The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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There were in Germany around a half million of these
Blockleiter. Large though this figure may appear, there can
be no doubt that these officials were in and of the
Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party. Though they stood at the
broad base of the Party pyramid rather than at its summit,
where rested the Reichsleiter, by virtue of this fact they
were stationed at close intervals throughout the German
civil population. It may be doubted that the average German
ever looked upon the face of Heinrich Himmler. But the man
in the street in Nazi Germany could not have avoided an
uneasy acquaintance with the Blockleiter in his
neighborhood. It was the block leaders who represented to
the people of Germany the police-state of Hitler's Germany.
In fact, the Blockleiter were little fuehrers with real
power over the civilians in their domains. The authority of
the Blockleiter to exercise coercion and the threat of force
upon the civil population is shown in an excerpt from page 7
of the magazine published by the Chief Education Office of
the Party, entitled "The Face of the Party":

                                                   [Page 33]
     "Advice and sometimes also the harsher form of
     education is employed if the faulty conduct of an
     individual harms this individual himself and thus also
     the community."

(6) Hoheitstraeger. Within the Leadership Corps of the Nazi
Party certain of the Political Leaders possessed a higher
degree of responsibility than others, were vested with
special prerogatives, and constituted a distinctive and
elite group. These were the so-called "Hoheitstraeger"
(Bearers of Sovereignty) who represented the Party within
their area of jurisdiction, the so-called Hoheitsgebiet. The
Party Manual (1893-PS) states as follows:

     "Among the Political Leaders, the Hoheitstraeger
     assumed a special position. Contrary to the other
     Political Leaders who have departmental missions, the
     Hoheitstraeger themselves are in charge of a
     geographical sector known as the Hoheitsgebiet [Sectors
     of Sovereignty].
     "Hoheitstraeger are:
     "The Fuehrer
     The Gauleiter
     The Kreisleiter
     The Ortsgruppenleiter
     The Zellenleiter
     The Blockleiter.
     "Hoheitsgebiet are:
     "The Reich
     The Gau
     The Kreis
     The Ortsgruppe
     The Zelle
     The Block

     "Within their sector of sovereignty the Hoheitstraeger
     have sovereign political rights. They represent the
     Party within their sector. The Hoheitstraeger supervise
     all Party Officers within their jurisdiction and ***
     are responsible for the maintenance of discipline. ***
     The directors of offices, etc., and of the affiliated
     organizations are responsible to their respective
     Hoheitstraeger as regards their special missions. ***
     The Hoheitstraeger are superior to all Political
     Leaders, managers, etc., within their sector. As
     regards personal considerations, Hoheitstraeger *** are
     endowed with special rights "The Hoheitstraeger of the
     Party are not to be administrative officials *** but
     are to move in a continuous vital contact with the
     Political Leaders of the population within their
                                                   [Page 34]
     sector. The Hoheitstraeger are responsible for the
     proper and good supervision of all members of the
     nation within their sectors ***.
     "The Party intends to achieve a state of affairs in
     which the individual German will find his way to the
     Party ***." (1893-PS)
The distinctive character of the Politischer Leiter
(Political Leaders) constituting the Hoheitstraeger, and
their existence and operation as an identifiable group, are
indicated by the publication of a magazine, entitled Der
Hoheitstraeger, whose distribution was limited by regulation
of the Reich Organization Leader to the Hoheitstraeger and
certain other designated Politischer Leiter. The inside
cover of this exclusive Party magazine reads as follows:

     "DER HOHEITSTRAEGER, the contents of which is to be
     handled confidentially, serves only for the orientation
     of the competent leaders. It may not be loaned out to
     other persons ***" [then follows a list of the
     Hoheitstraeger and other Political Leaders authorized
     to receive the magazine.] (2660-PS)

The magazine states that, in addition, the following were
entitled to receive it:

     "Commandants, Unit Commanders and Candidates of Order
     Castles; the Reich, Shock Troop and Gaue Speakers of
     the NSDAP; the Lieutenant Generals and Major Generals
     of SA, SS, NSFK, and NSKK; Lieutenant Generals and
     Major Generals of the HJ." (2660-PS)

The fact that this magazine existed, that it derived its
name from the Commanding Officers of the Leadership Corps,
that it was distributed to the elite of the Leadership Corps
-- that a House Bulletin was circulated down the command
channels of the Leadership Corps -- demonstrates that the
Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party was an identifiable group
or organization within the meaning of Article 9 of the

An examination of the contents of the magazine Der
Hoheitstraeger reveals a continuing concern by the
Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party in measures and doctrines
which were employed throughout the course of the conspiracy.
The plans and policies of the inner elite of the Leadership
Corps gain clarity through a random sampling of articles
published and policies advocated in various issues of the
magazine Der Hoheitstraeger. From February 1937 to October
1938 these included the following: anti-Semitic articles,
attacks on Catholicism and the Christian

                                                   [Page 35]
religion and clergy; the need for motorized armament; the
urgent need for expanded Lebensraum and colonies; persistent
attacks on the League of Nations; the use of the Block and
Cell in achieving favorable votes in Party plebiscites; the
intimate association between the Wehrmacht and the Political
Leadership, the racial doctrines of Fascism; the cult of
"leadership"; the role of the Gaue, Ortsgruppen, and Zellen
in the expansion of Germany; and related matters.

(a) Organization of Political Leaders. The Political Leaders
were organized according to the leadership principle (1893-

     "The basis of the Party organization is the Fuehrer
     thought. The public is unable to rule itself either
     directly or indirectly *** All Political Leaders stand
     as appointed by the Fuehrer and are responsible to him.
     They possess full authority toward the lower echelons
     *** Only a man who has absorbed the school of
     subordinate functions within the Party has a claim to
     the higher Fuehrer offices. We can only use Fuehrers
     who have served from the ground up. Any Political
     Leader who does not conform to these principles is to
     be dismissed or to be sent back to the lower offices,
     as Blockleiter, Zellenleiter for further training ***
     "The Political Leader is not an office worker but the
     Political Deputy of the Fuehrer *** Within the
     Political Leadership, we are building the Political
     Leadership of the state *** The type of the Political
     Leader is not characterized by the office which he
     represents. There is no such thing as a Political
     Leader of the NSBO, etc., but there is only the
     Political Leader of the NSDAP." (1893-PS)

Each Political Leader was sworn in yearly. According to the
Party Manual (1893-PS), the wording of the oath was as

     "I pledge eternal allegiance to Adolf Hitler. I pledge
     unconditional obedience to him and the Fuehrers
     appointed by him." (1893-PS)

The Organization Book of the NSDAP also provides:

     "The Political Leader is inseparably tied to the
     ideology and the organization of the NSDAP. His oath
     only ends with his death or with his expulsion from the
     National Socialist community." (1893-PS)

(b) Appointment of Political Leaders. The appointment of
political leaders constituting the Leadership Corps of the
Nazi Party proceeded as follows, according to the Party

     "The Fuehrer appointed the following Political Leaders:

     "a. All Reichsleiter and all Political Leaders within
                                                   [Page 36]
     Reichsleitung [Reich Party Directorate], including
     women's leaders.
     "b. All Gauleiter, including the Political Leaders
     holding offices in the Gauleitung [Gau Party
     Directorate], including Gau women leaders.
     "c. All Kreisleiter. "The Gauleiter appointed:
     "a. The Political Leaders and women's leaders within
     the Gau Party Directorate.
     "b. The Political Leaders and directors of women's
     leagues in the Kreis Party Directorate.
     "c. All Ortsgruppenleiter.
     "The Kreisleiter appoints the Political Leaders and the
     Directors of the Women's Leagues of the Ortsgruppen
     including the Block and Cell Leaders." (1893-PS)

c. Power of Hoheitstraeger to Call Upon Part? Formations.
The Hoheitstraeger among the Leadership Corps were entitled
to call upon and utilize the various Party Formations as
necessary for the execution of Nazi Party policies.

The Party Manual makes it clear that the Hoheitstraeger has
power and authority to requisition the services of the SA:

     "The Hoheitstraeger is responsible for the entire
     political appearance of the Movement within his zone.
     The SA leader of that zone is tied to the directives of
     the Hoheitstraeger in that respect.
     "The Hoheitstraeger is the ranking representative of
     the Party to include all organizations within his zone.
     He may requisition the SA located within his zone from
     the respective SA leader if they are needed for the
     execution of a political mission. The Hoheitstraeger
     will then assign the mission to the SA ***
     "Should the Hoheitstraeger need more SA for the
     execution of political mission than is locally
     available, he then applies to the next higher office of
     sovereignty which, in turn, requests the SA from the SA
     office in his sector." (1893-PS)

The Hoheitstraeger also had the same authority to call upon
the services of the SS and NSKK (1893-PS).

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