The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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By DR. HANNS MARX, Continued:

Many of the leading anti-Semites considered the Jewish
question as settled after the laws of 1935   had been
passed. The defendant Streicher shared this opinion. The
stiffening of Hitler's attitude to the Jewish question
cannot be traced back beyond the end of 1938 or the
beginning of 1939. Only then did it become apparent that in
case of war - which he believed was propagated by the Jews -
he was planning a different solution.

In his Reichstag speech on 30th January, 1939, he predicted
the extermination of Jewry should a Second World War be let
loose against Germany.

He expressed the same ideas in a speech made in February,
1942, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the
day on which the Party was founded. And, finally, his
testament, too, confirms his exclusive responsibility for
the murdering of European Jewry as a whole.

Though Hitler had adopted a more implacable attitude to the
Jewish question ever since the beginning of the war, there
is nothing to show that he visualised the extermination of
the Jews in the early stages of the war. His final
resolution to this effect was undoubtedly formed when,
probably as early as 1942, he saw that it was impossible to
secure a victory for Germany.

It can be assumed almost with certainty that the decision to
exterminate the Jews originated - as did almost all of
Hitler's plans - exclusively with himself. It cannot be
ascertained with certainty how far others who were closely
attached to Hitler brought their influence to bear on him.
If such influence did exist, it can only have come from
Himmler, Bormann and Goebbels. It can at least be stated
beyond any doubt that, during the decisive period from
September, 1939, to October,

                                                  [Page 332]

1942, Streicher neither influenced nor, in the
circumstances, could have influenced e him. At that time
Streicher was living - deprived of all his offices and
completely left in the cold - at his farm at Pleickershof.
He had no connection with Hitler either personally or by
correspondence. This has been proved beyond all doubt by the
statements made by the witnesses Fritz Herrwerth and Adele
Streicher and by the statement under oath of the defendant

It cannot, however, be maintained in earnest that his
reading of Der Sturmer induced Hitler to give orders for
wholesale murder.

From this it is clear that the defendant Streicher had no
influence at all on the man who made the decision to
exterminate Jewry or on the orders issued by him.

In October, 1942, Bormann's decree ordering the
extermination of Jewry was issued (Document PS-3244). It has
been established beyond all question that this order came
from Hitler and went to Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich Himmler,
who was charged with the actual extermination of the Jews.

He, for his part, charged Chief of the Gestapo Muller and
his commissioner for Jewish Affairs Eichmann with the final
execution of the order. These three men are the three who
are chiefly responsible, next to Hitler.

It has not been proved that Streicher had any possibility of
influencing theme or that he did actually influence them. He
states - and the contrary cannot be proved - that he never
knew either Eichmann or Muller, and that his relations with
Himmler were slight and far from friendly.

It is necessary only to mention the fact that Himmler was
one of the most radical anti-Semites of the Party. From the
beginning he had advocated a merciless fight against the
Jews; and he was, moreover, judging by what we know of him,
not the man to allow himself to be influenced by others in
matters of principle. Apart from that, however, a comparison
of the two personalities shows that Himmler was in every way
the stronger man of the two, so that for this reason alone
the exertion of any influence by the defendant Streicher on
Himmler may be ruled out.

I believe I may refrain from further illustration of this

I now come to the question of whether the activity of the
defendant Streicher had a decisive influence on the men who
actually carried out the orders; that is, on members of
special purpose groups (Einsatzgruppen) on the one hand and
on the executive commandos in the concentration camps on the
other; and whether any spiritual and intellectual
preparation was necessary to make these men willing to
execute such measures.

In his speeches in Nikolajew, Posen and Charkow - which have
often been mentioned here - the Reichsfuehrer SS stated
unequivocally not only that he, with Hitler, was responsible
for the final solution of the Jewish question, but also that
the execution of the orders was only made possible by the
employment of forces which he himself had selected from
among the SS.

We know from Ohlendorf's testimony that the so-called
Einsatzgruppen consisted of members of the Gestapo and the
SD, companies of the Waffen SS, members of the police force
with long service records, and natives.

It must be stated as a matter of principle that the
defendant Streicher never had the slightest influence on the
ideological attitude of the SS. The extensive evidentiary
material of this trial contains no shadow of proof that
Streicher had any connections with the SS. The alleged enemy
No. 1 of the Jews, the great propagandist of the persecution
of the Jews - as he has been pictured by the prosecution -
the defendant Streicher never had the opportunity of writing
for the periodical Das Schwarze Korps (The Black Corps) or
even for SS Leithefte (SS Guide Magazine). These periodicals
alone, however, as the official mouthpieces of the
Reichsfuehrer SS, determined the ideological attitude of the
SS. These SS periodicals determined their attitude toward
the Jewish question. In these circles Der Sturmer had just
as small a public; it was rejected, just as it was in other
circles. Himmler himself rejected Streicher ironically as an
ideologist. Therefore, the defendant Streicher could not
have had any influence on the ideology of

                                                  [Page 333]

the SS members of the Einsatzgruppen, much less on the old
members of the police, and least of all on the foreign
units. Nor could he dictate the ideology of the execution
squads in the concentration camps. Those men originated for
the most part from the Totenkopfverbande (Death's Head
Units), that is, the old guard units, of whom the above
statement is true in a greater degree. Added to this is the
fact that the experienced members of the police, as well as
the SS men with long service records, were trained in
absolute obedience to their leaders. Absolute obedience to a
Fuehrer command was a matter of course for both.

Even those experienced policemen, however, accustomed as
they were to, absolute obedience, even the experienced SS -
could not simply be charged by Himmler with carrying out the
executions of the Jews. Himmler had rather to select men
whom he trusted to lead these execution squads and to make
them, personally responsible for their assignments, pointing
out explicitly that he would, take all responsibility and
that he himself was only passing on a definite order from

Even these men, who the prosecution alleges to have been the
elite of Nazism, were so far from becoming enemies of the
Jews in the meaning of the Indictment that the entire
authority of the head of State and the Fuehrer, and of his
most brutal follower, Himmler, was required to force upon
the men responsible for carrying out the execution orders
the conviction that their order was based on the will of the
authoritarian head of the State; an order which, according
to their conviction, had the power of a fundamental State
law and therefore was above all criticism.

The men charged to carry out the annihilation, therefore,
obeyed their orders, not for ideological reasons and not
because they were incited to do so by Streicher, as the
prosecution contends, but solely in obedience to an order
from Hitler transmitted to them through Himmler, and knowing
that disobedience to a Fuehrer order, meant death.

In this respect, too, therefore, Streicher's influence has
not been proved.

The accusations brought against the defendant by the
prosecution are herewith exhausted. But, in order to reach a
conclusion and to form a judgement of the defendant which
will take the actual findings fully into account; it seems
advisable to give once more a short account of his
personality and his activities under the Hitler regime.

The prosecution considers him to be the leading anti-Semite
and the leading advocate of a ruthless determination to
annihilate Jewry.

This conception, however, does justice neither to the part
played by the defendant and the influence actually exercised
by him nor to his personality. The manner of the defendant's
employment in the Third Reich and the way in which he was
called upon to co-operate in the propagation and final
solution of the Jewish question shows the prosecution's
conception to be false. The only occasion on which the
defendant was called upon to take an active part in the
fight against Jewry was in his capacity as chairman of the
action committee for the Anti-Jewish. Boycott Day on 1st
April, 1933. His attitude on that day is in direct
opposition to his violent utterances in Der Sturmer and
makes it evident that the passages in his paper which have
been attacked were pure propaganda. Although on that day he
could have used the whole power of State and Party against
Jewry, he was content to order that Jewish places of
business be marked as such and put under guard. In addition,
he gave explicit instructions that any molestation of the
Jews or acts of violence committed on them, or any damage
done to Jewish property, was forbidden and would be
punished. In the later stages no further use at all was made
of the defendant. He was not even consulted on the
ideological basis, for the settlement of the Jewish
question. He was unable to voice his ideas in the Press or
over the air. He was not asked to write on the clarification
of the Jewish question, either in the training letters
(Schulungsbriefen) of the Party or the periodicals belonging
to the organizations.

Not he but the defendant Rosenberg was charged by Hitler
with the ideological. training of the German people.
Rosenberg was responsible for the Institute for

                                                  [Page 334]

Research into the Jewish Question, set up in Frankfurt, and
not the defendant. Streicher, who was, in fact, not even
considered as a collaborator in this Institute. The
defendant Rosenberg was commissioned with the arrangement of
an anti-Jewish world congress in 1944. It is true that this
assembly did not take place, but it is significant that the
plans made for it did not include the participation of the
defendant Streicher.

The whole of the anti-Jewish laws and decrees of the Third
Reich were drafted without his participation. He was not
even called in to draft the racial laws  proclaimed at the
Party rally in Nuremberg in 1935. The defendant Streicher
did not take part in a single conference on even moderately
important questions in either peace or war time. His name
does not appear on any list of participants or any protocol.
Not even in the course of the discussions themselves is one
single reference made to his name.

The fight against Jewry in the Third Reich grew more and
more rigorous from year to year, especially after the
outbreak of war and during its course. In contrast to this,
however, the influence of the defendant Streicher grew
yearly weaker. Even in 1939 he was almost entirely pushed
aside, had no relations with Hitler or other leading men of
State and Party. In 1940, he was relieved of his office as
Gau-leader and after that he played no further part in
political life.

If the defendant Streicher had really been the man the
prosecution believes him to be, his influence and his
activity would have increased automatically with the
intensification of the fight against the Jews. His career
would not have ended, as it actually did, in political
impotency and banishment from the scene of action, but with
the commission to carry out the destruction of Jewry.

It cannot be denied that by writing ad nauseam on the same
subject for years in a clumsy, crude and violent manner, the
defendant Streicher has brought upon himself the hatred of
the world. By so doing, he has created a strong feeling
against himself which led to his importance and influence
being rated far higher than they actually were, and which
now involves him in the danger that the extent of his
responsibility will be similarly misjudged.

The defence counsel, who in this case had a difficult and
thankless task, had to, limit himself to presenting those
aspects and facts which allow the true significance of this
man and the role he played in the tragedy of National
Socialism to be recognized. But it cannot be the task of the
defence to deny indisputable facts and to defend acts for
which absolutely no excuse exists.

The fact remains, therefore, that this defendant took part
in the demolition of the Main Synagogue of Nuremberg and
thus allowed a place of religious worship to be destroyed.

The defendant states as an excuse that his aim in so doing
was not the demolition of a building meant for religious
worship, but the removal of an edifice which appeared out of
place in the Old Town of Nuremberg, and that his opinion had
been shared by art experts. The truth of this is proved by
the fact that he left the second Jewish house of worship
untouched until it finally, and without his connivance, went
up in flames during the night of 9th to 10th November.
However that may be, the defendant shows the same lack of
scruple here as he does in his other actions. He alone must
account here for his actions in this connection; the defence
cannot shield him. But here, too, the fact that the
population of Nuremberg disapproved of these actions clearly
and unmistakably must be stressed. It was clear to any
impartial observer that the people viewed such actions with
icy coldness and that only brute force could compel them to
tolerate such measures and to look on at such senseless

It is just as impossible for the defence to express any
opinion on the revival of the ritual murder myth. No
interest whatsoever was taken in these articles; but their
tendency is clear. The only point in the defendant's favour,
apart from the good faith with which we must credit him, is
the fact that the author of these articles was not himself
but Holz; he must, however, admit the charge against him
that he allowed it to happen.

                                                  [Page 335]

It must appear incomprehensible that the defendant continued
to play a part in the publication of Der Sturmer long after
he had been politically crippled and vanished from the scene
of action. This very fact reveals his one-track mind better
than anything else.

When the prosecution accuses the defendant of having aimed
at the physical annihilation of the Jews and prepared the
way for this later result by means of his publications, I
would like to refer to the statements made by the defendant
under oath at his interrogation to which I am here referring
in their entirety.

The defendant claims that in the long series of articles
published by Der Sturmer since its foundation there were
none demanding actual deeds of violence against the Jews. He
also claims that among the issues, of which there were over
a thousand, only about fifteen were found to contain
expressions which could form the basis for a charge against
him in the meaning of the Indictment.

On the contrary, the defendant argued that his articles and
speeches had always shown an unmistakable tendency to
achieve a solution of the Jewish problem in its entirety,
since any kind of partial solution would serve no useful
purpose and did not reach the heart of the problem. Even
from this point of view, he had always expressed himself
unequivocally as opposed to any kind of violence, and he
would never have approved of an action as that finally
carried out by Hitler in such a gruesome manner.

This must raise serious doubts as to whether the defendant
can be proved to have agreed with the mass murders practised
on Jewry, and I leave this decision to the Tribunal. In any
case, he himself refers to the fact that he had no
reasonably certain knowledge of these wholesale murders
until 1944, a fact corroborated by the statements of the
witnesses Adele Streicher and Hiemer.

He considered the articles published in the Israelitisches
Wochenblatt as propaganda and consequently did not believe
them. In this connection, the fact that up to the autumn of
1943 he did not in any article express satisfaction
concerning the fate of Jewry in the East is in his favour.
Although he wrote then on the disappearance of the Jewish
reservoir in the East, there is nothing to show that he had
any reliable source of information at his command. He might,
therefore, very well have believed that this process of
disappearance was not identical with physical annihilation
but might represent the evacuation of the Jewish population
assembled there to neutral countries or the territory of the
Soviet Union. As no evidence has been presented to show that
the defendant had received hints from any quarter in regard
to the intended extermination of Jewry, he could not have
conceived of such a satanic occurrence, which appears to be
utterly inconceivable to the human mind. And it certainly
cannot be assumed that the mental capacity of the defendant
should have enabled him to foresee a solution of the Jewish
question such as could only have originated in the brain of
a person who was no longer of sane mind.

The defendant describes himself as a fanatic for the truth.
He professes to have written nothing and to have expressed
nothing in his speeches which he had not taken from some
authentic source and properly confirmed.

There is no doubt that he was a fanatic. The fanatic,
however, is a man who is so possessed or convinced of an
idea or allusion that he is not open to any other
consideration, and is convinced of the correctness of his
own idea and no other. A psychiatrist might regard it as a
sort of mental cramp. Fanaticism of any kind is not far from
maniacal obsession. As a rule it goes along with
considerable over-estimation of oneself and over-evaluation
of one's own personality and its influence on the world
around it.

Not one of the defendants here on trial shows such a wide
discrepancy between fact and fancy as does defendant

The prosecution showed him as he appeared to the outside
world. What he really was - and is - has been shown by the

But only actual facts can form the basis for the judgement.
Base your judgement also, gentlemen, on the fact that the
defendant in his position as Gau-leader of

                                                  [Page 336]

Franconia also showed many humane characteristics - that he
had a large number of political prisoners released from
concentration camps, which even caused criminal proceedings
to be started against him. It should also be borne in mind
that treated the prisoners of war and the foreign labourers
working on his estate very well in every respect.

Whatever the judgement against the defendant Streicher may
be, it will concern the fate of one individual only.

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