The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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FRIDAY, 12th JULY, 1946

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn today at 4 o'clock.

Dr. Marx?

DR. HANNS MARX (counsel for defendant Streicher):

Mr. President, with the permission of the Tribunal I shall
now continue with the presentation of the final plea for the
defendant Streicher.

Yesterday I had come to the point where the individual
accusations against Streicher had been summarised, and I had
taken the liberty of explaining that these accusations are
subdivided into three different paragraphs:

1. Support of seizure of power and consolidation of the
power of the NSDAP after its entry into the Government.

2. Preparation of aggressive wars by propaganda aimed at the
persecution of the Jews.

3. Intellectual and spiritual preparation and education of
the German people and German youth to effect the destruction
of Jewry and to encourage hatred of the Jews.

As regards Count 1 of the Indictment, the defendant does not
deny that as regards the Party's later seizure of power he
supported and promoted it with all his might from the very
beginning. His support went to the extent of a whole
movement which he had built up personally in Franconia, and
which he put at the disposal of Adolf Hitler's Party, which
was quite small after the First World War and limited to
Southern Bavaria only. Furthermore, after Hitler's release
from the fortress of Landsberg he immediately joined him
again and subsequently championed his ideas and aims with
the greatest determination.

Until 1933, the defendant's activity was limited to
propaganda for the NSDAP and its aims, particularly in the
field of the Jewish question.

There is nothing criminal to be seen in this attitude of the
defendant as such. The participation in a party within a
State, which allows such an opposition party, can be
regarded as criminal only if, first of all, the aims of such
a party are objectively criminal, and if, subjectively, a
member of such a movement knows, approves of, and thereby
supports these criminal aims.

The foundation of the entire charges against all the
defendants lies in this very fact, that the NSDAP is accused
of having had criminal aims from the very beginning.
According to the assertion of the prosecution, the members
of this Party started out with the plan of subjugating the
world, of annihilating foreign races, and of setting the
German master-race above the whole world. They are accused
of having harboured the will to carry out these aims and
plans from the very outset by means of aggressive wars,
murder and violence.

If, therefore, defendant Streicher's mere participation in
the NSDAP and his support of it are to be ascribed to him as
a crime, it must be proved that the Party had such plans and
that the defendant knew and approved of them. The gentlemen
who spoke before me have already demonstrated sufficiently
that such a conspiracy with such aims did not exist.
Therefore I can save myself the trouble of making further
statements on this subject and I can refer to what has
already been set forth by the other defence counsel. I have
only to deal with the point; that the defendant Streicher
did not in any case participate in such a conspiracy, if the
latter should be considered by the High Tribunal to have

                                                  [Page 319]

The official Party programme strove to attain power in a
legitimate way. The aims advocated therein cannot be
considered as criminal. Thus, if such aims did actually
exist, they could only - given the nature of a conspiracy -
be known in a restricted circle.

The Party programme was not kept secret, but was announced
at a public meeting in Munich, so that not only the whole
public of Germany but also that of the entire world could be
informed about the aims of the Party.

Therefore, there is an absence of that momentum given by the
secret agreement in a common aim, which is usually the
characteristic sign of a conspiracy.

The evidence, too, has shown nothing to the effect that at
that time already there existed a plan for a war of revenge
or aggression, connected with the previous or simultaneous
extermination of the Jews. If nevertheless a conspiracy
should have existed, the latter would have confined itself
to the narrow circle which revolved exclusively around
Hitler. But the defendant Streicher did not belong to that
circle. None of the offices he occupied provides the least
proof of that. As an old Party Member he was just one among
many thousands. As honorary Gauleiter, as honorary SA
Obergruppenfuehrer, he was also only an equal among equals.
Thus one cannot find in any of the offices he held any link
or complicity with the innermost circle of the Party. It is
also impossible to discern after the end of 1938 any
personal relations with the leading men of the movement,
either with Hitler himself, or with the defendant Goering,
or with Goebbels, Himmler or Bormann.

The prosecution did not offer any evidence on this point,
nor did the proceedings produce any proof to that effect. Of
all the material presented during all these months of the
Trial, nothing can be taken as even a shadow of proof that
the defendant Streicher was so closely connected with the
authority of the Party that he could have or even must have
known its ultimate aims.

Also in the Jewish question the final aims of the Party -
the effects of which were manifest in the concentration
camps - had not been formulated and fixed the way they
appeared in the end, neither before the seizure of power nor
several years after. The Party programme itself provided for
Jews to be placed under an aliens' law, and so laws issued
in the Third Reich also followed this line. Only later on,
it can be said here, the programme in this as in many other
points became more harsh and finally somersaulted
altogether, under the influence of war. But any proof that
the defendant Streicher knew of other aims than those of the
official Party programme has not been offered.

Consequently it has not been proved that the defendant
supported the seizure of power of the Party being aware of
its criminal aims, and only on such a basis could a criminal
charge be brought against him.

The fact that the defendant, as Gauleiter, further
endeavoured to increase and maintain the power of the Party
after the seizure of power, is not disputed by him. But
here, too, the defendant's conduct can only be considered
punishable if he knew at that time the objectionable aims of
the Party.

As a matter of actual fact it must be said here that the
defendant Streicher, in contrast to almost all the other
defendants, did not remain in his position until the end,
not even until the war. Officially he was dismissed in 1940
from his position of Gauleiter, but actually and practically
he had been without any influence and power for more than a
year before that time. But while he could still work within
the modest framework of his capacity of Gauleiter, no
criminal plans of the NSDAP were recognizable. In any case
not as regards anybody who, like the defendant Streicher,
was outside the close circle surrounding Adolf Hitler.

Count II of the Indictment, brought against the defendant
Streicher, namely the persecution of Jews as a means of
preparation for a war of aggression, can be included here.
Up to 1937 the existence of a plan for a war of aggression
was in no way recognizable. In any case, if Hitler had had
any intention in that direction, he did not allow it to be
recognized from the outside. If, however, anybody had, been
taken into his confidence at that time, it would have been
the leading men in

                                                  [Page 320]

politics and the Wehrmacht, who belonged to the closest
circle around him. To those, however, the defendant
Streicher by no means belonged. It is especially significant
here that at the outbreak of the war Streicher was not even
appointed Wehrkreiskommissar (Commissioner of military
administrative HQ) of his Gau. The individual conferences,
from which the prosecution derives the evidence for the
planning of the war which broke out later, did not see the
defendant Streicher taking part in any case. His name does
not appear anywhere, neither in any written decree, nor in
any protocol. Consequently no proof has been offered that
Streicher knew of such alleged plans for waging war.

This does away with the accusation that he preached hatred
against the Jews in order to facilitate thereby the conduct
of the war planned for some later time.

In this connection the following must be said:

One of the main points in the programme of the NSDAP was the
cry: "Away with Versailles." The defendant adopted this
point of the programme which, however, does not mean that he
planned to do away with the Treaty by means of war.

Even the former German democratic governments, in the course
of their negotiations with their former opponents in the
world war, stressed the fact at all times that the
Versailles Treaty presented no proper basis for a permanent
world peace and particularly for an economic adjustment. Not
only in Germany but everywhere in the rest of the world,
clear thinking economic circles were against the Versailles
Treaty. We may point especially to the United States of
America as an example of this.

Almost all the German political parties in Germany,
irrespective of their other aims, agreed that the Treaty of
Versailles should be revised. Neither was there any
contention that such revision was possible only on the basis
of a new agreement. Even to consider any other possibility
of solution would seem Utopian for the German Reich lacked
all military power. The NSDAP also strove, at any rate as
far as could be seen from outward signs, to find a solution
to the problem in this way. The supporting of such an aim,
however, cannot be looked upon as a violation of treaty
obligations, and therefore cannot be made the object of a
charge against the defendant. No proof has been offered that
he thought of warlike complications or that he desired them.
I now come to the matter of the defendant's attitude in the
Jewish question. He is accused of having incited and
instigated through decades the persecution of the Jews, and
of being responsible for the final extermination of Europe's

It is clear that this accusation constitutes the decisive
point of the Indictment against Julius Streicher and perhaps
the decisive point of the total Indictment, for in this
connection the attitude of the German people to this
question must be tried and judged as well. The prosecution
takes the point of view that there is just as little doubt
as to the responsibility of the defendant as there is doubt
about the guilt in which the German people are involved. As
evidence of this the prosecution put forward:

(a) The speeches by Streicher before and after the seizure
of power, particularly one speech in April, 1925, in which
he spoke about the extermination of the Jews. In the
Prosecutor's opinion, herein is the first evidence to be
seen regarding the final solution of the Jewish question
planned by the Party, namely the extermination of all Jews.

(b) Active rise of the person and authority of the
defendant, namely on the "Boycott Day" on 1st April, 1933.

(c) Numerous articles published in the weekly paper, Der
Sturmer, among theta especially those dealing with ritual
murder and with quotations from the Talmud. He is said to
have knowingly and intentionally described therein the Jews
as a criminal and inferior race, and created and wished to
create hatred of these people and the wish to exterminate
them. The defendant's reply to these points is as follows:

He states that he worked merely as a private writer.

                                                  [Page 321]

His aim was to enlighten the German people on the Jewish
question, as he saw it. His description of the Jews was
merely intended to show them as a different and a foreign
race and to make it clear that they live according to laws
which are alien to the German conception. It was far from
his intention to incite or inflame his circle of listeners
and readers. Moreover, he always only propagated the idea
that the Jews, because of their alien character, should be
removed from German national and economic life and withdrawn
from the close association with the body of the German

Further, he always had in mind an international solution of
the Jewish question; he looked on a German or even European
partial solution as worthless, and rejected it. So it was in
this way that he suggested in an editorial in Der Sturmer in
the year 1941 that the French island of Madagascar should be
considered as a place of settlement for the Jews.
Consequently, he did not see the final solution of the
Jewish question in the physical extermination of the Jews,
but in their resettlement.

It cannot be the aim of the defence to go into further
details of the defendant's actions as journalist and
speaker, particularly with regard to Der Sturmer and his
reply to the accusations raised against him. His ideology
and convictions shall likewise remain unexplained, unexcused
and undefended, as also his manner of writing and speaking.
Examination and judgement in this respect rest with the
Tribunal alone. That much only may be said, that between the
defendant's actions and the expressions frequently employed
by him there is an antithesis which cannot be bridged over.
It can be stated that the defendant never let coercive
measures be used against the Jewish population, as might
necessarily be expected of him if the accusations made by
the prosecution were true.

I consider it my duty as defence counsel to examine and lay
open the question as to whether the defendant Streicher with
his speeches, his actions, and with his publications, not
only strove for the success as claimed by the prosecution,
but actually attained it.

Next, therefore, the question should be examined as to
whether Streicher actually educated the German people to a
degree of anti-Semitism which made it possible for the
leadership of the German nation to commit such criminal acts
as actually occurred.

Furthermore, it must be examined whether the defendant
filled German youth with hatred against the Jews to the
extent that is charged by the prosecution.

Finally, the question must be examined whether Streicher
actually was the man who spiritually and morally prepared
for their deeds the executive organs for the persecution of
the Jews.

At the beginning of this exposition it seems important to
point out that a great many of Der Sturmer articles, from
which the prosecution endeavours to deduce an incitement to
stamp out and annihilate the Jews, were not written by
Streicher himself, but by his collaborators, especially by
the deputy Gauleiter Karl Holz, who was well known for his
extremely radical tendencies.

Even though the defendant Streicher bears formal
responsibility for these articles, which responsibility he
expressly assumed before the Tribunal, this point of view
nevertheless appears very important for the extent of his
criminal responsibility.

Further, it may be said in this connection that, according
to the unrefuted statement of the defendant, the most biting
articles were written in reply to articles and writings in
the foreign Press, which contained very radical suggestions
for the destruction of the German nation - also, no doubt,
due to the existing war psychosis.

The defendant Streicher - it cannot be denied and shall not
be defended - continually wrote articles in Der Sturmer and
also made speeches in public which were strongly anti-Jewish
and which at least aimed at the elimination of Jewish
influence in Germany.

During the first years Streicher found a comparatively
favourable soil for his anti-Jewish tendencies. The First
World War finished with Germany's defeat, but wide circles
did not wish to admit the fact of a military victory of

                                                  [Page 322]

opponents of that time. They attributed this defeat
exclusively to a breaking down of the national will of
defence and resistance from within, and depicted Jewry as
being the main culprit for this inner undermining. In doing
this they intentionally overlooked the errors which had been
committed by the Government of that time before and during
the war with respect to domestic and foreign policy, as well
as the errors of strategy.

A scapegoat was sought on which to lay the blame for the
loss of the war and it was thought to have been found in the
Jews. Jealousy, envy, and also disregard of their own
shortcomings accomplished the rest in influencing feelings
unfavourably towards the Jewish population. In addition to
that came the inflation and, in the following years, the
economic depression with its steadily increasing misery,
which, as experience shows, makes any nation ripe for any
form of radicalism.

On this ground and from these surroundings Der Sturmer
arose. For these reasons it met at first with a certain
amount of interest and attracted a considerable number of
readers. But even in the last years before the seizure of
power it did not have great influence. Its distribution
hardly went beyond Nuremberg and its close vicinity. By
means of attacks on persons known locally in Nuremberg and
in other places, it managed to arouse in these localities
from time to time a certain amount of interest and thereby
to extend its circle of readers. Certain parts of the
population were interested in the propagation of such
scandal and for that reason subscribed to Der Sturmer.

But a criminal mode of action can only be seen here - and
this is probably the opinion of the prosecution also - if
this type of literary and oral activity led to criminal
results. Now was the German nation really filled with hatred
for the Jews, by Der Sturmer and by Streicher's speeches, in
the sense and to the extent asserted by the prosecution?

The prosecution produced the evidence on this point in a
very brief manner. It draws conclusions but it has not
produced actual evidence. It draws conclusions but cannot
produce actual evidence in support.

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