Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

not as the representative of a certain political party, but as Hindenburg's special confidant in the field of Foreign Politics. He was the guarantor of the Reich's peace policy, the rock of bronze in this field. His whole education, his sense of responsibility towards his people would not permit him to do anything else than to remain at his post when he was drawn into the whirl and dynamics of the National Socialistic movement and had to see how this movement turned in directions and made use of means which he too could only condemn. But exactly as was the case with other respectable and patriotic Germans whose sense of responsibility and duty to their own people had driven them to the decision to remove Hitler and the Nazi regime by force, so it was with the defendant whose sense of responsibility and sense of duty not only towards himself, but also towards his people, forced him to set aside his personal abhorrence of the immorality of this regime and, by remaining in office and continuing to conduct it according to his principles, to fight actively against this immorality and thus to keep it away at least from the section controlled by him and to protect his German people from this immorality of the Nazi regime and its consequences, namely war, as long as he had this possibility. And when then one and one-half years later, after his resignation, the call came to him again to accept a position, this time as Reich-protector of Bohemia and Moravia and Hitler declared to him that he had selected expressly him for this position, because he considered him the only suitable person to carry out his intended policies of a conciliation and reconciliation of the Czech people with new conditions and the German people, the very same sense of duty and responsibility forced him to follow this call, for would he not have to deduce from the fact that Hitler, in spite of knowing about his declining attitude toward the National Socialist regime, his policies, and his expedients, desired to intrust him with this task, that he really and honestly meant to effect a reconciliation Thus he confronted a task, the achievement of which would not only be of the highest benefit to his own, but also to the foreign people. A task, which was not only to serve the conciliation of two nations, but also the ideal of humanity and Christian brotherly love as well as to protect the Czech people from the pernicious methods of the Nazi regime. And now I ask: Is it not at least just as moral and ethical to pledge one's self and one's person for such a goal, to actively if only to a limited extent work against this regime, recognized as immoral and corrupt by a cooperation, outwardly appearing as such, to prevent the use of the expedients of this

and appeasement of the Czech people?e

768060-48-66

system, thereby saving innocent people from misery and death, as to grumblingly retreat because of personal aversion and to watch inactively how this regime rages against humanity without restraint. abbi aldi ni excord

Not everyone is of a violent nature, is a revolutionary, who would use force against the hated system and its executors. And do not forget, Your Honors, that at that time, under Hitler's autocratic regime only these two possibilities existed, too work really actively and positively against the Nazi regime and its terror. Under this regime no other possibilities existed to fight against a hated and accursed government, as this is the case in democratic free countries with free and independent selected parliaments. In Hitler Germany any form of active or even public opposition only meant a completely useless sacrifice. And therefore I beg you, Your Honors, in the judging of the matter and in answering my question, separate yourselves from the democratic conditions and circumstances which are so familiar to you, but which are completely incomparable with the German conditions under Hitler at that time. A fact, the non-consideration of which, already caused some disaster up to date. And did not the defendant v. Neurath save the freedom and lives of thousands of people whose freedom and lives would have been irretrievably lost without him, especially by accepting the office of the Reich protector and which he kept, despite the fact that he had to realize that he could not accomplish this task without being guilty himself, that he did not have at his service the necessary means for its accomplishment, but that he in spite of it continued his fight against the terror of the Nazi regime? Is this not worth a thousand times, is it not more, much more, moral and ethical than if he had retired right away, full of abhorrence and moral indignation? Xile? Intolla of Fu 2 Fruvot utils guiail

I do not hesitate to answer this question in the affirmative, like my first question, and to express my conviction that no one can condemn me for this. Or shall a Sophoclean tragedy be unfolded before us, here in the fate of the defendant in which a man becomes guilty owing to no fault of his own, because he obeyed his conscience and his sense of responsibility? 19 of viso for anw

Your Honors, I believe I have shown and proved in my preceding statements that not one of the actions of which the Prosecution accuse my client is criminal in the sense of the Charter and that not one of these actions by the defendant aimed intentionally at committing a crime in the sense of the Charter of this high tribunal, that, in other words there is no criminal action either objectively or subjectively. But I believe I have

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

shown also, over and above this, that all my client's actions in their totality aimed at just the opposite of what the Prosecution imputes to them, namely, not the perpetration, but the prevention of just such actions as the Charter defines as punishable crimes, be they crimes of planning, preparation, or the waging of aggressive wars, be they war crimes or crimes against humanity.

But there still remains one thing for me to do. To draw the conclusion to all that, how impossible, how paradoxical even the principles of the conspiracy are with regard to my client. For the conspiracy has for its indispensable supposition, that each participant not only wants the criminal objective, but also that he upon entering into the conspiracy, by his participation, sanctions or will sanction from the start, the preparatory actions, or those in any way connected with it of the other members. But when, as the prosecution intentionally is doing, one regards this as evidence of approving the criminal objective and all preparatory actions for its achievement by each one of the other members in their official capacity-in international law proved alone by the fact of simply accepting or remaining in office in spite of knowing the criminal aims and for this fact alone institutes a criminal co-responsibility of each individual, the consequence inexorably follows with forceful logic, that the application of the principle of co-responsibility due to the acceptance of an office or of simply staying therein without any consideration as to the extent of his decent and ethical reasons, not only calls for motives and purposes for the punishment of the one, who disapproves these criminal intentions, plans and actions of the others, but even fights it actively and for this reason only accepted his appointment or remained in his position, as it was the case with the defendant v. Neurath.

I I do not need to prove, My Lords, that such a result is contrary to any not only natural, but also legal sense and thought, that it is contrary to that which this high Tribunal has to strive for and is striving for, that it is contrary to any moral and ethical postulate. This Tribunal not only represents Justice, the legal and ethical conscience of all civilized nations on earth, but ought to show the ways to universal Peace to the coming generations. But only then can this task be fulfilled, when you show mankind once more that any generalization, any leveling, any treatment, including judgment and conviction of people and of their activities based on corporative, I should like to say, seveni gregarious concepts and not on the personality, the will, and the designs of the individual, is of evil. Such treatment denies the holiness of the individual and is bound to lead to the adoration

"

r

3

of mere Might. And such adoration of Might, such belief in Might has actually been the deep cause of the terrible events which once more have been unrolled here. You can only then do justice to your double task-to punish there where chastisement should be applied according to divine and humane law, and at the same time to show Mankind the way to international Peace-if by your sentence you take away from Mankind the belief in Might and give back, instead of this belief, to all nations on earth and, not in the last, to the German nation, the belief in and the respect to the holiness of the individual, which the Lord once created in his image. Convinced by the truth of such knowledge, I now place with confidence the fate of my client, the defendant Baron von Neurath, in your hands.

2. FINAL PLEA by Constantin von Neurath

Firm in the conviction that truth and justice will prevail before this High Tribunal over all hatred, slander, and misrepresentation, I believe that I should add only this one thing to the words of my defense counsel: My life was consecrated to truth and honor, to the maintenance of peace and the attainment of understanding among peoples, to humanity and justice. I stand with a clear conscience not only before myself but before history and the German people.

Nevertheless, if the verdict of this Tribunal should be guilty, I shall be able to bear even this and shall take it upon myself as a last sacrifice on behalf of my people, whom it was the meaning and substance of my entire being to serve.

[graphic]

XXIII. HANS FRITZSCHE

[ocr errors]

1. FINAL ARGUMENT by Dr. Heinz Fritz, Defense Counsel Mr. President-Your Honors!

The result of the evidence in the case of Fritzsche is a relatively clear one. Although I am one of the last to plead it cannot be avoided to go into legal problems more closely. Above all these problems arise from the fact that Fritzsche was characterized by the Prosecution in a particularly striking manner as an accomplice.

However, at first I must examine what position Fritzsche had in the Propaganda Ministry and what part he played in the German propaganda in general. It is these facts which ought to be conclusive in determining what he supposedly played in the alleged conspiracy.

At the beginning of the trial Mr. Albrecht submitted as evidence the organizational structure of the government of the Third Reich as of March 1945 in the form of a diagram. Mr. Albrecht admitted himself that Fritzsche's name did not appear in it in the position of one of the main leaders of the Propaganda Ministry. It is true, he added, that his importance had been greater than one would be led to think from his position as shown on this diagram. He closed his statements by saying that evidence to this effect would be submitted to the Tribunal.

Has this been done and could the hearing of evidence really prove that Fritzsche had greater importance?

At the session of 28 February 1946 Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe introduced as evidence a "compilation of the elements of guilt" which in a particularly impressive manner demonstrates in how far the individual defendants are connected with the facts of which they are to be guilty in the opinion of the prosecution. The classification of the individual defendants follows from the table which is attached to this compilation as appendix A. The Tribunal will have noticed that the defendant Fritzsche is the only one not to appear on this table at all. From this follows that he does not belong to any of the organizations which are to be declared criminal here.

A look at the organizational plan of the Propaganda Ministry which was submitted in Brief E by the Prosecution also shows especially clearly that even in his last position as ministerial director and chief of the broadcasting division he was only one of 12 officials of the same rank. Such a position in itself excludes a priori the assumption that he could have determined the principles of policy, the principles of news presentation, and the principles of what may or may not become known to Germany and the world. It is true Captain Sprecher pointed out evidently in order to raise Fritzsche's importance that the chief of the German press division held a "unique" position, but he did not pass over the fact in silence that he had predecessors and successors in this allegedly unique office.

When in November 1942 Fritzsche was appointed by Goebbels as chief of the broadcasting division, he did not obtain a higher position in the civil service hierarchy as a result of it. His activity was purely administrative. It concerned technical-organizational questions. In his affidavit of 7 January 1946 my client describes the administrative work connected with it, he also mentions his. numerous predecessors. Did it occur to anybody to indict also these persons as major war criminals or to call them supreme commanders of a propaganda instrument? Since this is not the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »