The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3425-PS

Nurnberg, 10.12.1945

I am a lawyer by profession. I passed my final examinations
in law and received my Doctor Jurist degree in 1917. At that
time I was serving as a commissioned officer in a Tyrolean
Imperial [Kaiserjaeger] regiment of the Austro-Hungarian
Army, in which I served from 1914-1918 in World War I. In
1921 I began my legal practice as lawyer in Vienna, Austria,
where I finally built up a large clientele, including
industrialists and Jews. I continued to practice my
profession in Vienna until I was appointed Minister of
Interior and Security of Austria on 16 February 1938.

In 1918 I became interested in the “Anschluss” of Austria
with Germany.  From that year on I worked, planned and
with others of a like mind to bring about a union of Austria
with Germany. It was my desire to effect this union of the
two countries in an evolutionary manner and by legal means.
Among my Austrian collaborators were Dr. Neubacher, City
Councilor Speiser, the University Professor Hughlmann and
Dr. Wilhelm Bauer, Prof. Wettstein, and others. Later,
during the rise of National Socialism, Dr. Friedrich Rainer,
Dr. Jury, Glaise-Horstenau, Maj. Klausner, Dr. Muehlmann,
Globotschnigg and others. I supported also the National
Socialist party as long as it was legal, because it declared
itself with particular determination in favor of the
anschluss. From 1932 onwards I made financial contributions
to this party, but I discontinued financial support when it
was declared illegal in 1934. From July 1934 until the year
1936 I supported individual National Socialists as lawyer
and in collaboration with the Welfare Work Langoth in Linz.
From July 1936 onwards I endeavored to help the National
Socialists to regain their legal status and finally to
participate in the Austrian government. During this time,
particularly after the Party was forbidden in July 1934, I
knew that the radical element of the party was engaged in
terroristic activities, such as attacks on railroads,
bridges, telephone communications, etc. I knew that the
governments of both Chancellors Dolfuss and Schuschnigg,
although they held the same total German viewpoint in
principle, were opposed to the anschluss then because of the
National Socialist regime in the Reich. I was sympathetic
towards the efforts of the Austrian Nazi Party to gain
political power and corresponding influence, because they
were in favor of the Anschluss.

On the day of the unsuccessful “putsch", 25 July 1934, I was
at my home in Stannern, near Iglau, Czecho-Slovakia. I
learned later that the murder of Chancellor Dolfuss on that
day was the outcome of a “putsch” plan, in which SS circles
were mainly involved, to arrest the Chancellor and put in an
Austrian government with National Socialist participation.
Eight or ten days before this unsuccessful “putsch”
Chancellor Dolfuss sent for me. We discussed the
disturbances and troubled state of affairs created in
Austria by the radical element of the Austrian National
Socialists. I advised Chancellor Dolfuss to make an
arrangement with Hitler because the Austrian National
Socialists and even this radical element would obey Hitler's
orders. I conjectured--later I found confirmation--that
these terroristic activities had a certain support from the
Reich. Chancellor Dolfuss told me he would think the matter
over and made a tentative future appointment for a further
discussion.  I informed other acquaintances whom
I knew had influence among the Austrian National
Socialists, of this conversation. About one week later the
Chancellor informed me that at the moment he had no time for
further discussion. Without advising anyone I returned to my

Before the Anschluss I worked for the legal, political
activities of the Austrian National Socialists under the
conditions laid down in the Austrian constitution.

On 10 March 1938 I suggested to Chancellor Schuschnigg as a
solution to the difficulties resulting from his plebiscite
plan, that the National Socialists be appointed to the
Cabinet, after I became, in May 1937, State Councillor and
then on 16.2.1938 Minister of Interior and Security. After I
became State Councillor I discussed several times with von
Papen, the German ambassador, the possibilities of an
understanding between the Austrian Government and the
Austrian National Socialists, respectively the Reich. We did
not talk of the anschluss as an actual program. However, we
were both of the opinion that a successful understanding
would bring about in the course of-time the anschluss by
evolutionary means in some form. The last time I spoke to
von Papen was in January 1938 in Garmisch, where I met him
by chance.

My appointment as State Councillor was the result of an
agreement between Austria and Germany on 11.7.1936. My
appointment as Minister of the Interior and Security was one
of the results of the conference between Chancellor
Schuschnigg and Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Dr. Muehlmann was
also at Berchtesgaden, but not as a member of Schuschnigg's
delegation. The Austrian National Socialists must certainly
have taken my appointment as Minister of Interior and
Security as an indication of their right to activity, still
more, however, the contents of the agreement of 12.2.1938,
allowed them to demonstrate their convictions. This right
they utilized in more and more widespread demonstrations.

After my appointment as State Councillor, Wilhelm Keppler,
the German Secretary of State for Austrian affairs, arranged
a visit for me with Hess and Goering. I explained my
intentions and plans to them, namely the attainment of legal
activity for the Austrian National Socialists, independent
of the Reich party. Hess expressed his interest and said to
me among other things: he regretted that I was not one of
the original “old fighters".  I believe that at that time
Goering had already established direct connections with the
Austrian State Secretary, Guido Schmid.

After my appointment as Minister of Interior and Security of
Austria I went to Berlin to visit Hitler. I arrived in
Berlin on
17.2.1938 where I was met by Keppler who took me to Himmler.
This visit was not anticipated in my program. Himmler wanted
t to talk over police matters, I informed him, however, that
I was not conversant to speak about them. I did not follow
the suggestions which he made.  I greeted Hitler with raised
hand permissible after the agreement of 12.2.--advised him,
however, immediately that as Austrian Minister my
responsibility lay with Austria.  I explained to Hitler my
plans, namely: I had to be the living guarantee for Dr.
Schuschnigg of the evolutionary way. The Austrian National
Socialists must only conduct their activities according to
the Austrian constitution and on those lines find their way
to the Reich; they must not make any totalitarian claim nor
conduct a cultural struggle. The leadership of the Austrian
National Socialists must be independent of the Reich and
remain responsible to Austria. I would have as Minister of
Security to oppose any kind of illegal activity. Against
this the Austrian National Socialists would be permitted
full freedom of activity to work for the closest co-
operation of Austria and Germany. Hitler agreed to my plans
but expressed certain doubts whether Dr. Schuschnigg would
be willing to go so far. During my conference with Hitler,
Keppler and Ribbentrop waited in the ante-room of Hitler's
office. Upon my return to Vienna I reported to Chancellor
Schuschnigg the content of my discussion and begged him to
make a decision about the Austrian National Socialist
question. Then I attended rallies of the Austrian National
Socialists, to inform them of the content of my conference
with Hitler. This occurred with the knowledge of Chancellor
Schuschnigg and Minister Zernatto principally in Graz and
Linz. The Linz address was broadcast over the Austrian radio
on 5.3.1928.

Chancellor Schuschnigg thereafter planned to hold a
plebiscite on Austrian independence. I wrote a letter to
Chancellor Schuschnigg and objected to the plebiscite
because the way in which it was to be carried out would not
allow the Austrian people to express their real desires.  A
copy of my letter to Chancellor Schuschnigg I gave to the
National Socialist leaders according to the agreement of
12.2.1938 which made me liaison man between the Austrian
Government and the Austrian National Socialists,
respectively the Reich. This copy was given to Hitler in
Berlin by Globotschnigg. I conferred with Chancellor
Schuschnigg especially on 10.3. in the evening, and we were
near to reaching a solution for overcoming the difficulties
which had arisen. Thereupon I went to the Hotel “Regina",
where I had been told Klausner was, to inform him of the
result of my
conversation with Schuschnigg. There I found 8-12 National
some of whom I knew. Klausner, Dr. Rainer and
Globotschnigg had a conversation in an adjoining room in
which I did not take part, and about the substance of which
I was not informed. When Klausner came in I wanted to advise
him of the substance of my conversation with Chancellor
Schuschnigg. Klausner showed little interest, and informed
me that the Reich had rejected the plebiscite and that I
should receive on the morrow a letter from Hitler which
would inform me more exactly of the situation. He requested
those present to be available the next day.

Glaise-Horstenau arrived early on 11.3 in Vienna by plane
and informed me that Berlin was greatly excited and that
military steps were in preparation. I received Hitler's
letter by courier. It contained rejection of the plebiscite
and demanded its postponement and a modified procedure.
There were several erroneous statements in the letter which
I corrected in my conference with the Chancellor. Further,
Hitler gave expression to his belief that there would be
disturbances in Austria if Dr. Schuschnigg did not relent,
and that the Reich was prepared to come to the help of
Austria if Austria demanded so.  At 10 o'clock in the
morning Glaise-Horstenau and I went to the Bundes
Chancellery and conferred for about two hours with Dr.
Schuschnigg.  We told him of all that we knew, particularly
about the possibility of disturbances and preparations by
the Reich.  The Chancellor said that he would give his
decision by 1400 hours.  While I was with Glaise-Horstenau
and Dr. Schuschnigg I was repeatedly called to the telephone
to speak to Goering.  He informed me, (the demands of the
Reich steadily increasing) that the agreement of 12.2. had
been cancelled, and demanded Dr. Schuschnigg’s resignation
and my appointment as Chancellor. I delivered this
information verbally to Dr. Schuschnigg and withdrew from
the conference.

In the meantime Keppler arrived from Berlin and had a
conference in the Bundes Chancellery, I believe also with
President Miklas. The latter refused to concede to the
demands and sought to find various other solutions. When
Keppler arrived from Berlin he showed me the contents of a
telegram which I, as leader of the provisional Austrian
government was to send to Hitler in which I was to request
sending of German troops to Austria to put down disorders.
I refused as I did not want to establish myself as head of a
provisional government, and there were no disorders in
Austria. Keppler repeatedly urged me about the telegram.
Around 6 p.m. I told him that he knew my standpoint and
should do what he wished with Berlin. Keppler, as I have
been able to confirm
from records available, understood my answer and did not
send off the telegram at that time. Around 7.30 p.m. a
frontier police post announced that German troops were
crossing the frontier. Thereupon Dr. Schuschnigg gave his
well-known farewell speech over the radio.  Upon requests
from various sides I followed with a speech over the radio,
stating that I was still functioning as Minister of Interior
and Security, requesting preservation of peace and order,
and gave directions that no resistance should be offered the
German troops.

As I am able to gather from the records available, I was
again requested around 10 p.m. to give my sanction to
another somewhat altered telegram, about which I informed
President Miklas and Dr. Schuschnigg. Finally President
Miklas appointed me Chancellor and a little while later he
approved my list of proposed ministers.

During the morning of 12 March I had a telephone
conversation with Hitler in which I suggested that while
German troops were entering Austria, Austrian troops as a
symbol should march into the Reich.  Hitler agreed to this
suggestion and we agreed to meet in Linz, Upper Austria,
later on that same day. I then flew to Linz with Himmler,
who had arrived in Vienna from Berlin.  I greeted Hitler on
the balcony of the City Hall, and said that Article 88 of
the Treaty of St. Germain was now inoperative. On 13 March
President Miklas resigned without any specific request from
me and the function of Bund President became mine, according
to the constitution. Before his resignation President Miklas
had appointed Kaltenbrunner to State Secretary for Security.
During the course of the day (13 March) the Reuniting Law
was adopted in the Austrian Ministry Council; this adoption
was constitutionally legal according to the law of 1.5.1934.
I then drove to Linz and reported to Hitler regarding the
adoption of the anschluss law.  At a public demonstration on
15.3 in Vienna he introduced me as “Reich Statthalter for
Austria.” Hitler put me in charge of the Civil
Administration of Austria, while political matters were to
be handled by Gauleiter Buerckel.  After a short time
Buerckel was made Reich Commissar for the Anschluss, to
whose directions I, in the Civil Administration, was

I was happy that the Anschluss of Austria with the German
Reich had come at last after so many vain endeavours since
1918, because I was in favour of the anschluss of Austria
with the Reich under any conditions.  I was aware at least
to a certain extent of the harshness of the National
Socialist regime, but I was of the
opinion that these two German countries belonged together
and that the German people should solve their own internal
affairs and difficulties.  I was convinced that the
harshness of the National Socialist regime chiefly because
of its achievement of the national aim--cancellation of
discriminatory peace treaties and achievement of the right
of self-determination--would in time be overcome.

                                   [signed]   Seyss-Inquart.

Nurnberg, 10 December 1945.

                             [signed]  Dr. Gustav Steinbauer
                                   Witness of the signature.