The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1996/12/28

A letter dated 30 July 1941 (R-101-C) written by an SS-
Standartenfuehrer whose signature is illegible, to the Reich
Leader of the SS, supplies further evidence of the
participation of the Gauleiter in the seizure of church

     "Further to report of 30 May 1941 this office considers
     it its duty to call the Reich Leader's attention to the
     development which is currently taking place in the
     incorporated Eastern countries with regard to seizure
     and confiscation of Church property.
     "As soon as the Reich Laws on expropriation had been
     introduced, the Reich Governor and Gauleiter in the
     Wartheland adopted the practice of expropriating real
     estate belonging to churches for use as dwellings. He
     grants compensation to the extent of the assessed value
     and pays the equivalent amount into blocked accounts.
     "Moreover the East German Estate Administration Limited
     reports that in the 'Warthegau' all real estate owned
     by the
                                                   [Page 68]
     churches is being claimed by the local Gau
     administration [Gauselbstverwaltung]." (R-101-C)

Another letter, this one from the Chief of the Staff Main
Office to Himmler, dated 3/30/1942, dealing with the
confiscation of church property, evidences the active
participation of the Party Chancellery in the confiscation
of religious property (R-101-D). In this letter the Chief of
the Staff Main Office reports to Himmler concerning the
policy of the SS in suspending all payments of rent to
monasteries and other church institutions whose property had
been expropriated. The letter
discusses a proposal made by the Reich Minister of the
Interior, in which the Party Chancery prominently
participated, to the effect that the church institutions
should be paid amounts corresponding to current mortgage
charges on the premises without realizing any profit. The
writer further suggests that such payments should never be
made directly to the ecclesiastical institutions but rather
should be made to the creditors of such institutions:

     "Such an arrangement would be in line with the basic
     idea of the settlement originally worked out between
     the Party Chancery and the Reich Minister of the
     Interior." (R-101-D)

The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated in the
suppression of religious publications and interfered with
free religious education. In a letter dated 27 September
1940, Reichsleiter and Deputy of the Fuehrer Bormann
transmitted to Rosenberg a photostatic copy of a letter from
Gauleiter Florian to Hess, dated 23 September 1940, which
expresses the Gauleiter's intense disapproval on Nazi
ideological grounds of a religious pamphlet entitled "The
Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers," written by a Major General
von Rabenau (064-PS). The Gauleiter urges that the religious
writings of General von Rabenau be suppressed. Florian also
discusses a conversation he had with General von Rabenau at
the close of a lecture delivered by the General to a group
of younger Army officers at Aachen. This conversation
illumines the hostile attitude of the Leadership Corps of
the Nazi Party toward the Christian churches:

     "After he had affirmed the necessity of the churches,
     Rabenau said, with emphasized self-assurance, something
     like the following: 'Dear Gauleiter, the Party is
     making mistake after mistake in the business with the
     churches. Obtain for me the necessary powers from the
     Fuehrer and I guarantee that I shall succeed in a few
     months in establishing peace with the churches for all
     times.' After this catastrophic ignorance, I gave up
     the conversation. Dear Party Member Hess: the
                                                   [Page 69]
     reading of von Rabenau's pamphlet 'Spirit and Soul of
     the Soldier' has reminded me again of this. In this
     brochure, Rabenau affirms the necessity of the Church
     straight-forward and clearly, even if it is prudently
     careful. He writes on page 8 'There could be more
     examples; they would suffice to show that a soldier in
     this world can scarcely get along without thoughts
     about the next one.' Because von Rabenau is falsely
     based spiritually, I consider his activities as an
     educator in spiritual affairs as dangerous, and I am of
     the opinion that his educational writings are to be
     dispensed with absolutely and that the publication
     section of the NSDAP can and must renounce these
     writings *** The churches with their Christianity are
     this danger against which the struggle must always be
     carried on." (064-PS)

That the Party Chancellery shared the Gauleiter's hostility
to the Christian churches is further revealed by Bormann's
instruction to Rosenberg to "take action" on the Gauleiters
recommendation that the General's writings be suppressed.

Another letter from Bormann to Rosenberg, dated 3/8/1940,
enclosed a copy of Bormann's letter of the same date to
Reichsleiter Amann (089-PS). Amann was a top member of the
Leadership Corps by virtue of his position as Reichsleiter
for the Press and Leader of the Party Publishing Company. In
this letter to Amann, Bormann expressed his dismay and
dissatisfaction that only 10 percent of the 3,000 Protestant
periodicals in Germany had ceased publication for what are
described as "paper saving" reasons. Bormann then advised
Amann that "the distribution of any paper whatsoever for
such periodicals" was barred (089-PS). Bormann also
instructed Amann to make sharper restrictions in the
distribution of paper against religious writings in favor of
publications more acceptable to the Nazi ideology:

     "I urge you [Bormann is addressing Reichsleiter Amann]
     to see to it in any redistribution of paper to be
     considered later that the confessional writing, which
     according to experiences so far gathered possesses very
     doubtful value for strengthening the power of
     resistance of the people toward the external foe
     receives still sharper restrictions in favor of
     literature, politically and ideologically more
     valuable." (089-PS)

A further letter from Bormann to Rosenberg, dated 17 January
1940, expressed the Party's opposition to the circulation of
religious literature to the members of the German Armed
Forces (101-PS). Pertinent excerpts from Bormann's letter
read as follows:

                                                   [Page 70]
     "Nearly all the districts [Gaue] report to me regularly
     that the churches of both confessions are administering
     spiritually to members of the Armed Forces. This
     administering finds its expression especially in the
     fact that soldiers are being sent religious
     publications by the spiritual leaders of the home
     congregations. These publications are, in part, very
     cleverly composed. I have repeated reports that these
     publications are being read by the troops and thereby
     exercise a certain influence on the morale.
     "I have, in the past, sought by sounding out the
     General Field Marshal, the High Command of the Armed
     Forces, and *** Reich Director Amann, to restrict
     considerably the production and shipment of
     publications of this type. The result of these efforts
     remains unsatisfactory. As Reichsleiter Amann has
     repeatedly informed me, the restriction of these
     pamphlets by means of the *** paper rationing has not
     been achieved because the paper *** is being purchased
     on the open market.
     "If the influencing of the soldiers by the church is to
     be effectively combatted, this will only be
     accomplished by producing many good publications in the
     shortest possible time under the supervision of the
     Party ***.
     "Thus at the last meeting of the Deputy Gauleiters,
     comments were uttered on this matter to the effect that
     a considerable quantity of such publications are not
     "I maintain that it is necessary that in the near
     future we transmit to the Party Service Office down to
     Ortsgruppenleitern a list of additional publications of
     this sort which should be sent to our soldiers by the
     Ortsgruppen. *** (101-PS)

The Leadership Corps also participated in measures leading
to the closing and dissolution of theological schools and
other religious institutions. In a letter dated 17 April
1939 Bormann transmitted to Rosenberg photostatic copy of a
plan suggested by the Reich Minister for Science, Education,
and Training for the combining and closing of certain
specifically listed theological faculties (122-PS). In his
letter of transmittal Bormann requested Rosenberg to take
"cognizance and prompt action" with respect to proposed
suppression of religious institutions. The plan to suppress
the religious institutions was summarized as follows:

     "To recapitulate, this plan would include the complete
     closing of the theological faculties at Innsbruck,
     Salzburg, and Munich, the transfer of the faculty of
     Graz to Vienna, and the vanishing of four Catholic
     faculties; closing of three Catholic theological
     faculties or higher schools, and of four evangelical
     faculties in the Winter semester 1939/1940; closing of
     one further Catholic and of three further evangelic
     faculties in the near future." (122-PS)
A final letter from Bormann to Rosenberg, dated 24 January
1939 enclosed for Rosenberg's cognizance a copy of Bormann's
letter to the Reich Minister for Knowledge and Education
(116-PS. In-the enclosed letter, Bormann informed the
Minister as to the Party's position in favor of restricting
and suppressing theological faculties. Bormann stated that,
owing to the effects of the introduction of military
service, the consequences of the Four Year Plan, and the
extraordinary lack of replacements, it would become
necessary to carry out a reorganization of the German high
schools. In view of these developments, he requested the
Minister to restrict and suppress the theological faculties:

     "*** I would appreciate it very much if you would
     restrict the theological faculties in so far as they
     cannot be wholly suppressed in accordance with the
     above statement. I request in this instance the
     omission of any expressed declaration to the Churches
     or to other places, as well as the avoiding of a public
     announcement of these measures. Complaints and the like
     must be answered (if they are to be replied to) in the
     fashion that these measures are being executed in the
     course of the economic plan of reorganization and that
     similar things are happening to other faculties.
     "I would appreciate it very much if professional chairs
     thus vacated can be then turned over to the newly
     created fields of inquiry of these last years, such as
     Racial Research, Archeological Studies, etc." (116-PS)

From the foregoing evidence it is clear the Leadership Corps
the Nazi Party shares in the responsibility for the measures
taken to subvert the Christian churches and persecute the
Christian clergy, both in Germany and in German-occupied
territories Europe. The Prosecution stresses the
significance of the appointment of Rosenberg, whose anti-
Christian views are open d notorious, as the Fuehrer's
Representative for the Whole Spiritual and Philosophical
Education of the Nazi Party. It was precisely this position
which gave Rosenberg his seat in the Reichsleitung. But
emphasis is placed not merely upon the fact that anti-
Christs such as Bormann and Rosenberg held directive
positions within the Leadership Corps, but upon the further
that their directives and orders were passed down the chain

                                                   [Page 72]
of command of the Leadership Corps and caused the
participation of its membership in acts subversive of the
Christian Church.

(e) Destruction of the Free Trade Unions, Imposition of Nazi
Control over the Productive Labor Capacity of Germany. The
evidence relating to the destruction of the independent
trade unions is discussed in Section 5 of Chapter VII. The
evidence hereinafter taken up is offered to prove the
responsibility of the Leadership Corps for participation in
the smashing of the unions and the imposition of Nazi Party
control over the productive labor capacity of the German

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