The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Baldur Von Schirach

(Part 6 of 6)

[Page 888]


Schirach bears responsibility for providing many, if not most, of the Death Head (Totenkopf) members of the SS, who, in the main, administered the concentration camps. As particularized above, the SS, by agreement between Himmler and Schirach, took "its replacement primarily" from Streifendienst members of the Hitler Youth and only upon special permission could a non Hitler Youth become an SS man. Nor can Schirach escape responsibility for his assistance in implanting in youth the Nazi ideology, with its tenets of a master race, "sub-human" peoples, and world domination. For such notions were the psychological prerequisites for the instigation and toleration of the atrocities which zealous Nazis committed throughout Germany and the occupied countries.

[Page 889]

(1) Schirach directed and participated in the Nazi conspirators' slave labor program.

(For a full discussion of the slave labor program see Chapter X.)

Vienna was one of the principal cities and an independent Reichsgau of Greater Germany. Schirach, as Gau Leader and Reich Governor, was delegated far-reaching responsibilities concerning the slave labor program and hence shares responsibility for crimes of slave labor. (3552-PS)

This document proves that the Gau Leaders were required to be the supreme integrating and coordinating agents of the Nazi conspirators in executing the entire manpower program. A circular of the Party Chancellery of 22 March 1942 states that Goering, upon the suggestion of Sauckel, had agreed that the Gau Leaders were to become active as Sauckel's special Plenipotentiaries (Bevollmaechtigte) in order that - -

"By the leadership of the Party in full appreciation of the competence of the corresponding Reich authorities, the highest efficiency in the field of manpower shall be guaranteed." (3352-PS)

Goering gave Sauckel authority to issue orders to "the agencies of the Party, its member organizations and affiliated organizations" as well as to governmental authorities. By an order of 6 April 1942 Sauckel appointed the Gau Leaders as his "plenipotentiaries for manpower within their respective Gaus," and charged them with the --

" establishment of a harmonious cooperation of all agencies of the State, of the Party, of the Armed Forces, and of the Economy, charged with problems of manpower and thus to create agreement between the different conceptions and requirements to obtain the highest efficiency in the field of manpower." (3352- PS).

To insure that the Gau Leaders could efficiently perform their manpower tasks, the entire staff of the Provincial Labor Offices were --

" directed to be at the disposal of the Gau Leaders for information and advice and to fulfill the suggestions and demands of the Gau Leader for the purpose of improvements or manpower."

In this same order Sauckel said:

"By the above mentioned commission of the Gau Leaders of the NSDAP, I intend to lead manpower utilization to the greatest success."

Thus, Sauckel, himself an experienced Gau Leader, bears witness

[Page 890]

to the involvement after 1942 of the Gau Leaders, including Schirach, in the manpower utilization program of the Nazi conspirators.

Furthermore, a circular from the Party Chancellery of 4 August 1942, shows that "Bearers of Sovereignty" (Hoheitstraeger) of the NSDAP (which included the Gau Leaders and hence Schirach) were to familiarize themselves with the execution of manpower directives on Eastern workers. One of the purposes of this directive was to prevent "inept Factory heads" from giving "too much consideration for the care of the Eastern Workers and thereby causing justified annoyance among the German workers" (3352-PS). What "consideration" was in fact meted out to Eastern Workers in the conspirators' manpower utilization program is discussed in Chapter X.

(2) Schirach participated in the conspiracy to persecute the Churches. The activity of Schirach in persecuting churches by dissolving religious youth organizations or by incorporating them in the Hitler Youth has been set forth above.

Official letters of Martin Bormann and Hans Lammers, in March 1941, show that church properties in Austria had been confiscated for various pretexts after Schirach had become Gau Leader and Reich Governor of the Reichsgau Vienna. Upon a visit of Hitler to Vienna, Schirach and two other officials raised with him a complaint that the confiscations should be made in favor of Gaus rather than of the Reich. Thereafter all Gauleiters were notified that the decision had been made in favor of the position Schirach had taken before Hitler, namely in favor of the Gaus. (R-146)

(3) Schirach participated in the Conspiracy to persecute the Jews. Even before assuming-his Governmental functions in the Reichsgau Vienna, Schirach was responsible for encouraging anti-Jewish terror. Before 1939, at a meeting of Heidelberg students of the National Socialist German Students Bund (NSDStB ), Schirach was chief speaker. After praising the students for devoting so much of their time to the affairs of the Party,

" he declared that the most important phase of German University life in the Third Reich was the program of the NSDStB. He extolled various activities of the Bund He reminded the boys of the service they had rendered during the Jewish purge. Dramatically he pointed across the river to the old University town of Heidelberg where several burnt-out synagogues were mute witnesses of the efficiency of Heidelberg students. Those skeleton buildings would re-

[Page 891]

main there for centuries, as inspiration for future students, as warning to enemies of the State." (2441- PS)

Immediately after becoming Gau Leader and Reich Governor of the Reichsgau Vienna, Schirach's anti-Jewish measures assumed more formidable proportions. As early as 7 November 1940, one Dr. Fischer, "by order" of the Reich Governor Schirach stated that --t

"investigations are being made at present by the Gestapo, to find out how many able-bodied Jews are still available in order to make plans for the contemplated mass projects. It is assumed that there are not many more Jews available. If some still should be available, however, the Gestapo has no scruples to use the Jews even for the removal of the destroyed synagogues. SS Colonel Huber will report personally to the 'Regierungspraesident' in this matter." (1948-PS)

The Regierungspraesident was Reich Governor Schirach's personal representative "within the governmental administration" (in der staatlichen Verwaltung) of the Reichsgau. (3301-PS)

The above letter indicates that Schirach and his immediate subordinates not only knew of the atrocities which had been committed against the Jews by the Nazi conspirators in the Reichsgau, but also that they endorsed further forced labor of Jews and worked intimately with the Gestapo and the SS in their measures of persecution. Within six months after Schirach became Gau Leader and Reich Governor of Vienna, Dr. Hans Lammers informed Schirach that --

"the Fuehrer has decided after receipt of one of the reports made by you, that the 60,000 Jews still residing in the Reichsgau Vienna, will be deported most rapidly, that is still during the war, to the General Government because of the housing shortage prevalent in Vienna." (1950-PS)

Lammers' letter, dated 3 December 1940, informed Schirach that the Governor General of Poland, Hans Frank, and the Reichsfuehrer SS, Himmler, had been informed of the Fuehrer's decision. (1950-PS)

Schirach's guilt in this connection, by his own admission, however, runs even deeper. In a statement to the so called European Youth League in Vienna in 1942, Schirach stated:

"Every Jew who exerts influence in Europe is a danger to European culture. If anyone reproaches me with having driven from this city, which was once the European metropolis of Jewry, tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of Jews into the ghetto of the East, I feel myself compelled to

[Page 892]

reply: I see in this an action contributing to European culture." (3048-PS)

(4) Conclusion. Schirach bears responsibility for rendering significant aid to the Nazi conspirators in each major phase of the conspiracy; winning Nazi supporters before the seizure of power; consolidating the Nazis' control of Germany after the seizure of power; preparing for aggressive wars; and conducting aggressive wars. From the beginning he held important policy-making and administrative positions. From 1931 to the Nazis' downfall, he was one of the small group of Reich Leaders (Reichsleiter) of the NSDAP who consorted together, directly subordinate only to Hitler himself, and who provided the innermost leaven of the Leadership Corps of the Party. For nearly a decade he was fully in charge of perpetrating the Nazi regime by poisoning the minds of the young generation. Although his principal assistance to the conspiracy was given by his commission of German youth to the conspirators' objectives, still he also conspired to wage crimes against humanity as a Party and governmental administrator of high standing after the conspiracy had reached its inevitable involvement in war of aggression.

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