The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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         Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression, Supplement B
                      XVII. Max Amann*
    Nazi Acquisition and Suppression of the German Press
                              
     Excerpts from Testimony of Max Amann, taken at
     Nurnberg, Germany, 23 October 1945, 1030-1225, by
     Lt. Col. T.S. Hinkel, IGD. Also present: John
     Albert, Interpreter; Frances Karr, Reporter.
     
* Max Amann was Reich Leader for the Press; Head of
Central Publishing House of the Party; and President of
the Reich Press Chamber. Previously he served in the
same company with Hitler in World War I, took part in
the Putsch of 1923, and was imprisoned for four hand
one-half months. He was Munich City Councillor 1924-33;
member of Reich Culture Senate since its foundation in
1935; and member of the Reichstag since 1933. See
document 3016-PS, vol. V, p. 735; see also vol. I, pp.
330-332.
                                                 [Page 1521]
                                                            
Q. Do you recall publicly stating in October 1941 that the
majority of the larger and medium-sized papers in Germany
were financially controlled by the Party?

A. Yes, I think even a two-thirds majority.

                                                 [Page 1522]
                                                            
Q. Well, what was the total circulation, at its highest
point, of all Party newspapers?

A. If the total circulation amounted to 21,000,000 and I
said two-thirds of it is controlled by the Party it would
amount to 16 million.

Q. Was the highest peak of circulation of German newspapers,
including both Party and non-Party, the 21 million figure,
you have cited?

A. Yes, of all German dailies. You have to add a great many
weeklies, which had very wide circulation.

Q. Now, isn't it a fact that a large number of private
publishing houses that were non-Party went out of existence
during the eight-year period from January 1933 until 1941?

A. Yes. We bought quite a lot after 1935.

Q. How many newspapers were owned by the Party at the time
the Party came into power in January 1933?

A. I can only estimate, but perhaps 400 newspapers.

Q. How many newspapers did the Party own at its highest
point?

A. Approximately, but this is only an estimate, from 1,200
to 1,500, but I rather think 1,200.

Q. Is the difference between the 400 and 1,200 or 1,500
figure accounted for by the purchase of going newspapers or
by the founding of new newspapers?

A. Through both.

Q. Which would you say accounted for the larger number?

A. In my opinion, purchase.

Q. What were the methods used in acquiring these various
newspapers by purchase?

A. On my strict order two points had to be observed
strictly. First, the newspaper had to be relinquished
voluntarily and a legal price had to be paid.

Q. Why do you think so many newspapers were willing to sell
valuable property to your outfit?

A. The reason was that those publishers, who were regarded
as politically unreliable by the Party, were told it would
be a good idea to hand over the newspapers to their sons,
who should have had newspaper training by now, or any other
relative, or, if no other person existed in his family who
would be qualified, to offer his paper to somebody outside.

Q. Who, besides yourself in Germany, was doing any
purchasing of newspaper properties during the period in
question?

A. I don't know that but I am sure that newspapers were also
sold in the free market to other publishers.

                                                 [Page 1523]
                                                            
Q. You don't really think that, do you?

A. Yes, I really believe that.

Q. You do not mean to imply by that that you didn't know the
publishing picture as a whole in Germany, do you?

A. Oh yes, I was well informed all the time but I could not
recall detailed, single cases.

Q. As a matter of fact, if there had been any substantial
buying of newspapers by anybody except yourself you would
remember it, wouldn't you?

A. Yes, then I would remember it.

Q. The fact that you do not remember it would indicate that
there was no such substantial buying, isn't that correct?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. Don't you think it is a fair statement to make, that you
were practically the sole purchaser of newspapers in Germany
during this period?

A. Larger papers, yes, that could be said. May I add one
thing? The financial situation of the German newspapers was
quite bad during that period. Many papers had collapsed
already during the inflation and later on through mass
unemployment when few people could afford to buy newspapers.

Q. You are speaking of the period from 1933 on now, are you?

A. Only since 1934 and 1935 the publishing business
flourished again. I bought, for instance, from Hugenberg the
Ala Advertising Company, which operated at a deficit at that
time and it took about two years until it made profits
again.

Q. You don't take the position, do you, that all the
newspapers you purchased were in a bankrupt condition prior
to the time you purchased them?

A. No, I don't want to say that. I want to say in general,
the situation was pretty difficult.

Q. Why do you think people who owned newspapers that were
profitable were willing to sell them to you?

A. That willingness could be explained by the fact that many
publishers were declared politically unreliable and couldn't
continue as publishers.

Q. Did you ever make any recommendations as to which
publishers should be declared politically unreliable in
order that their newspapers might then become available for
purchase?

A. No. The Reich Association of the German Press had to
investigate the political reliability of people and they
used the assistance of the Propaganda Ministry and the
criminal and political records of people were investigated,
etc. I remember, for ex-

                                                 [Page 1524]
                                                            
ample, a case in Zwickau, Saxony, where one publisher would
have one Communist, one German Nationalist paper, and one so-
called Generalanzeiger, which means neutral press, and that
was regarded as politically unreliable to bring out three
different newspapers.

Q. Weren't your representatives among those who decided as
to whether or not a particular newspaper was politically
unreliable?

A. I myself was President of the Reich Association of the
German Press until the Reich Press Chamber was founded.

Q. Then you were President of that, is that correct?

A. When I became President of the Reich Press Chamber I
retired from the Presidency of the Reich Association of the
German Press.

Q. Wasn't the Reich Association of the German Press under
the supervision of the Reich Press Chamber?

A. No. If I may explain the difference, the Reich
Association of the German Press was a public corporation and
represented the interests of the journalists and was not
under the Reich Press Chamber.

Q. What interest did the Reich Press Chamber represent?

A. The Reich Press Chamber had the task of representing the
interests of the publishers, of the publishing industry, and
to build a new Association of the German publishing
business.


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