The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter VII
Means Used by the Nazi Conspiractors in Gaining Control of the German State
(Part 49 of 55)

(3) The Reichsleiter fuer die Presse (Reich Press Leader).

The Reich Press Leader, Max Amann, was charged with super-

[Page 331]

vising all matters concerning the German publishing business. The Organisationsbuch der NSDAP (1937) described his function as follows:

"He is charged with the creation of a press for the German people, which is responsible and answerable to him, and which reflects the life and experiences of the German people's community. In addition, the Reichsleiter for Press has the function of issuing regulations necessary to carry out the demands concerning publication policies established in Article 23 of the Party Program and to supervise their execution." (2319-PS)

Article 23 of the Party Platform referred to above, provided, inter alia, that (a) all editors and newspaper personnel must be "members of the nation"; (b) non-Germans are prohibited from financial participation in, or influence of, newspapers; (c) the publication of papers "which do not conduce to the national welfare" is prohibited; (d) tendencies in art or literature "of a kind likely to disintegrate our life as a nation" will be prosecuted; and (e) "institutions which militate against the requirements mentioned above" will be suppressed. (1708-PS)

Thus the Reich Press Leader was not only empowered to control all publishing houses of the Party, but was assigned the task of bringing the entire German press into line with National Socialist ideology. To this end he was given wide and specific powers.

His sphere of jurisdiction included specifically:

(a) The administration, publishing, and financing of the Party press;
(b) The establishment of newspapers by Party members or affiliated associations;
(c) The incorporation of newspapers into the Party press combine;
(d) The appointment of publishers and of their deputies;
(e) The termination or alteration of contracts with newspapers;
(f) The appointment of Commissars to supervise publishing houses. (2319-PS)

In addition to controlling the administration and finance of the National Socialist publishing houses in the Gau, the Press Leader headed the Zentralverlag, which was the central publishing house and holding company of the entire Party publishing machine and all its official organs, such as Der Voelkischer Beobachter, Der Angri Der SA Mann, Das Schwarze Korps, Die HJ, etc. (3016-PS)

It was one of the Reich Press Leader's duties to turn all pub-

[Page 332]

lishing by Party officials into a lucrative undertaking, and to set up an absolute monopoly in the publication of all political literature. To effectuate that objective, a decree was passed which made it mandatory for all "manuscripts which have National Socialist problems and subject matter as themes" to be offered first to the Verlag publication. (2383- PS)

The Reichsleiter fuer de Press, who was also president of the Reich Press Chamber, exercised economic controls over the entire German press. He made use of his position to expand the Party publishing machine at the expense of non- party newspapers. As president of the Reich Press Chamber, he was authorized to issue directives with the force of law. In that capacity he issued certain regulations which had the effect of prohibiting the Ownership of newspapers by corporations of any kind, except the NSDAP or such groups as were approved by the Party. (2315-PS)

These decrees enabled Amann to close down one or more papers in a particular locality "to safeguard reasonable standards of competition." They thus provided, along with racial and other discriminatory legislation, the "legal" basis for the pressure which was brought to bear on such publishing firms as Ullstein and other opposition publications, in order to force them to sell out to the Party. These sales were in no sense voluntary; the alternative in each case was total suppression. The authorizing decree provided:

"The President of the Reich Chamber of the Press will therefore endeavor at first in every individual case to effect agreements which will relieve him of the necessity of issuing orders for the closing of establishments." (2315-PS)

Max Amann has admitted in an affidavit that he discharged his duties as Reich Press Leader consistently with the statement of his functions contained in the Party Organization Book and with Article 23 of the Party Program. He has further stated that racial and other discriminatory legislation made it expedient for firms "owned or controlled by Jewish interests, or by political or religious interests hostile to the NSDAP *** to sell their newspapers or assets to the Eher concern"; and that there was "no free market for the sale of such properties and the Franz Eher Verlag was generally the only bidder." His affidavit concludes as follows:

"It is a true statement to say that the basic purpose of the Nazi press program was to eliminate all press in opposition to the Party." (3016-PS)

The original plaintext version of part one or part two of this file is available via ftp.

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