE PRESIDENT: I am not objecting to that. I am only suggesting that it would be better if you put to him each paragraph in turn, and not put three or four paragraphs all in one question.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well, Mr. President; I will deal with it in this way.
I am asking you, Defendant Fritzsche, do you admit the paragraph read by me concerning the Anschluss?
FRITZSCHE: No; and I maintain that that is not what I testified. That extract contains rather the thoughts which the interrogating Russian officer entertained in respect to my testimony. After it had been drawn up, the record was submitted to me for my signature.
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute! What do you deny in it? Take the first paragraph.
FRITZSCHE: Mr. President, I am protesting against everything, particularly against the expressions applied here which I have never used. During my interrogations in Moscow I stated exactly the same things as I stated here in this Trial yesterday, the day before yesterday and today or as I have set down in my affidavit.
THE PRESIDENT: Take the first paragraph. The first paragraph has just been read to you: "In order to justify this aggressive action..." Were you asked any question about that; and did you make any answer?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, indeed. In many interrogations which were held late at night, I was asked such questions, and to the subjects condensed in this one question I answered as follows:
I do not recall the date, but when the Austrian action was about to take place I was summoned to Dr. Goebbels. Dr. Goebbels told me that the Austrian Government of Schuschnigg had plans of such and such a nature-they have been described in sufficient detail here-that a government crisis had developed, that Seyss-Inquart had taken over the Government, that a call for help had come from Austria, and that now the march into Austria would take place.
THE PRESIDENT: Are you now telling us what you told the Russian interrogator, or are you telling us what actually happened in Germany at the time of the Anschluss?
FRITZSCHE: I am telling, what I told the interrogating Russian officer, and that is exactly what took place in the Propaganda Ministry on the day in question.
THE PRESIDENT: You are saying, then, that this first paragraph is entirely made up, are you?
FRITZSCHE: No; I should not like to use the expression "made up," but I should like to say-and I beg permission to do so-which
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parts in this paragraph are correct. First of all, there is the point that there was a hostile campaign against the Schuschnigg Government; such a campaign actually was instigated in the German press; whether at the moment of his resignation or just before his resignation I do not remember now.
Furthermore, it is correct, as set down in this paragraph, that it was proposed to show, by quoting individual cases as far as possible, that under the Schuschnigg Government those who were sympathetic toward Germany were persecuted. These are the points that are correct.
GEN. RUDENKO: Strictly speaking, this means that you have now corroborated what I have just read.
FRITZSCHE: No, no, sir. There is an essential difference.
GEN. RUDENKO: From your point of view. But I believe that you will not deny the fact that you conducted propaganda directed against the Austrian Government. This is the main point of this question.
FRITZSCHE: I must deny that as well. This propaganda was not conducted by me, but by my predecessor, as chief of the German Press Department.
GEN. RUDENKO: Do I understand correctly that you deny having participated personally in this propaganda, but do not deny the fact that there was such Propaganda?
FRITZSCHE: You understand me correctly if by the term "propaganda" in this case you mean the enumeration of those measures used by the Schuschnigg Government against German interests as a whole.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I should like to read the following paragraph of the same testimony which says:
`'When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Norway, and the Balkan countries, acting on the instructions of Goebbels, I organized a similar calumnious propaganda. In every such case I dug out every old document from the archives which incriminated the Governments of these countries as far as Germany was concerned, added my commentary to these documents and attempted in this way to justify this or that aggressive action on the part of Germany."
Do you also deny this?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, in that form I deny that as well.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you will not deny that propaganda for the purpose of aggression was conducted against all the countries enumerated in this testimony?
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FRITZSCHE: I contest your last remark. I admit the fact of the propaganda, and I have described in detail the individual actions and my participation in them in my affidavit, Document 3469-PS.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well; I do not intend questioning you further, as this has been quite adequately explained in your statements dated 7 January 1946, Document 3469-PS, and which, in fact, do not contradict what has been stated. Is that right?
FRITZSCHE: I see an essential difference. But this Document 3469-PS is absolutely correct.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well, I should like as a supplement to this, to read the testimony of Ferdinand Schorner, which is Document USSR-472 and which has already been submitted to the Tribunal; I mean Extract Number 3. He says in his statement, I read: "Fritzsche's political activity in his function as official radio commentator, in the same way as the activity of the war correspondent, General Dittmar, was subordinated to the main aim of National Socialism, the unleashing of the world war against democratic countries and the contributing by all possible means to the victory of German arms. Fritzsche's principal method, applied during the several years of his activity, consisted in, as I later realized, the deliberate deception of the German people. I mention that because during the last years we soldiers felt this deception especially keenly since in spite of Fritzsche's false lamentations we knew the actual conditions on the front and the actual situation. The main guilt of people such as Fritzsche is that they did know the actual state of things, but despite this, proceeding according to the criminal intentions of the Hitler Government, consciously fed the people with lies or, to use a German expression, 'threw sand in their eyes."'
Tell me, Defendant Fritzsche, does this characterization of German propaganda correspond to the truth?
FRITZSCHE: That is utter nonsense and it happens that I can partly prove that. Herr Schorner says part of the activity of the war correspondent General Dittmar was the starting of aggressive wars. General Dittmar spoke over the radio for the first time in the winter of 1942-43. That is one point.
The second point is the following: I have never seen Herr Schorner. I do not know him and I have never spoken to him. I should be very surprised if he were in a position to judge whether I deliberately or unconsciously at any time ever said anything that was not true. However-and this is something I must add-during the last few days in Berlin I received indirectly, through State Secretary Dr. Naumann, a report from General Field Marshal
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Schorner with the instruction that it was left to my discretion to make use of it. It reported that he was in Bohemia with an army which was intact and that he could, if he wanted to, hold this territory for an unlimited period. We in Berlin should not lose courage; he could even come to our aid. I do not know whether Schorner actually made this statement but I think it would be worth while to call General Field Marshal Schorner here as a witness, in order to ask him on what he based his judgment.
GEN. RUDENKO: The fact that you do not know Ferdinand Schorner does not disprove this testimony, for you have yourself stated before this Tribunal that although very many people knew you as an official representative of the Government, you could, of course, not know everybody; is that right?
FRITZSCHE: If you will permit me, sir, I should like to call your attention to something illogical. Even without knowing me, it is very easy for anyone to give an opinion about the things I said, but it is impossible for anyone to judge whether I made those statements in good faith or in bad faith. I am sure that you yourself realize this distinction.
GEN. RUDENKO: You are speaking again of your personal participation, but you do not deny the lying character of the German propaganda?
FRITZSCHE: Again I cannot answer "yes" to the question in the way that you put it. This morning I gave you a basis for questions which can be put to me. I contributed my share to a historical clarification by trying to show what was pure idealism and what were false assumptions; these things are now being confused.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am not putting questions on the basis which you pretend you gave me, but upon the basis of documents which are at the disposal of the Prosecution.
Let us go on. I should like to ask you: Did you know the documents about the "Case Green" against Czechoslovakia, about the documents concerning the aggression against Poland, the aggression against Yugoslavia-and about the propaganda which had to be conducted in this respect?
FRITZSCHE: I heard for the first time here the documentary data for Case Green. But as you are now again trying to tie this up with propaganda measures, it is very hard for me to keep both of these matters separate. Perhaps it will serve your purpose if I answer that neither in the case of Czechoslovakia For in the case of Poland nor in any other case did I know about the German attacks until an hour or an hour and a half before they were announced to the German public.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Did you say an hour or an hour and a half?
FRITZSCHE: I do not wish to commit myself to an hour or an hour and a half. I do recall that in the case of Russia I had advance knowledge through Dr. Goebbels perhaps 5 or 6 hours beforehand.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You will now be handed Document USSR-493. It is your radio speech in connection with the aggression against Poland. This speech was made on 29 August. Its purpose was to explain beforehand the reasons for the German attack on Poland and it was made on 29 August. I do not intend reading it, but the gist of this speech is that on 29 August you spoke of a series of unexpected events which were imminent. Have you acquainted yourself with this document?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, indeed.
GEN. RUDENKO: You do not deny that on 29 August 1939 you made this speech?
FRITZSCHE: No, I do not deny that. I should just like to refer to the fact...
GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me. Please answer my question first and give your explanations later. This was on 29 August? You do not deny it. I am asking you, did you yourself believe in these explanations of unavoidable war with Poland? Did you yourself believe this at that moment?
FRITZSCHE: Whether at that moment I considered a war unavoidable, that I am not in a position to tell you. But I am able to tell you one thing: I did not believe that Germany was to blame. That if this tension should lead to a war...
GEN. RUDENKO: That is enough.
FRITZSCHE: I ask to be allowed to add...
GEN. RUDENKO: But please be brief.
THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, let the man answer.
GEN. RUDENKO: If you please.
FRITZSCHE: At that time it was a matter of great satisfaction to me that in the weeks that followed I could see from the Soviet press that Soviet Russia and its Government shared the German opinion of the question of war guilt in this case.
GEN. RUDENKO: I believe it is not the time to discuss this now nor did I ask you for explanations on this subject. You did not answer my question, but let us pass on to another question. On 9 April 1940 you made a speech concerning the reasons for a possible occupation of Norway. You will now be handed an extract from this speech
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Mr. President, this is Document Number USSR-496.
You have that document, Defendant Fritzsche. It is Excerpt Number 4. -
FRITZSCHE: No, I do not have it. Yes, I have found it. It is Page 4.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Yes, it is Excerpt Number 4. I will read a short passage:
"The fact that German soldiers had to carry out their duty because the English violated Norwegian neutrality did not end in a warlike but in a peaceful action. No one was injured, not a single house was destroyed; life took its daily course."
This was a lie. Do you admit it or will you deny it?
FRITZSCHE: No, that was not a lie, for I had just been in Norway myself and I had seen these things. And everything will be quite clear if you will permit me to read the next sentence, which says-the next sentence reads as follows...
GEN. RUDENKO: Defendant Fritzsche, wait a minute. You will read it later.
THE PRESIDENT: But, General Rudenko, you must let the man explain. He wants to read the next sentence in order to explain this sentence.
FRITZSCHE: The next sentence reads:
"Even there, where Norwegian troops, instigated by the misguided former Norwegian Government, put up resistance, the civilian population was hardly affected by this, for the Norwegians fought outside the cities and villages...."
GEN. RUDENKO: Well. Now I will show you a document, "An Official Report of the Norwegian Government," which has already been submitted to the Tribunal by the French Prosecution as Exhibit RF-72.
Mr. President, in my document book this document is wrongly numbered Exhibit USSR-78. It is Document 1800-PS and it has been submitted by the French Prosecution as Exhibit RF-72.
[Turning to the defendant.] Listen, Defendant Fritzsche, how correctly you described the situation in Norway; listen what the "Official Report of the Norwegian Government" says about it. I quote:
"The German attack on Norway on the 9th of April 1940 brought war to Norway for the first time in 126 years. For 2 months war raged throughout the country, causing destruction to the amount of 250 million kroner. More than 40,000 houses were damaged or destroyed and about 1,000 civilians were killed."
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And that describes the situation as it really was. Do you admit that your speech on 2 May 1940 was full of the usual lies?
FRITZSCHE: No, I do not admit that, but I assert that you, sir, in submitting this extract, are not taking into consideration the fact that I, in my introduction, reported that I wanted to describe what I had seen myself, when I made a journey into the Gulbran valley and which I remember took me nearly as far as Atta. It does not in any way prove my description to be incorrect, if, according to the facts ascertained by the Norwegian Government, such loss and damage actually did occur in connection with this undertaking.
GEN. RUDENKO: I believe that the Norwegian people and the Norwegian Government had sufficient experience of the weight of the German occupation, and the government report states actual facts and not the sort of facts which you stated in your propaganda. This document has been submitted in accordance with Article 21 as indisputable evidence, and I do not intend to argue with you. The Tribunal will take note of it. I have a few more questions to put to, you in connection with a matter which has already been dealt with in detail here. It is the Athenia case. I will not question you in detail on this matter, as it has already been ascertained with sufficient accuracy. I am simply asking you: Do you admit now that Fascist propaganda gave out to the public slanderous and false information about the Athenia case?
FRITZSCHE: Whether this was done by Fascist propaganda in Italy, that I do not know. National Socialist propaganda did it in good faith, as I have clearly described.
GEN. RUDENKO: I have already been speaking for nearly an hour about what occurred here and what has been ascertained. Do you agree that this speech was a slanderous one or do you still deny it?
FRITZSCHE: No, I have already admitted that and I also showed clearly how these statements came about.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I am interested only in the personal part you played in this matter. Why did you take such an active part in this matter, and why were you the first man to spread this slander?
FRITZSCHE: I do not believe that I was the first one to bring this matter before the public. However, it is a fact that I spoke very frequently about the case of the Athenia, on the basis of official reports which I believed. I spoke about this case because I happened to be the very man who, at the beginning of the war, spoke on the radio in the evenings.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Are you trying to assert that the first report on the Athenia appeared in the Volkischer Beobachter in October, 1939?
FRITZSCHE: I never claimed that.
GEN. RUDENKO: Well. Then I will remind you that you dealt with the Athenia as early as September 1939; is that right?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, of course, the question of the Athenia...
GEN. RUDENKO: And you spoke about it before the report was published in the Volkischer Beobachter?
FRITZSCHE: Many weeks before that, yes.
GEN. RUDENKO: Therefore, you were the first to spread those slanderous assertions?
FRITZSCHE: No, I cannot confirm that, but rather...
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. In this connection I will put only one other question to you. You will not deny that in 1940 you still spread this version? I will repeat the question. I am asking you, you will not deny that even in 1940 you continued to propagate this slander?
FRITZSCHE: It is the essence of every form of propaganda that it repeats good and effective things as frequently and for as long a time as possible. I have explained already that in December of 1945, here in the prison only, I heard from Grossadmiral Raeder for the first time that it was really a German U-boat that had sunk the Athenia.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I will pass on to a group of questions regarding your participation in the carrying out of propaganda connected with the preparation of aggression against the Soviet Union. You assert that you had no knowledge of the preparation of aggression against the Soviet Union until 5 o'clock on the morning of 22 June 1941-that is to say, when the German troops had already entered Soviet territory-and when you were called by Ribbentrop to the Foreign Office, where a press conference was being held. Did I correctly understand your testimony?
FRITZSCHE: No. Several hours before that, on the evening of the day preceding the entry, Dr. Goebbels had called some of the departmental chiefs of the Ministry to his house at Wannsee and told them these facts and forbade them to leave or to telephone. That was the first real knowledge that I had of this fact.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You also claim that you got to know of Germany's aggressive aims with regard to the Soviet Union only in 1942, and this according to your own observations, is that right?
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FRITZSCHE: I do not know what you mean by that. I tried this morning to make it clear that I began to have doubts as to the truth of the official German reasons given for this attack only when I was in prison. I explained that this morning. A second point, which I emphasized earlier in Moscow when I was interrogated, was that I observed in 1942-it may have been in 1941-after the war with the Soviet Union had broken out, that preparations of all kinds must have been going on for quite some time before 22 June.
GEN. RUDENKO: I will recall to your memory an excerpt from your statement, a document which you confirm in full. It is Number 3469-PS. In Paragraph 42 we read:
"At the beginning of 1942 I was a soldier in the eastern theater of war. I saw the extensive preparations which had been made for the occupation and administration of territories extending as far as the Crimea. On the basis of my personal observations, I came to the conclusion that the war against the Soviet Union had been planned a long time before it broke out."
Is that statement right?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, certainly. a'
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, then, I have no further questions to put to you regarding this matter.
I would like to recall to your memory two further documents connected with the carrying out of propaganda, in view-of the preparation of war and the actual attack against the Soviet Union. I am referring to the minutes of a conference held by Hitler dated 16 July 1941.
This document, Mr. President, is Number L-221 and has already been submitted.
[Turning to the defendant.] This document will be handed to you and I will quote one or two paragraphs on the first page. I quote:
"Now it is essential that we do not disclose our aims to the whole world. There is also no need for that; the main thing is that we ourselves know what we want. But on no account should we render our task more difficult by making superfluous declarations. Such declarations are superfluous for within the reach of our power we can do everything, and what is beyond our power we will not be able to do anyway."
"What we tell the world about our motives for our actions must be governed by tactical considerations. We must act here in exactly the same way as we did in the case of Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. In those cases, too, we
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did not say anything about our aims, and we shall have the prudence to adhere to this method in the future."
Did you have any knowledge of such directives of Hitler?
FRITZSCHE: No, I did not know of any such directive, but the fact that such statements and directives have been submitted in this courtroom has made me realize, I have said, that some of the premises of our propaganda have up foundation.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You also had no knowledge either of the instructions issued by the OKW and signed by the Defendant Jodl regarding the carrying out of propaganda in the "Case Barbarossa"?
FRITZSCHE: I cannot say that without seeing these documents; the Case Barbarossa as such meant nothing to me until this Trial.
GEN. RUDENKO: Mr. President, this is Document Number C-26 and has already been submitted to the Tribunal. I will deal with it only in connection with the matter of propaganda. It is Exhibit USSR-477 in your document book, Mr. President, Document C-26.
[Turning to the defendant.] I will quote one excerpt, Defendant. These instructions say:
"Propaganda directed toward the dismemberment of the Soviet Union into single states is not to be used for the time being. In the various parts of the Soviet Union German propaganda must use that language which is most spoken. But this should not be done in such a way that the various propaganda texts might give the impression that it is intended to dismember the Soviet Union at an early date."
Were you acquainted with these directives?
FRITZSCHE: I knew neither the document nor the contents of the directive which you have just read.
GEN. RUDENKO: Yes, but I hope you will not deny that this was the spirit in which the propaganda was carried on.
FRITZSCHE: No. As far as I could observe, the propaganda which was carried on in the Soviet Union had just the reverse tendency. It tried to educate the various nationalities, such as the Ukraine, White Russia, Baltic States, and so forth, for independence.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I would like to ask you now: When did you meet the Defendant Rosenberg for the first time, and when did you get his information concerning the tasks of German propaganda in the East? ..
FRITZSCHE: I doubt whether before this Trial I ever spoke with Herr Rosenberg, but I do believe I met him socially. However, never in my life have I had an official conversation with him.
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GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. You will be handed Document Number 1039-PS. This is Rosenberg's report on the preparatory work concerning matters connected with the eastern countries. This document has already been submitted to the Defendant Rosenberg and he did not deny it, but confirmed it.
I would like you to turn to the second quotation which is marked. In order to shorten this cross-examination, I will not read the whole quotation. This report states:
"Apart from these negotiations"-about which we spoke before-"I received the responsible representatives of the entire propaganda organization, namely Ministerial Director Fritzsche, Minister Schmidt, Reich Superintendent of Broadcasting Glasmeier, Dr. Grothe for the OKW, and others. Without going into details as to political objectives, I instructed the above-mentioned persons in confidence about the necessary attitude, with the request to tone down the whole terminology of the press on uniform lines, without issuing any statements. "The schemes for dealing substantially with questions concerning the eastern countries, which were prepared a long time ago, have now been issued by my 'office and I have passed them on to the propaganda representatives."
Did Defendant Rosenberg correctly describe these events which occurred in 1941, before the attack against the Soviet Union?
FRITZSCHE: No. I do not recall ever having been received by Rosenberg. In any case I never received before 22 June, from Rosenberg or from any of his colleagues, any report about the planned attack on the Soviet Union.
On the other hand, and this perhaps may clarify matters, I do recall that a colleague of Rosenberg's frequently came to see me or my colleagues. I even recall his name; he was chief of a press group, Major Kranz, formerly an editor of the Volkischer Beobachter. This man frequently came to see me and my colleagues and transmitted certain wishes of Rosenberg's pertaining to press propaganda. But in any case this was not before 22 June.
GEN. RUDENKO: This means that as far as you are concerned what Rosenberg writes in his report is not true?
FRITZSCHE: Untrue would be saying too much. It may be that this information of which he talks refers to a later period of time. I cannot judge that, as I have not read the entire document. It may also be that Rosenberg, in this report, was not quite accurate when he mentions the reception of the responsible representatives of the entire propaganda organization.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. In this connection I would like to put two questions to you. First of all, I would like to refer to the
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written testimony of Hans Voss, which is Document USSR-471, and which you already have. It is Excerpt Number 3 of Document USSR-471. Have you found it?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I have found it.
GEN. RUDENKO: I quote:
"After the defeat of the German troops at Stalingrad and after the start of the general Soviet offensive on the whole Eastern Front) Goebbels and Fritzsche took great pains to shape German propaganda in such a way as to help Hitler very effectively in mastering the situation at the front. This propaganda was based on the hope that the Germans would succeed in holding out for a long time. There was an attempt to frighten the German population by disseminating calumnious reports of the brutal acts of the Russian soldiers and the intention of the Soviet Union to annihilate the German nation.
"In the last stage of the war the propaganda conducted by Goebbels and Fritzsche made one last attempt to serve Hitler and to organize resistance to Soviet troops."
Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: It is not only incorrect, it is nonsense.
GEN. RUDENKO: You frequently used such terminology. Obviously it is a sign of a professional practice. All right, I do not' intend to enter into polemics with you.
I would like you to take a look at your testimony of 12 September 1945. It is the third excerpt of the Document USSR-474. Have you found that passage? I will quote your explanations concerning this question.
FRITZSCHE: All of them are not my statements. What passage are you referring to, sir?
GEN. RUDENKO: I mean marked Excerpt Number 3, which begins with the words, "The military aggression against the Soviet Union."
GEN. RUDENKO: Please pay attention:
"Since we had a treaty with the Soviet Union the military attack on the Soviet Union was prepared by Germany in secret. Therefore, during the period of preparation for war against the Soviet Union, no propaganda was carried on. Accordingly, the German propaganda authorities did not begin active anti-Soviet propaganda until after the war started on the Eastern Front.
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"It must be added that the main task to which Goebbels set the whole propaganda machinery was to justify Germany's expansionist policy toward the Soviet Union.
"From this point of view, as chief of the German press and radio, I organized a vast campaign of anti-Soviet propaganda, attempting to convince the public at large that the Soviet Union and not Germany was the guilty party in this war. I must, however, state that we had no documentary basis for accusing the Soviet Union of preparing an armed attack on Germany.
"In my radio talks I tried especially to instill fear of the horrors of Bolshevism in the hearts of the peoples of Europe and the German population. Thus I asserted that only Fascist Germany was the protective barrier for the European countries against Anglo-American 'plutocracy' and 'Red imperialism.' "
Do you admit this?
FRITZSCHE: Here again actual statements made by me have been distorted. If I may, I want to give you the factual basis briefly for the various points.
It is correct to say that I stated in Moscow that the war against the Soviet Union had not been prepared for by propaganda, because this war came very suddenly and as a surprise. Furthermore, it is correct to say that after the attack on the Soviet Union it was the main task of German propaganda to justify the necessity of this attack; therefore we had to emphasize again and again that we had merely forestalled a Soviet attack. Further, it is correct that I said that the next task for propaganda was to show that not Germany but Russia was guilty of this war, which amounts to practically the same thing. Unfortunately the most important argument which I quoted is omitted from this record, namely, that I and with me millions of Germans believed the official communiqués given out by the German Government because it would have seemed to us nonsensical and crazy if in the middle of a war which had not yet been decided in the West, we wantonly and willfully risked another war in the East.
I continue. It is also correct that the evidence given in the White Book published by the Foreign Office at the time was rather meager and it is furthermore correct to say that German propaganda wanted to make Europe afraid of Bolshevism. It is finally correct that German propaganda again and again emphasized the fact that Germany was the only bulwark against the Soviet world revolution.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I would now like to draw your attention to Excerpt Number 4 of the same document, which is in
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your possession, in connection with propaganda to keep alive the spirit of resistance in the German people, notwithstanding all evidence of Germany's obvious defeat. I would like to read this very short Excerpt Number 4 from the same document Number USSR-474. I quote:
"Beginning in 1943 I tried my best to assert through German radio propaganda that Germany was in possession of weapons which would shake the power of our enemies. For this I used invented data regarding the output of the German war industry which had been given me by the Reich Minister for Munitions, Speer."
Is that right?
FRITZSCHE: One part is wrong and the other part that is correct has been wrongly stated.
To begin with the latter part: It is correct that I received figures from the Ministry for Armaments and War Production which gave me great hopes for progress. I received, for instance, figures dealing with monthly aircraft production, figures dealing with new and especially effective fighter planes. In the meantime, through direct questioning of Speer himself, I have ascertained that the figures which I received were quite correct at the time and that the airplanes either were used wrongly, as, for instance, in the Ardennes offensive instead of for the protection of the home country, or that they could not be used because of the gasoline shortage. The first half however...
GEN. RUDENKO: You are going too much into details, Defendant Fritzsche. You are going into a lot of details which have already been dealt with here and which have nothing to do with you.
I would like to submit to you the testimony of Speer, who was interrogated by the Soviet prosecutor here in Nuremberg on 14 November 1945. I submit this document as USSR-492. I would like to read into the record only that part of the document which deals with the carrying out of propaganda during this particular period. I quote:
"In September 1944 I wrote a letter to Dr. Goebbels . . . In this letter I warned Goebbels that it was wrong to keep on giving out propaganda about new V-weapons, for in this way he would merely arouse vain hopes in the German people. This was secret propaganda which was carried out by Dr. Goebbels in order to inspire in the German people the hope of a favorable outcome of the war."
Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: Only partially. It is a fact that Dr. Goebbels, more than a year before the use of the first V-weapon, himself made
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propaganda with it. On the other hand, Speer in the meantime has stated in his testimony here that he now knows the actual source of the propaganda dealing with "miracle weapons," namely Standartenfuehrer Schwarz van Berk. Finally, Dr. Goebbels in the last months of 1944, likewise tried to stifle this "miracle weapon" propaganda which he himself had once instigated.
GEN. RUDENKO: Now, I would like to remind you of the part you played in this propaganda. You propagandized these new weapons to instill in the hearts of the German people the hope of a successful resistance.
I submit to you Document USSR-496. You already have it. It is your radio speech of 1 July 1944.
THE PRESIDENT: General, are you going to finish very soon or shall we adjourn now?
GEN. RUDENKO: I believe we should adjourn now, Mr. President, because I will still need about half an hour.
[A recess was taken.]
GEN. RUDENKO: Well, Excerpt Number 6 from Document USSR-496 has been submitted to you. It is your speech, dated 1 July 1944. I am going to read it into the record:
"We Germans have been very reserved in our reports on the effect of the new weapons. We could afford this reserve, knowing that sometime or other Britain would break the silence with which she tried at first to gloss over the effect of the V-1. We were right about it. Reports from Britain during the last few days, and especially today, prove that the effects of the first thrusts with the new weapon are becoming all too obvious.- It is completely beside the point for the British to complain now about the wave of hatred which is supposed to surge from Germany against the British Isles. In the fifth year of the war it is useless to talk about feelings, although much could be said about this."
Do you admit, Defendant Fritzsche, that by means of such propaganda you duped the German people and incited them to senseless resistance?
FRITZSCHE: On the contrary, in this case I spoke much more reservedly and much more modestly than, for instance, the German press did about the results of the V-1. For that matter the very next sentence following your quotation reads, "We can only repeat that for us the V-1 is the means with which we can break the enemy terror."
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GEN. RUDENKO: Now I should like to remind you, Defendant Fritzsche, of your testimony of 12 September 1945 with regard to the activity of the Werewolf organization. This document is Exhibit USSR-474, Excerpt Number 5. Have you found it?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I have found it.
GEN. RUDENKO: I am going to read it:
"At the end of February 1945 the State Secretary in the German Ministry of Propaganda, Dr. Naumann, sent on to me instructions from Goebbels to work out a plan for the organization of a secret broadcasting station. In reply to my question as to why this broadcasting station was needed, Naumann explained that the German Government had made the decision to transfer members of the ,NSDAP to an illegal secret organization called 'Werewolf.' Naumann also revealed that all these illegal Werewolf groups would be directed by means of this broadcasting station, which I was to establish."
As can be seen by your testimony you were opposed to the organization of this radio station and you spoke about it with Goebbels. In spite of this, the station was created, and the former chief of the Reich Propaganda Office, Schlesinger, was given the task of directing the broadcasts. Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: No. Two things have been mixed up here. Firstly, the plan described in the paragraph which you have read for the creation of a Werewolf broadcasting station was a plan for a mobile station and that mobile station was not built. On the other hand- incidentally, it happened during my absence-on 1 April 1945, by direct order from Dr. Goebbels, the so-called "Old German Broadcasting Station" was opened as a Werewolf station.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I do not want to argue with you about it and I should like to submit to you your own speech broadcast on 7 April 1945. It is the same Document USSR-496, Excerpt Number 7. Have you found it?
GEN. RUDENKO: At that time you broadcasted as follows:
"However, as a result of superiority in manpower and material reserves, the enemy has now penetrated deep into German territory, and at this moment is about to carry out his program of extermination directed against us."
I am skipping a few lines:
"Let no one be surprised if this desire of strong hearts to avenge oppressed human beings does not even need a short respite for temporary recovery, but leaps suddenly and unexpectedly into flame and becomes active. Let no one be
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surprised if here and there in unoccupied areas civilians take part in the fight or even if, after the occupation has been carried out, the fight is continued by civilians, that is to say, if without preparation and without organization, there comes into being, springing from the pure instinct of self-preservation, that phenomenon which we call the 'Werewolf.' "
Well, what can you tell us now?
FRITZSCHE: Although this quotation also has been torn from its context, I recognize it verger well. Unfortunately the passage is missing in which I spoke of right and said, "Right is a sensitive concept which has its roots in tradition and ethical consciousness." At present...
GEN. RUDENKO: Excuse me if I interrupt you, Defendant. I did not ask you for such detailed explanations. I just wanted to determine the fact that you not only explained what the organization was, but also did your utmost to foster the Werewolf organization.
Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: That is absolutely incorrect. This is certainly not propaganda for the Werewolf; it is in apology for cases of Werewolf activity.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Let us drop that subject. I should like to ask you, do you know who the head of the Werewolf organization was?
FRITZSCHE: That has already been stated here. At the very head of it was Bormann. Under him there was a Higher SS Leader whose name I tried in vain to remember during my interrogations in Moscow. I knew one of his associates, however, and that was Gunter d'Alquen.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. Before putting the last few questions to you, I should like to ask you, is it not a fact that Rosenberg and Streicher had great influence on German propaganda?
FRITZSCHE: Their influence was negligible. Streicher had no influence at all on official German propaganda and Rosenberg only to an extent which was not noticeable to me.
GEN. RUDENKO: All right. I still have a few questions to put to you. You told the High Tribunal that had you known Hitler's decrees for the murdering of people you would never have followed Hitler. Did I understand you correctly?
FRITZSCHE: You have understood me perfectly correctly.
GEN. RUDENKO: Now, in other words, I understand you to say that you would have gone against Hitler?
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FRITZSCHE: It is hard to say what I would have done. Of course, this is a question about which I have now thought a great deal.
GEN. RUDENKO: I should like to ask you, if, as you stated here to the High Tribunal, at the beginning of 1942 you received information that in one of the regions in the Ukraine, which was at the time occupied by the Germans, an extermination of the Jews and the Ukraine intelligentsia was being prepared, simply because they were Jews and members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia? Did you receive such information? Is that correct?
FRITZSCHE: That is correct.
GEN. RUDENKO: That was in the beginning. In May of 1942 you were with the 6th Army, and in the 6th Army you learned about the existence of an order to shoot the Soviet commissars; is that right?
GEN. RUDENKO: You considered that this bloody order should not be applied? Is that right?
FRITZSCHE: That is right.
GEN. RUDENKO: You knew that this order emanated from Hitler?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I could imagine that.
GEN. RUDENKO: That is to say, in 1942 you knew already that Hitler's order to murder existed and yet you followed him?
FRITZSCHE: You are comparing two things which are not comparable. There is quite a difference, not treating commissars as prisoners of war and giving an order for the killing of 5 million Jews.
GEN. RUDENKO: Then, if I understand you correctly, the fact that you did not go against Hitler, meant that you considered such an order to be permissible in the conduct of the war by the German Army?
FRITZSCHE: No; I considered it was an impossible order; and that is why I opposed it, and not only passively as others did.
GEN. RUDENKO: But you continued to support Hitler?
GEN. RUDENKO: Here is the last question. Tell me, during the war, did you ever concern yourself with the question of preparations for biological warfare?
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GEN. RUDENKO: Did you ever hear the name of a certain Major Von Passavant?
FRITZSCHE: Yes, I know that name.
GEN. RUDENKO: He was the representative of the OKW in the Ministry of Propaganda, was he not?
FRITZSCHE: No, he was not. He was a radio expert in the Propaganda Department of the OKW.
GEN. RUDENKO: A copy of a letter of 19 October 1944 will be submitted to you. This letter bears your facsimile signature, and it is directed to Major Von Passavant of the OKW. This is a short document, and I am going to read it to you:
'`To the Chief of Broadcasting, Major Von Passavant, OKW:
"A listener, factory owner Gustav Otto, Reichenberg, has sent me the enclosed sketch with the proposal to carry out biological warfare. I am submitting this to you with the request that you forward it to the proper office.
"Hell Hitler. Fritzsche."
Do you remember this document?
FRITZSCHE: Of course I do not remember it. At the same time I want to state that I have no doubt that it is genuine.
GEN. RUDENKO: Very well. I should like to put the last question to you: This shows that you were in favor of the planning and the carrying through by Germany of biological warfare, is that correct?
I have finished, Mr. President.
FRITZSCHE: But I must have an opportunity to answer the last question. I wish to state that I was by no means in favor of biological warfares but the situation was merely this: Every day piles of letters came in from listeners and these were passed on by one of the departments to the office competent to deal with the matter concerned and the accompanying letter, which consisted of two or three lines, was submitted to me for signature. As a rule I did not read the contents of the letters.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Fritz, do you want to re-examine?
DR. FRITZ: Herr Fritzsche, just now during General Rudenko's cross-examination you were asked about the radio speech of 2 May 1940 in which you spoke about your journey to Norway. Can you tell me more exactly when you went on that trip?
FRITZSCHE: I am afraid I cannot tell you the date exactly, but if I am not mistaken it was at the end of April.
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DR. FRITZ: The official report of the Norwegian Government on war damage after Norway's occupation by the Germans was put to you. Here it is said that the fighting which had caused this damage could not have taken place until after you had already completed your journey. Is that true?
FRITZSCHE: That is quite possible, but I should like to say this: In the extract which the Russian prosecutor has read without quoting the beginning, I described precisely what I had seen in clearly stated places; Lillehammer and Godenthal are a few names which occur to me now. To compare these statements now with the statements made by the Norwegian Government regarding the total damage is nothing less than the attempt to measure a liquid with a yard measure or vice versa.
DR. FRITZ: I have one other question in this connection. Was this journey of yours carried out before the British landing in Norway or afterward?
FRITZSCHE: I myself had an opportunity to watch a fight with British troops. I think it was just south of a place called Ottar in the Buldrenthal.
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, General Rudenko, during his crossexamination, submitted three interrogation records. One was from Voss, USSR-471, one from Schorner, USSR-472, and one from Stahel USSR-473. In the meantime I have looked through these three records and I should like to ask the High Tribunal also to compare these three records. Shave ascertained that in these three records, of the statements of three different persons, parts of the answers are repeated; and they tally, word for word. It says, for example . . .
THE PRESIDENT: You are not getting this from the witness; you are making an argument to us, and you must do that at some other time.
DR. FRITZ: I just wanted to make an application, Mr. President. If these three records are used for the findings, then I wish to make an application that at least one of these persons who were interrogated be brought here in person for the purpose of cross-examination.
THE PRESIDENT: Were you Meaning that you should see, or that we should examine, the whole of those three affidavits, or were you meaning that you wanted one of the people who made the affidavits to come here in order to give evidence and be crossexamined? Which do you mean?
DR. FRITZ: The latter, Mr. President. I should merely like to request that all three be summoned.
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FRITZSCHE: All three. I can only ask to have all three called.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will consider your application.
DR. FRITZ: Apart from this, Mr. President, I do not wish to carry out any further redirect examination.
THE PRESIDENT: There is one thing, Defendant. You referred to the Commissar Decree, or order, and you spoke of it as though it were an order not to treat commissars as prisoners of war. That was not the order, was it? The order was to kill them.
FRITZSCHE: The order which I got to know about in the 6th Army was an order saying that commissars who had been captured should be shot.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. That is a very different thing from not being treated as prisoners of war. The answer you gave was that you imagined the Commissar Order came from Hitler, but it is a very different thing, an order not to treat commissars as ordinary prisoners of war and to kill 5 million Jews. That was not a fair comparison at all, was it?
FRITZSCHE: In this case I must admit that my way of expressing myself with reference to these commissars was not correct.
THE PRESIDENT: There is one other thing I want to ask you. In October 1939 this untruthful statement about the Athenia was published in a German newspaper. That is right, is it not?
FRITZSCHE: In October 1939? During the whole of September and October untruthful statements about the Athenia were made in the German press as well as on the German radio.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. But on the 23d of October 1939 a particularly untruthful statement attributing the sinking of the Athenia to Mr. Winston Churchill was made in a German newspaper.
You told us about it.
THE PRESIDENT: And you continued to broadcast referring to those alleged facts for some time, did you not?
FRITZSCHE: Of course, because at the time I was still under the impression that they were true and my. . .
THE PRESIDENT: That is what I wanted to ask you about. You had a naval liaison officer in your office?
THE PRESIDENT: What inquiries did you make?
FRITZSCHE: This naval officer was not actually the liaison officer between us 'end the High Command of the Navy. He was censorship officer for the entire Armed Forces. Nevertheless I
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naturally called on his services in connection with naval matters. And several times I ordered him, or rather, requested him to find out from the High Command of the Navy how the investigation of the Athenia case stood. The answer was always the same: "The position still is that no German submarine was near the place of the catastrophe."
THE PRESIDENT: And are you saying that that liaison officer of the Navy told you that after the 23d of October 1939?
THE PRESIDENT: Did he continue to tell you that?
THE PRESIDENT: That is all. He may return to the dock.
Yes, Dr. Fritz?
DR. FRITZ: Now, with the permission of the Tribunal, I should like to call the witness Herr Von Schirmeister.
[The witness Von Schirmeister took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your full name, please?
MORITZ VON SCHIRMEISTER (Witness): Moritz von Schirmeister.
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. FRITZ: Witness, before beginning your examination, I should like to ask you to make your answers quite general and as brief as possible.
Will you please give the Tribunal very briefly some particulars of your career, so that the Tribunal may know more about you.
VON SCHIRMEISTER: I come from a family of officers and civil servants; studied theology for three terms; 10 years as a banking official, 5 of them in South America; then editor until my appointment in Berlin; on 1 October 1931 I became a member of the Party; SS Hauptsturmfuehrer in the Allgemeine SS; during the war four times a soldier; the last time from 31 July 1944 on; on 22 September 1944 prisoner of war in British hands; since then I have been in Great Britain.
DR. FRITZ: When I discussed the subject of your examination with you a few days ago, you told me that your former positive attitude toward National Socialism would not prevent you in any way from making truthful statements here, is that true?
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VON SCHIRMEISTER: I have already told you that I believed in this cause, that I have sacrificed everything to it, that I have lost everything through it. It was very bitter for me. But today I know that I have served a bad cause. I have freed myself entirely of it. In my last camp in England I was permitted to assist in the reeducation of my comrades. There I was allowed to edit the camp newspaper. And if I only could, then I would help today to rebuild a democratic Germany.
DR. FRITZ: When did you become acquainted with the Defendant Fritzsche?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: On 1 July 1938.
DR. FRITZ: What were you at the time? What position were you to occupy?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: I was an editor in Braunschweig and I was called to the Ministry of Propaganda in order to become Dr. Goebbels' personal press expert.
DR. FRITZ: What position did you actually occupy in the Ministry of Propaganda?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Up to 1 July 1943 I was Dr. Goebbels' personal press expert; then I was personal expert to State Secretary Dr. Gutterer until 1 April 1944; then I went with him for 3 months to the UFI which was the controlling company of all film companies. Then, on 31 July 1944, I went to the front.
DR. FRITZ: Did you have daily contact with Dr. Goebbels?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Yes, since the outbreak of the war. Let me describe briefly what my main activities were.
DR. FRITZ: Very briefly, please.
VON SCHIRMEISTER: During the war I had to look through all the news and propaganda material coming in from enemy broadcasting stations and regularly submit extracts from it to Goebbels. These extracts formed the basis for Dr. Goebbels' propaganda instructions which he himself issued every morning. In the afternoon and evening I had to telephone them to the press section and radio section. So that during the war, except when my deputies took my place, I was with Dr. Goebbels in his apartment, I took my meals with him, slept in his house, accompanied him on journeys, and so on.
DR. FRITZ: What position did Fritzsche occupy at the time?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Herr Fritzsche in those days was the deputy chief in the department Home Press.
DR. FRITZ: Will you please describe the nature and importance of Fritzsche's position in the Propaganda Ministry also during the period which followed. Very briefly, please.
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VON SCHIRMEISTER: I was to get acquainted with the work of the department Home Press. Conditions there were as bad as they could be. The chief, Herr Berndt, adopted undisguised table-thumping tactics. He went about barking out commands and sacking editors en masse.
In ability and knowledge the officials in charge were 'inferior to the average editor. The only steadying influence was Herr Fritzsche; he was the only expert. He knew the needs and requirements of the press. On the one hand he had to mend the ' chine which Herr Berndt was constantly smashing and on the other hand he tried to replace inefficient officials in the organization with better ones.
DR. FRITZ: Would it be correct to say, therefore, that Defendant Fritzsche was not appointed as an exponent of the Party, but as an expert?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Only as an expert. The extremist Party men in the Ministry did not give Fritzsche his full due. But as an expert he was thee' end later the good spirit of the press.
DR. FRITZ: Was Fritzsche one of those collaborators in the Ministry who had regular conferences with Goebbels?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: These regular conferences had not yet begun to be held in those days, and Fritzsche did not partake in them in any case.
DR. FRITZ: So that he was not consulted until he became a department chief?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Yes; only as far as such conferences were taking place, but actually only since the outbreak of war.
DR. FRITZ: In what way did Dr. Goebbels confer with his associates?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: After the war broke out there were daily conferences at 1100 hours, which were presided over by Dr. Goebbels personally and at which he gave all necessary propaganda instructions. ,
DR. FRITZ: How many people attended these 11 o'clock meetings?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: At the beginning, that is to say, up to the beginning of the Russian campaign, about 20 people. Later the circle grew to about 50 people.
DR. FRITZ: Were there discussions during these conferences or was it more or less the giving out of orders?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: There was no discussion during these conferences. First of all, the liaison officer from the OKW would give a survey of the military situation and then Dr. Goebbels would give his instructions regarding propaganda, mostly for the press, the radio, and the newsreels.
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DR. FRITZ: Who presided over the conferences when Dr. Goebbels was not present?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Normally the State Secretary.
DR. FRITZ: And who presided when the State Secretary was not there either?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Usually Herr Fritzsche, sometimes also the head of the foreign press department or the foreign department, but mostly Herr Fritzsche.
DR. FRITZ: Did Fritzsche in these cases give the daily propaganda instructions on his own initiative or how was that done?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: No; if the Minister was not in Berlin, he was kept informed about news material coming in from abroad. He would then give the instructions to me or to one of my deputies in the same way as he did during the conferences. I had to pass on these instructions by telephone. In Berlin they were taken down by stenographers and then read out during the conference verbatim as instructions coming from the Minister. By the way, this must be seen by the minutes of the meetings. They were always called "Instructions from the Minister."
DR. FRITZ: If Fritzsche used written instructions such as you have described, given by Dr. Goebbels, did he not try to clear up questions which Goebbels had not dealt with, by bringing them up for discussion?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: When Dr. Goebbels was farther away from Berlin, it might happen that the latest news did not reach him in time. In these cases Herr Fritzsche would bring things up for discussion, consider the pros and cons and then give instructions on his own initiative. That was then put down in writing; the Minister read it afterward and he either approved it or altered it.
DR. FRITZ: But then, surely apart from the big conferences with 30 or 50 people present at which Goebbels gave his instructions there must have been more confidential conferences as well.
VON SCHIRMEISTER: In the course of the morning, naturally, individual department chiefs also came for official discussions with the Minister.
DR. FRITZ: Was Fritzsche also called to these more confidential conferences?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Generally, no. The Minister used the conferences at which all departments were represented to summarize whatever he had to say for the press, radio, and newsreels. The heads of those departments whose special functions were not of interest to the others, came for individual conferences.
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DR. FRITZ: How often was Herr Fritzsche consulted as compared with, say, the state secretaries-Hahnke, Gutterer, and Dr. Naumann?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: The state secretaries could always be present during these individual conferences and so could the personal advisers who were always there. Herr Fritzsche was very rarely present at these individual conferences.
DR. FRITZ: What was the position of the 12 department heads of the Ministry of Propaganda, one of whom was the Defendant Fritzsche?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: These department heads can be classified into experts on the one side, such as, for instance, the head of the budget department, Dr. Ott, and confirmed Party men on the other side as, for instance, Herr Berndt. Officially they had not a particle of the authority which was normally exercised by a department head in a ministry. It was generally known that the Minister was using them as tools and that when he did not need them any more he would throw them out. That did not apply to the department heads only. I remember the unworthy manner in which he threw out State Secretary Gutterer when he had enough of him.
DR. FRITZ: The Indictment accuses Fritzsche of having made of Germany's news agencies, radio, and press an instrument that played an important part in the hands of the so-called conspirators in carrying out their plans. Was Fritzsche responsible for the organization of the press in the National Socialist State and what can you say to this charge?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: When Herr Fritzsche entered the Ministry, this press department had been set up and organized for some time. Moreover, I can also say that even Dr. Goebbels himself cannot be regarded as belonging to this circle of conspirators as defined by the Indictment; for, after all, he did not want to drive us into war, but always advocated the conquest of countries without bloodshed.
DR. FRITZ: So that the organization was already set up when Fritzsche took over the department German Press in the winter of 1938-39?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Yes, already completely organized.
DR. FRITZ: As the head of that department was Fritzsche independent? If not, who was his superior?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Unfortunately Fritzsche was not only subordinate as department chief to Dr. Goebbels, but he also stood between two fires. On the other side there was the Reich Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich, and the entire German press knew about this
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discord between the two. Although Reich Press Chief, as State Secretary, was a staff member of the Ministry of Propaganda, nevertheless he demanded the right to be able to give orders independently in his capacity of Reich Press Chief. If, therefore, the Minister and the Reich Press Chief did not agree on a certain point, then it was the unfortunate chief of the department German Press who bore the brunt of this.
DR. FRITZ: In what way was Fritzsche active in the press organization? Did he tighten the fetters or did he try to loosen them?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: I have already said that Herr Fritzsche was the only, real expert of any caliber who worked in the press department. He knew the needs, the worries, and the requirements of the press. He knew that an editor could work only if you give him a certain amount of freedom, and thus always and at every
opportunity he fought to have the fetters loosened. He did much more than was apparent to the outside world, for the Minister would make such and such a decision and the outside world would come to know only what the Minister wanted.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you think he has answered the question?
DR. FRITZ: Did Dr. Goebbels have any objections to the way the press worked? Was it not aggressive enough for him? Please be very brief.
VON SCHIRMEISTER: No, it was not aggressive and not obdurate enough for him.
DR. FRITZ: And how did Fritzsche react to such demands both with reference to individual journalists and with reference to the newspapers as a whole?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Again and again, at every opportunity, both during the conferences presided over by the Minister and at private meetings with the Minister, he spoke on behalf of the press and the journalists and tried to represent their point of view to the Minister.
DR. FRITZ: Can you mention a few names of journalists . or papers whom Fritzsche tried to protect in the manner described?
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Fritz, why should he give the names of individual journalists and papers? Isn't it too detailed to go into that?
DR. FRITZ: Very well; but Mr. President, may I, in that case, at least offer an affidavit in connection with this question as Document Number Fritzsche-5. It is in my Document Book Number 2 on Page 22. It comes from the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, Dr. Wendelin Hecht, and I should like to quote it very briefly:
"I herewith make the following affidavit for submission to the International-Military Tribunal in Nuremberg:
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"1. It is true that the Defendant Hans Fritzsche also helped to protect the Frankfurter Zeitung for several years against a ban by withholding copies of the Frankfurter Zeitung from the Fuehrer's headquarters.
"2. In the numerous attacks directed against the Frankfurter Zeitung because of its political attitude the Defendant Hans Fritzsche repeatedly intervened in favor of the continued publication of the Frankfurter Zeitung.
"Leutkirch, 6 March 1946. Dr. Wendelin Hecht."
What other influential persons, apart from Dr. Goebbels, were there in the Ministry of Propaganda?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: After State Secretary Hahnke's departure there was only one man in the Ministry of Propaganda who had any real influence on the Minister, only one man with whom Dr. Goebbels had some personal relations, and that was his first personal adviser, Dr. Naumann, who later became his state secretary.
DR. FRITZ: Did Fritzsche come to you frequently to learn more about the Minister's views because the Minister did not inform Defendant Fritzsche?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Very often, because Herr Fritzsche knew that I also had many private conversations with the Minister and he always complained that he was left in suspense and all at sea, and he asked me if I could not tell him the Minister's view about this or that matter. I did succeed in helping him by occasionally arranging for him to be invited by Dr. Goebbels to private meetings in which I spoke openly about Herr Fritzsche's needs.
DR. FRITZ: Did Goebbels keep the radio strictly under his own control?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: During the war the radio was for Dr. Goebbels the most important instrument of propaganda. He did not keep such a strict watch on any department as he did on the radio department. At meetings over which he presided he personally decided the most minute details of the artistic program...
DR. FRITZ: That is enough, Witness. Was Fritzsche really the leading man of German broadcasting, as he appeared to the outside world?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: By no means. The leading man was Dr. Goebbels himself. Apart from that, Fritzsche here again was between two stools, because on the other side demands came in from the Foreign Office with reference to foreign broadcasts.
DR. FRITZ: Was Fritzsche in his radio speeches perhaps too halfhearted for Dr. Goebbels?
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VON SCHIRMEISTER: I myself, by order of the Minister, repeatedly had to reprimand Fritzsche, because the former claimed that his broadcasts were much too weak.
DR. FRITZ: Did Goebbels also praise him? And if so in what manner?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: If, as was often the case, the Minister did praise Fritzsche...
THE PRESIDENT: We haven't any interest in whether Goebbels praised him.
DR. FRITZ: Then another question: Did Defendant Fritzsche ever contradict the Minister?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Herr Fritzsche was one of the few people in the Ministry of Propaganda who did contradict the Minister, both during conferences and in his apartment. He was always calm and determined and often it had a certain effect.
DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, may I have your permission to draw your attention at this point to a document, an affidavit by Scharping, Document Number Fritzsche-2, which has already been mentioned frequently. It is at the end of Page 7 and the beginning of Page 8 in my Document Book Number 2. Might I perhaps quote one short sentence: "At the so-called ministerial conferences it was Fritzsche alone who contradicted Goebbels on political questions."
Witness, who was responsible for the definitely false or exaggerated news in the German press during the Sudeten crisis?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: That was Alfred Ingemar Berndt, the head of the department. At that time he spent whole nights pouring over General Staff maps, directories, and lists of names, using them to fabricate atrocity reports from the Sudetenland. Herr Fritzsche watched this with anxiety. He came to me once and asked me' "What are we drifting into? Are we not drifting into war? If only we knew what they really want at the top and what is behind it all."
DR. FRITZ: And then another question on the same subject. Did Goebbels, in connection with any military or political actions, which were being carried out or were to be carried out, ever consult beforehand with the Defendant Fritzsche?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: Not only did he not consult with Herr Fritzsche, but with nobody at all. The Minister never had any such consultations.
DR. FRITZ: Fritzsche asserts that he did not hear of Dr. Goebbels' instigation of the anti-Semitic excesses in November 1938 until much later, a remark made by Dr. Goebbels himself. That does not sound very credible, because, after all, Defendant Fritzsche was a close associate of Dr. Goebbels. Can you give us an explanation?
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VON SCHIRMEISTER: In 1938 certainly none of us in the Ministry realized that Dr. Goebbels was the instigator. During the night in question Dr. Goebbels was not in Berlin. As far as I remember, just before that he had been to see the Fuehrer and he was still in southern Germany. The conversation which you have just mentioned did not take place until the middle of the war. It took place at Lanke, where the Minister had a house and it was on an occasion when Herr Fritzsche had also been invited. Someone put the direct question to the Minister as to the cause of these excesses of November 1938. Thereupon Dr. Goebbels said that the National Socialist economic leadership had come to the conclusion that the elimination of Jewry from Germany's economy could not be carried out further...
DR. FRITZ: Witness, excuse me, that is enough. We have heard about it already today. Did Fritzsche later on-I believe it is supposed to have been in June 1944-talk to you about his general attitude toward the Jewish problem?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: In May or June 1944 I talked to Fritzsche in his apartment about the fact that on the day of these outrages he had said to me, "Schirmeister, can one participate in this sort of thing and still be a decent human being?" And then Herr Fritzsche said to me, "You know, I have really always been an anti-Semitic, but only in the sense that some of the Jews themselves also were." And he mentioned a Jewish newspaper, I believe the C. V. Zeitung . . .
DR. FRITZ: That is enough, Witness. Then how do you explain Fritzsche's anti-Semitic statements in various of his radio speeches?
VON SCHIRMEISTER: They had been ordered by the Minister. We had seen from the British press that a certain anti-Semitic current in Britain was growing, but a law in England stopped this from appearing in the British press. Now the Minister tried to find a common factor against which our propaganda abroad could be directed. This common factor was the Jew.
To give support to the foreign propaganda by the Reich, Herr Fritzsche received orders that in Germany, too, he should touch upon this subject in some of his broadcasts.
THE PRESIDENT: How long do you think you will be in concluding the case of the Defendant Fritzsche?
DR. FRITZ: I think three-quarters of an hour at the most, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Well then, after that the Tribunal will continue the case of the Defendant Bormann until 1 o'clock tomorrow.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 29 June 1946 at 1000 hours.]