The opposition in the AA (Auswärtiges Amt = Foreign office)

Published: 2009-07-16

On February 25, 2008 an article, written by Sven Felix Kellerhoff, appeared in Die Welt, a German daily, titled “Hitlers willige Vollstrecker im Auswärtigen Amt” (Hitler’s willing assistants in the foreign office).

We were informed that in 2006 a historian commission had been assembled, chaired by Eckhard Conze (J. Fischer, former German foreign minister was the instigator – the whole thing has a political overtone). Their assignment: to investigate the involvement of AA officials in the crimes committed under National Socialism, i.e., the alleged mass murder of Jews. Conze told Kellerhoff that the AA had been, as an official institution, not only part of, but a central agency of the Third Reich and therefore deeply involved in the crimes committed. He also let it be known that research had, for the most part, been completed and that a final statement will be published at the end of that year (2008). This date was then moved forward to summer 2009 and recently to summer 2010. Why the delay when a summary had been promised by year’s end 2008? One can only speculate, but I for one am convinced that the researchers re-discovered that the AA was riddled with members of the opposition, who had excellent contacts with the western Allies, as well as to the Soviet Union (von Schulenburg et al) and would have informed the Allies if crimes were indeed committed, such as Jews being killed en masse.

It is no secret that the AA was informed about the deportation of Jews. Robert M. W. Kempner, chief prosecutor in the so-called Wilhelmstraße-Trial (The AA was located in Berlin, Wilhelmstraße), informs us that Eichmann’s people told him that they always checked with the AA before any deportations were undertaken (Robert M. W. Kempner, Ankläger einer Epoche, p.310ff). We also have this:

“[A]rchbishop Orsenigo (Papal nuncio in Berlin) found himself in a far from enviable situation. He could satisfy neither his superiors in Rome nor the German bishops, and he had to at least keep up the appearance of having correct relations with the officials at Wilhelmstraße, who, to tell the truth, were almost as powerless as he was[…]” (Pierre Blet, S.J., Pius XII and the Second World War, p.152)

This concerning a report by Orsenigo regarding the change of policy, in 1942, from Jewish emigration to deportation, and shows that AA officials were indeed involved. Orsenigo claims the AA was “almost…powerless” to do anything about the deportations, which differs from what Conze wants us to believe. Blet writes that there was “…a very strong interior resentment against the inhumane measures” (re. deportation) (Ibid. p.151), among Germans, AA officials no doubt included. Also, the Vatican was very well informed as to what happened in Poland and elsewhere, something which will be the topic of a future article.

Hitler, when appointed Chancellor in 1933, left the AA largely intact, von Neurath remained in his post as Foreign Minister. Joachim von Ribbentrop, who later replaced von Neurath, was not a member of the old National Socialist guard, joined the NSdAP only towards the end of the Weimar period. A personal conversation with Hitler in the summer of 1932 made the difference, from then on he became actively involved and in 1935 Hitler appointed him his special envoy (Botschafter zur persönlichen Verwendung). He was directly involved in drafting the navy agreement between England and Germany, which he singed on behalf of the German government. In August 1936, Hitler promoted Ribbentrop to State Secretary and, since the latter had lived in Canada and the US as a businessman and was an open anglophile, had a long talk with him about German-English relations. Ribbentrop was skeptical about reaching an agreement with England, but turned down the State Secretary promotion and offered to serve as an envoy instead, promising to do his best in trying to work out an understanding with the British. Hitler agreed and in October 1936 Ribbentrop moved to London. On December 28,1937 he send a report to Hitler titled “London A 5522”, which was followed on January 2,1938 by a summary entitled “Schlußfolgerungen zu dem Bericht Deutsche Botschaft London A 5522” (only the summary of January 2 was presented at the IMT, as the actual report, A 5522, had been “misplaced”). Ribbentrop correctly evaluated the attitude of the English government, telling Hitler that they would fight, expressing scepticism about the prospect of a reconciliation. The opponents in the AA tried to portray him as a warmonger who misjudged the English completely, but his report tells a different story (Annelies von Ribbentrop, Die Kriegsschuld des Widerstandes, pp. 12ff).

Ribbentrop, as a non diplomat, was of course shunned by the career diplomats in the AA and as soon as he moved into his AA office in 1934, the conspirators/opponents went to work. State Secretary von Bülow appointed Dr. Erich Kordt of the AA to serve as liaison officer between Ribbentrop and the AA (the Kordt brothers, Erich and Theodor, the latter with the German embassy in London, were active Opponents. Erich was fished out of the Rhein in spring 1971, the circumstances leading to his death never cleared up[Ibid., p.14]). Kordt was told, by Bülow, to not help Ribbentrop, not correct his mistakes and to allow him enough rope to hang himself, the Opponents being convinced that Ribbentrop’s efforts would come to a dead end. This did not happen, but with the appointment of Kordt the Opponents had a man close to Ribbentrop (Hans Rothfels, Die Deutsche Opposition, p.69). The main group of opponents in the AA was composed of: Ernst von Weizsäcker, Erich and Theodor Kordt, Ulrich von Hassel, Adam von Trott zu Solz, Otto C. Kiep (Valentin Falin, Zweite Front, p.165). They had connections to most of the various opposition groups, such as the “Kreisauer Kreis” (Kreisau circle), named after the von Moltke estate in Silesia, the Solf Kreis, the Mittwochgesellschaft, etc., etc (Rothfels).

The opponents were able to inform the Allies right to the end of WWII, employing various methods of communication. For instance, one of the publications issued by the Opponents, the “grünen Berichte” (Green Reports), was distributed by the International Transport Workers Union (A. W. Dulles, Germany’s Underground, p.103). It is a given that many communication channels were open to the diplomats of the AA. Moreover, meetings between members of the Opposition and Allied officials took place on foreign territory, such as England, United States, Turkey, Spain, and the Vatican (Ibid., p.142). Towards the end of 1941/beginning of 1942 Opponents passed each other in the doorways of offices in London and Washington (Falin, p.334). To name just one example: Count Helmuth von Moltke, one of the founders of the Kreisau Circle, travelled to Turkey in June/July 1943 (when the alleged mass murder of Jews in the Aktion Reinhardt camps was winding down) to meet with Hans Wilbrandt and Alexander Rüstow of the OSS (Falin, p.360; Dulles, p.142). Moltke was, during the war: „ expert on international law attached to the General Staff, and worked closely with the Abwehr“ (Dulles, p.87). The AA officials in the Kreisau circle were: Hans Bernd von Haeften and Adam von Trott zu Solz (Rothfels, p.139). We should note that Gisevius testified at the IMT about the Abwehr’s knowledge of the gas chambers, yet he seems to have forgotten to inform his co-conspirator, Moltke, about it. True, tales about killings did emerge, various clerics from Poland and other eastern European countries, most prominent among them Casimir Papee, Poland’s ambassador to the Holy See, told stories about atrocities, but nothing could be verified and therefore the Pope refused to acknowledge them, treating them as rumors (Blet, Pius XXII…).

But perhaps most revealing is the Himmler issue. Dulles devotes a whole chapter to him, writing about the feelers Himmler put out to the Allies, yet there is not one word about “Himmler, the mass murderer of Jews”. Dulles would not have minded if Himmler had taken charge of “anti-nazi operations” (antinazistische Operation) (Falin, p.421). Strange this, was Himmler not a “Nazi” in Dulles’ opinion? In the last days of the war, the Gestapo made efforts to destroy their records, that according to Dulles, but they “destroyed little”. In one instance, a train derailed near Berlin because of Allied bombing, the boxcars loaded with documents from the justice ministry as well as the AA. The documents were scattered, most of them picked up by the Russians, “…especially those from the Foreign Office”. But friends of Dulles also found some and they revealed that Himmler “…had evinced an interest in conspiring against Hitler”, as early as 1943 (Dulles, p.147). One has to wonder why the Germans would load documents, which were allegedly destined to be destroyed, on freight cars first, what with the incessant bombing? Also, it would be interesting to know what happened to the AA files picked up by the Russians, still slumbering in some archive no doubt. Fact is, Himmler had contacts to the western Allies and Falin provides many examples of this. But how could that be? If Himmler was responsible for mass killings of Jews, the Allies would have known about it and shunned him.

Let us return to the AA. Kordt accompanied Ribbentrop to London, the conspirators in the AA intending to discredit the latter. They needed an excuse to topple Hitler, meaning war if necessary, and Ribbentrop was in the way. Kordt admitted later that everything of importance was relayed to his British friends, including the reports sent by Ribbentrop to Hitler (A.v.Ribbentrop, p.91).

In the beginning of September 1938 v. Weiszäcker met with C. J. Burckhardt, the supposedly neutral Danzig High Commissioner. The meeting did not take place in the office of Weizsäcker, but in a Berlin park, the Tiergarten. The topic: the cleaning out of the Hitler nest. This goal was the reason for Canaris being in close contact with Halder - without the military a Putsch would not be possible and AA documents were no substitute for real bullets (Ribbentrop, p.145 [Burckhardt, Meine Danziger Mission, p.182]). Burckhardt left the same day for Bern to relay this to the British envoy Sir George Warner (Ibid, p.146). On September 7, the Weizsäcker message was delivered to London:

“[A]ssociated with Weizsäcker was another professional diplomat, Erich Kordt, head of Ribbentrop’s personal secretariat. Erich’s elder brother, Theodor, was Counsellor at the German Embassy in London, and a message from Weizsäcker was memorized by the Kordt’s cousin, Susanne Simons, who conveyed it to Theodor Kordt in London. The older Kordt was enshrouded by the British even in their most secret communications in the mysterious identity of ‘Herr X’. Proclaiming that he put conscience before loyalty, Herr X conveyed Weizsäcker’s message to Wilson, Chamberlain’s adviser[…]Weizsäcker wanted the British Government to broadcast a message to the German people, telling them that war was inevitable if Germany attacked Czechoslovakia[…]”(Laurence Thompson, The Greatest Treason, p.131; Rothfels, p.74; A.v.Ribbentrop, pp. 148ff).

Those treacherous activities were of no immediate consequence, and Hitler was able to solve the Czech issue peacefully. But the opponents continued their efforts. Many more examples could be cited but it would make this article too long. One also needs to consider that by their actions the Opponents, if nothing else, confused the Brits by claiming to be in a position to remove Hitler. All they needed was a guarantee from the western Allies that Germanys integrity would be respected following the removal/assassination of Hitler. In this they ignored the fact that they never had the support of the German people. In any case, such a guarantee was never granted, since the destruction of Germany always was the aim, as Vansittart makes perfectly clear in his “Black record” (Rothfels [p.26.]calls this attitude “Vansittartismus"). After Casablanca and the unconditional surrender proclamation, the opposition seems to have realized this, but nevertheless they continued with their efforts (Rothfels, p.183). Bonhoeffer in fact prayed for the defeat of Germany (Dulles, p.116).

The Opponents waited for the “psychologically correct moment” (Rothfels, p.93) to remove Hitler. Why? Because they were fully aware that Hitler had the support of the majority of the common people. The opponents, and it is hard for me not to call them traitors, considered themselves to be the “moral elite” (Ibid, p.197), ignoring the overwhelming majority of Germans. Time and again Rothfels writes about the problem the opponents faced as to how to convince German civilians - as well as the armed forces - that Hitler was leading them into ruin. (Ibid, p.92)

This again brings us to “The Holocaust”. Rothfels writes (p.24) that when Germans, who had been able to flee, told friends abroad about “Buchenwald, Oranienburg or Dachau”, about the horrors in the camp, they were not believed. All that changed in spring 1945 when details about the camps became known. This has to be dismissed as nonsense. The opponents in the AA were very well informed, and had contacts with civilian authorities, high ranking officers in the armed forces, and the intelligence community(Abwehr). Gisevius testified at the IMT that the Abwehr knew all about the extermination camps and the gassings of Jews. Why then did the opponents in the AA not inform the Germans, as well as the Allies, about it? Theodor Kordt was later stationed in Geneva, as was Gisevius, and they both had ample opportunities to pass on details about the extermination of the Jews, if it would have happened. Dulles, who was also stationed in Switzerland, would have been a logical choice, but he knew nothing about “The Holocaust”. They also had contacts with the Vatican. Weizsäcker was later on stationed in Rome and corresponded with the Pope. No facts were ever passed on to Pius XXII, only rumors, nothing of substance was ever relayed to him by German officials (Pius XII and the Second World War). How can that be if what is alleged happened?


Who were those people that called themselves “the moral elite” of Germany? They were, for a large part, aristocrats opposed to the rule by commoners. They were also the intellectual type, who carried a grudge because some SA Dummkopf (dunce) had perhaps told him to get lost. Then there were others, as described by Friedrich Lenz:

“The [first were a] group of natural opponents, who opposed the National-Socialist Idea, and thus Hitler, for ideological reasons. This included all the Marxists, who neither could nor wanted to distance themselves from Marxism. Of the Communists, a greater percentage remained loyal to their beliefs than of the Social-Democrats, from whose ranks the dethroned functionaries made up most of Hitler's opponents while the broad masses of their former followers went over to Hitler.
From the parties of the political center, the contingent of adversaries was composed in the main of tenacious adherents to the Weimar Republic, with supporters drawn from all those denominations that felt threatened by National-Socialism. A large component had recruited itself from representatives of 'Reaction' among the nobility, large-scale agriculture and industry.
On the whole, this group consisted of the former 'powers-that-be'. Hitler seems not to have read Machiavelli closely enough, else he would have realized before 1944 that no ruler is ever completely sure of his power as long as those from whom said power was taken, remain alive - by which I in no way mean to suggest that he should have eliminated them physically.
This major group could not be dislodged from its stance of opposition, no matter how successful Hitler was. He was the fly in their ointment. They viewed everything through their own personal prism, and judged all measures in the vein of the following example: "The KdF
(Kraft durch Freude=Energy through enjoyment) ships are nothing other than troop transport ships intended to serve in Hitler's conquest of the peaceful world, and are only used now for KdF cruises so as not to become decrepit through disuse[…]”
(Worm in the Apple, German Traitors and Other Influences That Pushed the World Into War: The little-known story of the men who destroyed Adolf Hitler's Germany)

These people, as well as the traitors in the officer core of the armed forces, were directly responsible for the loss of life of millions, not just Germans, but others as well. Annelies von Ribbentrop calls one of her books Die Kriegsschuld des Widerstandes (1974), “The war guilt of the Opposition”. Other authors have followed, the latest title being Verrat in the Normandie(2007) “Treachery in Normandy”, by Friedrich Georg. Hitler would not be allowed to succeed no matter what. The Opponents had made up their minds that Hitler should fail and were willing to do everything in their power to ensure that he did, even if this meant the complete destruction of Germany. They sabotaged all of Hitler’s peace proposals by distorting messages. In part possible because Dr. Paul Schmidt, Hitlers translator, who, as one of the Conspirators, passed on sensitive information to Opposition circles (Rothfels, p.69). Hitler was able to settle the Czech issue peacefully, but he was not allowed to repeat this with Poland. Because of the Opponents’ assurances that Hitler would be toppled if war breaks out, the Poles did not negotiate with Hitler (even if this was just one of the reasons), but instead sought war, convinced that they would be able to defeat the Germans because of the turmoil following the Putsch (Ribbentrop, p.383). That the opponents played right into the hands of Germany’s enemies seems to have never dawned on them. Perhaps it did, following the war, when they were shunned, and the topic of the opposition declared a taboo. In 1945, an American correspondent was told, straight from Washington, to not investigate the issue. It appears that Germans were not allowed to be privy of this information (Rothfels, pp.27ff). Even as late as 1958 we read in Hitler, A Study In Tyranny, by Alan Bullock (p.372):

“[T]here is some danger, in talking of the “German Opposition”, of giving too sharp a picture of what was essentially a number of small, loosely connected groups, fluctuating in membership, with no common organisation and no common purpose other than their hostility to the existing regime[…]”

“German Opposition” in quotation marks, done out of ignorance? Extremely doubtful. The reasons for the cover up of the opponent issue (which to this day has not been properly addressed) were as follows: First, if it would have been known, or was known, that powerful people in the TR tried to topple Hitler - and would have done so if the Allies would have given them the guarantees they requested - thus avoiding the war or ending it soon after it had started, the Allies would no longer be able to speak of “The Good War”, fought to free the world form Nazism. The second reason is “The Holocaust”. As I have shown, scores of officials were in the position to know if Jews were murdered en masse, and details about it would have been made public. Those officials were aware of the deportations, of course, but even though Gisevius et al testified that they had information about the mass murder, they chose not to tell anyone during the war. Rumors were spread by the Allies, mainly via the BBC who had many listeners in Germany, and some German officials investigated, but the rumors could never be substantiated. How could this be? A crime of this enormity, with all that it entails, mass murder and body disposal, could never have been kept a secret. But the Germans succeeded in doing so, or so we are to believe, even though we now learn that 400 000 were involved in the alleged killings.

If “The Holocaust” indeed had happened, details about it would have been known from day one because of the many spies/traitors/opponents operating/present in the Third Reich. This spy/traitor/opponents issue was touched on slightly by some writers following the war, but for the most part it was ignored. Some authors are now starting to look at it again, but officially this topic is still taboo, as it just will not “fit” into the official narrative, the Greulpropaganda (atrocity propaganda), spread to defame Germany. And much of what is going on in the world today, such as the Zionist/colonial enterprise in Palestine, depends on the continued dissemination of this propaganda.

Wilfried Heink

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Author(s): Wilfried Heink
Title: The opposition in the AA (Auswärtiges Amt = Foreign office)
Published: 2009-07-16
First posted on CODOH: July 16, 2009, 4:14 a.m.
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