The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Martin Bormann

(Part 2 of 3)

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Bormann participated actively in the execution of that part of the conspirators' program relating to the persecution and destruction of independent groups which were opposed to the aims of the Conspiracy.

(1) Persecution of the Churches. Bormann was among the most relentless members of the conspirators in the persecution of the churches. In a secret order of 6 June 1941 he stated bluntly the aim of the conspirators to destroy Christianity altogether:

"National Socialist and Christian concepts are irreconcilable ***. No human being would know anything of Christianity if it had not been drilled into him in his childhood by pastors. The so-called dear God in no wise gives knowledge of his existence to young people in advance, but in an astonishing manner in spite of his omnipotence leaves this to the efforts of the pastors. If, therefore, in the future our youth learns nothing more of this Christianity whose doctrines are far below ours, Christianity will disappear by itself." (D-75; see also 098-PS)

In pursuance of this aim, Bormann's first efforts in the conspiracy's fight against religion were directed toward the elimination of churchmen and church influence from the Party itself. On 3 July 1938 a Bormann order prohibited clergymen from holding Party offices (113-PS). A Bormann circular of 6 June 1939 excluded Christian Scientists from Party membership (838-PS). Bormann Decrees of 9 February 1937 and 14 July 1939 excluded clergymen and theology students from membership in the Nazi

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Party (840-PS). And a Bormann directive of 17 June 1938, prohibited all religious activities by members of the Labor Service. (107-PS)

Bormann also opposed religious instruction in the school. A letter from Bormann's office to Rosenberg on 25 April 1941 reported success in reducing the holding of religious morning services in schools and proposed the substitution of National Socialist school services. (070-PS)

In order further to weaken the churches, Bormann enforced the elimination of numerous Catholic and Protestant Divinity Schools in Germany and Austria. In a letter to The Minister of Education, dated 24 January 1939, Bormann denied the scientific value of theological instruction and suggested a legal basis for the suppression and restriction of Divinity Schools (116-PS). This was followed by a report of The Ministry of Education, dated 6 April 1939, concerning the suppression and consolidation of Divinity Schools (122-PS). A confidential letter from Bormann to The Minister of Education, dated 23 June 1939, in reply to memorandum of. 6 April 1939 (122-PS), reported the Party's decision to order the suppression of numerous Divinity Schools (123-PS). In a letter to Rosenberg on 12 December 1939 Bormann agreed with the suggestion that the University Chairs belonging to the Divinity School in the University of Munich be used for instructors at the Nazi Academy (Hohe Schule). (131-PS)

Bormann also used his power and position in order to demand that other government departments deprive the churches of their property and subject them to a discriminatory legal regime. A Bormann letter to The Reich Minister of Finance in January 1940, demanded that church assessments for special war tax be greatly increased (099-PS). In a letter to Amann on 8 March 1940, Bormann demanded reduction in the paper allotment of church publications (089-PS). A Bormann letter to Rosenberg on 24 June 1940 submitted the draft of a discriminatory church law for Danzig and West Prussia (066- PS). Throughout 1940-1941 Bormann corresponded with numerous officials concerning confiscation of religious art treasures. (1600-PS)

Finally, as the war took an increasing part of Germany's youth into the Armed Forces, Bormann insisted that soldiers be removed from all religious influence. In a letter to the Army High Command in January 1939, Bormann opposed the establishment of an Army Corps of Chaplains (117-PS). A Bormann letter to Rosenberg on 17 January 1940 suggested the publication of special Nazi literature for members of the Wehrmacht in order to replace reli-

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gious literature which the writer had as yet been unable to suppress completely (101-PS). In a letter to Rosenberg the next day (18 January 1940) Bormann stated that the publication of Nazi literature for Army recruits as a countermeasure to the circulation of religious writings was "the most essential demand of the hour."

When the prosecution of this anti-Church program was turned over to the RSHA under Himmler, the "Church Specialists" of that organization received clear instructions as to the aims which the Conspirators wanted them to achieve, at a meeting of the "Church Specialists" called for that purpose on 26 September 1941:

"The immediate aim: the church must not regain one inch of the ground it has lost.

"The ultimate aim: destruction of the churches to be brought about by the collection of all material obtained through Nachrichtendienst activities, which will, at a given time, be produced as evidence for the charge of treasonable activities during the German fight for existence." (1815-PS)

Five years earlier, Bormann had already issued an order to all Party members demanding that they turn priests who criticized the Party over to the Gestapo (3246-PS). Bormann thus bears responsibility for the mistreatment of priests in concentration camps throughout these years. (3249-PS)

(2) Persecution of the Jews. It was Bormann who was charged by Hitler with the transmission and implementation of the latter's instructions for the "liquidation" of the Jewish population in Germany.

After the pogrom of 8 November 1938 - 9 November 1938, Bormann, acting on orders of Hitler, instructed Goering to proceed to the "final settlement of the Jewish question" in Germany. (1816-PS)

As a result of this conference a series of anti-Jewish decrees were issued. A Bormann order of 17 January 1939 demanded compliance with new regulations under which Jews were denied access to housing, travel, and other facilities. (069-PS; see 409-PS)

Bormann also acted through other government agencies to wipe out the economic existence of a large part of the Jewish population. A Bormann order of 8 January 1937 communicated an order by Frick, issued at his instigation, that government employees who consult Jewish doctors, lawyers, etc., will be denied financial assistance. (240-PS)

In addition to these purely economic measures Bormann, again

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acting on instructions from Hitler, caused Goering to issue a secret order severely restricting the living conditions of Jews in Germany.

After the outbreak of the war these anti-Jewish measures increased in intensity and brutality. Thus, Bormann participated in the issuance of rulings under which 60,000 Jewish inhabitants of Vienna were deported to the Government General of Poland, in cooperation with the SS and the Gestapo. (1950-PS)

After Bormann succeeded Hess as the executive head of the Party, he was one of the prime movers in the campaign of total spoliation, starvation, and extermination of the Jews living under the rule of the Conspirators. A Bormann order of 23 October 1942 announced a Ministry of Foods decree, issued at his instigation, depriving Jews of many essential food items, and of all special sickness and pregnancy rations, and ordering the confiscation of food parcels (3243- PS). On 9 October 1942 Bormann ordered that the problem of eliminating forever the millions of Jews from Greater German territory could no longer be solved by emigration but only by the application of "ruthless force" in special camps in the East (3244-PS). The Thirteenth Ordinance under The Reich Citizen Law of 1 July 1943 (RGB1, 1943, Part I, p. 372), signed by Bormann, completely excluded Jews from the ordinary courts and handed them over to the exclusive jurisdiction of Himmler's police. (1422-PS; see also 3085-PS)

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