The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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We believe that a just and practical distinction may be
drawn between these two classes. In July and August of 1935
the assurance which had been held out to the Stahlhelm, that
they would retain their independent status side by side with
their membership of the SA, was broken. The organization of
the Stahlhelm was finally dissolved; their uniforms, their
meetings and all their previous activities were prohibited.
From that time the Stahlhelm members who remained in the SA
were indistinguishable from the rest of that body. They had
joined the SA in 1933 knowing, as one of their own witnesses
has declared, the criminal nature of the policies and
activities of the SA. Now, in 1935, they could have had no
illusion that by remaining members they would not be
expected to support that policy and participate in those
activities. None who remained members after that date can
absolve themselves from a major responsibility for the
crimes committed by the SA and by the Nazi Government, of
which the SA was one of the essential bulwarks. We therefore
respectfully recommend for your consideration whether all
these members of the Stahlhelm who resigned or were ejected
from the SA prior to 31st December, 1935, might also be
excluded. We submit that those who remained are rightly
included in the criminal organization of the SA.

You will appreciate the effect of these exclusions upon the
number of SA members involved in these proceedings.

The exclusion of the 1,500,000 Kyffhauserbund and 500,000
Kern Stahlhelm alone reduces Juettner's total to 2,500,000,
and that takes no account of the other exclusions which the
prosecution have suggested.

Lastly, I would say a word in respect of the Reiterkorps. I
have already submitted that there is no legal basis for
suggesting that their membership was involuntary. The
prosecution recognizes, however, that in so far as the
Reiterkorps retained its separate organization of riding
clubs, its own identity and its own leaders, you may find
that it is in a somewhat special position when you are
considering the criminal responsibility of the SA. It is, of
course, open to the Tribunal to give effect to that special
position of the Reiterkorps if it so desires. You will
remember that its membership totaled 200,000.


Upon one further point which has been raised by the defence
I ought, perhaps, to say a word. It has been urged that the
weekly paper the SA Mann, upon which the prosecution have
drawn for a small part of their evidence against this
organization, is inaccurate, and does not truly represent
either the policy or the activities of the SA. You have
heard the evidence for and against this proposition. I need
only remind you that the paper was published by the official
Nazi publishing house, the Eher Company, which published
also Mein Kampf, the organization books, the orders and
decrees of the Nazi Government and all other official Nazi
publications. It carries under its title the description:

  "The official organ of the Supreme SA Leadership."

Its editor, writing to Rosenberg, describes it, without
contradiction, as the "combat publication and official organ
of the Supreme Party Leadership," with a circulation of
750,000. Lutze himself recommends it in his annual training
directive for 1939 as one of the official "aids to the
preparation and carrying out of training." I submit to you
that in the face of that evidence the testimony of witnesses
for the defence upon this matter ought not to be accepted.

Will you consider the whole of the literature you have seen
in connection with this organization? It is all the same -
all about war, about lawless violence, about racial hatred.
There is not one word on the ordinary matters of decent
living, of the interests and activities and the ways of life
of ordinary decent, civilized, peaceful citizens - the
things which fill the newspapers and literature of decent,
law-abiding, peaceful countries. Compare the literature of
the SA with that of any organization or society in any other
country in Europe. The SA, the organization which prided
itself upon its responsibility of educating and training the
manhood of

                                                  [Page 270]

Germany, spoke only of militarism, of arrogance, of bullying
and of hatred. What need for this if their purpose was what
they say?


I turn to consider the evidence upon which we base our
submission that this organization was criminal. The aims of
the SA were the aims of the Nazi Party itself. Training in
the SA is described in the Organization Book as:

  "Education training according to the doctrines and aims of
  the Fuehrer as they are set forth in Mein Kampf and in the
  Party programme for all phases of our lives and our
  National Socialist ideology. "

Lutze, Chief of the SA, speaking to the Diplomatic Corps and
foreign Press in 1936, told them:

  "When I state in the beginning that the obligations of the
  SA are those of the Party, and vice versa, I only mean
  that the SA considers the Party's programme as its own as
  well. The SA cannot be independent of the National
  Socialist movement but can only exist as a part of it. In
  the framework of the Party the SA represents its
  protective troops, its fighting shock troops, to which
  belong the most active members of the movement,
  politically speaking. The tasks of the SA are those of the
  Party, and vice versa. They are therefore of an internal
  political nature."


In the interests of time I do not propose to dwell upon the
evidence of how this organization performed its role as "the
protective troops" and "the fight shock troops" of the
Party. All this may well be said already to be a matter of
historical fact. In the words of the Indictment, the SA "was
developed by Nazi conspirators, before their accession to
power, into a vast private army, and utilized for the
purpose of creating disorder and terrorizing and eliminating
political opponents." It is said that the violent and
criminal activity of its members, if indeed any such
activity existed at all, was purely defensive - forced upon
it order to protect its members and their Party Leaders from
the violence of the Communist and other political parties.
It is for you to judge the value of that evidence. In doing
so, you will have it in mind that all the documentary
evidence upon this question which has been submitted to you
in the defence document book, is of Nazi origin and
authorship. You may think that that description of the SA as
a defensive organization is wholly inconsistent with the
evidence you had from the witness Severing, from Gisevius
{INSERT LINK-GISEVIUS} and in the affidavit you have had
from the American Consul, Geist. {INSERT LINK-GEIST}

                                                  [Page 271]

Severing told you:

  "The observation of the so-called armed organizations
  during the years of my office was one of my most important
  tasks. The toughest organization of all these turned out
  to be the SA. They were the rowdy battalion, and with the
  arrogance with which they sang their songs they forced
  themselves into the streets. They cleared the streets for
  themselves where there was no opposition for them ....
  Wherever the SA could exercise their terror unhindered
  they acted in such a manner .... Those were not ordinary
  little fights between political fighters during election
  fights. That was organized terror."

The Stahlhelm witness, Gruss, confirmed the evidence that
Severing gave:

  "I believe," he said, "that, on the whole, Severing
  describes it correctly."

It is my submission that the evidence of SA criminality
during the years 1933-34, from the coming into power of the
Nazi Government until the Roehm purge, is as well
established and may be dealt with shortly. The same
violence, the same disregard for the law and for the rights
and privileges of all but themselves, continued. It is
sufficient to remind you of what Gisevius said:

  "The SA organized huge raids. The SA searched houses, the
  SA confiscated property, the SA cross-examined people. The
  SA put people into jail. In short, the SA appointed
  themselves auxiliary police, and paid no attention to any
  of the customs from the period of the liberal system ....
  Woe to anyone who got into their clutches! From this time
  dates the 'bunker,' that dreaded private prison, of which
  every SA stormtroop had to have at least one. 'Taking
  away' became the inalienable right of the SA .... The
  efficiency of a Standartenfuehrer was measured by the
  number of arrests he had made, and the good reputation of
  an SA man was based on the effectiveness with which he
  'educated' his prisoners. Brawls could no longer be staged
  in the fight for power, yet the fight went on; only the
  blows were now struck in the full enjoyment of power."

Gisevius went on to describe in more detail the illegal
arrests of political opponents by members of the SA, the
prisons they established and the treatment meted out to
their victims:

  "It was the bestiality tolerated during the first months
  that later encouraged the sadistic murders in the
  concentration camps."

Having heard Schaefer, first commandant of Oranienburg,
cross-examined, have you the slightest doubt that atrocities
were committed by SA men in that camp? You have the evidence
of the witness Joel that the SA established a concentration
camp at Wuppertal on the initiative of the local SA
commander. At Hohnstein and at Bredow also SA guards were
torturing and murdering their prisoners. You will remember
the letter written in June, 1935, from the Ministry of
Justice to Hitler himself:

  "In the camp, serious maltreatment of the prisoners has
  been going on at least since the summer of 1933. The
  prisoners were not only, as in the protective custody
  camps at Bredow, near Stettin, beaten into a state of
  unconsciousness for no reason with whips and other
  weapons, but were also tortured in other ways."

Comment is unnecessary, except to emphasize that sadism and
illegal arrests of this kind were being practised and
carried out by SA men throughout the Reich:

  "Within six weeks of the Nazis coming to power in January,
  1933, the German newspapers were quoting official sources
  for the statement that 18,000 Communists had been
  imprisoned, whilst 10,000 prisoners in the jails of
  Prussia included many Socialists and intellectuals."

Sollmann, Social Democrat member of the Reichstag, was being
taken to the Brown House in Cologne to be "tortured, beaten
and kicked for several hours." In Nuremberg a man called
Pfbaumer was being beaten on the soles of his feet until he
died. In Munich the former editor of the newspaper, the
Lower Bavarian

                                                  [Page 272]

Peasant, Dr. Alois Schlogel, had his house wrecked and was
himself ill-treated. These are only a few of the incidents
of this kind which the Prime Minister of Bavaria describes
when he says:

  "Of their total number throughout Germany there can be no

This was no political revolution. This was no self-
protection from Communist opposition. These men were the
servants of the Government, with the sure knowledge that all
Government agencies - the Press, the law and the police -
were under orders to condone and to assist. They ran no
risks; their victims had no court nor protection to which
they could appeal.

This was nothing but sheer sadism, criminal brutality,
encouraged by the Party and the SA leadership. You have the
evidence of Geist:

  "I personally can verify that the police had been
  instructed not to interfere .... These officers told me
  that they and all the other police officers had received
  definite instructions not to interfere with the SA, the SS
  or the Hitler Youth."

Goering, speaking on 3rd March, 1933, described the role
that the SA were to perform from then on. He declared that
the Communists would be suppressed by the Brown Shirts. The
police would not be used as in a bourgeois democracy:

   "I do not have to give justice, my aim is only to destroy
   and exterminate, nothing more .... The struggle to the
   death, in which my fist will grasp your necks, I shall
   lead with those down there - those are the Brown Shirts."

Let me deal in rather greater detail with the activities of
the SA during those years after 1934. It has been suggested
that following the Roehm purge the SA diminished both in
numbers and in importance, and that the criminal activities
of its members ceased. That its numbers were reduced is
unquestionable - I have indicated the evidence of the
reasons why. That it waned in importance is also true, to
the extent that official favour was bestowed more and more
upon the SS for reasons that are well known. Nevertheless,
the SA both in the eyes, of its own leaders, its members,
and of the Nazi Party authorities, remained politically and
militarily an important and vital force.

By June, 1934, the political opponents of the Nazi Party had
been suppressed or incarcerated. Little wonder then that we
have less evidence of those incidents of "mastery of the
streets" which filled the history of Germany during previous
years. But the aims of the organization remained the same -
fanatical support of the policy of the Nazi Government: the
suppression of such opposition as remained, particularly the
Churches and the Jews, and, in addition, intensive
preparation for aggressive war.

Already the SA and the SS had been employed in the action to
dissolve the Trade Unions; {LINK-UNIONS} the Church and the
Jews remained an ever-present problem. I have already
referred to the Nazi Party's policy of suppression of all
Church influence and I would remind you of the part the SA
were playing in this fight during the years after 1934. You
remember the incident in Freising Church in February, 1935,
when the Kreisleiterin instructed all her Nazi women to
accompany SA Storm Troopers to attend the service in
Freising Church. It was SA men who arranged for the bell to
ring during the Cardinal's service. It was SA men who
afterwards led Hans Heidl out into a field at night and beat
him unmercifully for his resentment at the interference with
the service. You remember the story:

  "The leader took a handkerchief from his pocket and tied
  it over my mouth. He then pressed me to the ground and
  held me while the two others started beating me. They gave
  me about 15 to 20 heavy blows, from the seat down to the
  ankle of the left foot. The gag became loose and I

                                                  [Page 273]

  loudly. They then let go of me and helped me up. I was
  given strict instructions not to tell anybody about this
  incident if I wanted to keep my business. They then gave
  me a kick, and said: 'Now run home in a trot, you black
  brother.' "

Are you impressed with the defence that that was only an
isolated incident? When you consider the evidence of
wholesale and widespread acts of violence which had
characterized the SA in the eyes of all Germany and the
world during the years of Nazi struggle, can you doubt that
similar incidents were taking place throughout Germany in
1935 and afterwards, whenever the occasion presented itself?
Does the very nature of an organization such as this change
within a few months? If the nature and aims of the SA had
changed, why should the SA Mann have been publishing in 1937
and 1938 articles decrying the Church, such as:

  "My dear Franciscans,"
  "The Black Balance - Political Catholicism,"
  "The Church wants to dictate to the State,"
  "Unmasked Political Catholicism" and
  "Does the Vatican want War?"

If the violent manners of the SA had been converted during
these years, why should the official organ of its supreme
leadership have been recounting stories of its early
battles? Their titles tell their tale:

  "We subdue the Red Terror."
  "Nightly street battles on the Czech border."
  "Street battle in Chemnitz."
  "SA against sub-humanity."
  "For the Superiority of the Street."
  "Company 88 receives its Baptism of Fire."
  "The SA breaks the Red Terror."
  "Bloody Sunday in Berlin."

And that description of "9th November, 1923, in Nuremberg"
when, during the course of the disturbances, someone
shouted, "The Jewish place will be stormed! Out with the

The part the SA played in the ever-increasing persecution of
the Jews dissolves any doubt there may be of the continuing
criminality of that organization during the years after
1934. Of the boycott in April, 1933, Goebbels had written in
his biography:

  "1st April, 1933
  All Jewish stores are closed. At their entrances SA
  sentries are standing."

It was only an example of how, throughout all Germany, the
SA provided the Nazi Government with a means of putting its
policy into effect. The instructions issued by Streicher and
his committee had directed:

  "The SA and the SS are instructed to warn the population,
  by means of pickets, from entering Jewish enterprises once
  the boycott has started."

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