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 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, 

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


p. XII, preface - Beyond Tears - Irmgard Litten

00011084.gif  page 2


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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