By Wilfried Heink
When the state of Czechoslovakia was created following WWI – from parts of the broken up Austro-Hungarian Empire, part of the plan to render powerless German dominated middle Europe – the large minorities were to be given autonomy. Here is what von Neurath, German foreign minister up to 1938, stated at the IMT:
“The Germans living in the Sudetenland as a compact group had been given the assurance, at the peace negotiations in 1919 when they were attached to the Czechoslovak State, that they would be given autonomy on the model of the Swiss Confederation, as expressly stated by Mr. Lloyd George in the House of Commons in 1940. The Sudeten-German delegation at that time, as well as Austria, had demanded an Anschluss with the Reich.
The promise of autonomy was not kept by the Czech Government. Instead of autonomy, there was a vehement policy of “Czechification.” The Germans were forbidden to use their own German language in the courts, as well as in their dealings with administrative authorities, et cetera, under threat of punishment.”
If the Entente powers would have told Czech authorities to adhere to the agreement, there would not have been a Czech crisis. They didn’t, and things deteriorated – finally leading to the 1938 Munich Conference when it was agreed that the Sudetenland would become part of Germany. In a speech of September 26, 1938, following that conference, Hitler stated that he had promised Chamberlain that if the Czechs are able to come to terms with their minorities, peacefully, he would no longer be interested in that state. He ended the speech by saying: “We don’t want any Czechs” (H. Härtle, Die Kriegsschuld der Sieger, Verlag K.W. Schütz, Göttingen 1966, p.275; A. von Ribbentrop, Die Kriegsschuld des Widerstandes, Druffel Verlag 1974, p.174). Hitler needed a secure southern border, and was aware of the efforts by the French and Soviets to have Czechoslovakia serve as “Russian aircraft carrier” on that border, be “a dagger in Germanys soft underbelly” (Härtle, p.182). Hitler is accused of breaking his word, he did not, the Czechs were unable to settle their differences with the remaining minorities, the Slovaks as well as Hungarians, etc., and as a result Czechoslovakia disintegrated, with Hitler not the instigator of the breakup (V. Ribbentrop, p.243; BTW, the same happened after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Slovakia again separated). Czech president Benes fled to England and Hacha, the new president, asked Hitler for assistance. Eventually the remainder of the Czech state was turned into a German Protectorate, not annexed, and Czechs were given autonomy for the most part.
Now back to the Deschner book: Konstantin von Neurath, a career diplomat, served as first Reichsprotektor, governor, of the new protectorate. The Czech people were naturally not happy, and who can blame them, their independent state short lived. Heydrich’s security service filed report after report about strikes and acts of sabotage, instigated by the Benes government in exile in London, and after the start of the Russian campaign – Hitler’s preventive strike – by communists who had up to now been largely inactive because of the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact. Thus the situation deteriorated even further. But Bohemia and Moravia, as it was now referred to, was of vital interest to Germany: One third of the tanks were produced there, one quarter of the trucks and about 40% of the light weaponry used by the German military. The western allies, along with their new ally Russia, were aware of that and jointly organized resistance groups. A conference of the All-Slav Congress was organized, some details:
“Immediately after Hitler attacked Russia on the fateful June 22, 1941, Stalin ceased to look upon the war as a contest of rival imperialist powers. It became a war of “national liberation” in which Russia was fighting the battle of her Slavic brothers against the “Nazi Fascist beasts.”
Although there is no visible record of any Communist-inspired national liberation movement among Slavic nationals of German- occupied territory prior to June 21, 1941, a far-reaching network of organizations was established subsequently for such agitation. On August 10-11, 1941, an all-Slav conference was held in Moscow, where no such gathering could be held without official government sanction. It was formally greeted by the Red army through its official organ, Red Star… The conference called upon the oppressed millions of Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Carpathian Ukrainians, Bulgars, Serbs, Macedonians, Vlakhs, Croats, and Slovenes to “unite against the common enemy of all Slav peoples… Sabotage war production! . . . Do all in your power to slow down the production of lathes and presses! Exert your utmost to spoil the arms that you are compelled to manufacture for your merciless enslavers! Make every effort to have the tanks, airplanes, and armoured cars produced by you soon go out of commission! See to it that the mines and shells do not explode! Disorganize the railroads! Dislocate the transportation systems . . . Disorganize traffic, blow up the bridges . . . Sabotage the production of guns, tanks, ammunition; call strikes! Blow up . . . ammunition dumps and storehouses!
Disorganize their military shipments! “
The BBC broadcast hourly: “Pomalu pracuj” (work slow). Neurath did too little to curb the activities, on of September 21. the German intelligence officer and traitor, Paul Thümmel, wired London that the Gestapo had threatened to take draconian measures but von Neurath would not allow it. Production of war material dropped by 18% on an average, 35% in some factories. Hitler therefore decided to replace von Neurath and Heydrich was chosen as the new Reichsprotektor.
On the early morning of September 27, 1941 Heydrich arrived in Prague, he was totally neutral re. the Czechs according to his widow, who was not in favor of the move. “You need to understand”, Heydrich told her, “that this finally is something positive, I am tired of being the garbage bin of the Reich”. The Czechs had expected the hated Karl Hermann Frank to replace von Neurath, and were cautiously optimistic re. the appointment of Heydrich. A few hours after the arrival of Heydrich in Prague, General Alois Eliáš, second only to president Hacha, was arrested. The Gestapo had collected material about his close collaboration with the resistance, with additional information having been discovered in Paris following the defeat of France. Hacha, as a reaction to the arrest, decided to resign but changed his mind when Heydrich paid him an official visit one day after his arrival. Hacha asked Heydrich to spare the general’s life, and his wish was later granted. Numerous members of resistance groups were caught, about 90 short wave radio stations silenced and the leaders of the groups executed. All of the verdicts were published. Heydrich not only moved against the resistance but also against all kinds of corruption. Black marketer’s, butcher who sold meat illegally, merchants – no one was save. The Czech population accepted this for the most part, Heydrich had promised them that things will improve, more food and other merchandise will become available when corruption is wiped out. On October 2nd Heydrich ordered an inventory of livestock and grain supply to be taken, and whoever corrected the numbers provided in the June inventory, by September 4th , was promised immunity from prosecution. When on October 19th the new numbers became know, it surprised even Heydrich, some farmers had understated their inventories by half.
All of the black market food stuff confiscated was made available to the cafeterias in the big factories. Heydrich expedited the establishment of canteen’s in all big factories, a move welcomed by the workers, because the meals were dispersed free, no ration card required. On October 24th he invited 40 union member to visit him at the Hradčany castle, the seat of the government. This was the first time in Czech history that a workers delegation was welcomed in the Royal hall of the castle. After they had voiced their concerns, Heydrich spoke to them – greeted them as “Comrade workers” – and promised that the food situation will improve further. From the moneys confiscated from black marketers 200,000 pair of work boots were bought and distributed free of charge. Heydrich also improved social conditions, raising pensions and established unemployment insurance. The luxury hotels in the spa town of Luhačovice were turned into workers recreation facilities, three thousand workers were send there free of charge on May 1, 1942, seven thousand in the whole of that year. Heydrich visited the workers in the factories, shook hands with them, to the dismay of his security staff.
Slowly but surely the situation changed, production increased and Heydrich accepted as a friend of the workers, the little people. His wife joined him, they moved into an estate only 20km (12 miles) from Prague. He travelled in an open car, even when it was rainy or cold, telling his driver: “This helps us to keep a clear head, Klein”. Himmler insisted on a guard for his house, Heydrich complained, convinced that “his” Czechs would not harm him, but Himmler insisted. He worked long hours, some days 20, but tried to make it home whenever possible. His wife later saying that this was the happiest time for her.
Heydrich’s next task was the building of a new government, a government that would be accepted by the Czech people but of course also loyal to Germany. He made concessions whenever necessary and on January 19, 1942 the government was formed, Hacha had naturally also been involved in picking the members of this new government. To give this government a good start, Heydrich lifted all remaining restrictions on that day, and also released a number of prisoners. At 5pm on the next day, January 20th, Hacha welcomed the members of the cabinet at the Hradčany and swore them in to be loyal “to the Führer, the patron of Protectorate”. He pointed out that now a new course will be taken, and that the attempts by local and foreign bodies to subvert will be combated. Heydrich then spoke, thanking all for their cooperation (Amtsblatt des Protektorats Böhmen und Mähren, Januar 1942, pp.557-561[official journal of the protectorate Bohemia and Moravia for January 1942, pp.557-561]). And this then takes us nicely to another event, referred to by Deschner throughout the book, a meeting allegedly also taken place on the same date, January 20th, in Berlin, 360km (224 miles) driving distance away (283km, 176 miles as the crow flies), the infamous Wannsee Konferenz.
We are told that at this conference, allegedly chaired by Heydrich, the Endlösung, the physical extermination of the Jews in Europe, 11 million of them, was finalized. Roland Bohlinger and Peter Ney published an analysis of the documents relevant to the meeting, the analysis so far only available in German
But even though this conference is now used as evidence for “The Holocaust” – the building it was allegedly held in turned into a memorial – nothing was known about it during the main Nürnberg trial. Robert Kempner, a German lawyer – expelled from Germany because he was a Jew and subsequently ending up in the US – returned for the Nürnberg trial and is credited with finding the documents concerning that meeting during the preparation of the Foreign Office Trial (AA), one of the subsequent trials (Dec.20,1947-April 14,1949). Kempner tells us in his book “Ankläger einer Epoche“ (Prosecutor of a Epoch), how it was found (Bohlinger/Ney, p.33): During the investigation, Kempner, who had suspected all along that something is missing (up to then not even an indication as to how “The Holocaust” came about. Wilf), received a phone-call from one of his assistance who told him that he has found something, the minutes of a meeting at the Wannsee on January 20, 1942. And at the back of the folder the remark: “Endlösung der Judenfrage (Final solution to the Jewish question). And this is how the minutes were discovered, we are told, along with the supporting documents (The file name on the back? Wilf).
To list all the ‘oddities’ re. the discovery of the documentation, and those contained in the documents, would take too long, Bohlinger/Ney did an excellent job and I understand a translation of their analysis is in the offing. But since the timeline is the issue here the invitations to the meeting, allegedly issued by Heydrich, are the documents of interest. The first invitation is dated November 29, 1941, the meeting set for December 9th but the letter only received by the AA on December 23rd. Two differing ‘originals’ exist of that letter, and, no mention of an Endlösung (Final Solution) of the Jewish question, the issue referred to as Gesamtlösung (Comprehensive Solution). That meeting had to be cancelled, we are told because of Pearl Harbor but that is just speculation, and a second invitation was send, dated January 8, 1942, and in this letter the term Endlösung is used. The same guests were invited to meet on January 20, 1942 at 12 noon with breakfast to follow, the location, On the Big Wannsees Nr. 56-58. On the first invitation the address of Interpol, On the Little Wannsee Nr.16, is typed in, then crossed out and replaced with the Big Wannsee address, in handwriting, but “Office of Interpol” is left in. The handwriting additions differ in the two ‘originals’, but not the issue here. The mix-up however is, for surely Heydrich as president of Interpol would have known where the headquarter is located and not pick this office to discuss the mass murder of Jews. The second address is that of Villa Minoux, purchased by the SS to serve as a conference center. Also, some of the guests invited in the first letter were replaced, and that even though the second invitation states explicitly: “Der in meinem letzten Einladungsschreiben angeführte Kreis der geladenen Herren bleibt unverändert”(The list of names of the Gentlemen invited in my first letter remains unchanged). One more issue: Heydrich the stickler would never have embarrassed himself by sending a letter to high ranking officials with words crossed out and then scribbled over. Assuming that he did change his mind re. the location he without a doubt would have had his secretary type a new letter.
According to the letters, Heydrich invited said high ranking officials to a conference, starting at 12:00 noon, with breakfast to follow. It is highly unlikely that anyone would have set the start of a meeting for 12 o’clock noon, unless it is an emergency (it would have made sense to invite them for 8am, since he had to be in Prague later). At that time in Germany the main meal was taken at 12 noon, the term ‘working lunch’ not know and indeed not suggested. But lets assume it was done, Kempner tells us that “this was a big deal, one had to drive to the Wannsee in winter, it was snowing, the streets were slippery” (Kempner, p.313). It is doubtful that everyone arrived on time, given the road conditions and considering tires and cars then available. Gerwarth, and I received the book in the meantime as a PDF file, writes in regards to the start of the meeting:
“On 20 January 1942, a snowy Tuesday morning, Heydrich gathered fourteen senior Nazi civil servants, party officials and high-ranking SS officers in a former industrialist’s villa on the shores of Berlin’s Lake Wannsee” (Hitlers Hangman, p.209).
A “snowy Tuesday morning”? Noon is not morning, and according to my calculations it was a Wednesday. Here is what we find at the official website of the “House of the Wannsee Conference, Memorial and Educational Site”:
“At noon of 20 January 1942, a meeting of approximately 90 minutes took place in the dining room of the SD guesthouse.” http://www.ghwk.de/engl/wannsee_conference.htm
Lets again assume that the meeting started at 12:00 o’clock, and Eichmann claims to have written the minutes. In those minutes, Reinhard is not mentioned as the chair, highly unusual, also, no time recorded for the start or the conclusion of the conference. Eichmann told at his Jerusalem trial – the whole of it linked to below is well worth reading, his testimony all over the place – with Eichmann all but confirming that there was no meeting:
“The conference itself took only a very short period of time. I can’t recall exactly how long it lasted, but it seems to me that I would not be mistaken in saying that it didn’t take longer than an hour or an hour and a half”.
He further testified:
“These minutes to which I was referring were rendering the salient points quite clearly. But so far as the particulars were concerned, I have to point out that this was not a verbatim report because certain colloquialisms were then couched by me in official language and certain official terms had to be introduced. Later on it had been revised three or four times by Heydrich. It came back through official channels to us through the channel of Mueller and then again we had to elaborate on it until it assumed its final form.” http://www.ghwk.de/engl/texts/eichmanns-testimony.pdf
And in his memoirs, written while in jail in Jerusalem, he wrote:
“Das Protokoll dieser Konferenz war lang, obgleich ich das Unwesentliche nicht einmal hatte stenographieren lassen.
Heydrich arbeitete mit seinem Blaustift und ließ zum Schluß nur noch einen Extrakt gelten; den hatte ich zu bearbeiten und er wurde dann nach weiteren mancherlei Änderungen durch Heydrich, an die nichtsicherheitspolizeilichen Teilnehmer der Konferenz, als „Geheime Reichssache“ zur Absendung gebracht.“
(Roughly: And even though I left out the unnecessary, the minutes still were a lengthy document. Heydrich then went to work correcting it and only an extract was left, to be send to the participants)
It appears that what we have as the Wannsee Protocol is a short form of what was allegedly discussed on that date, and Gerwarth writes that quite a few discussions took place. To then say that it only lasted 90min. is unbelievable, Bohlinger/Ney have it a three hours. And, Eichmann is not sure, it “…seems to me that I would not be mistaken in saying that it didn’t take longer than an hour or an hour and a half”, not really anything to bank on. So, lets assume the conference was over at about 2pm, and that would be at the earliest, considering that the short form of the protocol still contains 15 pages. Did Heydrich then hurry to get to Prague, we know that he was there later that afternoon at the inauguration of the new Czech government, his creation so to speak? Oh no, here is what Eichmann tells us:
“Of course, the gentlemen who participated in it would later on be standing in small groups to discuss the ins and outs of the agenda and also of certain work to be undertaken afterwards. After the conference had been a[d]journed, Heydrich and Mueller still remained and I was also permitted to remain and then in this restricted get-together, Heydrich gave expression to his great satisfaction I already referred to before….” http://www.ghwk.de/engl/texts/eichmanns-testimony.pdf
Gerwarth confirms this:
“According to Eichmann, Heydrich was visibly satisfied with the results of the meeting, and invited him and Müller to stay behind for ‘a glass or two or three of cognac”. (p.216)
But Gerwarth has an answer ready, nothing that resembles the truth but he did realize that Heydrich could not be at two places, that far apart, at the same time. He tells us:
“On 19 January 1942, after months of intensive planning, a new Protectorate government was put in place… In his address to the newly established Protectorate government on 19 January 1942, one day before flying to Berlin to chair the Wannsee Conference,…” (pp.239/40)
It is true that Heydrich was in Prague on January 19th also, and that on that day the new government was assembled. But, and Gerwarth omits this, the swearing in, the inauguration/reception, took place on January 20th. Deschner provides one official source, but aside from that we have another confirmation. Wolf Dieter Rothe writes:
“Ein bedeutsames innerpolitisches Ereignis war die Tatsache, daß Staatspräsident Dr. Hacha mit Zustimmung des stellvertretenen Reichsprotektors in Prag, SS-Obergruppenführer Heydrich, am 20. Januar eine neue Regierung berufen hat…Auf einem Empfang der neuen Regierung in der Burg betonte…SS-Obergruppenführer General der Polizei Heydrich…“ (Die Endlösung der Judenfrage, Band 1, E. Bierbaum Verlag Frankfurt 1974, p.185; „Deutschland im Kampf“, herausgegeben von A.J. Berndt und Oberst v. Wedel, Januar 1942)
(A important political event was the appointment of a new government by Dr. Hacha on January 20, with the consent of Heydrich …At the reception in the castle Heydrich pointed out…)
No time given here, but it can be taken for granted that Heydrich was in Prague in late afternoon/evening of January 20, 1942. Rothe provides evidence that Heydrich was in Prague on the 19th as well. We also have a notice in the Völkische Beobachter of January 21,1942 confirming this, as well as in Großdeutschland im Weltgeschehen – Tagesbericht 1942, Ernst Breackow publisher, Verlag Johann Kasper & Co, Berlin 1942 (Die Wannsee-Konferenz. Eine kritische Prüfung bekannter positionen nach neuen Dokumentfunden, Wulf von Xanten). The question has to be: Would Heydrich, who was in total control of his itinerary, schedule two important meetings for the same day, in the middle of winter, the locations hundreds of miles apart? The Wannsee conference, including the socializing following it, ended at 3pm at the earliest, the airport more than 20km (14 miles) away, city driving on slippery roads would have take at least ½ hour. At that time, with the sky overcast, it would have been pitch dark at 4pm. Would it have been even possible to fly, given the conditions? With driving to Prague out of the question, why would Heydrich place himself in that predicament, why not pick a date after the inauguration of the new Czech government? Thus, the answer to the above has to be: No.
Considering all the ‘oddities’ contained in the Wannsee Protocol and the documents meant to support it, and the fact that Heydrich was in Prague on January 20th, it is reasonable to say that Kempner concocted this story about the “Endlösung Wannsee-Konferenz”.
But a conference re. the Jewish issue did take place. From the testimony of secretary of state Dr. Bühler at the IMT:
“DR. SEIDL: The Prosecution submitted an extract from Frank’s diary in evidence under Number USA-281 (Document Number 2233(d)-PS.) This is a discussion of Jewish problems. In this connection Frank said, among other things:
“My attitude towards the Jews is based on the expectation that they will disappear; they must go away. I have started negotiations for deporting them to the East. This question will be discussed at a large meeting in Berlin in January, to which I shall send State Secretary Dr. Buehler. This conference is to take place at the Reich Security Main Office in the office of SS Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich. In any case Jewish emigration on a large scale will begin.”
I ask you now, did the Governor General send you to Berlin for that conference; and if so, what was the subject of the conference?
BUEHLER: Yes, I was sent to the conference and the subject of the conference was the Jewish problem. I might say in advance that from the beginning Jewish questions in the Government General were considered as coming under the jurisdiction of the Higher SS and Police Leader and handled accordingly. The handling of Jewish matters by the state administration was supervised and merely tolerated by the Police.
During the years 1940 and 1941 incredible numbers of people, mostly Jews, were brought into the Government General in spite of the objections and protests of the Governor General and his administration. This completely unexpected, unprepared for, and undesired bringing in of the Jewish population from other territories put the administration of the Government General in an extremely difficult position.
Accommodating these masses, feeding them, and caring for their health-combating epidemics for instance-almost, or rather, definitely overtaxed the capacity of the territory. Particularly threatening was the spread of typhus, not only in the ghettos but also among the Polish population and the Germans in the Government General. It appeared as if that epidemic would spread even to the Reich and to the Eastern Front.
At that moment Heydrich’s invitation to the Governor General was received. The conference was originally supposed to take place in November 1941, but it was frequently postponed and it may have taken place in February 1942.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/04-23-46.asp , pp.68/69
Bühler is one of those listed on the Wannsee-Protocol, no doubt Kempner’s men found references to that meeting among the 485 tons of foreign office documents secured by the western allies. All that needed to be done is make the necessary alterations, the wording suggests that parts were added by someone not in command of the German language (Bohlinger/Ney), then add some documents and presto, The Wannsee-Konferenz is born. It is entirely possible that the first invitation send by Heydrich, that of November 29,1941 is genuine, although the issue of “Starting at 12:00 noon with breakfast to follow” remains. And since only a “comprehensive solution” to the Jewish question was to be discussed, not the “Final solution”, i.e., mass murder, the meeting could well have taken place at the offices of Interpol, as it reads in that invitation. It may have been that that meeting had indeed to be postponed and scheduled for February 1942 as suggested by Bühler.
The reference to a “Final Solution” in the second invitation gives it away as a forgery, that word not used. Göring and the shyster Jackson discussed this at the IMT:
“MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Very well, I will accept that.
“. . . which dealt with arriving at a thorough furtherance of emigration and evacuation, a solution of the Jewish problem, as advantageously as possible, I hereby charge you with making all necessary preparations in regard to organizational and financial matters for bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.”
Am I correct so far?
Goering: No, that is in no way correctly translated.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Give us your translation of it?
Goering: May I read it as it is written here?
“Complementing the task which was conferred upon you already on 24 January 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions, I charge you herewith to make all necessary preparations as regards organizational, factual, and material matters ……”
Now comes the decisive word which has been mistranslated: “for a total solution,” not “for a final solution.”
“… for a total solution of the Jewish question within the area of German influence in Europe. Should these come within the competence of other governmental departments, then such departments are to co-operate. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/03-20-46.asp#Goering7 , p.519
We know Heydrich was in Prague in the late afternoon of January 20, would he have been sipping cognac in the Berlin outskirts hours earlier, knowing that he had to be in Prague? Heydrich was a stickler for detail, he would therefore never have scheduled two meetings of that importance for the same day. The Wannsee story is just another lie.
To be continued…