The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                   [Page 58]
I next turn to the responsibility of the Leadership Corps
for the destruction of Free Trade Unions and the imposition
of the conspiratorial control over the productive labour
capacity of the German nation.

The evidence relating to the responsibility of the Nazi
Conspirators for the destruction of the independent trade
unions has been previously introduced in evidence in the USA
Exhibit G, which was the document book containing the
evidentiary materials relating to the destruction of the
trade unions. The brief evidence, which I shall now present,
is offered to prove the responsibility of the Leadership
Corps of the Nazi Party for the smashing of the independent
unions and the imposition of conspiratorial control over the
productive labour capacity of the German nation.

Soon after the seizure of power prominent members of the
Leadership Corps participated in the smashing and
dissolution of the independent trade unions of Germany. The
defendant Robert Ley,  by direct virtue of his office as
Reich Organisation Leader and Reichsleiter in the Leadership
Corps, was directed by Hitler, in mid-April, 1939, to smash
the independent unions.

I will pass on now to Document 392, Exhibit USA 326, and I
quote, beginning at the top of Page 1 of the English

     "On Tuesday, 2nd May, 1933,  the co-ordination action
     of the Free Trade Unions began.
     The essential part of the action is to be directed
     against the General
                                                   [Page 59]
     German Trade Union Federation and the General
     Independent Employees' Federation.
     Anything beyond that which is dependent upon the Free
     Trade Unions is left to the discretion of the
     Gauleiter's judgment. The Gauleiter are responsible for
     the execution of the co-ordination action in the
     individual areas. Supporters of the action should be
     members of the National Socialist Factory Cell
     The Gauleiter is to proceed with his measures on the
     basis of the closest agreement with competent Gau or
     regional factory cell directors.
     In the Reich, the following will be occupied:
     The directing offices of the unions...."

Then it lists a number of offices, and I previously quoted
who was to be taken into protective custody.

The next provision:

     "Exceptions are granted only with the permission of the
     It is understood that this action is to proceed in a
     strongly disciplined fashion. The Gauleiter are
     responsible in this respect. They are to hold the
     direction of the action firmly in hand.
                                   Heil Hitler!
                                   (signed) Dr. Robert Ley."

The defendant Ley's order for the dissolution of the
independent trade unions was carried out as planned and
directed. Trade union premises all over Germany were
occupied by the S.A. and the unions dissolved. On the 2nd
May, 1933, the official N.S.D.A.P. Press Service reported
that the National Socialist Factory Cell Organisation
(N.S.B.O.) had "eliminated the old leadership of Free Trade
Unions" and taken over their leadership.

I now offer in evidence Document 2224-PS, Exhibit USA 364,
which are Pages 1 and 2 of the 2nd May, 1933, issues of the
National Socialist Party Press Agency. I quote from
Paragraph 5 of Page 1 of the English translation:

     "National Socialism, which today has assumed leadership
     of the German working class, can no longer bear the
     responsibility for leaving the men and women of the
     German working class, the members of the largest trade
     organisation in the world, the German Trade Union
     Movement, in the hands of people who do not know a
     fatherland that is called Germany. Because of that, the
     National Socialist Factory Cell Organisation (N.S.B.O.)
     has taken over the leadership of the trade unions. The
     N.S.B.O. has eliminated the former leadership of the
     trade unions of the General German Trade Unions
     Federation, and of the General Independent Employees'
     On 2nd May, 1933, the National Socialist Factory Cell
     Organisation (N.S.B.O.) took over the leadership of all
     trade unions; all trade union buildings were occupied
     and most stringent control has been exercised over
     financial and personnel matters of the organisations."

As shown by this evidence, the assault on the independent
unions as directed by the defendant Ley, in his capacity as
Reichsleiter in charge of Party Organisation, assisted by
the Gauleiter and Party Formations, and included the seizure
of trade union funds and property. In this connection I
offer in evidence Document 1678-PS, exhibit Number USA 365.
This document is a report of a speech by Reichsleiter Ley on
the 11th September, 1937, to

                                                   [Page 60]
the fifth annual session of the German Labour Front. In this
speech Ley shamelessly corroborates the confiscation of the
trade union funds. I quote from Paragraph 4 of Page 1 of the
English translation:

     "Once I said to the Fuehrer: 'My Fuehrer, actually I am
     standing with one foot in gaol, for today I am still
     the trustee of the comrades "Leipart" and "Imbusch,"
     and should they some day ask me to return their money,
     then it will be found that I have spent it, either by
     building things, or otherwise. But they will never
     again find their property in the condition in which
     they handed it over to me. Therefore I would have to be
     The Fuehrer laughed and remarked that apparently I felt
     extremely well in this condition.
     It was very difficult for us all. Today we laugh about

The plan of the Nazi conspirators to eliminate the Free
Trade Unions was advanced by the enactment, on 19th May,
1933, of a law which abolished collective bargaining between
workers and employers and replaced it with a regulation of
working conditions by Labour Trustees appointed by Hitler. I
refer to Document 405-PS, which is the text of the law, 1933
Reichsgesetzblatt Vol. I, 285. After providing in Section 1
for the appointment by Hitler of trustees of labour, this
law provides, and I quote from Section 2 of the English
translation of Document 405-PS:

     "Until a new revision of the social constitution, the
     trustees are to regulate the conditions for the
     conclusion of labour contracts. This practice is to be
     legally binding for all persons, and replaces the
     system founded on combinations of workers, of
     individual employers or of combinations of

Having destroyed the independent unions and collective
bargaining, the next step of the Nazi conspirators was to
secure the Nazification in the field of industrial
relations. I refer to Document 1861-PS, which is the text of
the law of 20th January, 1931, 1934, Reichsgesetzblatt Vol.
I, 45. This law was entitled the "Law Regulating National
Labor," and it imposed the leadership principle upon
industrial enterprisers and provided, in Section I,
paragraph 1, that the enterpriser should be the leader of
the plant and the workers would "constitute his followers."
I now quote from Section I, paragraph 2, of the first page
of Document 1861-PS:

     "The leader of the plant makes the decisions for the
     employees and labourers in all matters concerning the
     enterprise, as far as they are regulated by this law.
     He is responsible for the well-being of the employees
     and labourers. The employees owe him faithfulness
     according to the principles of factory community."

The Trade Unions having been dissolved and the leadership
principle superimposed upon the relationship of management
and labour, the members of the Leadership Corps joined in
and directed measures designed to replace the independent
unions by the German Labour Front, the D.A.F., an affiliated
Party organisation. On the very day the Nazi conspirators
seized and dissolved the free trade unions, the 2nd May,
1933, they publicly proclaimed that a "united front of
German workers" would be formed, with Hitler as honourary
patron, at a workers' congress on the 10th May, 1933. I
quote from the next to the last paragraph of Page 2 of
Document 2224-PS, which was a release of the Nazi Party
Press Agency:

     "The National Socialist Party Press Agency is informed
     that a
                                                   [Page 61]
     great Workers' Congress will take place on Wednesday,
     10th May, in the Prussian House of Lords in Berlin. The
     United Front of German Workers will be formed there.
     Adolf Hitler will be asked to assume the position of
     Honourary Patron."

The Nazi conspirators employed the German Labour Front, the
D.A.F., as an instrument for propagandising its millions of
compulsory members with Nazi ideology. The control of the
Leadership Corps over the German Labour Front was assured
not only by the designation of Reichsleiter of the Party
Organisation Ley as head of the D.A.F., but by the
employment of a large number of `Politische Leiter,' or
Political Leaders, charged with disseminating and imposing
Nazi ideology upon the large membership of the D.A.F. I now
cite Document 2271-PS, Exhibit USA 328, which is the Party
Organisation Book referred to yesterday, Pages 185-187; and
I quote from the first page of the English translation, the
first paragraph:

     "The National Socialist Factory Cell Organisation
     (N.S.B.O.) is a union of the Political Leaders  of the
     N.S.D.A.P. in the German Labour Front.
     The N.S.B.O. is to undertake the organisation of the
     German Labour Front.
     The duties and responsibilities of the N.S.B.O. have
     passed over to the D.A.F.
     The Political Leaders  who have been transferred from
     the N.S.B.O. to the German Labour Front guarantee the
     ideological education of the D.A.F. in the spirit of
     the National Socialistic idea."

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