The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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By DR. HANNS MARX, Continued:

However, evidence in this respect has shown that
Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler - who was entrusted by Hitler with
the mass assassinations - and his close collaborators
shrouded all these events in deepest secrecy. By threatening
with the most severe punishments any violations of the
command of absolute silence which was imposed, they managed
to lower, before the events in the East and in the
extermination camps, an iron curtain which hermetically
sealed off those facts from the public.

Hitler and Himmler prevented even the corps of the highest
leaders of the Party and State from gaining any insight and
information. Hitler did not hesitate to give false
information to even his closest collaborators, like Reich
Minister Dr. Lammers who was heard here as a witness, and to
make him believe that the removal of the European Jews to
the East meant their settlement in the Eastern territories
but by no means their extermination. Although the statements
of the defendants may differ in many points, yet in this
connection they all agree so completely with one another and
with the statements of other witnesses, that the veracity of
their testimonies simply cannot be questioned. If it was not
possible for even the defendant Frank in his capacity as
Governor General of Poland to get through to Auschwitz,
because without Hitler's special consent even he was denied
entrance, then this fact speaks for itself.

If even the leading personalities of the Third Reich, with
the exception of a very small circle, were not informed, and
if even they had at best very vague information, then how
could the public at large have known about it? Under these
circumstances the possibilities for finding out what was
going on in the camps were extremely slight.

For the majority of the people, foreign news was eliminated
as a source of information. Listening to foreign radio
stations was punishable with the heaviest penalties and,
therefore, did not take place. And if it did, the news
broadcasts by foreign radio stations concerning events in
the East, although, or rather because they corresponded to
facts, were so gross, so horribly beyond any human
understanding, that they were bound to appear to any normal
individual, and in fact did, as intentional propaganda.

Really, Germany could only gain knowledge of the
extermination measures against the Jews from people who
either were working in the camps themselves or came in
contact with the camps or their inmates, and, lastly, from
former concentration camp inmates.

There is no need to explain that members of the camp
personnel who were concerned with these happenings kept
silent, not only because they were under stringent orders to
do so, but also in their own interest. Furthermore, it is
known that Himmler had threatened the death penalty for
information from the camps and for spreading news about the
camps and that not only the actual culprit, but also his
relatives, were threatened with this punishment. Finally, it
is known that the extermination camps themselves were so
hermetically sealed off from any contact with the world that
nothing concerning the events which took place in them could
penetrate to the public.

The prisoners in the camps who came into contact with fellow-
workers in their work kept silent because they had to.
People who came to the camps were also under the threat of
this punishment in so far as they could obtain any insight
into things at all, which was all but impossible in the
extermination camps.

From these sources, therefore, no knowledge could come for
the German people.

                                                  [Page 328]

But the order for absolute silence was compulsory to a still
greater measure for every concentration camp inmate who had
been released. Hardly anybody ever, came back to life from
the actual murder camps; but if, once in a while, a man or
woman were released, in addition to the other threatened
punishments; the threat of being sent back to the camp hung
over them if they infringed the order for silence. And this
renewed detention would have meant gruesome death.

It was therefore nearly impossible to learn from released
concentration camp. prisoners positive facts concerning the
occurrences in the camps. If this was the case with regard
to normal concentration camps in Germany, it applied in a,
still greater measure to the extermination camps.

Every lawyer who, as I did, defended people before their
detention in a concentration camp, and who was visited by
them again after their release, will be able to confirm that
it was not possible, even in such a position of trust and
under the protection of professional legal secrecy, to get
former concentration camp inmates, to talk.

If men such as Severing who testified here - a Social
Democrat of long standing who was highly trusted by his
party comrades and who was, because of this, in touch with
many former concentration camp inmates - came to know of the
real facts connected with the extermination of the Jews only
very late, and even then; to a very restricted extent, then
such considerations must apply even more to any normal

It can be derived with absolute certainty from these facts
that the Government, that Hitler and Himmler, wanted under
all circumstances to keep secret the extermination of the
Jews, and this forms the basis for another argument - in my.
opinion, a cogent one - against the anti-Semitism of the
German people asserted; by the prosecution.

If the German people had indeed been filled with such hatred
of Jewry as the prosecution affirms, then such rigorous
methods for secrecy would have been superfluous.

If Hitler had been convinced that the German nation saw in
the Jews its principal enemy, that it approved of and
desired the extermination of Jewry, then he would needs have
been forced to publish the planned and also the effected
extermination of this very enemy. As a sign of the total war
constantly advocated by Hitler, and Goebbels, there would
indeed have been no better means to strengthen the faith in
victory and the will of the people to fight than the
information that Germany's principal enemy, these very Jews,
had already been annihilated.

Such an unscrupulous propagandist as Goebbels certainly
would not have failed to use such a striking argument if he
could have taken as a basis the necessary presupposition,
that is the German people's absolute will to exterminate the

However, the "final solution" of the Jewish question had by
all possible means to be kept secret even from the German
people who had for years been under the heaviest pressure by
the Gestapo. Even leading men of State and Party were not;
allowed to be told of it.

Hitler and Himmler were evidently themselves convinced that
even in the midst of a total war, and after decades of
education and gagging by National Socialism, the German
nation and above all its armed forces would have reacted
most: violently on the publication of such a policy against
the Jews.

The policy of secrecy followed here cannot be explained by
any considerations of the foreign enemy nations. In the
years 1942 and 1943 the whole world was already engaged in a
bitter war against National Socialist Germany.

An intensification of this struggle hardly seemed possible,
at any rate not by publishing facts which had long since
become known abroad. Apart from this, considerations of
making a still worse impression on the enemy countries could
hardly influence men such as Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler.

If they had expected to achieve even the slightest definite
results by proclaiming to the German people the
extermination of the Jews, they would certainly not have
omitted to proclaim them. On the contrary, they would have
tried in every

                                                  [Page 329]

way to strengthen by this means the German people's faith in
victory. The fact that they did not do this is the best
proof that even they did not consider the German people
radically anti-Semitic, and it is also the best proof that
there can be no question of such anti-Semitism on the part
of the German people.

I may therefore sum up by saying that all this is in
contradiction to the prosecution's assertion that the
defendant Streicher brought the German people to hate the
Jews and so made them approve the extermination of Jewry.

Therefore, even if the defendant by means of his
proclamations had aimed at achieving such an end, he was not

In this connection, light should be thrown upon the part
attributed by the prosecution to the defendant Streicher,
namely that he had educated German youth in the spirit of
anti-Semitism and had injected the poison of anti-Semitism
so deeply into their hearts that these pernicious effects
would be felt long after his, Streicher's, actual death.

The main reproach made against the defendant in this
connection is based on the fact that young people, as a
result of. Streicher's education in hatred toward the Jews,
are supposed to have been ready to commit crimes against
Jews which otherwise they would not have committed, and that
youth thus educated might be expected to perpetrate such
crimes in the future too.

There the prosecution relies mainly on the books for the
young published by Der Sturmer, and some announcements
addressed to youth which appeared in this paper.

Far be it from me to gloss over these products or to defend
them. Evaluation of them can and must be left to the
Tribunal. In accordance with the basic principle of the
defence, the only question to be taken up here will be
whether or not the defendant in any way influenced the
education of youth in a manner to promote criminal hatred of

As for the books which have been mentioned here, it must be
said that German youth scarcely knew of their existence -
and much less did they read them. No evidence has been
produced in support of the prosecution's assumption to the

The common sense of German youth refused such stuff. German
boys and girls preferred other reading material. It may be
emphasized in this connection that neither the text nor the
illustrations in these books could attract youth in any way.
They were, on the contrary, bound to be avoided.

Of special importance in regard to this point is the fact
that defendant Baldur von Schirach, the man responsible for
educating the whole body of German youth, testified under
oath that the aforementioned books for the young published
by this company were not circulated by the Hitler Youth
leaders and did not find a circle of readers among the
Hitler Youth.

The witness made the same assertions in regard to Der
Sturmer. One of his closest co-workers, the witness
Lauterbacher, stated in this connection that Der Sturmer was
actually banned for the Hitler Youth by the defendant von

It is clear that even the style and illustrations of Der
Sturmer were ill adapted to attract the interest of young
persons or to offer them ethical support. The step taken by
the Reich Youth Leaders is therefore quite understandable.

Although some of the Der Sturmer articles submitted by the
prosecution seem to indicate that Der Sturmer was read in
youth circles and produced a certain effect there, it must
be borne in mind that these were typical works, that is,
works commissioned for propaganda purposes. There is no
evidence whatsoever to support the prosecution's assertion
that German youth harboured criminal hate toward Jews.
Therefore, neither the German people nor its youth -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, perhaps this would be a convenient
time to break off.

(A recess was taken.)

                                                  [Page 330]

One might now be tempted to assume that Der Sturmer
exercised a particularly strong influence upon the Party
organizations - the SA and SS - but this was not the case

The SA, the largest mass organization of the Party, rejected
Der Sturmer just as did the mass of the people. Its
publications were The SA Leader and The SA. The mass of the
SA took these as the foundation of their ideology. These
publications do not contain even one article from the pen of
the defendant Streicher If the latter had really been, as
the prosecution believes, the most authoritative and
influential propagandist of anti-Semitism, he would of
necessity have been called upon to collaborate in these
publications, which were issued to instruct the SA on the
Jewish question. A publication intended to provide
ideological instruction could never have dispensed with the
collaboration of such a man.

The fact that not one word by Julius Streicher himself ever
appeared in these papers demonstrates afresh that the
picture drawn of him by the prosecution does not correspond
in any way with the actual facts. The defendant Streicher
could gain no influence over the SA through his paper and
the columns of The SA Leader and The SA were closed to him.
Even the highest SA leaders refused to advocate his ideas.
The SA deputy chief of staff, SA Obergruppenfuehrer Juttner,
testifying before the commission on 21st May, 1946, made the
following statement in this connection:

  "At a leader conference, the former SA chief of staff,
  Lutze, stated that he did not want propaganda for Der
  Sturmer in the SA. In certain groups Der Sturmer was even
  prohibited. The contents of Der Sturmer disgusted and
  repelled most of the SA men. The policy of the SA with
  regard to the Jewish question was in no way directed at
  the extermination of the Jews it aimed at preventing a
  large-scale immigration of Jews from the East."

The ideology of Der Sturmer was thus rejected on principle
by the individual SA man as well as by the SA leaders, and
there is therefore no question of Streicher having
influenced the SA.

Not only was the defendant Streicher not asked to
collaborate in SA publications but his articles did not
appear in any other newspapers and publications. He was
given no chance of contributing either to the Volkischer
Beobachter or to other leading organs of the German Press,
although the Propaganda Ministry intended enlightenment on
the Jewish question to form one of the noblest tasks of the
German Press.

The defendant Streicher was given no opportunity, either by
the State leadership or by the Propaganda Ministry, of
impressing his ideas upon a wider circle. The defendant
Fritzsche, the man who shared the decisive authority in the
Propaganda Ministry, testified that Streicher never exerted
any influence upon propaganda and that he was completely
disregarded. In particular, he was not entrusted with radio
talks, although talk given over the radio would have had
much stronger effect on the masses than an article in Der
Sturmer, which necessarily reached only a limited circle.
The fact that even the official propaganda of the Third
Reich made no use of the defendant Streicher makes it clear
that no results could be expected of his activities, and
that, in fact, he had no influence at all. The official
German State Government recognized Streicher as being what
he actually was the insignificant publisher of an entirely
insignificant weekly.

It must be stressed once more as clearly as possible that
the fundamental attitude of the German people was no more
radically anti-Semitic than that of the German youth or the
Party organizations.

Success in instigating and inciting to criminal anti-Semitism 
is, therefore, not proven.

I now come to the last and decisive part of the accusation,
i.e., to the examination of the question: who were the chief
persons responsible for the orders given for the mass
extermination of Jewry; how was it possible that men could
be four who were ready to execute these orders and whether
without the influence of the defendant Streicher such orders
would not have been given or executed.

                                                  [Page 331]

The main person responsible for the final solution of the
Jewish question - the extermination of Jewry in Europe-was
without doubt Hitler himself. Though this greatest of all
trials in world history suffers from the fact that the chief
offenders are not sitting in the defendant's box because
they are either dead or not to be found, the facts
ascertained have, nevertheless, resulted in cogent
conclusions concerning the actual responsibility.

It can be considered as proved beyond any doubt that Hitler
was a man of unique and even demoniacal brutality and
ruthlessness, who, in addition, later lost all sense of
proportion and all self-control.

The fact that his chief characteristic was ruthless
brutality became apparent for the first time in its full
force when the so-called Roehm putsch was suppressed in
June, 1934.

On this occasion Hitler did not hesitate to have his oldest
fellow combatants shot without any kind of trial. His
unrestrained radicalism was further revealed in the way in
which the war with Poland was conducted. He ordered the
ruthless extermination of leading Polish circles merely
because he feared an antagonistic attitude toward Germany on
their part. The orders which he gave at the beginning of the
Russian campaign were still more drastic. Even at that time
he ordered partial operations, for the extermination of

These examples show beyond doubt that respect for any
principle of humanity was alien to this man. Furthermore,
the proceedings, by the depositions of all the defendants,
have clearly established the fact that in basic decisions
Hitler was not open to any outside influence.

Hitler's basic attitude towards the Jewish question is well
known. He had already become an anti-Semite during the time
he spent in Vienna in the years before the First World War.
There is, however, no actual proof that Hitler, from the
very beginning, had in mind such a radical solution of the
Jewish question as was finally effected in the annihilation
of European Jewry. When the prosecution declares that from
the book Mein Kampf there leads a direct road to the
crematories of Mauthausen and Auschwitz, it is only an
assumption; and no evidence for it has been given. The
evidence rather suggests the fact that Hitler wanted to see
the Jewish problem in Germany also solved by way of
emigration. This thought, as well as the position of the
Jewish part of the population under the laws governing
aliens, formed the official State policy of the Third Reich.

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