The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
December 3 to December 14, 1945

Eleventh Day: Monday, 3rd December, 1945
(Part 7 of 8)

[MR ALDERMAN continues]

[Page 34]

In the latter part of the Air Attache's report, reference is made to the presence of reliable agents and informers, which he called " V-Leute ", or V-people, apparently drawn from the ranks of the Henlein Party in this area, It was indicated that these agents were in touch with the "Abwehr Stelle", the Intelligence Office in Breslau.

In September, when the Nazi propaganda campaign was reaching its height, the Nazis were not satisfied with playing merely on the Sudeten demands for autonomy. They attempted to use the Slovaks as well. On 19th September the Foreign Office in Berlin sent a telegram to the German Legation in Prague. I offer in evidence, Document 2858-PS, Exhibit USA 97. It is another captured German Foreign Office document, and the telegram reads:

"Please inform Deputy Kundt that Konrad Henlein requests to get into touch with the Slovaks at once and induce them to start their demands for autonomy tomorrow. (Signed) Altenburg."
Kundt was Henlein's representative in Prague.

As the harassed Czech Government sought to stem the disorders in the Sudetenland, the German Foreign Office turned to threatening diplomatic tactics in a deliberate effort to increase the tension between the two countries.

I offer in evidence Documents 2855-PS, 2854-PS, 2853-PS and 2856- PS, as Exhibits USA 98, 99, 100 and 101 respectively. Four telegrams from the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Legation in Prague were dispatched between the 16th and 24th September, 1938. They are self-explanatory. The first is dated 16th September:

"Tonight 150 subjects of Czechoslovakia of Czech blood, were arrested in Germany. This measure is an answer to the arrest of Sudeten Germans since the Fuehrer's speech of 12th September. I request you to ascertain the number of Sudeten Germans arrested since 12th September as exactly as possible. The number of those arrested there is estimated conservatively at 400 by the Gestapo. Cable report."
A hand-written note follows:
"Impossible for me to ascertain these facts as already communicated to the proper agent."
The second telegram is dated 17th September:
"Most urgent.

Request to inform the local government immediately of the following:

The Reich Government has decided that:

[Page 35]

(a) Immediately as many Czech subjects of Czech descent, Czech- speaking Jews included, will be arrested in Germany as Sudeten Germans have been in Czechoslovakia since the beginning of the week.

(b) If any Sudeten Germans should be executed pursuant to a death sentence on the basis of martial law, an equal number of Czechs will be shot in Germany."

The third telegram was sent on 24th September. I read it:
"According to information received here, Czechs have arrested 2 German frontier-policemen, seven customs officials and 30 railway officials. As counter-measure all the Czech staff in Marschegg were arrested. We are prepared to exchange the arrested Czech officials for the German officials. Please approach Government there and wire result."
On the same day the fourth telegram was dispatched, and I read the last paragraph:

Yielding of the Czech hostages arrested here for the prevention of the execution of any sentences passed by military courts against Sudeten Germans is, of course, out of question."

In the latter half of September, Henlein devoted himself and his followers wholeheartedly to the preparations for the coming German attack. About 15th September, after Hitler's provocative Nuremberg speech, in which he accused Monsieur Benes of torturing and planning the extermination of the Sudeten Germans, Henlein and Karl Hermann Frank, one of his principal deputies, fled to Germany to avoid arrest by the Czech Government. In Germany Henlein broadcast over the powerful Reichsender radio station his determination to lead the Germans home to the Reich, and denounced what he called the Hussite-Bolshev1st criminals of Prague. From his headquarters in a castle at Banndorf, outside Bayreuth, he kept in close touch with the leading Nazi conspirators, including Hitler and Himmler. He directed activities along the border and began the organisation of the Sudeten German Free Corps, an auxiliary military organisation. You will find these events set forth in the Czechoslovak official Government Report, 998-PS, which has already been offered as Exhibit USA 91.

Henlein's activities were carried on with the advice and ass1stance of the German Nazi leaders. Lt.-Col. Kochling was assigned to Henlein in an advisory capacity to ass1st with the Sudeten German Free Corps. In a conference with Hitler on the night of September 17th, Kochling received far-reaching military powers.

At this conference, the purpose of the Free Corps was frankly stated - the maintenance of disorder and clashes. I read from Item 25, a hand-written note labelled "Most Secret," at Page 49 of the Schmundt file, Document 388-PS:

"Most Secret. Last night conference took place between the Fuehrer and Oberstleutnant Kochling. Duration of conference 7 minutes. Lt.-Col. Kochling remains directly responsible to O.K.W. He will be assigned to Konrad Henlein in an advisory capacity. He received far-reaching military plenary powers from the Fuehrer. The Sudeten German Free Corps remains responsible to Konrad Henlein alone. Purpose: Protection of the Sudeten Germans and maintenance of

[Page 36]

disturbances and clashes. The Free Corps will be established in Germany. Armament only with Austrian weapons. Activities of Free Corps to begin as soon as possible."
THE PRESIDENT: Would that be a good place to break off for ten minutes?

(A recess was taken.)

MR. ALDERMAN: May it please the Tribunal, General Jodl's diary again gives a further insight into the position of the Henlein Free Corps. At this time the Free Corps was engaged in active skirmishing along the Czech border, furnishing incidents and provocation in the desired manner. I quote from the entries in the Jodl diary, for the 19th and 20th September, 1938, at Page 6 of Document 1780-PS, which is Exhibit USA 72.

"19th September: Order is given to the Army High Command to take care of the Sudeten German Free Corps.

20th September: England and France have handed over their demands in Prague; the contents are still unknown. The activities of the Free Corps have reached such a pitch that they may bring about, indeed already have brought about, consequences harmful to the plans of the Army. (Transferring rather strong units of the Czech Army to the proximity of the border.) By checking with Lt.-Col. Kochling, I attempt to lead these activities into normal channels.

Toward the evening the Fuehrer also takes a hand and gives permission to act only with groups up to 12 men each, after the approval of the Corps H.Q."

A report from Henlein's staff, which was found in Hitler's headquarters, boasted of the offensive operations of the Free Corps. It is Item 30 of the Schmundt file, Page 54 of Document 388- PS. I read the last two paragraphs:
"Since 19th September - in more than 300 missions - the Free Corps has executed its task with an amazing spirit of attack (now, that word 'attack' was changed by superimposition to 'defence') and with a willingness often reaching a degree of unqualified self- sacrifice. The result of the first phase of its activities: more than 1,500 prisoners, 25 MGs." - which I suppose means machine guns - "and a large amount of other weapons and equipment, aside from serious losses in dead and wounded suffered by the enemy. And there was superimposed in place of 'enemy', 'The Czech Terrorists'."
In his headquarters in the castle at Banndorf, Henlein was in close touch with Admiral Canaris of the Intelligence Division of the O.K.W. and with the S.S. and the S.A. The liaison officer between the S.S. and Henlein was Oberfuehrer Gottlob Berger (S.S.).

I now offer in evidence Document 3036-PS - Exhibit USA 102 which is an affidavit executed by Gottlob Berger; and in connection with that affidavit, I wish to submit to the Tribunal that it presents, we think, quite a different question of proof from the Schuschnigg affidavits which were not admitted in evidence by the Court. Schuschnigg, of course, was a neutral and Austrian non-Nazi, and he was not a member of this conspiracy, and I can well understand that the Court rejected his affidavit for these reasons.

Berger was a Nazi. He was serving in this conspiracy. He has made this affidavit. We think the affidavit has probative value and should be admitted by the Tribunal under the pertinent provision of the Charter,

[Page 37]

which says that you will accept in evidence any evidence having probative value. We think it would be unfair to require us to bring here as a witness a man who would certainly be a hostile witness, who is to us a member of this conspiracy, and it seems to us that the affidavit should be admitted with leave to the defendants, if they wish, to call the author of the affidavit as their witness. I should have added that this man was a prominent member of the S.S. which is charged before you as being a criminal organisation, and we think the document is perfectly competent in evidence as an admission against interest by a prominent member of the S.S. organisation.

DR. STAHMER (Counsel for the defendant Goering): Mr. President, the defence objects to the use of this document. This document was compiled as late as 22nd November, 1945. It was filed here in Nuremberg. The witness, Berger, could, therefore, be brought to Court without any difficulty.

We must insist that he be heard here on the subjects on which the prosecution wishes to quote his testimony, so that the defence may have an opportunity of cross-examining him in order to make sure that objective truth is ascertained.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal upholds the objection and will not hear this affidavit. It is open to either the prosecution or the defendants, of course, to call the man who made the affidavit. That is all I have to say. We have upheld your objection.

MR. ALDERMAN: If the Tribunal please, I had another affidavit by one Alfred Helmut Naujocks which, I take it, will be excluded under this same ruling, and which, therefore, I shall not offer.

THE PRESIDENT: If the circumstances are the same.

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes, I might merely refer to it for identification because it is in your document books.


MR. ALDERMAN: It is Document 3029-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. That also will be rejected as evidence.

MR. ALDERMAN: Yes. Offensive operations along the Czechoslovakian border were not confined to skirmishes carried out by the Free Corps. Two S.S.-Totenkopf, S.S. battalions, were operating across the border in Czech territory near Eich.

I quote now from Item 36 in the Schmundt file and O.K.W.'s most secret order, signed by Jodl, and dated 28th September, 1938. This appears at Page 61 of the Schmundt file.

"Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, Berlin, 28th September, 1938, 45 copies, 16th copy.

Subject: 4 S.S.-Totenkopf battalions subordinate to the C.-in- C. Army.

To: Reichsfuehrer S S. and Chief of the German Police (S. S. Central Office) (36 copies). MOST SECRET.

By order of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces the following Bns. of the S.S. Death's Head Organisation will be under the command of the C.-in-C. Army with immediate effect.

II and III Bn. of the 2nd S.S.-Totenkopf Regiment Brandenburg at present in Brieg (Upper Silesia).

[Page 38]

I and II Bn. of the 3rd S.S.-Totenkopf Regiment Thuringia, at present in Radeboul and Koetzenbroda near Dresden.

C.-in-C. Army is requested to deploy these Bns. for the West (Upper Rhine), according to the Fuehrer's instructions.

These S.S.-Totenkopf units now operating in the Eich promentory (I and II Bn. of Oberbayern Regiment) will come under the C.-in-C. Army only when they return to German Reich territory, or when the: Army crosses the German-Czech frontier.

It is requested that all further arrangements be made between C.-in-C. Army and Reichsfuehrer S.S. (S.S. Central Office).

For the Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces. Jodl."

According to the 25th September entry in General Jodl's diary, these S.S.-Totenkopf battalions were operating in this area on direct orders from Hitler. As the appointed time approached, the disposition of the Free Corps became a matter of dispute.

On 26th September Himmler issued an order to the Chief of Staff of the Sudeten German Free Corps, directing that the Free Corps come under control of the Reichsfuehrer S.S. in the event of German invasion of Czechoslovakia. This document is Item 37 in the Schmundt file, at Page 62.

On 28th September defendant Keitel directed that as soon as the German Army crosses the Czech border, the Free Corps will take orders from the O.K.H. In this most secret order of the O.K.W., Keitel discloses that Henlein's men are already operating in Czechoslovak territory.

I read now, from Item 34 Of the Schmundt file on Page 58, the last three: paragraphs of this most secret document:

"For the Henlein Free Corps and units subordinate to this the principle remains valid, that they receive instructions direct from the Fuehrer and that they carry out their instructions only in conjunction with the competent General Staff Corps. The advance units of the: Free Corps will have to report to the local commander of the frontier guard immediately before crossing the frontier.

Those units remaining forward of the frontier should - in their own interests - get into communication with the frontier guard as often as, possible.

As soon as the Army crosses the Czechoslovak border the Henlein Free Corps will be subordinate to the O.K.H. Thus it will be expedient to assign a sector to the Free Corps, even now, which can be fitted into the scheme of army boundaries later."

On 30th September, when it became clear that the Munich settlement would result in a peaceful occupation of the Sudetenland, the defendant Keitel ordered that the Free Corps Henlein, in its present composition, be placed under the command of Himmler.

I read from Item 38, at Page 63, of the Schmundt file:

"1. Attachment of the Henlein Free Corps:

The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has just ordered that the Henlein Free Corps in its present composition be placed under command of Reichsfuehrer S.S. and the Chief of German Police.

It is therefore at the immediate disposal of O.K.H. as a field unit for the invasion, but it is to be later drawn in like the rest of the police forces for police duties in agreement with the Reichsfuehrer S.S."

[Page 39]

I have been able, if the Tribunal please, to ascertain the dates the Tribunal asked about before the recess.The first visit of Chamberlain in connection with this matter to Germany was 15th September, 1938. Chamberlain flew to Munich and arrived at 12.30 o'clock on 15th September. He went by train from Munich to Berchtesgaden, arriving at 1600 hours, and by car to the Berghof, arriving at about 1650, for three talks with Hitler. On 16th September Chamberlain returned by air to London. The second visit was on 22nd September. Chamberlain met Hitler at Bad Godesberg at 1700 hours for a three-hour discussion, and it was a deadlock. On 23rd September discussions were resumed at 2230 hours. On 24th September Chamberlain returned to London.

The third visit was on 29th September. Chamberlain flew to Munich and the meeting of Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier and Hitler took place at the Braunhaus at 1330 and continued until 0230 hours on Friday, 30th September, 1938, when the Munich Agreement was signed. Under the threat of war by the Nazi conspirators, and with war in fact about to be launched, the United Kingdom and France concluded the Munich Pact with Germany and Italy at that early morning hour of 3oth September, 1938. This Treaty will be presented by the British Prosecutor. It is sufficient for me to say of it at this point that it provided for the cession of the Sudetenland by Czechoslovakia to Germany. Czechoslovakia was required to acquiesce.

The Munich Pact will be TC-23 of the British documents.

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