Archive/File: imt/nca/supp-b/nca-sb-02-amann.01-02 Last-Modified: 1997/12/09 Q. Now, do you recall issuing a decree in 1933, [Document referred to did not form part of prosecution case as finally prepared and hence is not published in this series.] as President of the Reich Press Chamber, to the effect that organizations could not obligate their members to subscribe to certain newspapers? A. I remember this decree but it was not in 1933 because there was no Reich Press Chamber at that time. Q. When was the decree issued? A. At the earliest, 1935. Q. Well, was that decree seriously followed with respect to the Party newspapers? A. The purpose of the decree was to stop the many subscription agents, whose practice it was to get subscribers by any means. I even issued instructions to forbid any subscription campaigns all over the Reich. Every subscription agent had to be authorized by an identification card, signed by me. Every agent was investigated for previous criminal record, political reliability, and so forth and I insisted he got a fixed salary so that financial distress would not force him to use wild methods. Q. Did you ever license any agents who were not Party members? [Page 1528] A. Most of them were non-Party members. Q. I thought you said they were investigated as to political reliability. A. No. Only the publishers would be investigated as to political reliability; the agents as to previous criminal records. Q. Whatever the ostensible reason for issuing the decree, did it not in fact occur so that the result of it was to prohibit people who belonged to various organizations which had their own publications, from subscribing to those publications as a condition of membership in the organization? A. The decree had as a purpose the preventing of pressure on simple Party members, who belonged to different Party organizations or affiliated organizations, from being forced to subscribe to every single newspaper published by these organizations. For instance, men who belonged to the SA had to subscribe to the "Gau Zeitung." He had to subscribe to the weekly "SA Mann." His wife had to subscribe to the "Frauenschaftzeitung;" his daughter to the "BDM Zeitung" and in addition, very often people were still reading the neutral non-political papers, as in the past, and did not want to give them up. As nobody can afford five or six newspapers every day, this decree tried to prevent this type of pressure on the Party members. Q. Is it your statement now, this decree was intended to ease pressure on the Party members? A. In general, no, this decree was planned to have a general effect. I didn't want any subscriptions which were not voluntary because it could destroy the whole prestige of the Party if we would force everybody constantly to pay for newspapers he didn't want. Q. I suppose you consider it only an incidental fact that other organizations which were opposed to the Party, such as the Catholic organizations, that the members thereof could not subscribe to their papers, as a condition of belonging to such organizations? A. At that time there were no Catholic newspapers anymore, only the general press. The Catholic newspapers were discontinued under the order of Hitler. There were about 63 dailies, Catholic dailies, which were discontinued. This decree, furthermore, led to a general Party order that "Gau" newspapers should only be sold and subscribed to in the specific Gau. Q. When were the 63 Catholic newspapers suppressed? A. During the year 1935 and from then on. Q. Now, as a matter of fact, you signed the decree suppressing these newspapers. Isn't that right? [Page 1529] A. I don't remember this exactly but it is possible that it originated with the Reich Press Chamber. Q. Anything is possible. What do you recall about it? A. I remember that the Reich Press Chamber required all publishers to sign a declaration which said that as a publisher of a German newspaper he was affirming the National Socialist State and this declaration could not be given by publishers of the Catholic newspapers because they had the point of view, and quite rightly from their position, that they could not affirm certain National Socialist measures, like sterilizations for instance, and so these publishers could not sign required declarations. Q. Now, isn't it a fact that shortly after the Party came into power, that papers of a political left, that is Communist and Marxist papers, were suppressed immediately? A. Yes, they were closed down by the police. Q. Isn't it a further fact that shortly after the Party came into power, that papers of other political parties, that is non-Marxist or non-Communist, but also non-Party, were with some exceptions left undisturbed until suitable legislation had been drafted to deal with them? A. I assume that is correct but the Marxist papers were suppressed immediately. Q. Wouldn't it be a fair statement to say that the whole purpose of the Nazi press program was to eliminate all press in opposition to the Party? A. Yes, that can be said. Q. Do you recall another decree on the 24th of April 1935, which prohibited the formation of press combines, that is, no publisher was allowed to issue more than one independent newspaper in more than one locality? [See document 2315-PS, vol. IV, p. 1007.] A. That is possible. We talked about it already. Q. Do you recall issuing that decree? A. This decree was published, after months of negotiations, by the Propaganda Minister. Q. Isn't it a fact, as a result of this decree, that many publishers were required to sell one or more of their newspapers? A. If the decree stated things as I was told yesterday, but I am still not certain whether the decree contained that phrase. Q. The record will show exactly the phraseology of the decree. There is no question about it. My question is whether or not it did not compel certain publishers to sell to you one or more of their newspapers? I do not mean that the decree required the sale to be made to you, but you were the ultimate purchaser. [Page 1530] A. He could sell to anybody as long as this person was politically reliable. Q. And so, it was just by coincidence you happened to be the purchaser, is that it? A. Most probably the main reason was that during this revolutionary and confused period, very few had the courage to start a newspaper venture without having previous experience.
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