The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants
>Rudolf Hess
(Part 1 of 4)

[Page 466]


(1)Between 1919 and 1941, Hess held the following positions:
(a) Member of the Nazi Party, 1920-1941 (3191-PS).
(b) Deputy to the Fuehrer, 21 April 1933 to 10 May 1941 (3196-PS).
(c) Reich Minister without Portfolio, 1 December 1933-10 May 1941 (3178-PS).
(d) Member of the Reichstag, 5 March 1933-10 May 1941 (3192-PS).
(e) Member of the Council of Ministers for the Defense of the Reich, 30 August 1930-10 May 1941 (2018-PS).
(f) Member of the Secret Cabinet Council, 4 February 1938 -10 May 1941 (1377-PS).
(g) Successor Designate to the Fuehrer, after Goering, 1 September 1939-10 May 1941 (3190-PS).
(h) General in the SS (3198-PS).
(i) Private Secretary and A. d. C. to Hitler, 1925-1932 (3192-PS).
(j) Head of the Central Political Committee of the N.S.D.A.P., appointed 15 December 1932 (3132-PS).
(k) Reichsleiter of the N.S.D.A.P. (Member of the Party Directorate)(3198-PS).
(l) Member of the Reichs Defense Council (2261-PS).


The Nazi Party was the conspiracy's main instrument of control. As its directing head, Hess used this instrument vigorously to advance the purposes of the conspiracy. He thus played a decisive part in the preparation and execution of its criminal designs.

Hess began his conspiratorial activities immediately upon the termination of World War I by joining militaristic and nationalistic organizations. He became a member of the Thule Society and of the Free Corps Epp. In June 1920 he joined the Nazi Party, receiving membership card No. 16 (191-PS; 347-PS).

By 1923 Hess was an SA leader and head of the Nazi University Organization in Munich. He took part in the Nazi Putsch of 8 November 1923-9 November 1923. As a result he was tried and convicted on a charge of high treason (3132- PS). He spent 7 1/2 months of his 18 months' sentence with Hitler at the Landsberg Fortress

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(3191-PS). There Hitler dictated Mein Kampf to him (3132- PS).

After their release, Hess remained extremely close to Hitler. In 1925, he became officially his private secretary and A. d. C (3192-PS).

During the Party crisis which resulted from the sudden resignation of Gregor Strasser, head of the Party's Political Organization, in December 1932, Hitler called on Hess to take charge of the newly formed Central Political Committee of the Party, in order to restore its strength and unity (3132-PS).

Shortly thereafter, Hess took part in the decisive negotiations which brought the Nazi conspirators into power on 30 January 1933


Upon the conspirators' accession to power, Hess was appointed Deputy to the Fuehrer of the NSDAP (3196-PS). His broad powers and responsibilities in that position were officially described as

"All the threads of the Party work are gathered together by the Deputy of the Fuehrer. He gives the final word on all intra-Party plans and all questions vital for the existence of the German people. The Deputy of the Fuehrer gives the directives required for all the Party work, in order to maintain the unity, determination and striking power of the N.S.D.A.P. as the bearer of the National-Socialist philosophy." (3163-PS; Chart Number 15).

Through Hess the Conspirators established the control of the Party over the State. As a first step he obtained a seat in the Cabinet, which had in effect become the sole legislative organ of the Reich (2001-PS; 2426-PS; 1395-PS). As a Cabinet Minister, Hess signed the laws which further strengthened the political power of the Nazi Party. Among these enactments were the law of 1 August 1944 consolidating the positions of Chief of State and Leader of the Party (2003- PS); and the law of 20 December 1934 against treacherous attacks on Party and State

Through a long series of decrees Hess obtained control over every aspect of public and private life in Germany, in order to subvert it to the aims of the conspiracy, as represented by the Party.

(1) Hess gained control over all legislation.

A Hitler Decree of 27 July 1934 provided for Hess's participation in the drafting of all legislation (D-138). In a circular to

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Cabinet members on 9 October 1939, Hess stated that he would in the future veto every bill which reached him to late to allow him enough time for its thorough study from the Party point of view (D-139). A letter from Chief of the Reich Chancellery Lammers, on 12 April 1938, announced a supplementary decree extending Hess's participation, especially with regard to the drafting of laws affecting individual States (D-140; see 1942-PS).

(2) Hess gained control over all government appointments, including those of the judiciary and university teachers.

A decree of 24 September 1935 provided for the consultation of Hess in the appointment of Reich and State civil servants (3180-PS). A decree of 10 July 1937 provided for the participation of the Fuehrer's Deputy in the appointment of Reich and State civil servants (3184-PS). A decree of 14 October 1936, signed by Hess, regulated the status of Reich and State civil servants (3183-PS). A further decree of 3 April 1936 provided for Hess's participation in the appointment of Labor Service officials (3182-PS).

(3) Hess gained control over Local Government Administration.

This control was effected through the German Municipality Act of 30 January 1935 provided for the participation of Party delegates

(4) Hess gained control over the administration of annexed territories.

Thus, the Ordinance of 10 June 1939 provided for Hess's participation in the administration of Austria (Reichsgesetzblatt 1939, Part I, p. 995) while another Ordinance of the same date provided for Hess's participation in the administration of the Sudetenland (Reichsgesetzblatt 1939, Part I, p. 997).

(5) Hess, in his capacity as Deputy Leader of the Party, gained control over the German Youth.

An order of 10 July 1934 set up a University Commission of the NSDAP under Hess; an Order of 18 July 1934 placed the NS German Student League directly under Hess; and an Order of 14 November 1934 delegated to the Student League exclusive jurisdiction over the political and ideological education of German students (3132-PS). A Hess Decree of 6 June 1936 established the NS Aid Fund for the Struggle in the Universities (3203-PS; see also 3132-PS and 1392-PS).

The success of this entire program of legislation was described by Hitler as follows:

"In this Reich everybody who has a responsible position is a National Socialist *** Every institution of this Reich

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is under the orders of the supreme political leadership *** The Party leads the Reich (2715-PS; see 1774-PS and 3163-PS).

In order to enable the conspirators to buttress their power through the armed terror of the SA and SS, Hess, while not actually in control of these Party formations, nevertheless gave them active support. Thus; he was instrumental in establishing the Hitler Grant (a large fund contributed annually by heavy German industry under the chairmanship of Krupp) and in directing part thereof to the support of the SA and SS (D-151) .

When several SA men were convicted for mistreatment of inmates of the Hohnstein concentration camp, two members of the jury which had voted the conviction were expelled from the party (784-PS) .

Finally, when Himmler, Reich Leader of the SS, organized the SD, Hess issued an order establishing the SD as the sole political information service of the Nazi Party, its functions to be exercised through the SS (3385-PS).

Hess also sought to destroy the influence of the independent churches among the German people, in order to wipe out every opposition to the aims of the conspirators. Thus, Hess's Chief of Staff, Bormann, issued numerous orders and communications from Hess's office against the independent churches. Among these were the Secret Order of 27 July 1938 making clergymen ineligible for party offices (113-PS); the Party Directive of 14 July 1939 making the clergy and theology students ineligible for Party membership (840-PS); the letter of 22 February 1940 discussing ways and means of eliminating religious instruction from the schools (098-PS); the report of 25 April on the progressive substitution of National Socialist mottoes in place of morning prayers in the schools (070-PS); the letter to Rosenberg of 17 January 1940 concerning the undesirability of religious literature for members of the Wehrmacht (101-PS); the instructions of 8 March 1940 against the further issuance of newsprint to confessional newspapers (089-PS); and the letter to the Minister of the Interior, in May 1938, agreeing to the invalidation of the Concordat between Austria and the Holy See (675-PS; 838-PS and 107-PS).

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