The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Third Day: Thursday, 22st November, 1945
(Part 3 of 8)

[MR. ALBRECHT continues]

I would like to call your attention first of all to an Organisation with which we will have to become very familiar: the Leadership Corps of the NSDAP, the "Reichsleiter," which has been named as a defendant Organisation and which comprises the sum of the officials and leaders of the Nazi Party. If your Honour will be good enough to follow me down the centre line of the chart, we come to the main horizontal line of division where the word "Reichsleiter" appears. That is the first category of the Leadership Corps, I should say, the main category, perhaps, of the Leadership Corps.

The Fuehrer, of course, stands above it. As we follow the vertical line of division to the lower part of the chart, we reach five additional boxes, which may be referred to collectively as the "Hoheitstraeger," the bearers of the sovereignty of the Party, and those are the "Gauleiter," the "Kreisleiter," the "Ortsgruppenleiter," the "Zellenleiter," and the "Blockleiter."

The Fuehrer at the top of our chart is the supreme and the only leader in the Nazi hierarchy. His successor-designate was first, the defendant Hess, and subsequently the defendant Goering.

The "Reichsleiter," of whom sixteen are shown on this chart, comprise collectively the Party Directorate (Reichsleitung). Through them, co-ordination of the Party and State machinery was achieved. A number of these "Reichsleiter,"

[Page 92]

each of whom, at some time, was in charge of at least one office within the Party Directorate, were also the heads of other Party formations and affiliated or supervised organisations of the Party and also of agencies of the State, or even held ministerial positions. The "Reichsleitung " may be said to represent the horizontal organisation of the Party according to functions, within which all threads controlling the varied life of the German people met. Each office within the "Reichsleitung" of the NSDAP executed definite tasks assigned to it by the Fuehrer, or by the leader of the Party Chancellery (Chef der Parteikanzlei), who on the chart before you appears directly under the Fuehrer. In 1945 the chief of the Party Chancellery was Martin Bormann, the defendant in this proceeding, and before him, and until his flight to England in 1941, the defendant Rudolf Hess. It was the duty of the Reichsleitung to make certain that these tasks assigned to it by the Fuehrer were carried out with expedition and without interruption, so that the will of the Fuehrer was quickly and accurately communicated to the lowest Party echelon, the lowliest Zelle or Block. The individual offices of the Reichsleitung had the mission to remain in constant and closest contact with the life of the people through the agency of the subdivisions of the component Party organisations in the "Gau," within the "Kreis," or the "Ort" or the lower group. These leaders had been taught that the right to organise human beings accrued through the appreciation of the fact that a people must be educated ideologically; "weltanschaulich," the Germans call it, that is to say, according to the philosophy of National Socialism.

Among the former Reichsleiter, on trial in this cause, may be included the following defendants:-

If your Honour will follow me to this broad, horizontal line, we started at the extreme left at the box marked with the defendant Frank's name. At one time, although not in March, 1945, he was the Head of the Legal Office of the Party. He was the "Reichsleiter des Reichsrechtsamtes."

In the third square appears the defendant Rosenberg, the delegate of the Fuehrer for Ideological Training and Education of the Party. He was called "Der Beauftragte des Fuehrers fur die Uberwachung der gesammten geistigen und weltanschaulichen Schulung und Erziehung der NSDAP." Next to him, to the right, is the defendant von Schirach, Leader of Youth Education (Leiter fur die Jugenderziehung). Next to him, appears the late defendant Robert Ley, at one time Head of the Party Organisation (Reichsorganisationsleiter der NSDAP) and also the Leader of the German Labour Front (Leiter der Deutschen Arbeitsfront).

Then, if we cross the vertical line, and proceed to the right, in passing I might allude to the box marked with the name of Schwarz. He was the Party Official and Reichsleiter, who certified to the chart before the Tribunal. As we proceed further to the right, next to the last box, we find the name of Frick, who was the leader of the Reichstag fraction (Leiter des NS Reichstags-fraktion).

The next categories to be considered are the "Hoheitstraeger," at the bottom of the vertical line, in the centre of the chart. The National Socialists called them the bearers of sovereignty. To them was assigned the political sovereignty over specially designated subdivisions of the State, of which they were the appointed leaders. The "Hoheitstraeger " may be said to represent the vertical Organisation of the Party.

These leaders, these "Hoheitstraeger" included all Gauleiters, of whom there were 42 within the Reich in 1945. A "Gauleiter" was a political leader of the largest subdivision of the State. He was charged by the Fuehrer with the political, cultural and economic control over all forms and manifestations of the life of the people and the co- ordination of the same with National Socialist philosophy and ideology.

A number of the defendants, before the bar of this Tribunal, were former "Gauleiter" of the NSDAP. I mention, in this connection, the defendant

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Streicher, Gauleiter of Franconia, "Franken-Fuehrer" they called him, whose seat was in the city of Nuremburg. Von Schirach was Gauleiter of Vienna and the defendant Sauckel was Gauleiter of Thuringia.

The next lower category on the chart, were the "Kreisleiter," the political leaders of the largest subdivision within a Gau. Then follow the "Ortsgruppen- leiter," the political leaders of the largest subdivision within the Kreis. And a Kreis consisted perhaps of several towns or villages or, in the case of a larger city, anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 households.

The next "Hoheitstraeger" were the Zellenleiter, the political leaders of a group from four to eight city blocks, or of a corresponding group within country districts, and then follow the Blockleiter, the political leaders of from 40 to 60 households.

Now, each of these political leaders, of these "Hoheitstraeger," or bearers of sovereignty, was directly responsible to the next highest leader in the Nazi hierarchy. The Gauleiter was directly responsible to the Fuehrer himself; the Kreisleiter was directly responsible to the Gauleiter; the Ortsgruppenleiter to the Kreisleiter, and so on.

The Fuehrer himself, reserved to himself, in accordance with the philosophy that runs through the Party, the right to name all fuehrers. It was he, personally, that named the Reichsleiter, all members of the Party Directorate. It was he that appointed all Gauleiter and Kreisleiter and all political leaders, down to the grade of "Gauamtsleiter," which was a lower classification of political leader within the Party Organisation of the Gau.

These "Hoheitstraeger," together with the Reichsleitung, constituted the all-powerful group of leaders by means of which the Nazi Party reached right down into the lives of the people, consolidated its control of them and compelled them to conform to the National Socialist pattern. For this purpose broad powers were given to them, including the right to call upon all Party formations to effectuate their plans. They could requisition the services of the SA and of the SS, as well as of the HJ and of the NSKK. If I may direct your attention, for the moment, to the Party organisations that appear at the extreme left of the chart, I would just like to say that structurally these were organised regionally to with the offices and regions controlled by the "Hoheitstraeger." If I might be more explicit, let us take the SA. The subsidiary formations of the SA came down and corresponded, in its lower organisations, to the Gau, so that we have "Gauleitung" in the SA, and further down, to the Kreis, so that we have a Kreisleitung within the Kreis. Thus, we have a Kreisleitung in the SA so that the Gauleiter and the Kreisleiter, to cite two examples, charged with a particular duty by the Fuehrer, could call on these organisations for assistance in carrying out their tasks.

These sinister implications of the use of this power will become more apparent as the prosecution's case develops, and as the wealth of evidentiary material is introduced into evidence to prove the criminality of the defendant organisations.

The component Party-organisations, called "Gliederungen" within the Party, are shown at the extreme left of the chart, and are the organisations to which I directed the attention of your Honour a moment ago. These organisations actually constitute the Party itself, and substantially the entire Party-membership is contained within them. The four principal organisations are sometimes referred to as "paramilitary" organisations. They were uniformed organisations and they were armed. These were the notorious SA and SS, who are named as party-defendants in this case, the HJ (Hitler Youth) and the NSKK (the Motor Corps of the Party'). Then there were also the National Socialist Women's Organisation, the National Socialist German Students Bund (Deutscher Studentenbund), and the National Socialist University Teachers' Bund.

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