By mid-June the list of defendants for which the United States was the lead prosecution was getting very short, “slowly but surely we move towards the end.” [p. 352, 6/14/1946] The defense case of Seyss-Inquart began on June 11th and Dodd led the cross examination of the defendant and four witnesses on the 14th. Feeling that “it went all right,” Dodd commented in his letter to Grace that “Sir Norman Birkett, the British alternate judge, stopped me in the corridor and was most complimentary about my cross-examinations. Anyway it made me feel good.” [p, 325, 6/14/1946] The back and forth between the prosecutor and defendant reveals some of the trial difficulties of both. The prosecution had to have access to the appropriate documentation, witnesses, testimony and information to piece together a timeline several years and multiple decisions and battles in the past. The defendant had the advantage of lack of memory, missing documentation but the disadvantage of others’ recollections and too much documentation of actions, orders and activities for comfort. Further demonstrating the style and persistence for which he was recognized, below is Dodd’s cross-examination on the morning of 12 June 1946:
MR. DODD: Why in the world were you notifying the head of another State about your conversation with the head of your own State, to which you owed allegiance?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not see that this is a breach of faith. It was giving information to heads of two parties to an agreement, for whom I was negotiating.
MR. DODD: Would you say that you could negotiate between your country and Germany at that time without notifying your own Chancellor? Schuschnigg didn’t know that you’d sent that note on to Hitler, did he? Now be frank about it.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, it is certain that Dr. Schuschnigg did not know this. But Dr. Schuschnigg did know very well that I was in constant contact with the Reich through Keppler and that the outcome of our conversations was always passed on to the Reich, for the Reich also had to express an opinion. I always said there can be no internal political understanding unless Hitler agrees with it. That is a fact, and nothing can be done about it; whether it is morally right or not, that was the position. Otherwise there should have been no attempt at carrying through a policy of understanding.
MR. DODD: That was not the only time that you did not play completely fairly with Schuschnigg, was it? Do you remember when you gave him your word of honor that you would not make known his plans to announce the plebiscite? Remember when he first told you and asked you on your word to keep quiet and you told him that you would?
MR. DODD: You went right from that meeting to the Regina Hotel, and do you remember what your associates asked you and what answers you made?
SEYSS-INQUART: Mr. Prosecutor, I cannot help you; I think you are confusing two events. At that time I did not go to the Regina Hotel. It was on the evening of 10 March, and it was an entirely different matter. First of all, it was wrong for Dr. Schuschnigg to ask me for my word of honor, for he himself employed me as liaison man in connection with the agreement of 12 February. Had I known in advance what he wanted of me, I would have turned it down, for on the basis of the agreement of 12 February it was my duty immediately to inform the Reich of this. But I kept my word. On the same evening Jury came to me. He had heard about this from other sources, and I did not mention a single word to Jury hat I knew about it. During the forenoon of the following day, Rainer came. I did not take part in these negotiations until it was nearly midday. Rainer says that it was in the forenoon, but it was really towards noon.
MR. DODD: Well, I will accept the correction as to the time, but I don’t think it is very important. The point is…
SEYSS-INQUART: It is very important in my opinion.
MR. DODD: Very well, if you think it is, we will settle for that. I want you to read what Rainer says about your keeping of your word.
“Seyss-Inquart explained that he had known about this for only a few hours but that he could not talk about it because he had given his word to keep silent on this subject. But during the conversation he made us understand that the illegal information we received was based on truth and that in view of the new situation, he had been co-operating with the regional leaders (Landesleiter) from the very first moment.”
Now, certainly, that is not keeping silent or keeping your word as both you and Schuschnigg understood it, is it?
SEYSS-INQUART: In this case, it was absolutely impossible to do otherwise. It was getting on towards noon on the day on which my pledge of silence expired. The gentlemen sat in front of me and told me all the details. I could not now suddenly say that this was all a bunch of lies, for I did not promise Schuschnigg to lie either. Instead, I kept silent about it, and from that the others deduced that that was probably so.
MR. DODD: You knew when to keep silent and you knew when to make observations in order to give information to your associates what Schuschnigg had asked you to keep confidential.
Now, when did you learn the true nature of what happened at Berchtesgaden, about the threats and about the terrible way that Schuschnigg was treated up there?
SEYSS-INQUART: That I heard from Zernatto. I think that was already on 13 February. Then I heard it from Foreign Minister Schmidt, and Dr. Schuschnigg told me more or less the same thing. It was therefore probably on 13 or 14 February.
MR. DODD: Well then, you had a rather complete picture of the way that Schuschnigg was threatened; and I suppose you knew about Keitel being called in to frighten him, and all the threats of marching in by sundown You had a rather full knowledge of what happened up there, didn’t you?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember the story of Keitel, but Schuschnigg told me that the generals were up there, and obviously military pressure was to be exercised.
MR. DODD: And you knew, too, that Hitler had demanded your inclusion in the Government as Minister of Security. Schuschnigg told you that, didn’t he?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I believe that Hitler had demanded that the National Socialists should be given the Ministry of the Interior and Security. Schuschnigg agreed and to Hitler’s question as to whom he proposed Schuschnigg was supposed to have mentioned my name. But that is nothing but rumors and stories and I do not know any details. At any rate, that happened in the course of these very dramatic conversations.
MR. DODD: I think this is rather important, because you have a witness coming here who was there at that meeting, Dr. Schmidt. Are you now telling this Tribunal that it was Schuschnigg who suggested your name, and not Hitler who demanded that you be appointed?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not want to tell the Tribunal any stories; I merely want to make my contribution to clear up the background of events as far as the Charter allows. I say explicitly, I have heard that it was so. If Schmidt was there and says that it was otherwise, then of course I will believe him.
MR. DODD: Can you tell us who told you that, because we have the sworn testimony of President Miklas, who says Hitler demanded it. We know that Schuschnigg says Hitler demanded it and Dr. Guido Schmidt is going to tell you that Hitler demanded it. Now, who told you that it was Schuschnigg?
SEYSS-INQUART: Dr. Muhlmann told me that. But I wish to say that the facts are as you state them, Mr. Prosecutor, for this is just a tactical detail. If the Fuehrer forced Schuschnigg to cede the Ministry of the Interior, and then there was an exchange of words and he stated my name first, then I do not want to draw the slightest conclusion from that for my defense.
MR. DODD: Well, I think that is very brave. The fact of the matter is that it was all arranged; you knew it, and so did Hitler, that you were to be included in their government and that anything that went on there was unimportant as to who actually mentioned your name first.
SEYSS-INQUART: That is correct. But I did not know for sure that on that day Hitler would demand the Ministry of the Interior and would nominate me, because Herr Von Papen did not inform me about the outcome of his conversation with Hitler. I only supposed that things would take that course. I was by no means such a persona grate in Berlin that Berlin would certainly decide on me.
MR. DODD: Now, not many days after that so-called agreement, which was reached in Berchtesgaden, Hitler broke it, did he not?
SEYSS-INQUART: On 17 February, yes.
MR. DODD: He broke it before the 17th, didn’t he? Do you remember when he appointed Klausner as the head of the Party, despite the fact that he had agreed with Schuschnigg that no such thing would be done and that there would be no such political organization? You knew about that, didn’t you, when it was done?
SEYSS-INQUART: I beg your pardon, but I think perhaps I misunderstood your first question…
MA DODD: Maybe it is a little involved. The point is that a few days after this meeting in Berchtesgaden, Hitler appointed Klausner as the head of the illegal Nazi Party in Austria; isn’t that so?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that only happened after 17 February, because I myself suggested to Hitler that he ought to agree to Klausner’s being the leader of the Nazis in Austria. It was perfectly clear to me that no National Socialist in Austria would follow anybody unless Hitler was agreeable.
MR. DODD: Would you accept the recorded history of Guido Zernatto, whose book you have offered to the Tribunal? Would you accept his record of when it happened?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, I would.
MR. DODD: He says it was a few days after the Berchtesgaden meeting. I suppose that could be the 17th, but it is not likely. Wasn’t it before you went to Berlin?
SEYSS-INQUART: Who said that-I?
MR. DODD: Zernatto.
SEYSS-INQUART: No, the first time in my life that I saw Hitler was on 17 February; and at that time I think Klausner had not yet been nominated, because I myself mentioned to Hitler that he ought to agree to Klausner’s becoming the leader of the Austrian National Socialists.
MR. DODD: Now I see that you recognize that. That is a very crucial matter in your whole dealing between Austria and Germany, because if, as Zernatto indicates, this agreement was broken a few days after the meeting, then when you went to Berlin and talked about a Trojan Horse you knew that Hitler had already started his illegal activity in Austria, didn’t you, if, indeed, it was before you went there.
SEYSS-INQUART: I would like to say that the illegal activities- not necessarily Hitler’s but several people’s-never ceased, and it was my intention to shape this illegal activity in such a way that we could control it from the Austrian side. I also told Schuschnigg repeatedly that the Austrian Nazis would do nothing without Hitler.
MR. DODD: Well, that is not the point. I am not going to labor it further. I am going to ask you one other question about your meeting with Hitler. You surely knew by the 17th how badly Schuschnigg and Guido Schmidt had been treated at Berchtesgaden. Did you say anything to Hitler about that in the course of your 21/2 hours’ conversation with him?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, for I am not responsible for the policy of the Fatherland Front against the National Socialists in 1934. It was only the reaction to the suppression of the National Socialists in Austria.
MR. DODD: Well, all right. Now we come down to March. That is the day that Schuschnigg told you about the plebiscite that he intended to hold in a few days.
MA It was on 9 March that you wrote the letter to Schuschnigg and sent the copy of it to Hitler, was it not?
MA DODD: Did you tell Schuschnigg that you were sending a copy by courier to Hitler?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not know; but I would have had no qualms about it, because after 12 February 1938, I had to inform’ the Reich.
MR. DODD: You certainly also had to inform Schuschnigg, didn’t you, as his State Councillor, that you were sending a copy of this very important letter to Hitler? You did not tell Schuschnigg anything about that, isn’t that true?
SEYSS-INQUART: It is possible, but I believe that I may have told Zernatto. I certainly told Zernatto that I was informing the Reich. Of that there is no doubt.
MR. DODD: We will see about that. The next night you had a meeting with Schuschnigg and with Schmidt and with Skubl,- I guess in the Chancellery office. You never mentioned the fact to any one of them there, did you, that you had already communicated with Hitler by special courier; do you remember that meeting?
SEYSS-INQUART: Actually I have no clear idea of it. I only remember the meeting on the evening of 10 March, but I think it is quite possible that it…
MR. DODD: That is the night that you did go to the Regina Hotel and saw Klausner; immediately after that meeting you went right down to the street and saw your associates. Did you tell them what Schuschnigg had said to you and what you had said to Schuschnigg in the conversation a little earlier?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, but I found a most amazing lack of interest.
MR. DODD: But your courier was back from Berlin, wasn’t he; Globocznik had returned from Berlin?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes. Globocznik came back and informed us that Berlin refused to agree to this plebiscite, and that the following day I would receive a letter indicating Hitler’s attitude..
MR. DODD: Now, during that same meeting at the Regina Hotel you heard Rainer give instructions for the mobilization of the Party in Austria to be ready to put on demonstrations or to seize power the next day. You were there when he laid out his plans. Do you remember that?
SEYSS-INQUART: I think that is a considerable exaggeration on Rainer’s part. I only remember that Klausner said, “Well, then everybody is to keep in touch with him tomorrow.” That demonstrations might of course take place was so obvious that everybody was aware of it. If the matters were not cleared up now, there would be serious demonstrations. But the Government also knew that.
MR. DODD: I think we can get over it pretty quickly if you will agree with me that these demonstrations were not spontaneous at all, as I thought you were trying to convey to the Tribunal, but they were well planned out by your associates.
SEYSS-INQUART: That the actions were not spontaneous? Certainly they were not spontaneous.
MR. DODD: They were not?
SEYSS-INQUART: The entire situation after 8 March became more and more heated.
MR. DODD: All right. Now, when Glaise-Horstenau came back from Berlin on the next morning, 11 March, he told you about the planned military events or the talk of military events in Berlin, didn’t he?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, and we told Dr. Schuschnigg the same thing.
MR. DODD: You went to see Schuschnigg and you wrote him another letter that same morning.
SEYSS-INQUART: Before that, during a conversation which lasted for nearly 2 hours, I reported all details. The letter was merely a confirmation.
MR. DODD: Well, the letter was an ultimatum to Schuschnigg, wasn’t it; and it was written by you at the direction of your political superior, Klausner?
SEYSS-INQUART: No. Rainer has asserted that-that again is one of his assertions. If you can call it an ultimatum, then I had already given that orally, because when I left Dr. Schuschnigg I asked him to reply to me by 2 o’clock in the afternoon; and I said that in the event of his refusal Glaise-Horstenau and I would have to resign, but at that time I had not even spoken to Klausner yet.
MR. DODD: Well, as I take it, everything that Rainer has said in this report, in this Document 812-PS, you say is untrue. He also says there…
SEYSS-INQUART: Not untrue, but slightly exaggerated.
MR. DODD: All right. I just want to get your views, I repeat, because you will not be available after he comes on the stand. You know he also says that he talked with you about the seizure of power in the event that Schuschnigg refused your ultimatum. Do you say that is so or not so?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember. I do not think so.
MR. DODD: What do you say about his statement that you discussed three definite possible steps for the taking over of Austria and handing it over to Germany? Is that true or not?
SEYSS-INQUART: I believe that that is a construction placed on it afterwards by Rainer.
MR. DODD: Now, I have to ask you about these things because we must get your view, I think.
SEYSS-INQUART: Please do.
MR. DODD: Rainer also says that the telegram, the now well-known telegram to Hitler saying that there was a bad situation in Austria-that that telegram was actually brought back from Berlin by Glaise-Horstenau. He says that in the same document. What do you say to that?
SEYSS-INQUART: It is not quite correct. Hitler’s letter. . .
MR. DODD: Well, how is it correct, if it isn’t quite correct? You indicate that there is some truth in it.
SEYSS-INQUART: I received Hitler’s letter through a courier, not through Glaise-Horstenau. And in that letter there was a draft for a telegram.
MR. DODD: And that is the same telegram that Goering referred to when he talked to you on the telephone, and the same one that Keppler referred to when he talked to Dietrich on the telephone, isn’t it?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, that telegram was at least twice as long and I very decidedly rejected this telegram.
MR. DODD: Well, finally, let me ask you this about that particular day. This radio speech that you made was really made at the direction of Goering, was it not? He told you. . .
MR. DODD: . . . to make a statement, didn’t he?
SEYSS-INQUART: There is no question of it. That would have been of no interest to me.
MR. DODD: You had better look at the transcript of his telephone conversation with you. It was 1957 hours that night, when he told you to make a statement to the people, and about 3 minutes later you went on the radio and made it. What do you mean that Goering did not tell you to do it?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, but Goering asked me to do something quite different. He asked me to declare myself head of a provisional government and to take over power. At least that is what I believe. I introduced myself as Minister of Interior and Security and I demanded that the people should keep calm and should not put up any resistance to the German troops who were marching in, which was exactly what Schuschnigg had said half an hour before me.
MR. DODD: Well, anyway it only took you 2 or 3 minutes to get to the microphone after you talked to Goering?
SEYSS-INQUART: I talked to Field Marshal Goering such a lot- I do not want to involve him or myself in all that we did on the basis of the telephone calls. I believe that I did hardly any of these things.
MR. DODD: You are not indicating, are you, that Goering was not interested in your selling out Austria to Germany? He certainly had a great interest in what happened there that day, had he not?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, but I do not think the expression “selling out” is very suitable. Obviously Goering was extremely interested in bringing this thing to a final conclusion, perhaps in some drastic way.
MR. DODD: You told the Tribunal yesterday that there were about 40 SS men in the building and that you thought they were there because Miklas and Schuschnigg did nothing to remove them, that they could very easily have removed them. Now, the truth of the matter is that you were the Minister for Security; and it was your responsibility to remove them, was it not?
SEYSS-INQUART: No, I was not the master of the Federal Chancellery. Apart from that, there was Dr. Skubl; and one word from Dr. Miklas or Dr Schuschnigg would have sufficed to bring in 300 men from the Guard Battalion to restore order. One could not expect me, at that moment, to proceed against National Socialists.
MR. DODD: Well, if one word from them would have sufficed, just the wave of your finger would have sufficed, would it not, to get them out of there? They were your National Socialist SS men; beside the fact that you were the head of the police.
SEYSS-INQUART: Whether they would have obeyed me or not I do not know. I did not have command over the Guard Battalion because it was part of the Armed Forces. Undoubtedly I could have exercised my influence and it might have been successful, but the fact that these 40 men were there seemed to me to be quite insignificant.
MR. DODD: The place was surrounded with them, was it not? They were not only in the building, but they were outside of it and on the roofs of neighboring buildings. You remember all that?
SEYSS-INQUART: There were a few thousand National Socialists in front of the Federal Chancellery at the time.
MR. DODD: Well, we had, better refer to your friend Rainer, who is coming here on your behalf, and see what he says about it.
Have you seen the article-yes, I guess it is fair to call it an article-that he wrote about that historical night? Are you familiar with that?
SEYSS-INQUART: Oh yes; one can really call it more than an article.
MR. DODD: Yes. He called it “The Hours of Historical Decision.” This is 4004-PS, Mr. President, USA-883.
[Turning to the defendant.] You will agree, then, that it is quite a different picture that Rainer gives from what you have given this Tribunal, is it not? If you know the article, and you say you do. He says, you know, that Kaltenbrunner commanded 700 SS men there that night and that Lukesch had 6,000 SA men within half an hour, and they received the order to advance and occupy the Federal Chancellery and to hold the Ring and the building until the National Socialist Government was proclaimed; and that 40 SS men under Kaltenbrunner’s adjutant, Rinner, received the order to force their way into and occupy the Federal Chancellery, and so on. And you ordered-he says that you are the man who ordered-that Rinner be let in. That is very important, and I would like to know what you say about that. Rinner was in command of the 40 SS men that you say somebody else should have removed. You will find that he says:
“It was getting on towards 10 o’clock when the commanding officer of the guards reported to the Minister of Security, Dr. Seyss, who happened to be in our room, that a man accompanied by 40 others was demanding to be let in through the gate on the strength of higher orders. I quickly informed Dr. Seyss that these were Rinner and his 40 men who had been detailed to occupy the Federal Chancellery. Dr. Seyss ordered that Rinner be brought upstairs. I shall never forget this moment. Escorted by a lanky guardsman, Felix Rinner, the famous Austrian champion runner.. .” and so on. He was the first National Socialist Sturmfuehrer who entered the headquarters that night; and you are the man, actually, who let him in.
SEYSS-INQUART: That is a victory article, written in the flush of victory. All I can say is that I saw these National Socialists, in black trousers and white shirts, in the corridors; and I asked, “What is going on?” But this dramatic account about my opening the gate-well, let’s wait and see whether Rainer confirms that.
MR. DODD: Well, I understand that; we look forward to it as well as you do.
You will notice that a little further on he says that you, on your own responsibility, gave the order to open the gate and let these men in. But you say that isn’t so. That is all I want to know.
SEYSS-INQUART: No, that is quite new to me.
MR. DODD: Well, I think we can pass on. There isn’t any truth at all, I expect, is there, in this whole article by Rainer? Or is there something in it that you might admit is true? You know he is going to be your witness.
SEYSS-INQUART: I am also extremely interested in hearing what he has to say here. This is a somewhat poetical account of these events. The basis is certainly correct, but there is a lot of victorious exultation attached to it.
MR. DODD: I think I should also tell you, by way of a preliminary to a question, that Guido Schmidt, in testimony which we have here and which I will be glad to present to you, says that the place was surrounded by these SS men and that they were in there with your knowledge. What do you say to that? He is also going to be your witness.
SEYSS-INQUART: I have said that a few thousand National Socialists had collected around the Federal Chancellery. Whether they were SS or SA men, that I do not know. There were quite a lot of women among them. This so-called mobilization order of the Party was unknown to me; but I told Dr. Schuschnigg that very morning that if we could not agree, then he would have to expect large-scale demonstrations by the Party.
MR. DODD: Now, one other matter. Did you tell the Tribunal- did I understand you correctly when I heard you testify that Miklas resigned without any request from you? That is, President Miklas, who was then the Bundesprasident of Austria. Is it your testimony that he resigned without any request from you?
SEYSS-INQUART: It was my request that he should sign the Anschluss Law, and he said he would not do that. According to the Constitution his powers would then pass to me. He did not want to stand in the way of developments. I do not think I told him to resign; I merely demanded that he sign the law.
MR. DODD: Well, he has testified before a court in Vienna, in which testimony he says that you demanded it. Now do you remember or have you forgotten or do you say that is untrue?
SEYSS-INQUART: No; I consider that is out of the question because I clearly remember that he said:
‘I cannot sign the law, but I shall not stand in the way of developments. If you confirm to me that it is necessary that the Anschluss should be carried out, then I shall resign and you will have my powers.” If he understood that as a demand to resign, then I do not want to contradict him. I do not want to make his position any more difficult, because I confess that I was in favor of the Anschluss.
MR. DODD: Well, I want to offer this in evidence, and you may look at it if you like. In any event, it is his testimony before a court in Vienna on 30 January 1946. It is Document 3697-PS, and it becomes USA-884. If you would like to see it, you may. He says just about what I put to you, that you talked around it a good deal, said it was very distasteful for you, but nevertheless you were bound to comply with the order from Germany and therefore he had to resign. That is on Page 17 of the English text of the testimony of President Miklas. Did you once write a letter to Himmler, or did you twice write letters to Himmler, about Burckel? One of them is in evidence, and I want to ask you if you remember the other one. Do you remember the letter that you wrote to Himmler in which you said that it was not true that you were interfering with the deportation of the Jews; that you. had only insisted that they be turned over to Kaltenbrunner’s men, the SD?
SEYSS-INQUART: I know it. It was submitted here. I know I have seen it in this Court.
MR. DODD: I think you have seen it, but it has not been submitted in evidence; however, I wish to do so.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, but the letter is certainly correct.
MR. DODD: It is Number 3398-PS, which is USA-885.
In the letter you said that you gave instructions that the deportation of the Jews should be carried out only in agreement with the SD and through the SD and that you could not permit wild actions.
SEYSS-INQUART: Right. Do you want me to state my views with regard to it, Mr. Prosecutor?
MR. DODD: Well, I want to ask you this. Then you knew all about it, and I understood you to say that you did anyway, on your direct examination. You knew about the deportation of the Jews, and you were doing your part to see that the SD carried it out. That is the only point I am trying to make with your and I assume that you agree.
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes, of course I knew that a few trains had been loaded with Jews in Vienna. They were then taken to Poland and unloaded. No preparations whatsoever had been made, and the Jews were in serious difficulties. I opposed this state of affairs; and when Burckel complained, I told Himmler, “If such actions take place, then they ought to be carried out by the SD,” because I was under the impression that then better preparations would be made. When I say that today it sounds very tragic and bitter, but I thought that at least emergency quarters and so on would be provided somewhere. Apart from that I knew from 9 November 1938 how these things were carried out. The Party forged ahead, and then the State had to take over these matters and carry them out.
MR. DODD: Yes. At any event, you knew that Kaltenbrunner at that time was deporting, or had charge of the transporting of the Jews out of Austria.
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not recall Kaltenbrunner in this connection. I think that was done by the Party alone. I believe Kaltenbrunner had no part in it.
MR. DODD: Didn’t you say the SD, and wasn’t that under Kaltenbrunner in Austria, at that time?
SEYSS-INQUART: I said that it ought to do it, but these transports were not run by Kaltenbrunner, Globocznik ran them.
MR. DODD: Welt they were under Kaltenbrunner, were they not? He was the head of the whole police system in Austria at that time.
SEYSS-INQUART: Well, he was rather the commander of the Security Police; and how much influence he had there I could not say, but I think it was very little.
MR. DODD: You found out since you have been sitting here that he had quite a lot, didn’t you? You now know that he had a lot to do with it.
MR. DODD: You mean to say you haven’t heard here that Kaltenbrunner had something to do with the removal of the Jews?
SEYSS-INQUART Yes, I shall leave that to Kaltenbrunner. From my own observations I do not know it.
MR. DODD: Well, I am not going to labor it, but that isn’t what I asked you. I asked you if you haven’t heard in this courtroom that Kaltenbrunner had much to do with the removal of the Jews.
MR. DODD: Certainly. You relate that back to your letter, don’t you? And don’t you now know that he had something to do with the removal of Jews at the time you wrote the letter?
SEYSS-INQUART: In my opinion, Kaltenbrunner had nothing at all to do with the evacuation of Jews as mentioned here, because that was a wild action carried out by the Party or Gauleiter Globocznik.
MR. DODD: Do you remember when you got the authority, through Lammers, for the confiscation of property that you asked for in Austria?
MR. DODD: Have you seen these documents? They are new; your letter to Lammers, his reply back to you, and the order which was issued at your request. Those are three documents.
MR. DODD: Your letter to Lammers is dated 23 October 1938, and it is 3448-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA-886. And Lammers’ reply to you is dated 24 October 1938 and it is 3447-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA-887. The order itself is 3450-PS, which becomes Exhibit USA-888.
That was a confiscation of the property of the Jews in Austria, was it not, which you requested?
SEYSS-INQUART: Yes. I testified yesterday, or the day before, that I co-operated in this matter by issuing decrees.
THE PRESIDENT: Shall we adjourn now?
MR. DODD: I can finish in 5 minutes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, go on, then.
MR. DODD’ I would like to finish up, and I think I can do it.
Defendant, when did you first learn about the many Austrians who were dying in the concentration camps after the Anschluss?
SEYSS-INQUART: About the many Austrians who died in concentration camps? I really learned about that in this courtroom, but about the numerous Austrians who were in concentration camps, perhaps in the course of 1943-44. In 1938-39 I knew that some political opponents were in concentration camps, but they were gradually being released again, or at least some of them.
MR. DODD: Didn’t you know that they were being killed in Buchenwald as early as 1939? Didn’t you know some of the people, and know about their deaths? Now think a minute before you answer this. Didn’t you know about the death in Buchenwald of people who had been your political opponents?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not remember, Mr. Prosecutor.
MR. DODD: You never heard a word about it?
SEYSS-INQUART: I do not mean to say that at all. If you give me a name, then I shall tell you at once what the situation is.
MR. DODD: I know if I tell you the name you will tell me you heard it, I suppose. However, I am asking you first if you didn’t in fact know that some of them were dying in these camps. That is all I want to know. It was pretty common knowledge in Austria, was it not?
SEYSS-INQUART: I shall most certainly admit that it is possible that I was told that one or another died in the camp even as early as 1938 or 1939.
MR. DODD: Well, you still continued to go on with the Nazis, although at least you knew that vast numbers of your fellow countrymen were being thrown into concentration camps. Didn’t that make any difference to you? Whatever you thought before the Anschluss, you certainly knew what they were doing after it.
SEYSS-INQUART: That I knew that large numbers were dying is out of the question. That there were a few, one or another, who died would not have affected me particularly because, between 1934 and 1938, at least as many National Socialists had died in the concentration camps of Dr. Dollfuss and the Fatherland Front, that is to say, of the Austrian State.
MR. DODD: Well now, wouldn’t you agree with me that conditions were very bad in Austria after the Nazis took over and they went from bad to worse and you knew it and everybody else in Austria knew it? Or do you want to take the position that they improved? I would just like to know what your opinion is.
SEYSS-INQUART: I will tell you quite frankly. Of course, if you listen today to the leaders of the political opposition, then it was terrible. However, if you saw the people up to 1939, then you could see that they had a new lease on life, because unemployment disappeared and there was quite a different spirit. But then the war altered all that.
MR. DODD: One last question, if you can answer it for me briefly.
Do I understand you to accept responsibility for whatever went on in Poland, whatever is established as having gone on in Poland? That is, joint responsibility with Frank? Do you accept that as his deputy?
SEYSS-INQUART: First of all, that can only apply to the time when I was there and acted as deputy.
MR. DODD: Of course. I certainly don’t mean after you left there. I am only talking about the time that you were there.
SEYSS-INQUART: Well, then, as deputy, only where I acted as deputy, or where crimes came to my knowledge without my taking measures against them.
MR. DODD: I just want to read into the record one sentence from a document that has already been offered in evidence, MR. President. It is Document 2233-PS; and from that document, Page 1, Paragraph 4, I would like to read this, because part of it was read by the Defense, but this part was left out. It is under the small Arabic Figure 3:
“The necessary police and other measures arising therefrom will be under the immediate direction of the Chief of the Security Police; every arbitrary action is to be strictly avoided.”
This had to do, by the way, with the “AB Action,” concerning which this witness has testified.
The records show that you, indeed, Mr. Defendant, were present at the time that the Defendant Frank discussed this AB Action and made this statement which I have just read into the record. Certainly you don’t deny responsibility for whatever was done under the AB Action, do you? Because you did know about that.
SEYSS-INQUART: Neither in connection with the AB case nor in any other case did I deny anything. I spoke especially about the AB Action.
MR. DODD: Mr. President, Document 2233-PS, which is USSR-223, is now available in the French. It is already in evidence and has been accepted by the Tribunal, but a French copy was not available at the time it was offered. It has now been completely translated into the French, and I offer it to the Tribunal for assistance in the French.
I have concluded my examination.
[http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/06-12-46.asp, accessed 6/15/2016]
–Owen Doremus and Betsy Pittman
[Owen Doremus, a junior at Edwin O. Smith High School, is supporting this blog series with research and writing as part of an independent study.]
The majority of the letters from Tom Dodd to his wife Grace have been published and can be found in Letters from Nuremberg, My father’s narrative of a quest for justice. Senator Christopher J. Dodd with Lary Bloom. New York: Crown Publishing, 2007.
Images available in Thomas J. Dodd Papers.