The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                   [Page 78]

HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIRST DAY

THURSDAY, 18th JULY, 1946

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Tribunal, the defendants
Hess, von Ribbentrop and Fritzsche are absent.

DR. SAUTER (counsel for the defendant von Schirach): May it
please the Tribunal, yesterday at the end of my statement I
dealt with the charge of the prosecution that the defendant
von Schirach had trained and educated the youth of the Third
Reich in a military sense, that he had prepared them for the
waging of aggressive wars and had participated in a
conspiracy against the peace. Now I continue on Page 15 of
my brief, and I turn to a further accusation which has been
made by the prosecution against defendant von Schirach.

Since the prosecution could not prove that the defendant von
Schirach had ever promoted Hitler's war policy before the
war, he is now charged with having had various connections
with the SS and SA, and especially with the fact that the
SS, the SA, and the Leadership Corps of the Party obtained
their recruits from the Hitler Youth. This last fact is
quite correct, but proves nothing as to Schirach's attitude
towards Hitler's war policy and is equally pointless as
regards the question of his participation in Hitler's war
conspiracy. For if 90 to 95 per cent or more of German youth
belonged to the Hitler Youth movement, then it was only
natural that the Party as well as its formations should draw
their young recruits from year to year to an ever-growing
extent from the Hitler Youth. Practically no other youth was
available.

But if the prosecution refers to the agreement between the
Reich Youth Leadership and the Reichsfuehrer SS, dated
October, 1938, concerning the patrol service of the Hitler
Youth, which has been submitted to your Honours as Document
2396-PS, it cannot draw any inference therefrom, for patrol
service in the Hitler Youth was only an institution designed
to control and supervise the discipline of the Hitler Youth
members when they appeared in public.

It was, therefore, a kind of organisational police which was
employed by the Hitler Youth movement to control its own
members and control them alone. In order, however, to guard
against difficulties with the regular police, an arrangement
by agreement with the Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler was necessary
because the latter was the chief of the whole police
organization in Germany and could have made difficulties for
the institution of the HJ patrol service. This was the only
object of the agreement of October, 1938, which in reality
had just as little to do with providing new blood for the SS
as with the conduct of and the preparation for war.
Moreover, it can clearly be seen how hard Schirach resisted
the gaining of any influence by the Party over the Hitler
Youth from the fact that in 1938 he protested very sharply
against having the education of the Hitler Youth during
their last two years, namely from 16 to 18 years, taken over
by the SA. He emphatically rejected this plan and through a
personal visit to Hitler succeeded in having the Fuehrer
decree in question not carried out in practice.

As for his attitude toward the SS, we know from the
testimony of the witness Gustav Hopken who was heard here on
28th May, 1946, and from the affidavit of the witness Maria
Hopken Schirach Document Book No. 3, that Schirach always
feared he was being shadowed and spied upon by the SS in
Vienna. He always had an uncomfortable feeling because, at
the beginning of his activity in

                                                   [Page 79]

Vienna, a permanent deputy had been appointed for him in his
capacity as Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) and Reich
Defence Commissioner in the person of a higher SS leader, a
certain Dr. Delbrugge, who, as Schirach knew, was directly
associated with the Reichsfuehrer SS. It was the same man
who, as has been proved, proposed to Hitler in 1943 that
Schirach should be imprisoned for defeatism and brought
before the People's Court, which meant in practice that had
Himmler urged it Schirach would have been hanged. These
facts alone are already proof of the real relationship
between the defendant von Schirach and the SS, and it is
then comprehensible why Schirach finally refused even the so-
called "protection" by the police force assigned to him and
preferred to entrust his personal protection to a unit of
the Wehrmacht which was not subordinate to the order of
Himmler. (See affidavit of Maria Hopken in Schirach Document
Book No. 3.)

Another accusation which has been made against the defendant
von Schirach concerns his attitude towards the Church
question. His attitude corresponds to that indicated by him
during the present proceedings. To be sure, this issue is
given a comparatively minor part in the Indictment, but it
nevertheless appears       to be of considerable importance
as far as the judgement of Schirach's personality is
concerned.

Schirach himself, as well as his wife, always remained
members of the Church. To the foreign critic this
circumstance may perhaps appear an unimportant detail, but
we Germans know what pressure was exerted upon ranking Party
officials in such matters and how few in his position
ventured to resist such pressure. Schirach was one of those
few. He was that high-ranking Party Leader who constantly
and invariably acted with extreme severity when he learnt of
hostile interference and outrages against the Church on the
part of the Hitler Youth. He has, indeed, been reproached
for the fact that various songs were sung by the Hitler
Youth which contained offensive remarks about religious
institutions, but in this respect Schirach could, with a
good conscience, confirm on his oath that he was to a
certain extent unaware of those songs, which is quite
conceivable where an organization of seven or eight million
members is involved. Moreover, I certain songs now
considered objectionable date back to the Middle Ages and
have figured in the song-book of the "Wandervogel"; a former
youth organization which the prosecution surely does not
propose to condemn. Schirach has, however, especially
pointed out that in the years 1933 to 1936 several million
youths from an entirely different spiritual environment
joined the Hitler Youth and that in the first revolutionary
years, that is, in the period of storm and stress of the
movement, it was quite impossible to hear of and prevent all
outrages of this sort. Whenever Schirach heard of such
things he intervened and repressed abuses of that kind,
which naturally represented excesses on the part of isolated
elements only and cannot compromise the Youth organization
as a whole.

It is Schirach's conviction that the examination of evidence
leaves no doubt as to his conciliatory behaviour in the
matter of the Church, and that he strove to establish a
proper relation of mutual respect between the Church on the
one hand and the Third Reich, and more especially the Reich
Youth Leadership, on the other hand, embracing a careful
observation of their respective rights and competences. At
his own request, Schirach was permitted by the Reich
Minister of the Interior to take part in conducting the
concordat negotiations with the Catholic Church in 1934,
because he hoped to achieve an agreement with the Catholic
Church more easily by his personal co-operation. He honestly
endeavoured to find a formula for the settlement of the
youth question on which agreement with the Catholic Church
could be possible. His moderation and good will in this
respect were frankly acknowledged by the representatives of
the Catholic Church at that time. But everything was
ultimately frustrated by Hitler's opposition and the
complications created, particularly for these negotiations,
by the events of 30th June, 1934, the so-called Roehm
Putsch.

                                                   [Page 80]

With the Protestant Church on the other hand, Schirach
achieved an agreement with the Reich Bishop, Dr. Miller, so
that the incorporation of the Protestant youth groups into
the Hitler Youth was not attained by constraint but by
mutual agreement, and therefore, not by the breaking up of
these associations by the State or Party as the prosecution
assumes, but upon the initiative of the Protestant
ecclesiastical head and in complete agreement with him. It
must be pointed out here that it was always Schirach's
policy that no restrictions were to be imposed on Church
services for youth by the youth leadership, either then or
later. On the contrary, as he himself has testified and as
was confirmed by the witness Lauterbacher, Schirach
emphatically stated in 1937 that he would leave it to the
Churches to educate the younger generation according to the
spirit of their faith and at the same time he ordered that,
as a principle, no Hitler Youth duty was to be arranged on
Sundays during the time of Church services. He gave strict
orders to the unit leaders of the Hitler Youth not to
arrange any duties which might interfere with Church
services. However, in individual cases such interference did
occur and religious authorities made complaints about it, as
cross-examination revealed, but the defendant Schirach
cannot be blamed for this, nor does it alter the fact that
he had good intentions.

During the trial not a single case could be shown in which
he stirred up feeling against the Church or made anti-
religious statements; on the contrary, at numerous rallies,
as revealed to the Tribunal in the von Schirach Document
Book, he not only repeatedly denied the accusation that the
Hitler Youth were
enemies of the Church or atheists, but he always
particularly impressed upon the leaders and members of the
Hitler Youth the necessity of fulfilling their obligation
toward God; he would not tolerate anyone in the Hitler Youth
who did not believe in God ; every true teacher, he told
them, would have to be one who inculcated religious feeling,
it being the basis of all educational activities; Hitler
Youth duties and religious convictions could very well be
associated with each other and exist side by side; the
Hitler Youth leader was to cause no conflicts of conscience
whatsoever to his adherents. Leave from duty was to be
granted to Hitler Youth members for religious services,
rites, etc. That was von Schirach's point of view.

Whoever gives such instructions to his deputies, and repeats
them over and over again, can demand that he should not be
judged as an enemy of the Church and as an enemy of
religious life. Incidentally, it is interesting in this
connection to note what such a reliable judge as Nevile
Henderson, in his oft-quoted book, Failure of a Mission,
wrote about a speech which he heard Schirach deliver at the
1937 Reich Party Rally, parts of which have been submitted
in Schirach's document book. Henderson, who, as Ambassador
in Berlin, knew German conditions intimately, evidently
expected that Baldur von Schirach would speak against the
Church at the Reich Party Rally and would influence the
young people in the spirit of enmity to the Church, as was
often done by other leaders of the Party. Henderson writes,
and I quote two sentences:

  "That day; however, it was von Schirach's speech which
  impressed me most, although it was quite short .... One
  part of this speech surprised me when, addressing the
  boys, he said, 'I do not know if you are Protestants or
  Catholics, but that you believe in God, that I do know'."

And Henderson added:

  "I had been under the impression that all references to
  religion were discouraged among the Hitler Youth, and
  this seemed to me to refute that imputation."

What Schirach really thought with regard to religion and in
what sense he influenced youth is indicated not only by the
declaration of his opinion, which he made on the occasion of
his speech to the teachers of the Adolf Hitler Schools at
Ordensburg Sonthofen, that Christ was the greatest leader in
the history of the world, but also similarly the small book
submitted to you in evidence,

                                                   [Page 81]

entitled, Christmas Gift of the War Welfare Service. This
book, which was sent to the front in large numbers, was
dedicated by Schirach to the soldiers at the front who came
from the Hitler Youth movement, in 1944, at a time when
radicalism in all spheres of German life could hardly be
extended further.

Here also Schirach was an exception: you will find no
swastika, no picture of Hitler, no SA song in the book of
Reich Leader von Schirach, but among other things a
distinctly Christian poem from Schirach's own pen, then a
picture of a Madonna, and beside it a reproduction of a
painting by van Gogh who, as is generally known, was
strictly taboo in the Third Reich. Instead of inflammatory
words, we find an exhortation to a Christian way of thinking
and a copy of the Wessobrunner Gebet, known as the oldest
Christian prayer in the German language. Bormann was enraged
by the pamphlet, but Schirach remained firm and refused to
withdraw the little book or alter it in any way.

The defendant von Schirach has been charged with having once
undertaken a hostile act against the Church and with having
thereby taken part in the persecution of the Church. From a
letter by Minister Lammers of 14th March, 7941 (Document R-
146), it appears that Schirach had proposed to keep
confiscated property at the disposal of the Gaue, and not to
hand it over to the Reich. This case alone is no
justification at all for connecting the defendant von
Schirach in some way or other with the persecution of the
Church. The case mentioned by the prosecution does not
concern Church property at all, but confiscated property of
a Prince Schwarzenberg in his Vienna palace. This affair
therefore never had anything to do with the Church. This is
also confirmed unequivocally by Minister Lammers's letter of
14th March, 1941 (R-146), which mentions only, I quote, "a
confiscation of the property (of persons) hostile to the
people and the State", whereas Bormann's far-reaching
personal intention becomes apparent and betrays his hostile
attitude towards the Church when Bormann speaks about
"Church properties (monastic possessions and so forth)" in
his accompanying letter of 20th March, 1941, referring to
this case. Moreover, the confiscation of Prince
Schwarzenberg's property was not caused, pronounced nor
carried out by Schirach. Schirach had nothing to do with the
confiscation as such; Schirach, however, agreeing with the
other Gauleiter of the Austrian NSDAP, at their request
personally applied to Hitler and requested that such
confiscated property should not be taken to the Reich and
not be used on behalf of the Reich, but that it should
remain in Vienna. This proposal was crowned with success.
Hitler complied with his request, the result of Schirach's
efforts being that when the confiscation was rescinded later
on, it enabled the property to be returned to the legitimate
owner, whereas it would otherwise have been lost to him.

By acting thus, Schirach no doubt rendered a service to the
Gau of Vienna and to the person who was the owner of the
seized property. This case therefore cannot be construed as
a charge against the defendant von Schirach; on the
contrary, it speaks in his favour just as in the other case
where, circumventing Bormann, he intervened on behalf of
Austrian nuns and as a result brought about the
discontinuance in one day of the whole project of
confiscating Church and monastic property in the whole Reich
by a direct order from Hitler.

If the prosecution further intends to charge the defendant
von Schirach with the fact that the Vienna authorities
subordinate to him intended to move an Adolf Hitler School
into the monastery of Nuremberg in 1941, it must on the
other hand be pointed out that, even prior to the
requisitioning of this monastery, entirely independently of
von Schirach, the Vienna Police and several Vienna courts
had noted the occurrence of large-scale criminal offences in
this monastery, and, furthermore, that the confiscation of
part of the monastery seemed entirely justified to the
defendant von Schirach, as the very spacious rooms of this
religious establishment were not required for monastic
purposes.

It must finally be pointed out that the monastery, as can be
seen from documents submitted, did not file any protest with
the Reich Minister of the Interior against

                                                   [Page 82]

the decision to confiscate, and thereby recognized the
confiscation as just, although it had been expressly
informed in the confiscation decree of the possibility of
lodging a complaint. Moreover, the confiscated quarters were
afterwards not used for the establishment of an Adolf Hitler
School but for the Museum of Historical Art (thus for no
Party establishment), which again testifies to the fact that
the confiscation decree had in no way been issued because of
a hostile attitude on the part of Schirach towards the
Church. Had it been Schirach's object to attack the
monastery because it was an ecclesiastical institution, he
would also have confiscated the rooms used for religious
ceremonies. He, however, strictly forbade their
confiscation.

Moreover, when appraising this case, attention should be
paid to the fact that the justification of the confiscation
decree of 22nd February, 1941, contained one remarkable
reservation. The decree restricts itself to justifying the
confiscation by the fact that on the one hand Vienna badly
needed rooms and on the' other hand the confiscated rooms
were superfluous for the purposes of the monastery. Not a
single word mentions or even suggests that criminal offences
had taken place in the monastery, as recorded in a police
report of 23rd January, 1941, which is submitted to the
Court. If this confiscation had been the result of a hostile
attitude of Schirach to the Church, we could have been sure
that somehow or other reference would have been made to
these criminal offences to justify the confiscation. At
Schirach's instigation, a monthly rent was paid to the
clergy who had occupied some of the confiscated rooms, for
which payment there existed no official obligation whatever.

Defendant von Schirach's further behaviour does not reveal
any hostile attitude towards the Church, particularly if one
considers, when judging this behaviour, that during these
years even a Reichsleiter was under strong pressure by the
Reich Chancellery and by Bormann, and that at that time a
considerable amount of courage was necessary to resist this
pressure and carry on a policy in opposition to the official
Berlin policy.

The witness Wieshofer of Vienna, who had the opportunity of
watching Schirach's activities, confirmed before the
Tribunal that also in Vienna Schirach strove to establish
correct relations with the Church, that he was always
willing to listen to complaints of the Cardinal of Vienna
and took severe measures against the excesses of individual
members of the Hitler Youth or Hitler Youth Leaders. In
Vienna he thus carried out a policy towards the Church quite
different from that which his radical predecessor Burckel
had favoured, and it is beyond doubt that ecclesiastical
circles in Vienna and the whole of the Viennese population
appreciated Schirach's attitude towards the Church. This is
also confirmed by the witness Gustav Hopken, who was
examined here and who, by order of Schirach, held regular
conferences with a Vienna theologian, the dean, Professor
Ens, in order to be able to inform the defendant Schirach of
the wishes of the Church and the differences which had
arisen with ecclesiastical authorities. As he did not wish
to expose himself to the most serious danger, Schirach could
not do anything more under the prevailing political
circumstances, which are described in the affidavit of Maria
Hopken, Document Book von Schirach No. 3.


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