The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Toward the Evangelical Churches, the Nazi conspirators
proceeded at first with caution, and an appearance of
legality. They set up a new constitution of the German
Evangelical Church, which introduced the innovation of a
single Lutheran Reich-Bishop, who assumed all the
administrative functions of the old agencies of the
Churches. I refer to Document 3422-PS, the decree concerning
the Constitution of the German Evangelical Church, dated
14th July, 1933, appearing in the Reichsgesetzblatt, 1933,
Part I, Page 471, and request that the Court take judicial
notice of it.

It is too well known to require documentation that the new
Reich-Bishop, Bishop Muller, heeded the voice of his Nazi
masters. One of his first steps was to manoeuvre the
Evangelical Youth Association into the Hitler Jugend under
the defendant von Schirach, in December, 1933. I refer to
Document 1458-APS, already in evidence as part of Document
Book "D" Transcript for 23rd November. It is an excerpt from
von Schirach's book, "The Hitler Youth, Idea and Formation."

                                                   [Page 40]

By 1935 it had become evident that more than persuasion by
the Reich-Bishop was necessary. Consequently the Nazi
conspirators promulgated a number of public laws which,
under innocent sounding titles, gradually wove a tight net
of State control over all the affairs of the Evangelical
Churches. We ask that the Court take judicial notice of
these laws published in the Reichsgesetzblatt. These may be
briefly summarised as follows:

3434-PS, Law concerning Procedure for Decisions in Legal
Affairs of the Evangelical Church, dated 26th June, 1935,
signed by Hitler and Frick, appearing in 1935 in
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 774. This gave the Reich
Ministry of the Interior - the defendant Frick - when
question was raised in a civil lawsuit, sole authority to
determine the validity of measures taken in the Evangelical
State Church, or in the German Evangelical Church since 1st
May, 1933.

3435-PS, First Ordinance for Execution of the Law concerning
Procedure for Decisions in Legal Affairs of the Evangelical
Church, dated 3rd July, 1935, appearing in 1935
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 851. This implemented the
earlier law, by setting up an Office for Decisions with
three members appointed by the Reich Minister of the
Interior.

3466-PS, Decree to Unite the Competences of Reich and
Prussia in Church Affairs, dated 16th July, 1935, signed by
Hitler, published in 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page
1029. This transferred to "Reich Minister without Portfolio
Kerrl" the Church Affairs hitherto handled by the Reich and
Prussian Ministries of the Interior and for Science,
Education and Training of the Population.

3436-PS, Law for the Safeguarding of the German Evangelical
Church, dated 24th September, 1935, published in the 1935
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 1178, signed by Hitler and
the Minister for Church Affairs, Dr. Kerrl. This empowered
the Reich Minister of Church Affairs to issue ordinances
with binding legal force.

3437-PS, Fifth Decree for Execution of the Law for the
Safeguarding of the German Evangelical Church, dated 2nd
December, 1935, published in 1935 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1,
Page 13 70. This prohibited "Organs of Church Leadership" in
the Evangelical Churches from filling pastorates, engaging
clerical assistants, examining and ordaining candidates of
the State Churches, visitation, publishing of the banns, and
collection and administration of church dues and
assessments.

This series of laws culminated on 26th June, 1937, in 3439-
PS, the Fifteenth Decree for the Execution of the Law for
Security of the German Evangelical Church, dated 25th June,
1937, published in 1937 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 697.
By Decree for the Execution of the Law for Security of the
German Evangelical Church dated 25th June, 1937, published
in 1937 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 697, the Reich
Minister for Church Affairs (Kerrl) established a Finance
Department for the churches to supervise the administration
of church property, the budget, and the use of budget funds,
and to regulate salaries and allowances of officials, clergy
and employees. Thus, before the outbreak of the war, the
Nazi conspirators had the Evangelical Churches tied hand and
foot physically and administratively, if not spiritually.

Against the Catholic Church with its international
organisation the Nazi conspirators launched a most vigorous
and drastic attack again, at first cloaked under a mantle of
co-operation and legality. A concordat signed by the
defendant von Papen, one of the foremost Catholic laymen in
Germany, was concluded between the Reich Government and the
Vatican on 20th July, 1933. It is printed in the 1933
Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 11, Pages 679 and 680, and contained
in Document 3280-A-PS, and I will ask the Court to take
judicial notice of it. I quote Article I:

   "The German Reich guarantees freedom of profession and
   public practice of the Catholic religion.
   
                                                   [Page 41]
   
   it acknowledges the right of the Catholic Church, within
   the limit of those laws which are applicable to all, to
   manage and regulate her own affairs independently and,
   within the framework of her own competence, to publish
   laws and ordinances binding on her members."

Other articles which, being matters of common knowledge, I
assume need not be read into the record, formulated basic
principles such as freedom of the Catholic Press, of
Catholic education, and of Catholic charitable, professional
and other organisations.

The proposal for the Concordat came from the Reich, and not
from the Vatican. I refer to Document 3268-PS, Exhibit USA
356, excerpts from the Allocution of Pope Pius XII to the
Sacred College on 2nd June, 1945, already read into
evidence. I quote from Page I of the English mimeographed
excerpt, Page I of the German translation, third paragraph,
which has not previously been read:

   "In Spring, 1933, the German Government asked the Holy
   See to conclude a Concordat with the Reich."

Relying upon the Nazis' assurances, particularly upon
Hitler's speech of 23rd March, 1933, above quoted-Document
3387-PS-the Catholic hierarchy revoked its previous
opposition against Catholics becoming members of the
National Socialist Party. I offer in evidence Document 3389-
PS, Exhibit USA 566, a Pastoral Letter, dated 23rd March,
1933, from the Bishop of Cologne, and I quote from the
"Volkischer Beobachter" of 29th March, 1933, Page 2, columns
2 and 3:

   "The official announcement by the Archbishop of Cologne,
   Cardinal Schulte, on behalf of the Bishops' Conference
   at Fulda, 28th March, 1933.
   
   The Lord Bishops of the Dioceses of Germany, in their
   dutiful anxiety to keep the Catholic faith pure and to
   protect the untouchable aims and rights of the Catholic
   Church, have adopted, for weighty reasons during the
   last years, an oppositional attitude towards the
   National Socialist Movement, through prohibitions and
   warnings, which were to be in effect as long and as far
   as these reasons remained valid."
   
   It must now be recognised that official and solemn
   declarations have been issued by the Highest
   Representative of the Reich Government who at the same
   time is the authoritative leader of that movement -
   which acknowledged the inviolability of the teachings of
   the Catholic Faithand the full value of the legal pacts
   concluded with the various German States (Laender) and
   the Church.
   
   Without lifting the condemnation of certain religious
   and ethical errors implied in our previous measures, the
   Episcopate now believes it can entertain the confidence
   that those prescribed general prohibitions and warnings
   may not be regarded as necessary any more."

The Catholic Centre Party, yielding to those assurances and
to pressure was dissolved on 5th July, 1933. I refer to
Document 2403-PS already in evidence as part of U.S.A.
Document Book "B," an excerpt from documents of German
politics, an official Nazi publication, a document of which
the Court can take judicial notice; and I quote from the
last five lines of Page 1 of the English translation,
appearing on Page 55 of the original German text, which
states: I quote:

   "Also the parties of German Catholicism, which were
   supposed to be most deeply rooted, had to bow to the law
   of the New Order. On 4th July, 1933, the Bavarian
   People's Party (Document 27) and on 5th July, 1933, the
   Centre Party (Document 29) published an announcement of
   their dissolution."

                                                   [Page 42]

In spite of these evidences of confidence and co-operation
or submission on the part of the Catholics, the Nazi
conspirators almost immediately commenced a series of
violations of the Concordat. I offer in evidence Document
3476-PS, Exhibit USA 567, this being the Papal Encyclical,
"Mit Brennender Sorge," in German, by Pope Pius XI, on 14th
March, 1937, and ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of
all of it. On Page 2, paragraph 2 of the German original,
which is now in evidence. It was secretly reproduced at
Fulda, from copies smuggled into Germany from Rome, and read
defiantly from pulpits all over Germany. I quote:

   "It discloses intrigues which from the beginning had no
   other aim than a war of extermination. In the furrows in
   which he had laboured to sow the seeds of true peace,
   others - like the enemy in the Holy Scripture (Matthew
   xiii. 25) - sowed the tares of suspicion, discord,
   hatred, calumny, of secret and open fundamental
   hostility to Christ and His Church, fed from a thousand
   different sources and making use of every available
   means. On them and on them alone and on their silent and
   vocal protectors rests the responsibility that now, on
   the horizon of Germany, there is to be seen not the
   rainbow of peace but the threatening storm clouds of
   destructive religious wars.
   
   Anyone who had any sense of truth left in his mind and
   even a shadow of a feeling of justice left in his heart
   will have to admit that, in the difficult and eventful
   years which followed the Concordat, every word and every
   action of ours was governed by loyalty to the terms of
   the agreement; but also he will have to recognise with
   surprise and deep disgust that the unwritten law of the
   other party has been arbitrary misinterpretation of
   agreements, evasions of agreements, distortion of the
   meaning of agreements and, finally, more or less open
   violation of agreements."

DR. ALFRED SEIDL (Counsel for defendant Frank): The United
States Prosecution has previously declared that a certain
part of the, material now under consideration, which is to
be presented in the matter of the opposition to the Church,
has been made available by the Vatican. The defendant Hans
Frank directed a written memorandum to me, containing a
question I do not wish to withhold from the Tribunal,
namely:

   (1) Is the Vatican a signatory to the Charter of the
   International Military Tribunal?
   
   (2) Did the Vatican deliver the material in an
   accusatory capacity?
   
   (3) Has the Vatican, acting as a co-prosecutor,
   identified itself with the principles of these
   proceedings?

The defendant, Hans Frank, justified these questions by
stating that his further allegiance to the Roman Catholic
Church depends on the reply to these questions.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it desirable that the Tribunal should
clearly understand your objections. The first question that
you ask is: Is the Vatican a Signatory to the Charter? Is
that correct?

DR. SEIDL: Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: What was your second question?

DR. SEIDL: The second question is: Whether the Vatican
submitted the material here present as a co-prosecutor?

THE PRESIDENT: And your third question?

DR. SEIDL: The third question is - and it is addressed
directly to the prosecution - whether the Vatican has
recognised, as prosecutor, the principles upon which the
Trial is being conducted?

THE PRESIDENT: Whether the Vatican recognises the principles
upon which the Trial is being conducted? Will you repeat the
question?

                                                   [Page 43]

DR. SEIDL: The last question?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

DR. SEIDL: It reads: Has the Vatican acquainted itself with
the material now being submitted at this Trial and does the
Vatican, as co-prosecutor, share the principles upon which
the Trial is being conducted? And, as a reason for his
questions, the defendant Hans Frank states that his further
allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church depends on the
answers to these questions.

THE PRESIDENT: In the opinion of the Tribunal, the
observations which have just been made by counsel on behalf
of the defendant Frank are entirely irrelevant and any
motion, which they are so intended to support, is denied.
The prosecution will therefore continue.

COLONEL WHEELER: I now offer in evidence the first of a
number of documents which the Vatican has supplied to the
prosecution in this case from its own files, and which
authoritatively state the acts of suppression of the Church
by the Nazi conspirators. This first Vatican document, which
deals in part with acts of suppression within Germany, is
Document 3261-PS, Exhibit USA 568, a verbal note of the
Secretariat of State of His Holiness the Pope to the German
Embassy, dated 18th January, 1942, I read the certificate
accompanying this document:

   "The Vatican, 13th November, 1945.
   
   I, Domenico Tardini, Secretary of Extraordinary
   Ecclesiastical Affairs, hereby certify that the attached
   document, consisting of nine printed pages and entitled:
   
   Verbal note of the Secretariat of State of His Holiness,
   to the German Embassy (18th January, 1942) (pp. 3-11) is
   a true and correct translation into the English language
   from the Italian language of a carbon copy of a document
   now in the possession of the Secretariat of State of His
   Holiness, the original of which was despatched to the
   German Embassy.
   
   (Signed) Domenico Tardini."

The paper in the document books, your Honours, is a
mimeographed copy of the same printed document which we
received from the Vatican. We did not have enough printed
documents to put them in the document books.

On Page 2 of the English mimeographed text is this verbal
note, paragraphs 3 and 4, appearing on Page 2 of the German
translation. The Papal Secretary of State describes: I
quote:

   "Measures and acts which gravely violate the rights of
   the Church, being contrary not only to the existing
   Concordats but to the principles of International Law
   ratified by the Second Hague Conference - "

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say you were reading the third
paragraph?

COLONEL WHEELER: Yes, your Honour. It is the third paragraph
on Page 2. It starts in the middle of that paragraph, with
the last word on the 7th line.

THE PRESIDENT: It is very difficult for us to find it if you
do not tell us, it being in the middle of the paragraph.

COLONEL WHEELER: I'm sorry, Sir. " - and often-and this is
much more grave - to the very fundamental principles of
Divine Law both natural and positive."

The next paragraph specifies these measures. I quote:

   "Let it suffice to recall in this connection, among
   other things, the changing of the Catholic State
   elementary schools into un-denominational schools; the
   permanent or temporary closing of many minor seminaries,
   of not a few major seminaries and of some theological
   faculties; the suppression of almost all the private
   schools and of numerous Catholic boarding schools and
   colleges; the repudiation, decided unilaterally, of
   

                                                   [Page 44]

   financial obligations which the State, municipalities,
   etc. had towards the Church; the increasing difficulties
   put in the way of the activity of the religious Orders
   and Congregations in the spiritual, cultural and social
   field, and above all, the suppression of abbeys,
   monasteries, convents and religious houses in such great
   numbers that one is led to infer a deliberate intention
   of rendering impossible the very existence of the Orders
   and Congregations in Germany."

The Nazis did not overlook other sects or denominations in
their efforts to suppress Christian religion in Germany.
They persecuted the "Bibelforscher" or Bible Research -

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps, as you are going into another
Church, it would be better to break off until to-morrow
morning.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours, on 8th January,
1946.)

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