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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th February to 11th March, 1946

Seventy-Sixth Day: Thursday, 7th March, 1946
(Part 4 of 5)

[Page 215]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then, No. 5 is Count Schwerin- Krosigk, who was Finance Minister for a long period of years in the government of the Reich. If the Tribunal would be good enough to look at the application which Dr. von Luedinghausen has put in, he says this witness is most accurately informed about the personality of the defendant, his political viewpoints as well as the basic thoughts and aims of the policy of peace carried on by the defendant, and his avoidance of all use of force, as well as his endeavours for the maintenance of peace, even after being Foreign Minister, and about his opinion of National Socialism and about the happenings in the Cabinet session of 30th January, 1937.

The prosecution felt these matters were really emphasizing points that the defendant would speak on, and that it was difficult to see that Count Schwerin-Krosigk was being asked to speak on any particular point that was an issue. Therefore, again, they would suggest that an interrogatory would be sufficient for the purpose of the defence.

[Page 216]

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I do not believe that an interrogatory will serve the purpose that I wish to accomplish, for several phases of the activity of the defendant von Neurath are dealt with, in regard to which the witness is to give us information.

For instance, the Indictment asserts that defendant von Neurath acted as some kind of Fifth Columnist in the ranks of the Conservative, that is, the German National Party. In regard to the fact that this is not true, the witness named by me, Count Schwerin-Krosigk, can give extensive information, and I attach importance to having this take place before the Tribunal in such a way that the Tribunal may have an exact idea how these things took place at that time in the ranks of the extreme parties of the right.

A further subject for his hearing is the question of the outstanding manner in which the defendant, von Neurath, intervened, although he was no longer Foreign Minister at the time, in order to bring about the conference at Munich in September 1938, and the measure in which he had an effect on the outcome of this conference which, at the time, was generally considered a happy one.

I should consider the summoning before the Tribunal of this witness, who is present in Nuremberg, and who will therefore not have to be brought from another city, important.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I do not desire to say anything more on that point.

Then, Field-Marshal von Blomberg is, we understand, ill, and there will be an interrogatory.

No. 7, Dr. Guido Schmidt, is the same witness as was dealt with this morning in the case of Seyss-Inquart. He is an Austrian ex-Foreign Minister. I made no objection in the case of Seyss-Inquart and I make no objection now, of course.

Lord Halifax has been the subject of interrogatories.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: The interrogatory has already been sent to Lord Halifax, so I have been told by the General Secretary.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Mastny, who was the Czechoslovakian Ambassador in Berlin, came into the case in that the prosecution put in a letter from Jan Masaryk, describing a visit of Dr. Mastny to the defendant von Neurath. Of course, if there is any issue as to that report, its not being true, then there would be some reason for calling him as a witness; but if it is merely a question of clarifying it, I believe an interrogatory would be sufficient.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I agree to an interrogatory in this case.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then with regard to the next witness, Dr. Stroelin - if the Tribunal would consider that along with No. 12, Dr. Wurm, I understand that the Tribunal granted No. 12 on 19th December as an alternative to Stroelin, giving the choice between the witness Stroelin and the witness Wurm. Dr. Stroelin is Oberbuergermeister of Stuttgart. I do not know if Dr. Seidl can tell the Tribunal if it is the same Dr. Stroelin he desires in the case of Hess.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. von Luedinghausen tells me that he is, so the Tribunal might note that point - that that witness will also be asked for by Dr. Seidl in the case of Hess - and therefore I should suggest that we might leave that undecided for the moment. If the Tribunal grant it in the case of Hess, of course Dr. von Luedinghausen will automatically have the advantage of this witness; and if he is not granted - and I do not know whether Dr. von Luedinghausen feels strongly about his personal presence - I am not the Tribunal - I do not feel very strongly on the point myself.

[Page 217]

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I quite agree that I should make this decision at that time when the question is settled as to whether the witness is granted to another defendant or not. I should like to make the following remark . . .

THE PRESIDENT: One moment. Which witness?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No. 10, Dr. Stroelin.

THE PRESIDENT: If Dr. Stroelin were granted would you require Dr. Wurm at all, No. 12?

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, I do not insist on Dr. Wurm being heard in person at Nuremberg. Dr. Wurm has already told me that he would give me the information requested in the form of an affidavit. I should ask for permission to submit this affidavit to the Tribunal. I do not insist on his being heard in person.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is merely cumulative, No. 10, but if it is felt that an affidavit would help - it will be along the same lines - I shall not press an objection.

Now, No. 11. The prosecution felt, with regard to the witness Zimmermann, that he was really speaking on the state of the defendant's mind. If I might read the first five lines:-

"The witness is in a position to give information about the personality, the character, and the philosophy of the defendant, as well as about the fact that he entered the cabinet only at the express request of the Reich President von Hindenburg, and that he remained in the cabinet after the latter's death because he was a convinced friend of peace and an opponent of any policy pointing towards force or war, and that because of this reason he handed in his resignation as Reich Foreign Minister soon after the 5th of November, 1937; also about the reasons because of which he declared himself ready to take over the office of Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia."
It would appear that these are all matters which Dr. Zimmermann has heard from the defendant. I do not really think it helps the defendant's case any further. The prosecution therefore felt that that witness was irrelevant.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I should like to request that he be heard here.

The witness has been a very intimate friend of the defendant von Neurath for many, many years. The defendant considered him somewhat as a father-confessor and informed him of everything which oppressed him. From this information the witness has a very clear impression of events and happenings. Thus this lawyer, Dr. Zimmermann, is very closely informed about the incidents that took place in September 1932, when von Neurath entered the newly-formed cabinet of von Papen upon the express desire of the then Reich President von Hindenburg. The witness is informed of the fact that the defendant von Neurath did not wish to accept the call, and that it took very earnest persuasion on the part of the Reich President von Hindenburg, concerning his patriotic and personal duty, before the defendant could be moved to assume the office of Reich Foreign Minister. This witness also knows the motives because of which the defendant, after the death of the Reich President, considered it his duty, in response to a wish expressed previously by the Reich President, to remain in office, and in that way to fulfil the wishes of the Reich President.

He also knows very well what a really devastating effect it had on von Neurath when, on 5th November, 1937, Hitler for the first time came to the fore with martial intent. Witness Zimmermann also knows very exactly the reasons which moved the defendant after very long deliberation to assume the office of Reich Protector. The witness also is very well informed not only about the difficulties confronting the position of Reich Protector, but also about the attitude of the defendant to the problems in the Reich Protectorate. These matters are all of decisive importance so far as a judgement of the defendant is concerned, and I

[Page 218]

do not believe that even an affidavit which has been worked out with the greatest care can have the same weight as a personal hearing of the witness. For these reasons I request that this witness, who has already given me his assurance that he will be glad to come here from Berlin, be granted me. We do not have to find him; he is a practising lawyer and notary in Berlin.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I do not wish to add to that. That leaves one point, my Lord, the two witnesses, 13 and 14. The first one, Dr. Voelkers, was the chief of the cabinet of defendant von Neurath in Prague. He has not been located. The second, von Holleben, was . . .

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: This witness is in an internment camp at Neuminster, and I indicated the exact address.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Then I think the submission of the prosecution is that one of these witnesses is suitable, and that it would be unnecessary to call the second witness if Dr. Voelkers is available. That is my point.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: I quite agree, but I ask you to consent to witness Consul von Holleben being heard by means of an interrogatory.

THE PRESIDENT: It is now a quarter to one; we will adjourn until two.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE PRESIDENT: It appears probable that the Tribunal will finish the applications for witnesses and documents before the end of the sitting today, but they do not propose to go on with the case against the defendant Goering until tomorrow. They will take that case at ten o'clock tomorrow morning.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, with regard to the document applied for by the defendant von Neurath, Paragraph 1 requires no comment.

Paragraph 2 refers to documents which Dr. von Luedinghausen has in his possession. If they are treated in the usual way and extracts are made, I have nothing further to say.

Then we come to documents that are not yet in his possession. Nos. 1 and 4 are minutes of the Disarmament Conference in 1932 and in May 1933 respectively. I am afraid I do not know what the difficulty has been in obtaining those documents, and if there is any way in which the prosecution can help, they will.

DR. VON LUEDINGHAUSEN: Concerning Document No. 1, I was able to find, in the meantime, in one of the documents which referred to the Disarmament Conference, a copy of a document which is important for me, namely, the resolution about Germany's equality of rights. If the document which I have asked for is not here in time, I am nevertheless in the position to produce an excerpt from that German book.

However, that does riot apply to No. 4, and I should like to be able to get that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No. 2 is a request for the interrogation of Karl Hermann Frank.

The ruling of the Tribunal was, that only the portions of interrogations of defendants used by the prosecution might be re-used. If any portions of this interrogation were used by the Soviet Prosecution, and I confess . . .

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): One moment, please, Sir David. As I understood you, you did not state our ruling quite accurately.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: I think our ruling was that, if the prosecution put in any part of an interrogation of a defendant, then the defendants would have the opportunity of using any other part of the interrogation, treating the interrogation as one document.

[Page 219]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am very grateful to your Lordship. That was the rule so far as defendants are concerned, but Karl Hermann Frank is not a defendant.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: And any portion that has been used would have appeared in the ordinary way in the document book of whichever delegation had used it. The general interrogation was taken, of course, not only for the prosecution's purpose at this trial, but also for the purposes of the Czech Government, in the trial of Karl Hermann Frank himself. Therefore, what I suggest is, that Dr. Luedinghausen put interrogatories to Karl Hermann Frank, on whatever points he wants to raise. The prosecution would have no objection to that.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: Mr. President, may I make the following reply? These minutes of the four interrogations of Karl Hermann Frank are mentioned and discussed in the Exhibit USSR 60, which has been given to me and which contains the Indictment made by the Czech Government.

I cannot judge to what extent these interrogations are important in reference to my client, the defendant von Neurath, as Reich Protector, or whether they have to do with a later period. For that reason I have asked that these protocols be made available to me. I know that Karl Hermann Frank has also been questioned about the document concerning the meeting in Prague on a policy of Germanization of the Czech country. To this document, which was presented, reference is made in the respective minutes.

Now, I know that Frank once made a report to the Reich Protector in which he labelled all the opinions and proposals - which, actually, however, were never put into action - ridiculous, and declared them to be impossible. Therefore, it is important for me to know just what is said in these minutes which the Czech Indictment has drawn on at this point. If nothing is contained therein, then, of course, I will dispense with these minutes, but I have to examine them myself.

It is, therefore, important for me to see these minutes at least and then to present from them whatever is of importance for me.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, would you have any objection to counsel for von Neurath seeing these interrogations?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I should have to consult the Czech Government before I could agree, because, frankly, I have not gone through the parts which we were not concerned with in this case, and I do not know on what subjects the interrogation was based.

THE PRESIDENT: But treating the matter as a matter of principle, if a certain document or a part of a document is used, ought it not to be open to the defendants to use the rest of the document?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I should have thought it a matter of principle, my Lord, only if there were connected parts. I think that is the general rule that is applied, say, to interrogatories in the English courts. For example, supposing that one day Karl Hermann Frank was examined about the early days of the protectorate, and then another day he was examined on a specific point at the end of the protectorate. , Then I should not have thought that the two things were sufficiently closely connected.

My Lord, I am reminded that there is another point, which Mr. Barrington has just brought to my attention. These interrogatories were the basis of the Czech Government Report. They are not introduced as interrogatories but -so I am told - as part of the report by the person who made it. It is not material that we are in a position to introduce as interrogatories. They come in as a Government Report from the Czech Government.

[Page 220]

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): If it should develop later that it is relevant to the occasion, could the prosecution object to that material being introduced?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: No. If he can get the material, but the material is the property of the Czech Government.

MR. BIDDLE: Then your position is really, that it is not in your hands, but it is for the Czech Government to determine it.


MR. BIDDLE: I see.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The only other document is the Treaty between France and the Soviet Union, in 1935. This document was authorized by the General Secretary on 29th January, and if there is any difficulty in getting a copy, I will try to do anything I can to help, subject to the reservation of objecting to its relevance when I know what use is going to be made of it.

DR. LUEDINGHAUSEN: May I add a few more words to this point? During the very last few days I have received, from various sides, suggestions of information which seem important to my defence; but I have not yet had the opportunity of checking this information and finding out whether it is really of importance to the conduct of the defence. May I therefore ask, if this should be the case and if there should be one or two other witnesses or documents which I can find out about only later, that I be permitted to make an application supplementary to the list of witnesses and documents I have given today.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon counsel for the defendant Fritzsche.

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