00011083.gif Trial May 1931 In May 1931 Litten found himself up against the Prosecutor, in a case in which he was presenting claims on behalf of two workmen who were stabbed at a New Year party by Nazis of Storm Troop 33. It is worth recalling this case in some detail, since it was this trial which specially roused Hitler's animosity against Litten, and so led to the slow, brutal revenge described in this book. p.XI - Preface - Beyond tears - Irmgard Litten ...So at Litten's request, Hitler himself, as leader of the Nazi Party, was called as a witness and was cross-examined by Litten. Hitler was in a dilemma. On the one hand, he wanted to allay the fears of his wealthy middle-class supporters, and of old President Hindenberg, by assurance that the Party stood only for legitimate, constitutional methods. He had therefore sworn an oath to this effect at the earlier trial in Leipzig. But on the other hand, Hitler had to satisfy his gangsters; he had to convince the young bloods of the Storm Troops that all [unreadable] public profession of legality were in reality a mere smoke-screen, to ask the Party's opportunist [unreadable] to power. And he had to avoid any open disavowal of his militant colleague, Goebbels. Realizing Hitler's embarrassment, Litten drove Hitler into making more and more emphatic declarations of the strict legality of the Party's policy: wilder and wilder lies. And then he challenged Hitler to square these professions with Goebbels' notorious incitements to violence. "Did not Dr. Goebbels once declare," he asked, "that adversaries must be crushed to pulp?" "That, of course," Hitler parried, "is not to be taken literally." "Must it not exert a considerable influence in the ranks of the Party members when men in such a position as Dr. Goebbels say this kind of thing: 'We must proceed from the revolution of words to the revolution of deeds and at the fitting moment lay violent hands on power?'" Hitler replied: "Our Party is recruited from all strata of the German people. Those who came to us from the Communist camp still have bits of the Communist eggshell sticking to them and those who come to us from the bourgeois camp have bits of bourgeois egg-shell. That does not affect a man's capacity and it does not affect his desire to work for Germany's greatness and her future. The main thing is that he stands on the basis of legality. The straight line of legality must be observed by all Party officials; whoever departs from it is degraded or expelled from the Party." To this Litten retorted: Isn't it inconsistent with this that Dr. Goebbels, despite his over p. XII, preface - Beyond Tears - Irmgard Litten 00011084.gif page 2 (Litten) crass profession of illegality, is not [unreadable] or expelled from the Party, but is on the contrary made [unreadable] and head of Reichs propaganda? This must [rest of paragraph unreadable]. After two hours of cross-examination, Litten asked: "Then what do you understand by the volunteer spirit which you are expressing?" Hitler: "I understand by this, that a [unreadable] support it not only physically but in every respect with body and soul." Litten: "Do you think you can attune this volunteer spirit to the acts of violence and the murders which were perpetrated?" At this reference to the Vehm murders committed by the Nazis, Hitler flew into a passion. "I refuse to speak of murders here. The men were defending their Fatherland." The trial ended some weeks later when the Nazi terrorists ... were convicted to long terms of imprisonment. Hitler ever forgave or forgot that ordeal... ...At the Reichstag fire... Litten was one of those seized and was sent to Spandau Prison, without trial, charge, or sentence.
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