The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Schirach has also frankly stated here that at that time he
approved of Hitler's plan to settle the Jews in Poland, not
inspired by anti-Semitism or hatred of the Jews, but by the
reasonable consideration that, in view of existing
conditions, it was in the Jews' own interests to leave
Vienna and be removed to Poland, because the Jews could not
in the long run have been able to stay in Vienna for the
duration of the Hitler regime without being exposed to
increasingly serious persecution. As Schirach declared on
24th May, 1946, considering Goebbels's temperament it always
seemed possible that incidents like those of November, 1938,
could be evoked in one night, and under such conditions of
legal insecurity the existence of the Jewish population in
Germany would be unimaginable. He thought that the Jews
would be safer in a restricted settlement area of the
Government General than in Germany and Austria, where they
were exposed to the whims of the Propaganda Minister who,
indeed, had been the main supporter of radical anti-Semitism
in Germany. Schirach was well aware of this fact. He could
not shut his eyes to the fact that the drive against the
Jews in Germany obviously became more drastic, more fanatic
and more violent every day. This conception of the Vienna
speech of September, 1942, and the true cause of its genesis
coincide with the statements of the defendant Schirach at
the meeting of the City Councillors of Vienna on 6th June,
1942 (No. 3886-PS), namely that in the late summer and
autumn of that year all Jews would be expelled from the
city, and likewise with the file note of Reichsleiter
Bormann of 2nd October, 1940 (USSR 142), according to which,
at a social meeting at Hitler's home, Schirach had remarked
that he still had more than 50,000 Jews left in Vienna whom
the Governor General of Poland must take over from him. This
remark was caused by Schirach's embarrassing situation at
that time. Hitler, on the one hand, pressed more and more
for the expulsion of the Jews from Vienna, and on the other
hand the Governor General Frank strove against accepting the
Vienna Jews in the Government General. This disagreement was
evidently the reason for Schirach's discussing this fact, at
the above-mentioned meeting on 2nd October, 1940, in order
to avoid renewed reproaches by Hitler. He himself

                                                   [Page 88]

was not at all interested in the removal of the Viennese
Jews, as was proved by the testimony of the witness Gustav
Hopken regarding the conference between Schirach and Himmler
in November, 1943.

May I add a word here concerning that discussion? During
that conference with Himmler, Schirach presented the point
of view that one should leave the Jews in Vienna because
they were wearing the Star of David anyway. That has been
testified to by the witness Hopken as being a statement made
by Schirach during the conversation.

I continue: Hitler demanded the expulsion of the Jews from
Vienna and Himmler insisted on carrying it out.

The prosecution thought it possible to charge Schirach with
having made another malicious anti-Semitic remark, namely a
speech which he supposedly made in late December, 1938,
before the spring of 1939, at a students' meeting at
Heidelberg. Across the Neckar river he pointed to the old
University town of Heidelberg where several burned-out
synagogues were the silent witnesses of the anti-Semitic
activities of the students of Heidelberg. I refer to the
affidavit of Ziemer, in which the "small stout Reich Student
Leader" - as it is stated literally - is said to have
approved and praised the anti-Jewish pogrom of 9th November,
1938, as an heroic act.

This charge, as already mentioned, is supported by the
declaration under oath of a certain Gregor Ziemer. However,
there can be no doubt that this statement of Ziemer's is
false. Ziemer never belonged to the German student movement
or the Hitler Youth, and obviously was not personally
present at the student assembly in question. The affidavit
does not state from what source he is supposed to have
obtained his knowledge. However, that his claim is false is
already proved by his description of physical appearance
when he speaks of a "small stout student-leader", for this
does not at all apply to Schirach. Perhaps it would to some
extent apply to his successor, who was Reich Student Leader
at the end of 1938, but it certainly was not Schirach. As is
known, he had already in 1934 given the office of Reich
Student Leader back into the hands of the Fuehrer's deputy,
after he himself had in the meantime been appointed Reich
Youth Leader. Schirach did not make a speech at the end of
1938 or at any other time before Heidelberg students, and by
the affidavit of the witness Maria Hopken (Schirach Document
Book No. 3), it has been clearly proved that at the time
stated Schirach was not in Heidelberg at all. Schirach has
also confirmed this under oath and his own statement can lay
claim to credibility because he has not whitewashed anything
for which he was responsible, and he has not falsely denied
anything, but on the contrary has accounted for all his
actions like a man and adhered to truth during his entire
examination.

Still another fact decisively confirms the claim that the
Ziemer affidavit is untrue, at any rate in regard to the
person of Schirach. In the presentation of evidence it
happened to be stated by chance how Schirach reacted to the
November pogroms of the year 1938. The witness Lauterbacher
has informed us here, as already mentioned at another point,
that Schirach, on 10th November, 1938, condemned most
vehemently the events of 9th November, 1938, in the presence
of his co-workers, and declared that he felt ashamed for the
others and for the whole Party. The 9th of November, 1938,
Schirach said, would go down in German history as a unique
German cultural disgrace of which we would never be able to
cleanse ourselves. Such a thing might have happened among an
uncivilised people but it should never have occurred with us
Germans who believe ourselves to be a highly civilised
people. The Youth Leaders, Schirach explained at that time,
had to prevent such excesses under all circumstances. He did
not wish to hear anything like this about his own
organization, either now or in the future. The Hitler Youth
must be kept outside such things under all circumstances.
These are sworn statements by the witness Hopken.

                                                   [Page 89]

Then, by a telephone message from Berlin, Schirach had all
the offices of the Hitler Youth informed in the same terms.
If Schirach, in November, 1938, condemned and criticized in
such an extremely sharp manner the events of 9th November,
1938, it is impossible for him to have praised at about the
same time the bloody acts which had been committed and thus
have incited the Heidelberg students. The question therefore
arises as to why the prosecution did not bring here as a
witness a single participant in that student meeting at
Heidelberg instead of being satisfied with a witness who
could only testify from hearsay. Moreover, the prosecution
did not revert to this alleged Heidelberg speech during the
cross-examination and thereby acknowledged Schirach's own
presentation of the facts as correct.

It is also a very significant fact that the Hitler Youth did
not participate in the excesses of 9th November, 1938, nor
did they commit any excesses of this sort either before or
afterwards. The Hitler Youth at that time was the strongest
Party organization. It comprised about seven to eight
million members, and in spite of that not one single case
has been proved of the Hitler Youth participating in such
crimes against humanity, although its members were mainly of
an age which, according to experience, is only too easily
tempted to participate in excesses and acts of brutality.
The only exception which has been claimed so far concerns
the testimony of the French woman Ida Vasseau, who is said
to be matron of an Old People's Home in Lemberg and who is
supposed to have claimed, according to the report of the
Commission, Exhibit USSR 6, that the Hitler Youth had been
given children from the ghetto in Lemberg whom they used as
living targets for their shooting practice. This single
exception, however, which has been claimed so far but not
proved, could not be cleared up in any way, particularly not
in respect of whether members of the Hitler Youth had really
been involved. But even if there had been such a single case
among the eight million members during tenor fifteen long
years, this could not in any way prove that Baldur von
Schirach had exercised an inciting influence, and if I may
add here, at a time when he was no longer Reich Youth
Leader.

THE PRESIDENT: We will adjourn now.

(A short recess was taken.) .

DR. SAUTER: May it please the Tribunal, then I shall
continue with Page 36 of my final argument.

If we examine all the speeches and articles which von
Schirach delivered and wrote rote as Reich Youth Leader
during a long period of years, and which are in the
possession of the Tribunal in the Schirach Document Book, it
will be seen that they do not contain a single word inciting
to race hatred, hatred of Jews, exhorting youth to commit
acts of violence or defending such acts. If it has been
possible to keep the members of the Hitler Youth, who
numbered millions, apart from such excesses, this fact, too,
proves that the leaders endeavoured to imbue the younger
generation with a spirit of tolerance, love of one's
neighbours and respect of human dignity.

Just what won Schirach thought about the treatment of the
Jewish question is clearly evident from the scene which
occurred in the spring of 1943 at Obersalzberg and which is
also described in the affidavit of the witness Maria Hopken
(Document Book Schirach No. 3). In this case I refer to the
scene where Schirach had a witness describe to Hitler at his
home in Obersalzberg how she had witnessed with her own eyes
at night from an hotel window in Amsterdam the manner in
which the Gestapo deported hundreds of Dutch Jewesses.
Schirach himself could not dare at the time to bring such
matters to Hitler's attention; a decree by Bormann had
expressly prohibited the Gauleiter from doing this. Schirach
therefore tried through the mediation of a third person, who
had been a witness herself, to gain Hitler's approval of a
mitigation in the treatment of the Jewish question. No
success was achieved; Hitler dismissed it all bluntly with

                                                   [Page 90]

the remark that this was all sentimentality. Because of this
intervention on behalf of the Dutch Jews, the situation of
the defendant von Schirach had become so critical that he
preferred to leave Obersalzberg immediately, early in the
morning of the following day, and from that time on Hitler
was in fact no longer accessible to Schirach.

This intervention of Schirach for a milder treatment of the
Jewish question perhaps also contributed to the fact that
Hitler, a few months later, in the summer of 1943, seriously
considered having Schirach arrested and brought before the
People's Court, only for the reason that Schirach had dared,
in a letter to Reichsleiter Bormann, to describe the war as
a national disaster for Germany.

In any case, all this shows that Schirach, as much as he was
able to do so, advocated moderation in the Jewish question
in a manner which endangered his own position and existence.
In spite of the fact that he was an anti-Semite - and just
because of this it deserves attention - he withstood all
pressure from Berlin and refused to have an anti-Semitic
special edition published in the official journal of the
Hitler Youth, while he had published his own special
editions for an understanding with England and France and
for a more humane treatment of the Eastern nations. It is no
less worthy of consideration that Schirach, in conjunction
with his friend Dr. Colin Ross, endeavoured to attain the
emigration of the Jews into neutral foreign countries in
order to save them from being deported to a Polish ghetto.

The prosecution has endeavoured to substantiate its
allegation that the defendant von Schirach bears a certain
share of the responsibility for the pogroms against Jews
which occurred in Poland and Russia, by trying to use
against him the so-called "Reports on Practice and
Situation", which were regularly sent by the SS to the
Commissioner for Defence of the Reich in Military
Administrative District XVII. In fact it must be said that
if - and I emphasize - if Schirach had at that time had
cognizance of these regular "Reports on Practice and
Situation of the Operational Groups (Einsatzgruppen) of the
Security Police and the Security Service in the East", then
this fact would indeed constitute for him a grave moral and
political charge. Then he could not be spared the accusation
that he must have been aware that, apart from the military
operations in the East, extremely horrible mass murders of
Communists and Jews had also taken place. The picture which
we have so far of the character of von Schirach, who was
also described by the prosecution as a "cultured man", would
be darkened very materially if von Schirach had actually
seen and read these reports. For then he would have known
that in Latvia and Lithuania, in White Ruthenia and in Kiev,
mass murders had taken place, quite obviously without any
legal proceedings of any kind and without sentence having
been passed.

What actually has, however, been proved by the evidence?

The reports referred to went, as to dozens of other offices,
also to that of the "Reich Commissioner of Defence in
Military Administrative District XVII" and, moreover, with
the express direction "attention of Government Counsellor
Dr. Hoffmann" or "attention of Government Counsellor Dr.
Fischer". From this form of address and from the way in
which these reports were initialled at the office of the
"Commissioner for Defence of the Reich", it can be
established beyond question that Schirach did not have an
opportunity of seeing these reports and that he obtained no
knowledge of them in any other way either.

Schirach, as is well known, held three important offices in
Vienna: as Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) and Reich
Defence Commissioner he was the chief of the whole State
administration; as Lord Mayor he was the head of the
municipal administration; and as Gauleiter of Vienna he was
the head of the local Party machine. It is only natural that
Schirach could not fulfil all these three tasks by himself,
especially since in 1940 he had come from a completely
different set of tasks and first had to make himself
acquainted with the work in the State administration as well
as in the municipal administration. He therefore

                                                   [Page 91]

had a permanent deputy for each of his threes tasks, and
this was, for the affairs of the State administration which
interest us here, the Regierungsprasident of Vienna. This
Regierungsprasident, Dr. Delbrugge, had to handle the
current affairs of the State administration completely on
his own initiative. Schirach occupied himself only with such
matters of the State administration which were submitted to
him by his permanent deputy, the Regierungsprasident, in
writing or about which the Regierungsprasident reported to
him orally.

Now, if this had been the case with regard to the afore-
mentioned "Reports on Practice and Situation", then this
would have somehow been noted on the documents in question.
However, on the "Reports on Practice and Situation of the
SS" which were submitted there is not a single note which
shows that these reports were shown to the defendant von
Schirach or that he was informed about them. This can also
be understood without further explanation from the fact
that, after all, the experiences of the police and the SD in
the partisan struggles in Poland and Russia were no concern
of the Vienna administration; therefore there was not the
least cause to inform the defendant Baldur von Schirach of
these reports in any way, particularly as he was very much
overburdened anyhow with administrative matters of all
kinds.

This conclusion, gentlemen, rests primarily not only on the
testimony under oath of the defendant here in Court, but
also on that of both the witnesses Hopken and Wieshofer,
who, one as chief of the "Central Office" and the other as
adjutant of the defendant, were able to give the most exact
information about conditions in Vienna. It is certain that
these "Reports on Practice and Situation" never came into
the distribution centre of the "Central Office" in Vienna,
but only into the distribution centre of the
Regierungsprasident, and that Hopken, as Chief of the
Central Office, as well as Wieshofer, as adjutant of the
defendant, likewise did not have any previous knowledge of
these "Reports on Practice and Situation" but saw them for
the first time here in the courtroom during their
examination.

And also, I would like to mention here, the Reports were
entirely unknown to the two advisers of the defendant von
Schirach who were mentioned by name, Dr. Fischer and the
other one.

In any case, the result is, as has been proven by the file
notes which are on the documents, that Schirach did not have
any knowledge whatsoever of these reports, and that he is
not co-responsible for the atrocities described therein, and
therefore cannot be criminally charged on the basis of these
Reports.

May it please the Tribunal, in judging the personality of
Schirach, his behaviour during the last weeks in Vienna is
also not without importance. It was only natural for
Schirach not to carry out the various insane orders which
came from Berlin at that time. He absolutely condemned the
lynching of enemy aviators which was ordered by Bormann, and
likewise the ruthless order to hang defeatists, regardless
of whether they were men or women. His court of summary
justice was never even in session and did not pronounce a
single death sentence. No blood is on his hands. On the
contrary, he did all in his power to protect enemy aviators,
for example, who made forced landings from the excited mob,
and, as we have heard from the witness Wieshofer, sent out
his own car in order to bring to safety American aviators
who had parachuted.  Thereby he again placed himself in
deliberate opposition to an order of Bormann that such
aviators were not to be protected from being lynched by the
civilian population. He also did not pay attention to the
order that Vienna was to be defended to the last man, or
that in Vienna bridges and churches and residential
districts were to be destroyed, and he emphatically refused
compliance with the order to form partisan units of people
in civilian clothing or to continue the hopeless struggle in
a criminal manner with the aid of the "Werewolf"
organization. He turned down such demands because of his
sense of duty, and the fact that obedience to such orders
would have caused him to violate International Law.

                                                   [Page 92]

The characterisation of the defendant von Schirach would be
incomplete if we did not recall additionally at this moment
the declaration which he deposed here on the morning of 24th
May, 1946. I am speaking of that declaration in which he
described Hitler as a millionfold murderer, made here before
the whole German people and before the entire world public.
As early as last year Schirach made declarations which
showed his feeling of responsibility and his preparedness to
answer fully for his actions and those of his subordinates.
This was exemplified on 5th June, 1945, when he was hiding
in the Tyrol and heard over the radio that all Party leaders
were to be brought before an Allied Court. Schirach
thereupon gave himself up immediately and in his letter to
the American local commander stated he was doing so in order
to prevent other people, who had only executed his orders,
being called to account for his actions. He surrendered
voluntarily, although the English radio had already
announced the news of his death, and although he had grounds
for hoping to be able to remain undiscovered in his hiding
place. This behaviour deserves consideration in judging the
personality of a defendant.

The same feeling of responsibility was then shown by
Schirach in the autumn of 1945, when he was heard by the
prosecution. He believed then that his successor Axmann had
been killed, as he had been reported to be dead. In spite of
this, Schirach did not attempt to shift his responsibility
on to his successor; on the contrary, he expressly stated
that he assumed full responsibility also for the time his
successor was in office, as well as for what had been done
under his successor in the Reich Youth Leadership. The
keystone of this line of conduct was revealed by the
statement which Schirach made here on 24th May, 1946, and
which went out from this courtroom to the whole world, all
the German Gaue, down to the last farm, down to the last
workman's hut.


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