The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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(5) There is one further matter upon which I ought to say a
word of explanation. It has been argued by the defence that
a great number of the Amtsleiter on the staffs of the
various Hoheitstrager ought not to be included in any
declaration of criminality that you make against the Corps
of Political Leaders. In the same way as the Blockleiter
were said to be innocent, harmless messenger boys, so, too,
it is said that these Amtsleiter were harmless and innocent
expert advisers to their respective Gau-, Kreis- or
Ortsgruppenleiter. They may have been expert advisers, but
they were much more besides, and they certainly were neither
innocent nor harmless. They were properly appointed
political leaders - persons who were "completely politically
reliable" and supporters of the Nazi Party. All of them,
just as the Hoheitstrager themselves, took their annual oath
of allegiance binding them in blind obedience to their
Fuehrer. All of them, although naturally they received their
instructions concerning their particular fields of activity
from the State Department to which they belonged,
nevertheless were subject to the orders of their
Hoheitstrager upon all political matters of Party
discipline. You may think that these men exercised as
dangerous an influence as any other political leader,
because between them they were in closest contact with all
grades of society and all professions and trades. We have
not documents directly implicating every class of these so-
called non-political Political Leaders, but a great many are
directly involved by the documents you have seen. I will not
enumerate them now. I shall draw your attention to them as I
discuss the evidence. It is the submission of the
prosecution that from that evidence and from the general
evidence of the conditions in Germany and of the influence
of the Political Leaders, you are entitled and, indeed,
compelled to draw the inference that if the purpose and
activity of that organization was criminal, then every
member of the staffs of the Gau-, Kreis- and Ortsgruppen
ought to be included. Let it not be thought that because we
have deliberately excluded those members of the
Ortsgruppenleiter's staffs, we have done so on account of
their innocence. That decision was taken for practical
rather than any other reasons, and it may well be that that
decision is wrong.

It has been suggested by the defence that there were
officers in the various Party organizations such as the DAF,
NSV, Students' and Women's organizations who were also known
as Politische Leiter. Their numbers are given as 1,500,000.
Let me once again make it clear that if such Political
Leaders existed the prosecution do not seek a declaration of
criminality against them. We include only Reichsleiter,
Gauleiter, Kreisleiter, Ortsgruppenleiter, Zellenleiter and
Blockleiter and the Amtsleiter or heads of offices on the
staffs of the Reichsleitung, Gauleitung and Kreisleitung -
those political leaders who, organized on a geographical
basis, were responsible for the political control of the
people and the execution and administration of Nazi policy.
All others are excluded.

You have had a schedule showing the numbers that are thus
involved. According to the Party Organization Book for 1943
they number 600,000. It is said by the defence that that
figure allows for no replacements and that the total figure
of all

                                                  [Page 250]

who have at any time held these positions is much greater.
Upon that I make two points. First, the figures given in the
Organization Book show the maximum establishment allowed for
each Gau and Kreis. In practice not all these offices were
filled - in urban districts there would be no Agricultural
Amt: in Gaue where there were no universities there would be
no Political Amtsleiter for university teachers. Secondly,
the 1943 figure of 600,000 includes the Political Leaders of
nine foreign Gaue - six Austrian, two Polish and one in the
Sudetenland - none of which had existed before 1938, so that
during the first five years of the Nazi regime the total
possible number of Political Leaders must have been
considerably less than 600,000. The extract submitted by the
defence from the pamphlet Der Hoheitstrager illustrates the
increase which took place in the Hoheitstrager alone between
1935 and 1939: the figure rose from 291,671 to 581,650. In
view of these considerations it is submitted that, allowing
for replacements, the total number of persons who at any
time held those positions in the Corps of Political Leaders
which we include for the purposes of a declaration of
criminality, cannot have greatly exceeded the figure of
600,000 which we have submitted. And it was those men and
women who constituted the very core of the National
Socialism which led the 48,000,000 voters of Germany in the
ways and to the end which we have seen.

Let us consider the evidence against them under its main
headings. We will see not only how they themselves directly
participated in crime, but also how they actively and
knowingly assisted and co-operated with the other
organizations in the execution of their common criminal

Bormann, writing to Gauleiter in June, 1941, stated:

  "For the first time in German history the Fuehrer
  consciously and completely, has the leadership of the
  people in his own hand."

We see one of the ways in which the Leadership Corps
assisted in putting the leadership of the people into the
Fuehrer's own hand, from the evidence of the Political
Leaders' activity during the voting in 1936 and 1938, and we
see here the participation of all ranks of Political

We have a complete file from the Kreis of Erfurt, Thuringia,
in connection with the plebiscite of 1938. Stutzpunktleiter
were to report beforehand all persons in their district whom
they might assume with certainty would vote "no." The orders
were issued by the SD jointly to the Stutzpunktleiter and to
all heads of sections of the Security Service. The heads of
sections were to support the Stutzpunktleiter locally as
much as possible. It was said by the defence that the
Stutzpunktleiter referred to in that file were
Stutzpunktleiter of the SD and not of the Political
Leadership. Even if you accept that explanation it makes no
difference for it was expressly stated that the whole matter
was to be "carried out with closest collaboration with the
Ortsgruppenleiter of the Party." The Political Leaders could
hardly have had any doubts as to what was in store for the
people whom they reported when the orders contain the
significant paragraph:

  "The tremendous responsibility which the Stutzpunktleiter
  have, in particular with regard to this report, is
  stressed once more. The Stutzpunktleiter must clearly
  understand the potential consequences for the persons
  contained in their report."

The Tribunal will remember the reports that were rendered by
the SD after the plebiscite had taken place, showing the
means by which the voting papers of suspected persons were
checked by the use of skimmed milk and colourless
typewriters. You will remember also the methods employed to
force doubtful supporters of the Party to vote:

  "The wife of the Jew Bielschowski who was dragged along
  just before closing time and voted 'no,' as can be
  "The labourer Otto Wiegand had to be requested four times
  to record his vote on the day of the election and finally
  only voted under force."

                                                  [Page 251]

  "The husband ... recorded his vote. To be sure this was
  probably exclusively for fear of renewed arrest."

And yet again in what must be, perhaps, one of the most
dreadful documents in all this trial:

   "The Jehovah's Witness Robert Siering and his wife
   deposited their votes after both had been advised of
   their duty to vote by the police in Griefstedt and had
   been threatened with the removal of their child in case
   of non-participation."

No one can pretend that these things were happening only in
Erfurt. In the Gau Coblenz the Kreisgeschaftsfuehrer of
Kochem, "where supervisory control was ordered in several
Ortsgruppen," assured the SD that it was mostly women who
voted "no" or invalidly.

In Rothenburg, the Party carried out demonstrations against
the Bishop who had refused to vote, demonstrations which Mr.
Justice Jackson so vividly described in his opening

Nor was it only in the 1938 plebiscite that the Political
Leadership was active. It will be remembered that in Bremen,
Kreisleiter, Ortsgruppenleiter and Stutzpunktleiter were
concerned in reporting all civil servants who did not vote
in the election which took place on 29th March, 1936.

Dr. Servatius brushes this evidence aside with a comment for
which there is no scrap of evidence in support. He says:

  "It is shown that the commanding agency of the Party in no
  way enters into action. These are merely individual
  measures of other agencies. No general practice or
  knowledge can be deduced from that."

It is unnecessary for me to say more.

The control and supervision of the German people was as much
the task of the Political Leaders as of the SD and Gestapo.
Of all the Political Leaders the Blockleiter were the most
essential for this purpose. They kept their index cards of
every householder, index cards which formed the basis of the
"political judgment," which the Blockleiter, Zellenleiter
and Ortsgruppenleiter, in co-operation with each other, were
to pronounce. Again and again the defence both before the
Commission and before the Tribunal have bridled at and
denied the suggestion that Blockleiter were used as spies.
But what else were they when their index cards were to be
completed from information which they would "have sufficient
opportunity to obtain by means of conversations with the
Germans"? They too were urged to make certain of the
accuracy of their reports.

There is other evidence to show this wretched role the
Blockleiter played. In the Party Organization book the
Blockleiter is directed that:

   "It is his duty to find people disseminating damaging
   rumours and to report them to the Ortsgruppe so that they
   may be reported to the respective State authorities."

We see him spying again when we review the evidence of the
part played by the Political Leaders in the persecution of
the Churches. In co-operation with the Gestapo and SD the
Political Leaders from the highest to the lowest took an
active part in suppressing the influence of the Churches.
How can we doubt that it was the generally accepted policy
of all Political Leaders when, whatever Hitler may have said
in the Party Programme about a "positive Christianity,"
Bormann was writing to Gauleiter in 1941 after his notorious
denunciation of Christianity:

  "National Socialist and Christian concepts are

Gauleiter Kaufmann was at pains to explain that that
directive had been withdrawn

                                                  [Page 252]

a week later. But there is no mention of such withdrawal in
the letter from the SD concerning it, written six months
later in December, 1941. And you may think that it is
remarkably similar to the policy of the Fuehrer's deputy
Hess, as it was explained to Rosenberg two months earlier in
April, 1941:

  "We are inducing schools more and more to reduce and
  abolish religious morning services. Similarly the
  confessional and general prayers in several parts of the
  Reich have already been replaced by National Socialist

There is abundant other evidence of the policy being pursued
by the higher ranks of the Political Leaders in regard to
the Church, with which I need not , worry the Tribunal. Let
me confine myself to the lowest ranks, the
Ortsgruppenleiter, Blockleiter and Zellenleiter. You will
remember the file of reports for February, 1939, of the
Ortsgruppenleiter in Darmstadt on ecclesiastical questions:

  "Blockleiter and Party member Kiel informs me that
  meetings of the confessional front are again taking

And another one in connection with a Pastor Strack:

  "This gentleman should really be rapped on the knuckles
  seriously for once."

You will remember also the action taken by the Kreisleiter
on those reports. The SD and the Gestapo were informed about
the confessional front meetings reported by the Blockleiter.
So also was the unfortunate Pastor Strack, the priest who

  "sufficiently well known and ripe for the concentration
  camp or special court."

Can you doubt that it was also the Blockleiter and
Zellenleiter in Thuringia who would have had to make the
reports required on the way in which the results of the 1938
plebiscite were received by the people "particularly in
small towns and villages"?

Who else but Blockleiter and Zellenleiter would be employed
to find out what the Catholic and Protestant clergy were
saying about the Anschluss during their services? Who else
but they were in a position to report whether the church
bells were rung in the evening after the Anschluss speech in

Lastly upon this subject you have the evidence of
demonstrations being organized to disrupt the service in
Freising Church in 1935, in which the Kreisleiterin of the
Nazi Party Women's Organization was taking a leading part.

It was only by acquiring complete control of the State and
of the people that the Nazi Government was enabled to carry
out its criminal aims. The Political Leaders were an
essential element in the acquisition of this control. They
first supported and executed the orders of a government
which they knew from the first pursued policies which were
wrong, by methods that were criminal. All knew of their
avowed purpose to persecute the Jews. All knew of the
Gestapo, the concentration camps and the Nazi practice of
arrest and incarceration without trial. Yet they continued
actively to support that Government and to tighten its
stranglehold upon the German people. The whole of Dr.
Servatius's argument as to the position of the Political
Leaders after 1933 shows the grip in which Germany was held
by the iron framework of the Party - a political "Iron
Maiden" squeezing a people to their death.


When the persecution of the Jews was an openly recognized
policy and practice of the Nazi Party, the fact that men
voluntarily served their Party in an executive position is
in itself sufficient to prove their participation in
criminal activity. But we have concrete evidence of the
direct participation in the persecution of the Jews by
Political Leaders - and again, by Political Leaders of all
ranks. Within less than a year of the Nazi Government coming
to power there is evidence that the Corps of Political
Leaders were inciting the people of Germany to persecute the
Jews. It is hardly possible to imagine that in a civilized
State in the year 1933 instructions should be issued to the
Political Leaders under the title "Jew Baiting." Yet that
was happening. Kreisleiter in Gau Coblenz were to check
lists of Jewish firms and businesses in their district. Once
again the importance of accuracy is emphasized. Committees
were to be set up within the various Kreise, Ortsgruppen

                                                  [Page 253]

and Stutzpunkte which had "the task of directing and
supervising the communities" in Jew baiting. They were to
continue the policy which had been inaugurated by the Party
with the boycott in April of that year:

  "The Kreisleiter will point out in all gatherings of
  members or in all public gatherings that the Jew in all
  countries is again carrying on a low attack which is
  greatly harmful to Germany. It must be made clear to the
  masses that no German may buy from a Jew."

In view of this evidence; in view of Dr. Servatius's
admission that there was no objection on the part of the
Political Leaders to the Nuremberg Decrees, and that they
welcomed measures which tended to restrict the influence of
the Jews; in view of the part we know they played in the
1938 demonstrations, can there be any doubt that throughout
those years they were actively participating in the
continuous slander and persecution of the Jewish people? It
would be strange indeed were it not so when we see
Heydrich's order to the SD issued on the night of 9th-10th
November, 1938:

  "The Chiefs of the State Police or their deputies must get
  in telephonic contact with the Political Leaders
  (Gauleitung or Kreisleitung) who have jurisdiction over
  their districts, and must arrange a joint meeting with the
  appropriate inspector or commander of the Ordnungspolizei
  to discuss the organization of the demonstration. At these
  discussions the Political Leaders have to be informed that
  the German Police have received from the Reichsfuehrer SS
  the following instructions, in accordance with which the
  political leaders should adjust their own measures."

It is indeed curious that those instructions should have
been issued, if all the Gauleiter had been so strongly
opposed to such measures as Gauleiter Kaufmann, Streicher,
Sauckel and Wahl say they were.

Whatever these witnesses you have heard may say of the
attitude of the political leaders at those demonstrations,
we know that 36 Jews were killed. Of those 36 killed, 4 were
murdered either by Ortsgruppenleiter or Blockleiter. It was
a Court composed of Gauleiter and other Political Leaders,
who saw fit to suspend or pronounce only minor punishments
in the cases of all the murders committed during those
demonstrations by members of the Party, the SS, the SA, and
of the Corps of Political Leaders. And for what reasons.

  "In such cases as when Jews were killed without an order
  or contrary to orders, ignoble motives could not be
  determined. At heart the men were convinced that they had
  done a service to their Fuehrer and to the Party."

If those witnesses for the defence that you have heard here
did not understand who was responsible for those
demonstrations, it was perfectly clear to the members of the
Supreme Party Court.

In France lists of Jews for "collective expatriation" -
which meant, of course, deportation to the East - were made
out in agreement with the Hoheitstrager. But knowledge of
these deportations and of the treatment of Jews in the
occupied territories was not confined to the Political
Leaders in France. The August, 1944, edition of the
information circular Die Lage contained exact particulars of
what was happening in Hungary.

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