« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of a common law for Germany. In addition, Hitler gave an oath before the Reich Supreme Court in Leipzig that he would come to power only legally and if he came to power he would govern legally. As long as the Fuehrer was in the position before he came to power to need lawyers and judges, he could need me, but once he had come to power, I felt more and more that he would drop these formalities and rule in an authoritarian way, as a dictator. This development can be traced in a constitutional manner. While before he came to power he told me continually how happy he was to have me, those ties were broken immediately when Hitler came to power. I noticed already on 30 July 1933, that he had promised me that I would become the Minister of Justice, but then he must have made up his mind that I was too legal-minded. Then in 1933 I began to notice this, because I founded the Academy of German Law. This academy was a public corporation, and I called into this academy of German law all prominent German legal minds without respect to party connections. This academy was the center of the fight to maintain the idea of law in Germany. The development makes it clear that thereby I got more and more into a position of opposition. This is generally known in Germany. I don't want to say more about it. One should hear a lot of people in Germany who know these facts, for this was the content of my life.
Frank Claims He Opposed the Fuehrer's Lawlessness
Q. As I understand your statement you had an intellectual opposition to the course which the Fuehrer's Government was taking?
A. It was more than merely intellectual. Even if I could not stop Germany from becoming a state of terror, I saved the lives of hundreds of good men. I was the only one who dared to get up to say in 1940 that the Reich is going to perish because there is no law. I would like to have this speech used. It was a sensation in the public mind. I was discharged immediately.
Q. Discharged from what?
A. From all offices. I was discharged from offices that I had created myself.
Q. How often did you see Hitler?
A. During the fight for power I saw him relatively often.
Q. During what period of time?
A. Between 1929 and 1933. I had to go and see him about the trials and I had to get the necessary authority for these trials from Hitler. I want to mention the matter of concentration camps
which I brought up before in connection with the question of the Colonel, for from this period on I noted that the Fuehrer avoided to talk things over with me. And the second period of conflict was the Roehm Putsch, during which time as the Minister of Justice I had to sit with the arrested men to avoid having them shot by SS. This made Hitler furious. Hitler called me in personally and said, "I demand that you hand these men over immediately for execution." I was sitting in the room of the prison director. I told Hitler, "I am the Minister of Justice in Bavaria, and without legal authority I cannot hand these men over." Then he said, "I am the Fuehrer of all constitutional and political matters in Germany, and I take the responsibility that these men be handed over." Then I said under reservations of Reich law which Hitler had promised to proclaim, I told him to hand me a list of the men who had to be surrendered. While originally there was a list of two hundred names, after long hours of consultation, the list was reduced to eighteen names, so that my interfering in this matter on that day saved the lives of over two hundred men. That was the beginning of the end for me as Justice official and the law was proclaimed and all the steps taken by Hitler were legalized. Hitler said, "I believe we have made an entirely wrong man the Bavarian Minister of Justice."
Q. Didn't you also tell me that you considered that Hitler's actions in making himself into a dictator were opposed to the principles of the Nazi Party and to the German law as it stood?
A. For instance
Q. Just answer my question.
A. In my opinion, yes.
Q. How do you account for the fact that you wrote a book in 1938, five years after you say you started to oppose Hitler and his ideas of dictatorship, and in this book you set forth a juridical, a legal foundation for the Nazi Party state?
A. Hitler had been legally elected the head of the German Reich after the death of Hindenburg. In this capacity one cannot say he was a dictator. He was not a dictator. In a constitutional way he was not a dictator. He simply had united in one person the head of the State, the head of the Government, and the head of the Party.
Q. Did he do all that legally in your opinion?
A. It was legal since it had been consented by the German people by vote, through a vote. What I accuse him of is the doing away of the independence of the court and judges, the introduc tion of concentration camps, and the loss of the individual legal rights.
Q. All these things happened before 1938, didn't they? A. Yes. They happened before 1938 but I still had the hope to be able to force him back again sometime.
Excerpts from Testimony of Hans Frank, taken in Nurn-
The Aim of Nazi Law
Q. You remember making the address at the Nietzsche Archives in Weimar in 1934?
A. That I did not as Minister of State for Bavaria but as president of the Academy of German Law. This speech was at a meeting of all the law professors in Germany-not all of them but only the law professors, law-philosophy professors, and I invited Rosenberg and some other professor. The reason that I had it there. was that I knew personally very well the sister of Nietzsche who still lived at this time. It was Mrs. Foerster Nietzsche. That was the reason why we met at the house where Nietzsche spent the last years of his life.
Q. Now, do you remember stating in the course of the speech that you made in Weimar at the Nietzsche Archives that the aims of the Nazi law were not the protection of the weak at the expense of the strong?
A. That was just torn out of the whole speech. That is the idea of Nietzsche. Nietzsche said that.
Q. Did you or did you not make that statement?
A. In the way it was shown here I certainly had not said it, although it might have been in the whole speech. Naturally the law always aims to help the strong and to develop the strength of the healthy part of the State. If you want to try to pose this little part of the whole speech in a way that I have said, you just eliminate the weak at the expense of the strong, then I am sorry to say that is entirely wrong.
Investigation of Conditions at Dachau in 1933
Q. When did you first visit Dachau?
A. Only once, in connection with all the Party leaders. This happened after a Party Congress in Munich. I don't know in which year it was. I think it was in 1935 or '36.
Q. As a matter of fact, didn't you make a report on your visit to Dachau?
A. On this occasion there was a parade of the police force in the camp. We saw the general set-up, but we didn't actually see the prisoners and so on.
Q. To whom did you usually make reports?
A. I don't believe that I made this visit during the time I was Minister of the State of Bavaria.
Q. I don't care about that. Did you or did you not make it?
Q. Didn't you order an investigation to be made of Dachau back in 1933 or 1934?
A. That was just the discussion with General von Epp which we discussed in our last session.
Q. What did you discuss with General von Epp?
A. It was about the first event we had in the concentration camp of Dachau. The court of justice asked to make an investigation about several killings at Dachau. I asked General von Epp to make an investigation about this case and to make the report at Munich. At the same time I addressed myself to Reichsminister of Justice Guertner, and I asked him to come to Munich, and he came to Munich and I insisted that he himself had to talk to Adolf Hitler, to whom he had to report directly, and to explain those events. He took all available material with him. Later it was explained that those were only single cases and were taken care of and that no repetition of this kind of accident would happen again. With this kind of explanation we had to satisfy ourselves because there was no more we could do about it.
Q. The fact of the matter is that you knew about Dachau back in 1933 and General von Epp, or whoever made this investigation for you, told you about the conditions which existed, didn't he?
A. Not General von Epp, but my state prosecutor told me and I reported to General Epp.
Q. So you did make a report on Dachau, as I stated some time ago?
A. It was only a protest against this system they used at this time at Dachau.
Q. What was the system they used at that time at Dachau? A. Just arresting people without court trial, without judgment, and intern them or even kill them and then explain that they only shot them in an attempt to escape. I made this protest and I always kept up my protests against this kind of unlawful dealing.
Q. As a matter of fact, wasn't the use of Dachau and similar concentration camps part of the general plan some of the people
in the Party had to control Germany according to their own dictates?
A. You cannot always connect the 200,000 or 2,000,000 of the Party with the aims of Himmler or Hitler. Hitler was the might as the legal Reich Chancellor. He got his position in a very legal way.
Q. But weren't these activities as well as other activities part of a general plan on the part of a few people including Hitler, including Himmler, and including other people to take over the German Government?
A. Yes. Himmler and Hitler and Heydrich and perhaps even Goering certainly had tais in mind and were aiming to get hold of the German government by this means. But these aims were developed in an "inner circle" and nobody else could have taken part, especially not because Hitler was at this time still under Hindenburg and had to keep faith anyhow on the exterior.
The Difference Between Legality and Illegality
Q. What did you consider illegal about the way Hitler was operating?
A. There were different things to consider.
Q. Let's consider them one at a time.
A. The first illegal thing was the introduction of concentration camps. He had no right to do so because he was under oath as a Chancellor of the Reich and was bound to the law of Weimar, but he legalized that later by asking the Reichstag for this change of law.
Q. Well, didn't you consider that in violation of the fundamental rights of the German people?
A. Yes, very much so.
Q. Did you as a member of the Reichstag vote in favor of that change?
A. Those changes to the German republican law never referred to the introduction of concentration camps.
Q. You knew what they meant and for what?
A. Hitler just asked the Reichstag by a majority vote to give him the right to change the German constitution so everything would be legal. At this moment we agreed to it. We did not know to what extent Hitler would use his might.
Q. Did you personally agree to that change?
A. Yes. Even the members of the Center Party, the German Nationalist Party, too. We would never have voted for that if we would have known in advance what happened later.