The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. We will perhaps come back to that later with another
question. You say the Hitler Youth had been trained
with Flobert rifles, or small calibre rifles, as they
are also called. Was the Hitler Youth also trained with
infantry rifles, or even machine guns or automatic

A. Definitely not.

Q. Not at all?

A. Not a single German boy, until the war, had been
trained with a war weapon, a military weapon, whether
you speak of infantry rifle, machine gun, or infantry
gun; nor with hand grenades in any form.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, in the Document Book
Schirach are several documents which will show that the
attitude of the defendant von Schirach concerning the
question of military or pre-military education of the
Hitler Youth was exactly the same as he has stated it
today, and in particular, that he expressed himself
against military drill, barrack-square methods, and all
such things.

The principal documents concerned in the Document Book
Schirach are: 55, then 122, 123, 127, 127-A, 128 and
131. I ask you to take judicial notice of these
documents. They contain, on the whole, the same
statements which Herr Schirach has made briefly


Q. Herr von Schirach, in connection with the so-called
military training of youth, I should like to know what
influence the SA had on this.

A. None at all. The SA did try to influence the
education and training of youth.

Q. In what way?

A. It was in January of 1939. At that time I was in
Dresden, where I arranged a performance which presented
modern gymnastics for girls. I still remember it
distinctly. While I was there, a newspaper was shown me
which published a decree by Hitler, according to which
the two oldest age groups of the Hitler Youth were to
receive pre-military training from the SA. I protested
against that at once and after my return to Berlin I
succeeded in having the decree - while not withdrawn,
for that could not be done for reasons of prestige
since Hitler's name was on it - but I succeeded in
having it invalidated as far as the youth were

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, that incident is contained
in a document in the Document Book Schirach, No. 132.
That is a statement from Das Archiv, a semi-official
news periodical. I should like to refer to that as
evidence; and in regard to the question of training in
marksmanship, I should like to ask the defendant one
more question.


Q. What portion of the entire training did the shooting
practice have in the HJ? Was it a very essential part?

                                             [Page 337]

A. Unfortunately, I have not the documentary material
here which would enable me to answer that in detail.
But at any rate, it was not an essential part of the
training in the HJ.

Q. Did that marksmanship training go any farther,
according to your experiences and observations, than
the similar training of youth in other countries?

A. The marksmanship training of youth in other
countries went much farther, much beyond that which we
had in Germany.

Q. Do you know that from your own observation?

A. I know that from many of my assistants who
constantly made a detailed study of the training in
other countries, and I know about it from my own

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think that is relevant, the fact
that other countries trained youth in marksmanship? I
am not sure it is true, either, but anyhow, it is not


Q. Then I come to another question, witness. The
prosecution have asserted, and I quote:

  "... that thousands of boys were trained militarily
  by the HJ in the work of the Navy, of naval aviation
  and of the armoured corps, and that over seven
  thousand teachers trained over a million Hitler
  Youth in rifle marksmanship."

That has been asserted by the prosecution, and refers
to some official statement of the year 1938. I should
like you to state your position with regard to the
question here, the question of the special units of the

A. The prosecution refers, if I am not mistaken, to a
speech which Hitler made. How Hitler arrived at the
figures concerning the training I cannot say. As
regards the training in the special units, I can only
say, and prove with documents, the following:

In the year 1938 the Motorized Hitler Youth - that is
that special unit of our youth organization which the
prosecution think received pre-training in the tank
branch - in 1938 the Motorized Hitler Youth had 328
vehicles of their own.

Q. In all Germany?

A. In all Germany. There were 3,270 private vehicles of
their family members which, of course, were at their
disposal for their work; and 2,000 vehicles of the
NSKK, National Socialist Motor Corps. In the year 1938
21,000 youth got their driving licences. I believe, but
I cannot be sure about it, that that is twice the
number of youngsters that received a driving licence in
1937. That is, the driving licence for a passenger car.
These figures alone show that the Motorized Hitler
Youth did not receive pre-training for our armoured
forces. The Motorized Hitler Youth had motorcycles;
they made cross-country trips. That is correct. What
they learned from this was, of course, valuable also
for the Army if these boys later went into motorized
units; but it was not true that the boy who had been in
the Motorized Hitler Youth went to the Army. There was
no compulsion in that respect. The Motorized Hitler
Youth was not created upon the request of the
Wehrmacht, but it was created in the years long before
the seizure of power, simply from the natural desire of
the boys who owned motorcycles and wanted to drive
them. So we formed our motorized HJ; we used these boys
as messengers between our camps, and we used them as
drivers for our minor leaders, and later, in order to
give them a regular training, especially knowledge of
motors, of engines, we made an arrangement with the
NSKK, which had motor schools and could train the boys.

Other units were created in the same way. The flying
HJ, for example, never had any motorized planes. We had
only gliders. The entire Hitler Youth had one motorized
plane and that was my own, a small Klemm machine. Apart
from that, the Hitler Youth had only model aeroplanes
and gliders. The Hitler

                                             [Page 338]

Youth taught not only their own members the use of
gliders in the Rhon Hills and elsewhere, but also
thousands of youth from England and other countries. We
had glider camps where young Englishmen were our guests
and we even had camps in England.

Q. The Navy HJ, did they perhaps have warships?

A. The Navy HJ, of course, had not a single warship,
but from time to time our former Commander-in-Chief of
the Navy, Raeder, kindly gave us the use of an old
cutter, and with that we put to sea.

The boys, for instance, who lived in a city like
Berlin, near the Wannsee and did some rowing, became
members of the Navy HJ. When entering the Wehrmacht
they did not go to the Navy just because they had been
in the Navy HJ, but just as many of them went
afterwards to the army or the Air Force, and the same
thing happened with other special units.

Q. Witness, you say, therefore, that in your opinion
the Hitler Youth was not educated in a military way for
the war?

A. I should like to be quite precise about that. The
training in these special units was carried out in such
a manner that it really had a pre-military value. That
is to say that whatever the boy learned in the Navy
"Hitler Jugend," regardless of whether he wanted to use
it only as a sport later, or whether he actually went
into the Navy, the basic principles were valuable as
pre-military education. If one considers these special
units of the HJ, one can establish that here a
pre-military education actually took place.

But no military training took place. The youth were not
prepared for the war in any place in the HJ; they were
not even prepared for the military service, because the
youth did not go direct from the Hitler Youth into the
Army. From the Hitler Youth they went into the Labour

Q. And how long were they in the Labour Service?

A. Half a year.

Q. And only then did they come to the Wehrmacht?

A. Yes.

Q. In that connection, however, the prosecution has
used an agreement which was made between the HJ
leadership and the OKW in August 1939, and which has
been submitted as Document PS-2398 by the prosecution.
What are the facts about that agreement between you and
the OKW?

A. I cannot remember any details. Between Field-Marshal
Keitel and myself, according to my recollection, there
was no discussion concerning that agreement, but I
believe we arranged that by correspondence. And I
should like to state generally that during the entire
time from 1933 to 1945, only one or two conversations,
of about half an hour, took place between Field-Marshal
Keitel and myself. The agreement, however, resulted
from the following considerations

We endeavoured in the Hitler Youth, and it was also the
endeavour of the leading men in the Wehrmacht, to
include nothing in our training which belonged to the
later military training. However, in the course of
time, the objection was raised on the part of the
military, that youth should not learn anything in its
training which later would have to be unlearned in the
Wehrmacht. I am thinking, for instance, of the compass.
The Army used the Infantry Compass; the Hitler Youth,
in cross-country sports, used compasses of various
kinds. It was, of course, quite senseless that youth
leaders should train their boys, for instance, to march
according to the Besar compass if later, in their
training as recruits, the boys had to learn something
different. The designation and the description of the
terrain should also be given according to the same
principles in the Hitler Youth as in the Army, and so
this agreement was made by which, I believe, thirty or
forty thousand HJ leaders were trained in cross-country
sports. In these cross-country sports no training with
war weapons took place.

BY DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, now I come to another
chapter. It may be that this is the best time to

                                             [Page 339]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn. (A recess
was taken until 1400 hours.)


Q. Witness, before the adjournment we spoke about the
question of the military or pre-military education of
youth. And now I come to another similar chapter; that
is the question of whether you, as youth leader, in
your articles, speeches and orders did in any way
attempt to influence young people psychologically
towards an aggressive war in order to make them
war-minded by such means.

A. No, never in my speeches to German youth, or in
anything which I laid down for youth in the way of
orders and directives, did I prepare German youth for
war; nor have I ever, even in the smallest circle of my
colleagues, expressed myself in that way. All my
speeches are contained in the collection, Das Archiv,
at least their essential contents. A considerable part
of my speeches is collected also in a book, The
Revolution in Education, which has been laid before
this Tribunal.

All this evidence shows that I never spoke to the youth
of the country in that sense; it would have been in
direct contradiction to all my aims of co-operation
with the youth of other nations.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, perhaps I may draw your
attention in this connection to the document which is
in the Schirach Document Book under No. 125 - I repeat,
125 - and also 126, where Schirach expresses his
opinion about the question of preserving peace and
rejecting war. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial
notice of these documents as evidence.

Q. Witness, you have just spoken of co-operation
between your Reich Youth Leadership Office and the
German Hitler Youth and the youth of other nations.
Could you give us a more detailed statement on that, in
particular with regard to which youth associations of
other nations you co-operated with, or attempted to
approach and to what extent?

A. Starting in 1933, and in an increasing degree year
by year, I made efforts to bring about exchange camps
with youth organizations in other countries. Here in
Germany there have on numerous occasions been groups of
English youth, French youth, Belgian youth and youth
from many other countries, particularly, of course,
from Italy, as our guests. I remember that in one year
alone, I think in 1936, there were approximately
200,000 foreign youths who stayed overnight in our
youth hostels.

Perhaps it is important in this connection that I
should say that the youth hostel system, which I took
over in 1933, was extended by me and finally formed a
part of an international youth hostel system, the
president of which was sometimes a German, sometimes an
Englishman. An international youth hostel agreement
made it possible that youngsters of various nations
could stay in youth hostels of the host nations.

I myself made particularly great efforts to bring about
an understanding with French youth. I must say that
this was a pet idea of mine. I think that my former
assistants will remember just how intensely I worked on
implementing that idea. I had my leaders' periodical
printed in the French language, I do not know how
frequently, but certainly at least once, so that the
understanding between the French and the German youth
could be strengthened thereby.

I went to Paris and I invited the children of one
thousand servicemen from the first World War to come to
Germany. I very often had young French guests as my
visitors in Germany. But, over and above this
understanding with France, which eventually also led to
difficulties between the Fuehrer and myself, I co-
operated with many, many other youth organizations.

                                             [Page 340]

Perhaps I may add that German-French co-operation, as
far as youth was concerned, was supported particularly
by Ambassador Poncet in Berlin, President Chautemps and
other French personalities who wrote in my leadership
periodical on that particular subject. I exchanged
views with youth leaders all over the world and I
myself undertook long journeys to visit youth
organizations in other countries and establish contact
with them. The war terminated that work. I do not want
to omit mentioning here that during one whole year I
put the entire youth programme under the slogan
"Understanding," and that in all my speeches before
youth I tried to bring about and educate for better
understanding towards other nations.

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