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 51 of 55)

(8) Abteilung Deutsche Presse (German or Home Press Department). This department was headed by Fritzsche until he was relieved in 1942 to take charge of the Radio Division. It was responsible for political control over the entire German press; it controlled the editorial policy of the press and its personnel (through the Reich Press Chamber), and supervised the dissemination of news through the official German News Agency (DNB). The Home Press Division outlined the editorial policy o all newspapers and the comment of editors and journalists in its daily directives. (Tendenz berichte). These dealt with the

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daily contents of the paper, the methods of treatment of news material, the writing of headlines, the preference for or omission of certain items, and the modification or cessation of current campaigns. The directives were issued to the representatives of the press in person or sent through the facilities of the DNB to the local papers. (2434- PS; 2529-PS)

The Home Press Department of the Propaganda Ministry had an important participation in administering the provisions of the Editorial Control Law, which made the profession of editor "a public task, which is regulated as to its professional duties and rights by the state." That law also included requirements for admission to the profession and other elaborate controls. (2083-PS)

(9) Periodical Literature. This department supervised German periodical literature in the same manner as the Abteilung Deutsche Presse controlled the daily press.

Other divisions exercised supervision over the Theatre (selection and supervision of the entire dramatic production and influencing the programs of all German Theatres); the Arts; Music ("the entire cultural and political leadership of German musical life"); Special Cultural Tasks ("This department serves mainly to eliminate all Jews from German Cultural life"); and Foreign Tourists. (2434-PS)

A large organization of faithful Party followers was recruited to discharge the manifold functions of the Propaganda Ministry. The staff numbered 1000 persons in 1939- 1940. In the words of Mueller:

"It is no accident; therefore, that the great majority of the official workers and other personnel of the Ministry consist of reliable National Socialists of which almost 100 are bearers of the Gold Party Pin." (2434-PS)

C. The semi-autonomous professional organizations Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture).

The Reich Chamber of Culture was set up in September 1933 to control (under the supervision of the Propaganda Ministry and within the framework of general policy directives issued by that activity) personnel engaged in all fields of propaganda (2082-PS). Its tasks as described in the First Executive Decree of the above law, dated 1 November 1933, were:

"To promote German culture as responsible to the people and the Reich, to regulate the social and economic relations of the different groups in the cultural professions and to coordinate their aims." (2415-PS)

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The Reichskulturkammer was a so-called "Nachgeordnete Dienststelle" (Subordinate office) of the Propaganda Ministry. Together with its subordinate Chambers it was charged with supervising all personnel active in any field under the jurisdiction of the Propaganda Ministry. All persons employed in the cultural professions were obligated to register with one of the subordinate Chambers. The Chambers were also responsible for investigating the activities and political reliability of their members. Moreover, power was given to Chambers to prosecute members offending against Nazi standards or persons pursuing their occupation without being duly registered.

The punitive powers included, expulsion from membership, which was tantamount to the loss of livelihood. The Chambers were also given power to issue directives, which had the validity of law, regulating the cultural activities under their control (2529-PS). The President of the Chamber of Culture was the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who nominated the Vice-Presidents. In 1937, the latter consisted of Walter Funk, Max Amann (Reich Leader of the Press) and Leopold Gutterer (Secretary of State in the Propaganda Ministry).

The Chamber of Culture was divided into seven functional chambers;

(1) Reichspressekammer (Reich Press Chamber). Max Amann was president of this chamber, which was, to a greater extent than the other chambers, a loose association of technical bodies and organizations, such as the Reich Association of German Newspaper Publishers. It integrated the activities of these groups and, through the composition of its governing body, ensured close coordination with Party and State propaganda machinery. (2529-PS; 3016-PS)

(2) Feichskammer der bildenden Kunste (Reich Chamber of Fine Arts). This chamber supervised the activities of all architects, interior decorators, landscape gardeners, sculptors, painters, draftsmen, art publishers, etc. By 1937, all other art groups and associations had been dissolved, and all their members "obligated by profession" to join this chamber. (2529-PS)

(3) Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Music Chamber). This Chamber was organized to "oversee the practice and activity of musicians in their cultural, economic, and legal relationships with the world. *** in order that music will still remain a prized possession of the German people." (2529-PS)

(4) Reichstheaterkammer (Reich Theater Chamber). The Theater Chamber was the professional organization for the entire field of the professional theater. Its purpose was to super-

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vise and promote the "cultural, social and economic conditions of the professions which it includes". Actual censorship of stage production was the responsibility of the Reichsdramaturg. (2529-PS)

(5) Reichsfilmkammer (Reich Film Chamber). The primary function of this Chamber was to lift the film industry "out of the sphere of liberal economic thoughts" by giving it a sound economic foundation and thus enable it to "receive those tasks which it has to fulfill in the National Socialist State". (2529-PS)

(6) Rechsschrifttumskammer (Reich Chamber of Literature). The Chamber of Literature had jurisdiction over all persons concerned with the "basic production" (writing and publishing) of literature. Its task was to protect writers "from undesirable elements" and to keep out of the book market everything "unGerman." It had the further function of bringing literature to the people and making the writer more "aware of his duty to the nation." Primary responsibility for critical evaluation and censorship of literature however, was left to the Propaganda Ministry. (2529-PS)

(7) Reichsrundfunkkamer (Reich Radio Chamber). The official gazette of the Reich Culture Chamber stated that the radio was the most immediate propaganda instrument of the National Socialist leadership; that the ideal and cultural life of the nation could be shown "totally" in and through the radio; and that since the radio constituted the most important technical means of influencing the masses it was necessary to establish a close tie between the radio and the Party.

Functions of the Radio Chamber included: mobilizing of all technical possibilities of broadcasting, bringing the people closer to radio, planning the manufacture of cheap receiving sets, and propaganda in connection with the drive for new listeners. (2529-PS)

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

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