The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-180.06

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-19/tgmwc-19-180.06
Last-Modified: 2000/10/06

DR. SIEMERS: Continued:

Of further importance for consideration of these questions
is the fact that Schirach as a matter of principle refused
to permit young people to be trained by active army officers
or former army officers, because he considered these persons
entirely unsuitable to educate young people in that spirit
which he envisaged as the goal of his activity. Moreover,
neither Schirach nor any of his closer associates were
officers before the war, and the same holds true of the
overwhelming majority of the high or low ranking HJ leaders
subordinate to him.

All these facts are firmly established through the testimony of the defendant
Schirach himself and through depositions made by the witnesses Lauterbacher,
Gustav Hopken and Maria Hopken during their examination. For many years
these witnesses were Schirach's closest collaborators; they are thoroughly familiar
with his views and principles and they unanimously confirmed that it is entirely
out of the question to speak of a military, or even a pre-military training of the
Hitler Youth.

May I add one remark here, gentlemen?

I have just mentioned as a witness the name Lauterbacher.
The prosecution, during their cross-examination made the
attempt to impugn the credibility of the witness
Lauterbacher by asking him, during his interrogation on 27th
May, 1946, how many people he had hanged publicly, and
furthermore by charging that he had ordered that four or
five hundred prisoners from the penitentiary in Hameln
should be poisoned or executed by shooting. In this
connection the American Prosecutor has submitted seven
affidavits under Exhibit USA 874, amongst them one by a
certain Josef Kramer, who, in fact, made the assertion in
his affidavit that the witness Lauterbacher, who represented
Schirach, in his function as Gauleiter of Hanover, had given
him the order for the murder of the prisoners.

                                                   [Page 74]

During the Court's session of 27th May, 1946, I protested
against the use of that Affidavit by Kramer and I showed to
you, gentlemen, a newspaper article, according to which the
witness Kramer on 2nd May, 1946, had been condemned to seven
years' imprisonment by the court of the 5th British
division. Several days ago I submitted as evidence a report
of the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung of 6th July, 1946, which states
that the witness Hartmann Lauterbacher in the meantime had
been acquitted by the Supreme British Military Court in
Hanover. From that it can be seen that the doubts which the
prosecution cast upon the credibility of the witness
Lauterbacher and which they based on the affidavit of this
Kramer were unfounded.

May I then continue my presentation, on Page 8?

With reference to the pre-military training of the HJ it has
also been repeatedly emphasized in rebuttal that the Hitler
Youth wore a uniform. That is correct, but it proves
nothing. For the youth organizations of other countries,
too, are accustomed, as is known, to wear some sort of a
uniform, without anybody for this reason terming them
military or semi-military organizations, and Schirach and
several of his associates have informed me that in many
democratic countries, which certainly do not contemplate
war, much less a war of aggression, the male youth is
trained in handling actual military weapons and that every
year contests are held in shooting with military rifles.

Why was it that Schirach introduced a uniform for the Hitler
Youth, and indeed not only for the boys but also for the
girls? We have heard the answer to this from several
witnesses. Schirach, I may quote here, saw in the uniform of
the boys and in the uniform costume of the girls the "dress
of socialism", the "dress of comradeship". Schirach wrote
that the child of the rich industrialist was to wear the
same clothes as the child of the miner, the son of the
millionaire the same clothes as the son of an unemployed
man. The uniform of the Hitler Youth was to be, as Schirach
already wrote in 1934 in his book The Hitler Youth, the
expression of an attitude, which did not inquire as to class
and property, but only as to effort and achievement. The
uniform of the Hitler Youth was for Schirach, as expressed
further in this same book of his, "not the sign of any
militarism, but the emblem of the idea of the Hitler Youth,
namely the idea of the classless society", in the spirit of
the election slogan which he gave the Hitler Youth in 1933:
"Through Socialism to the Nation". Schirach remained
faithful to the principle expressed in the quotations as
long as he was Youth Leader. Thus he wrote in the official
publication of the Hitler Youth in 1937:

  "The uniform is not the expression of a martial attitude,
  but the dress of comradeship; it extinguishes class
  difference and again makes the child of the most
  insignificant worker socially acceptable today; the young
  generation in our new Germany must be united in an
  indissoluble community."

Schirach had this comradeship and this Socialism in mind
when, in 1934, he described, in his book The Hitler Youth,
his idea of this Socialism, and I quote again:

  "Socialism does not mean to take the fruits of his work
  away from someone in order to give everybody something
  produced by the work of one. Everyone is to work, but
  everyone is also to reap the fruits of his work. Also one
  person will not be allowed to get rich through the
  suffering and want of thousands of others. Whoever
  exploits his workers and spoliates the community in order
  to fill his cash-box is an enemy of the German people."

That ends the quotation describing the attitude of von
Schirach at that time.

Schirach has pointed out again and again in his numerous
writings, articles and speeches, which have been collected
in the document book and have been submitted to the
Tribunal, that, to use his expression, he did not desire any
"pseudo-military drill which would only spoil the joy of the
young people in the movement".

                                                   [Page 75]

The training of the young people in shooting with small
calibre rifles was part of the training in all sports
activities and corresponded to the inclination of the male
youth, which is particularly interested in the sport of
shooting in all countries. But this training played a very
minor role in volume and importance as compared with the
greater aims which Schirach pursued in the Hitler Youth
movement, and about which not only Schirach but the examined
witnesses give as clear a testimony as expressed in the
writings and speeches of the defendant. These aims of the
Hitler Youth education are to be listed here briefly as they
have been demonstrated by the presentation of evidence;
Schirach is naturally not being accused in connection with
these other aims of the Hitler Youth education, but one must
consider and evaluate them nevertheless if one is to obtain
a total picture of his personality, his activity and his

Apart from the already mentioned education of youth in terms
of comradeship and of Socialism in the sense of overcoming
class distinction, Schirach had, as he explained here,
primarily four aims in mind:

First the training of youth in the various types of sports
and in connection with it the hygienic care of youth, which
branch of youth education occupied a very large part of the
training of the Hitler Youth, and the fact that German youth
obtained unexpectedly such great success at the Olympic
Games in 1936 was to a certain degree due to the activity of
the Hitler Youth leadership in co-operation with the sports
leader of the Reich, von Tschammer and Osten.

Another aim was the further professional training and
advancement of the working youth and the improvement of the
position of adolescent wage-earners through youth
legislation, particularly by prohibition of night work, by
reducing working hours, by granting paid vacations, by
prohibition of child labour, by raising the protected age of
adolescents, etc. Vocational advanced training was promoted
so vigorously that finally over one million boys and girls
entered professional competitions annually, and from year to
year the average standard of achievement rose very

A third primary aim of youth education was the promotion of
love of nature through hiking trips. Thousands of youth
hostels were built in the course of those years on
Schirach's initiative, namely through the Hitler Youth
movement's own funds, in order to get the young people out
of the large cities with their temptations and vices and
return them to rural life, to show them the beauties of the
homeland and also to give a country holiday to even the
poorest child.

But Schirach dedicated his greatest attention to a fourth
goal of youth education namely, co-operation with the youth
of other nations, and this activity especially is a
particularly suitable test of the question whether one can
accuse the defendant von Schirach of having taken part in
the planning of wars of aggression and of having committed
crimes against the peace. Schirach has told us here on the
witness stand that again and again, in summer and in winter
of every year, foreign youth groups were the guests of the
German youth. It is shown by the documents in von Schirach's
document book, for instance, that already in the year 1936,
no less than 200,000 foreign youths stayed in German youth
hostels, and, vice versa, year after year German youth
delegations went abroad, especially to England and France,
in order to enable young people to get acquainted with and
to learn respect for each other. Those very endeavours of
Schirach, which would be absolutely incompatible with the
intention to prepare wars of aggression, received unreserved
recognition abroad before the war. In one of the special
numbers of the Hitler Youth magazine Wille and Macht (Will
and Power) of 1937, dedicated to this task of understanding,
which was also published in French and circulated very
widely in France and which is quoted here only as an
example, the French Prime Minister Chautemps - I have the
evidence in the document book - declared his willingness, as
chief of the French Government, to promote these peaceful

                                                   [Page 76]

  "I wish," he wrote, "that the young men of both nations
  could live every year side by side by the thousand and in
  this way learn to know, to understand and to respect each

And further:

  "Our two nations know that an understanding between them
  would be one of the most valuable factors for world
  peace; therefore it is the duty of all those on both
  sides of the frontier who have a clear view and human
  feeling to work for the understanding  and rapprochement
  of both nations. But no one could do it more sincerely
  and more enthusiastically than the leaders of our
  wonderful youth, of the French and of the German youth.
  If they could understand how to unite this youth, they
  would hold in their hands the future of European and
  human culture."

The mayor of Versailles of that time wrote in the same
spirit to Schirach, ending his appeal in the monthly organ
of the Hitler Youth with the words:

  "The education of youth in this spirit is one of the most
  important tasks of the politicians of both our

The French Ambassador Francois Poncet recognized Schirach's
efforts no less heartily in the same publication under the
title "Youth as a Bridge" and concluded his lengthy article
with the words:

  "French participation enriches German soil. German
  influence fertilises the French spirit .... May this
  exchange develop further. May also the generations which
  will at some time benefit from it contribute to bringing
  the two halves of Charlemagne's empire closer and to
  create between them those relations of mutual respect,
  harmony and of good comradeship for which both nations
  are deeply longing, because their instinct tells them
  that the welfare of European culture depends on it and
  because they know for certain when they look into
  themselves that they have many more reasons to respect
  and admire each other than to hate each other."

And Schirach himself answered in the next issue of his
monthly publication, which also appeared in French, with an
enthusiastic article under the title "Salute to France". In
it he writes for instance:

  "The rapprochement of our two peoples is a European task
  of such urgent necessity that youth has no time to lose
  in order to work for its achievement." Schirach
  continues: "Youth is the best ambassador of the world; it
  is disinterested, frank and without the eternal distrust
  of which diplomats can frequently not be cured because to
  a certain extent it is their professional disease.
  However, there must be no propagandistic intentions
  hidden behind youth exchange." And he concludes: "I
  consider it now my task to bring about an exchange of
  views between German and French youth, which must not, on
  the German side, consist of nice statements from me, but
  of many personal conversations of thousands of young
  Germans with just as many young Frenchmen. One must
  believe in youth because it, above all, can carry out a
  true understanding."

At the end Schirach calls attention to the fact that all
higher youth leaders of the German youth movement had a
short time previously expressed their respect, in the name
of the young generation of Germany, to the French Unknown
Soldier by placing a wreath under the Arc de Triomphe, and
he concludes with the words:

  "The dead of the great war died while carrying out their
  patriotic duty and nobly devoting themselves to the ideal
  of liberty, but Germans as well as French were always
  full of respect for the gallant foe. If the dead
  respected each other, then the living should try to shake
  hands. If the returned combat veterans of both nations
  could become comrades, why should the sons and grandsons
  not become friends?"

These, gentlemen of the Tribunal, are the words of the same
Baldur von Schirach whom the prosecution tries to brand as a
deliberate partner in a Hitlerian conspiracy for war. The
prosecution wants to make a war criminal out of this

                                                   [Page 77]

untiring prophet of international understanding and of
peace, who is charged with having militarised youth and
prepared it bodily and psychologically for wars of
aggression and of having worked against the peace. So far,
the prosecution has not been able to furnish evidence to
this effect.

Schirach has written various doctrinal books for youth,
which were used against him in the Trial Brief; he had
published a quantity of essays on the most varied problems
of youth education; his innumerable speeches, addressed to
youth, have been published; his orders and instructions to
youth are available to you and the prosecution in collected
form. It must, however, be conceded that amongst all these
documents which contain his utterances made during the time
when he was active as Reich Youth Leader, not a single item
is to be found in which he made inflammatory remarks in
favour of war or preached attacks against other countries.

The prosecution has stated in this very connection that he
has referred to "Lebensraum" in his book The Hitler Youth
which I have repeatedly referred to and by so doing adopted
as his own a slogan of the Hitlerite policy of aggression.
This claim is incorrect, for the whole book The Hitler Youth
does not, any more than any other speech and writing of
Schirach, contain this word at all. True, he has referred at
two points to "Eastern Space", in his book The Hitler Youth
published in 1936, but he quite obviously did not by this
term in any way refer to Polish or Soviet-Russian
territories, but to the Eastern provinces of the former
German Empire, that is to say, to territories which formerly
belonged to Germany but were known to be very thinly
populated and well suited for the settlement of German
surplus population.

Nowhere has Schirach, as I may state in conclusion with
regard to this topic, at any time up to the outbreak of the
Second World War expressed the idea that he might wish
Germany to conquer foreign territories; neither has he ever
uttered the odious slogans of the German "Master Race" or
the "Sub-humanity" of other nations; on the contrary, he
always was in favour of the preservation of peace with the
neighbouring nations and always favoured the peaceful
settlement of any conflicts that cropped up out of
inevitable clashes of interests. Gentlemen of the Tribunal,
had Hitler possessed but a fraction of the love of peace
which his Youth Leader preached time and again, then perhaps
this war would have been spared us Germans and the whole

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 18th July, at 1000 hours.)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.