Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-15-criminality-02-11 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 property: "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. (064-PS) 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 available. "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 nation.
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