The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter XI
The Concentration Camp
The Beginning of Protective Custody
(Part 3 of 5)


A. Persecution of Pacifists.

The conspirators, then, were directing their apparatus of terror against the "enemies of the State", against "disintegrating forces", and against those people who endangered the State "with their attitudes". Whom did they consider as belonging in these broad categories? First, they were the men in Germany who wanted peace. In this connection an affidavit by Gerhart H. Segar declares as follows:

[Page 951]

"*** 2. During the period after World War I up until my commitment to the Leipzig jail and Oranienburg concentration camp in the spring of 1933 following the Nazis' accession to power in January of that year, my business and political affiliations exposed me to the full impact of the Nazi theories and practice of violent regimentation and terroristic tactics. My conflict with the Nazis by virtue of my identification with the peace movement, and as duly elected member of the Reichstag representing a political faith (Social Democratic Party) hostile to National Socialism, clearly demonstrated that, even in the period prior to 1933, the Nazis considered crimes and terrorism a necessary and desirable weapon in overcoming democratic opposition ***"

*******

"*** (e). That the Nazis had already conceived the device of the concentration camp as a means of suppressing and regimenting opposition elements was forcefully brought to my attention during the course of a conversation which I had with Dr. Wilhelm Frick in December 1932. Frick at that time was Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Reichstag of which I was a member. When I gave an emphatic answer to Frick concerning the particular matter discussed, he replied, 'Don't worry, when we are in power we shall put all of you guys into concentration camps.' When the Nazis came into power, Frick was appointed Reichsminister of Interior and promptly carried out his threat in collaboration with Goering, as Chief of the Prussian State Police, and Himmler." (L-83)

Thus, even before the Nazis had seized power in Germany they had conceived of the plan to repress any potential opposition by terror.

Frick's statement to Gerhart Segar is completely consistent with an earlier statement which he made on 18 October 1929. Frick at that time declared:

"This fateful struggle will first be taken up with the ballot, but this cannot continue indefinitely, for history has taught us that in a battle, blood must be shed, and iron broken. The ballot is the beginning of this fateful struggle. We are determined to promulgate by force that which we preach. Just as Mussolini exterminated the Marxists in Italy, so must we also succeed in accomplishing the same through dictatorship and terror." (2513-PS)

There are many additional cases of the use of the concentration camp against the men who wanted peace. There was, for ex-

[Page 952]

ample, a group called the "Bibel Forscher" (Bible Research Workers), most of whom were Jehovah's Witnesses. Since they were pacifists, the conspirators provided not only for their prosecution in the regular courts, but also for confining them in concentration camps after they had served the judicial sentences. An order by the Secret State Police, Berlin, dated 5 August 1937, provided:

"The Reichsminister of Justice had informed me that he does not share the opinion voiced by subordinate departments on various occasions, according to which, the arrest of the Bibelforschers after they have served a sentence, is supposed to jeopardize the authority of the law courts. He is fully aware of the necessity for measures by the State Police after the sentence has been served. He asks, however, not to bring the Bibelforschers into protective custody under circumstances detrimental to the respect of the law courts ***."

"2. If information regarding the impending release of a Bibelforscher from arrest is received from the authorities carrying out the sentence, my decision regarding the ordering of measures by the State Police, will be asked for in accordance with my circular decree dated 22 April 1937, so that transfer to a concentration camp can take place immediately after the sentence has been served. Should a transfer into a concentration camp immediately after the serving of the sentence not be possible, Bibelforschers will be detained in police prisons." (D-84)


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