The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. Witness, at first you were Reich Leader of the
NSDAP; that was a Party office. Then after the seizure
of power, you then became Youth Leader of the German
Reich; that was a State office. On the basis of this
State or national office, did you also have competence
and responsibility for the school system for the
elementary schools?

                                             [Page 332]

A. For the school system in Germany, the Reich Minister
for Science, Education, and Culture was the only
authority. My competence was the education outside the
schools, along with the home and the school, as it says
in the law of 1st December, 1936. However, I had some
schools of my own, the so-called Adolf Hitler Schools,
which were not under national supervision. They were
the creation of a later period. And during the war,
when children were sent into the country - that is,
through the organization which took care of evacuating
the young people from the big cities, from the areas
endangered by bombing - I had, within the camps where
these children were housed, a competence for education.
But on the whole I have to answer the question about my
competence for the school system in Germany in the

Q. This youth which one had to educate outside the
schools was called the Hitler Youth, the HJ. Was
membership in the Hitler Youth compulsory or voluntary?

A. The membership in the Hitler Youth was voluntary
until 1936. In 1936, the law already mentioned
concerning the HJ was issued which made all the German
youth members of the HJ. The stipulations for the
carrying out of that law, however, were issued only in
March 1939, and only during the war, in May 1940, was
the thought of carrying out a German youth order
considered within the Reich Youth Leadership and
discussed publicly. May I point out that my then
deputy, Lauterbacher, at the time when I was at the
front, stated in a public meeting - I believe at
Frankfurt in 1940 - that now, after ninety-seven per
cent of the youngest age group of youth had volunteered
for the Hitler Youth, it would be necessary to draft
the remaining three per cent by a youth order.

DR. SAUTER: In this connection, Mr. President, may I
refer to two documents of the Document Book Schirach.
No. 51 -

THE PRESIDENT: I did not quite understand what the
defendant said. He said that the membership was
voluntary until 1936, that the HJ Law was then passed,
and something to the effect that the execution of the
law was not published until 1939. Was that what he

DR. SAUTER: Yes, that is correct. Until 1936 - if I may
explain that, Mr. President - membership in the Hitler
Youth was absolutely voluntary. Then in 1936 the HJ Law
was issued, which provided that boys and girls had to
belong to the Hitler Youth. But the stipulations for
its execution were issued by the defendant only in 1939
so that, in practice, until 1959 the membership was
nevertheless on a voluntary basis.

THE PRESIDENT: Is that right, defendant?

THE WITNESS: Yes, that is right.

DR. SAUTER: And these facts which I have just
presented, Mr. President, can also be seen from two
documents of the Document Book Schirach, No. 51, on
Page 91, and No. 52, on Page 92. In the latter document

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, Dr. Sauter, I accept it from
you and from the defendant. I only wanted to understand
it. You can go on.

DR. SAUTER: And in the second document, mention is also
made of the ninety-seven per cent which the defendant
has said had voluntarily joined the HJ, so that now
there were only three per cent missing. May I continue?


Q. Witness, what was the attitude of the parents of the
children on the question of whether the children should
join the HJ or not? What did the parents say?

A. There were, of course, parents who did not like to
have their children join the HJ. Whenever I made one of
my radio speeches to the parents or to the youth, many
hundreds of parents sent me letters. Among these
letters, and

                                             [Page 333]

very frequently, there were some in which the parents
voiced their objections to the HJ, or expressed their
dislike of it. I always considered that a special proof
of the confidence which the parents had in me. I should
like to say here that never, when parents restrained
their children from joining, have I exerted any
compulsion or put them under pressure of any kind. In
doing that I would have lost all the confidence placed
in me by the parents of Germany. That confidence was
the basis of my entire educational work.

I believe that on this occasion I have to say also that
the concept that any youth organization can be
established and carried on, and successfully carried
on, by coercing youth, is absolutely false.

Q. Witness, did youngsters who did not join the Hitler
Youth suffer any disadvantage for that reason?

A. Youngsters who did not join the Hitler Youth were at
a disadvantage in that they could not take part in our
camping, in our trips, in our sports meetings. They
were in a certain sense outsiders, and there a was a
danger that they might become hypochondriacs.

Q. But were there not certain professions in which
membership in the HJ was a prerequisite for working in
those professions?

A. Of course.

Q. What were the professions?

A. For instance, the profession of teacher. It is quite
clear that a teacher cannot educate youth unless he
himself knows the life of that youth, and so we
demanded that the young teachers, that is those in
training to teach, should go through the HJ. The junior
teacher had to be familiar with the ways of life of the
pupils who were under his supervision.

Q. But there were only a few such professions, whereas
for other professions membership in the HJ was not a
prerequisite for admission. Or what was the situation?

A. I cannot answer that in detail. I believe that a
discussion about that is not even possible, because the
entire youth was in the Hitler Youth.

Q. Witness, you know that the prosecution has also
accused the defendants of having advocated the Fuehrer
principle. Therefore, I ask you: Was the Fuehrer
principle also valid in the HJ, and in what form was it
carried out in the HJ? I should like to remind you, in
connection with this question, of that kind of Fuehrer
principle of which we have heard in the testimony.

A. Of course, the HJ was founded on the Fuehrer
principle; only the entire form of leadership of youth
differed basically from that of other National
Socialist organizations. For instance, we had the
custom in youth leadership of discussing frankly all
questions of interest to us. There were lively debates
at our district leader meetings. I myself educated my
assistants in a spirit even of contradiction. Of
course, once we had debated a measure and I had then
given an order or a directive, that ended the debate.
The youth leaders - that is the young boy and girl
leaders - through years of working together and serving
the common purpose, had become a unit of many
thousands. They had become friends. It is evident that
in a group of that kind the carrying out of orders and
directives takes place in ways entirely different from
those in a military organization or in any other
political organization.

Q. Witness -

A. (Interposing) May I just add one more thing?

A leadership based on natural authority such as we had
in the youth organization is something which is not
alien to youth at all. Such leadership in the youth
organization never degenerates into dictatorship.

Q. Witness, you have been accused of training youth in
a military way, and in that connection, the fact has
been pointed out that your HJ wore a uniform. Is that
correct, and why did the HJ wear a uniform?

A. I have stated my opinion about that in many
instances. I believe there are also documents to
illustrate it. I have always described the uniform of

                                             [Page 334]

HJ as the dress of comradeship. The uniform was the
symbol of a community without class distinctions. The
worker's boy wore the same garb as the son of the
university professor. The girl from the wealthy family
wore the same garb as the child of the labourer. Hence
the uniform. This uniform did not have any military
significance whatsoever.

DR. SAUTER: In that connection, Mr. President, may I
ask you to take judicial notice of Document No. 55 of
the Document Book Schirach, then of Nos. 55 and 117,
where the defendant von Schirach, many years ago,
expressed in writing the same trends of thought which
he is expressing today.

I should only like to ask, Mr. President, for
permission to correct an error in Document 55, on Page
98. Rather far down, under the heading, "Page 77," is a
quotation from a book by Schirach. There it says: "Even
the son of the millionaire has no other power - "

I do not know whether you have found the passage. It is
on Page 77 of the book quoted, and Page 98 of the
Document Book, No 55. There is a quotation near the
bottom of the page: "Even the son of the millionaire
has no other power." It should read, "dress," not
"power." The German word, "Macht," is an error, and
should be the word, "Tracht."

So I ask now to have the word, "Macht," "power,"
changed to the word "Tracht," "dress."


Q. Witness, I shall continue with the interrogation.
You have been accused of having prepared youth for the
war, psychologically and educationally. You are alleged
to have participated in a conspiracy for that purpose,
a conspiracy by which the National Socialist movement
acquired total power in Germany, and finally planned
and carried out aggressive wars.

What can you say about that?

A. I did not participate in any conspiracy. I cannot
consider it participation in a conspiracy if I joined
the National Socialist Party. The programme of that
party had been approved; it had been published. The
Party was authorized to take part in elections. Hitler
had not said - he had not said nor had any of his
assistants: "I want to assume power by a coup d'état."
Again and again in public he had stated, not once, but
a hundred times: "I want to overcome that parliamentary
system by legal means, because it is leading us, year
by year, deeper into misery." And I myself as the
youngest representative of the Reichstag of the
Republic told my 60,000 constituents similar things in
electoral campaigns.

There was nothing there which could have proved the
fact of a conspiracy, nothing which was discussed
behind closed doors. What we wanted we acknowledged
frankly before the nation, and so far as the printed
word is read around the globe, everyone abroad also
could have been informed about our aims and purposes.

As far as preparation for war is concerned, I have to
state that I did not take part in any conferences or
issuing of orders which would indicate preparation for
an aggressive war. I believe that can be seen from the
proceedings in this Court up to now.

I can only state that I did not participate in a
conspiracy. I do not believe either that there was a
conspiracy; the thought of conspiracy is in
contradiction to the idea of dictatorship. A
dictatorship does not conspire; a dictatorship

Q. Witness, what did the leadership of the Hitler Youth
do to prepare the youth for war and to train it for
warlike purposes?

A. Before I answer that question, I believe I will have
to explain briefly the difference between military and
pre-military training.

Military training, in my opinion, is training with
weapons of war, and training which is conducted by
military personnel, that is, by officers, with and

                                             [Page 335]

without weapons of war. Pre-military education -
pre-military training - is, in the widest sense,
training which comes before the time of military
service, a special preparation for military service.
We, in the Hitler Youth, were opponents of any military
drills for youth. We disliked such drills as opposed to
youth. I am not giving my personal opinion here, but
the opinion of thousands of my co-workers.

It is a fact that I rejected the "Wehrjugend," the
Youth Defence Groups, which had existed in Germany, and
did not allow any continuation of "Wehrjugend" work
within the HJ. I had always been strongly opposed to
any militarism in a youth organization. With all nay
high esteem for the profession of an officer, I still
do not consider an officer capable of leading youth,
because always, in some form or other, he will apply
the tone of the barrack square and the forms of
military leadership to youth.

That is the reason why I did not have any officers as
my assistants in the Hitler Youth. Because of my
attitude against using officers as youth leaders, I was
severely criticized by the Wehrmacht on occasion. I
should like to stress that that criticism did not come
from the OKW; Field-Marshal Keitel, especially, had a
great deal of understanding for my ideas. However, in
the Wehrmacht, now and again, criticism was heard on
account of the general attitude of opposition of the
Youth Leadership Corps towards having officers used as
leaders of a youth organization. The principle of
"youth leading youth" was never broken in Germany.

If I am now to answer definitively the question of
whether the youth was prepared for the war and whether
it was trained in a military sense, I shall have to
say, in conclusion, that the main emphasis of all youth
work in Germany was on the preparation for life in a
competitive world, in the professional schools, in
camping, and competitive sports. The physical training,
which perhaps in some way could be considered a
preparation for military service, took up only a very
small part of our time.

I should like to give an example here. A "Gebiet" or
district of the Hitler Youth, for instance the "Gebiet"
of Hessen-Nassau, which is about the same as a "Gau" in
the Party, contributed from its funds in 1939 as
follows: For hikes and camping, nine-twentieths; for
cultural work, three-twentieths; for sports and
physical training, three-twentieths; for the Land
Service (Landdienst) and other tasks and for the
offices, five-twentieths.

The same area spent, in 1944 - that is, one year before
the end of the war - for cultural work,
four-twentieths; for sports and defence training,
five-twentieths; for "Landdienst " and other tasks,
six-twentieths; and for the evacuation of children to
the country, five-twentieths.

In that connection I should like to mention briefly
that the same area, from 1936 until 1943, made no
expenditures for racial-political education; in 1944
there was an entry of twenty marks under the heading of
racial-political education for the acquisition of a
picture book about hereditary and social diseases.
However, in that same district, in one single town,
during the same time, 200,000 marks were allowed for
visits to the theatres.

The question concerning pre-military or military
education cannot be answered by me without describing
small calibre shooting practice. Small calibre firing
was a sport among the German youth. It was carried out
according to the international rules for sport
shooting. Small calibre shooting, according to Article
177 of the Treaty of Versailles, was not prohibited. It
states expressly in that article of the treaty that
hunting, sporting and hiking organizations are
forbidden to train their members in the handling and
use of war weapons. The small calibre rifle, however,
is not a war weapon. For our sport shooting we used a
rifle similar to the American 22-calibre. It was used
with the 22-calibre Flobert cartridge, short or long.

I should like to say here that our entire marksmanship
training and other so-called pre-military training can
be found in a manual entitled HJ in the Service. That
book was printed and sold not only in Germany, but also
was available abroad.

                                             [Page 336]

The British Board of Education in 1938 passed a
judgement on that book, which was in the Educational
Pamphlet, Number 109 With the permission of the
Tribunal I should like to quote briefly what was said
about it in this educational pamphlet. I quote in

  "It cannot fairly be said to be in essence a more
  militaristic work than any exhaustive and
  comprehensive manual of boy scout training would be.
  Some forty pages are, to be sure; devoted to the
  theory and practice of shooting small calibre rifles
  and air guns, but there is nothing in them to which
  exception can reasonably be taken, and the worst
  that one can say of them is that they may be
  confidently recommended to the notice of any boy
  scout wishing to qualify for his marksmanship

As to the intellectual attitude of the Hitler Youth, I
can only say that it was definitely not militaristic.

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