The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-First Day: Monday, 17th December, 1945
(Part 7 of 16)

[COLONEL STOREY continues]

In addition to the Reichsleiter the Party Directorate included about 11 Hauptaemter, or main offices, and about four Aemter, or offices. As set forth in the exhibit, the Hauptaemter of the Party included such main organisations as those for personnel, training, technology (headed by the defendant Speer), folkdom (headed by Himmler), civil servants, communal policy, and the like. The Aemter or offices, of the Party within the Reichsleitung included the Office for Foreign Policy under the defendant Rosenberg which, the evidence will show, actively participated in plans for the launching of the war of aggression against Norway, the Office for Colonial Policy, the Office for Genealogy, and the Office of Racial Policy.

As will be shown by the chart of the Leadership Corps in the folder which your Honour has, certain of the main offices and offices within the Reichsleitung would appear again within the Gauleitung, or Gau Party Directorate, and the Kreisleitung, or Party County Directorate. It is thus shown that the Reichsleiter and the main office and office holders within the Reichsleitung exercised through functional channels, through the subordinate offices on lower regional levels, a total control over the various sectors of the national life of Germany.

I shall next take up the Gauleiter. As will be seen from this organisational chart of the Nazi Party now before the Tribunal as Exhibit USA 2, for Party purposes Germany was divided into major administrative regions, Gaue, which in turn were sub-divided into Kreise (counties), Ortsgruppen (local chapters), Zellen (cells), and in Blocks (blocks). A Gauleiter who was the political leader of the Gau or district was in charge of each Gau. Each Gauleiter was appointed by and was directly responsible to Hitler. I quote from Page 18 of this same Document 1893-PS, the Organisation Book of the N.S.D.A.P.:--

"The Gau represents the concentration of a number of Party counties or Kreise. The Gauleiter is directly subordinate to the Fuehrer.

The Gauleiter bears overall responsibility to the Fuehrer for the sector of sovereignty entrusted to him. The rights, duties, and jurisdiction of the Gauleiter result primarily from the mission assigned by the Fuehrer, and apart from that, from detailed directives."

The responsibility and function of the Gauleiter and his staff officers or office holders were essentially a political one, namely, to insure the authority of the Nazi Party within his area, to co-ordinate the activities of the Party and all its affiliated and supervised organisations, and to enlarge the influence of the Party over the people and life in his Gau generally. Following the outbreak of the war, when it became imperative to co-ordinate the various phases of the German war effort, the Gauleiter were given additional important responsibilities. The Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich, which was a sort of general staff for civilian defence, and the mobilisation of the German war economy, by a decree of 1st September, 1939 (1939 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 1565), appointed about 16 Gauleiter as Reich Defence Commissars, concerning which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice. Later, under the impact of mounting military reverses, and an increasingly strained war economy, more and more important administrative functions were put on a Gau basis. The Party Gaue became the basic defence areas of the Reich, and each Gauleiter became a Reich Defence

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Commissar by a decree of the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich of 16th November, 1942 (1942 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 649), of which I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice. In the course of the war additional functions were entrusted to the Gauleiter, so that at the end, with the exception of certain special matters, such as police affairs, almost all phases of the German war economy were co-ordinated and supervised by them. For instance, regional authority over price control was put under the Gauleiter as Reich Defence Commissars and housing administration was placed under the Gauleiter as Gau Housing Commissars. Toward the end of the war the Gauleiter were charged even with the military and quasi-military tasks. They were made commanders of the Volkssturm in their areas, and were entrusted with such important functions as the evacuation of civilian population in the path of the advancing Allied armies as well as measures for the destruction of vital installations.

The structure and organisation of the Party Gaue were substantially repeated in the lower levels of the Reich Party organisation such as the Kreise, Ortsgruppen, Zellen, and Blocks. Each of these was headed by a political leader who, subject to the Fuehrer principle, and the orders of superior political leaders, was a sovereign within his sphere. The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party was in effect a "hierarchy of descending Caesars." Each of the subordinate Party levels, such as the Kreise, Ortsgruppen, and so on, was organised into offices, or Aemter, dealing with the various specialised functions of the Party. But the number of such departments and offices diminished as the Party unit dropped in the hierarchy, so that, while the Kreis office contained all, or almost all of the offices in the Gau (such as the deputy, the staff office leader, an organisation leader, school-leader, propaganda leader, Press office leader, treasurer, judge of the Party Court, inspector, and the like), the Ortsgruppe had less, and the Zellen and Blocks still less.

The Kreisleiter (or county leader):

The Kreisleiter was appointed and dismissed by Hitler upon the nomination of the Gauleiter and directly subordinate to the Gauleiter in the Party hierarchy. The Kreis usually consisted of a single county. The Kreisleiter within the Kreis, had in general the same position, powers, and prerogatives granted the Gauleiter in the Gau. In cities they constituted the very core of Party power and organisation. I quote again from Page 17 of Document 1893- PS, Page 17 the English translation:--

"The Kreisleiter carries overall responsibility towards the Gauleiter within his zone of sovereignty for the political and ideological training and organisation of the Political Leaders, the Party members, as well as the population".
The Ortsgruppenleiter was the local chapter leader. The area of the Ortsgruppenleiter was comprised of one or more communes, or, in a town, a certain district. The Ortsgruppe was composed of a combination of blocks and cells according to local circumstances, and contained up to 1,500 households. The Ortsgruppenleiter also had a staff of office leaders to assist him in the various functional activities of the Party. All other political leaders in his area of responsibility were subordinate to and under the direction of the Ortsgruppenleiter. For example, the leaders of the various affiliated organisations of the Party, within his area, such as the German Labor Front and the Nazi organisations for lawyers, students, and civil servants, were all subordinate to the Ortsgruppenleiter. In accordance with the

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Fuehrerprinzip, the Ortsgruppenleiter, or Local Chapter Leaders, were appointed by the Gauleiter, and were directly under and subordinate to the Kreisleiter.

The Party manual provides as follows with reference to the Ortsgruppenleiter, and I quote from Pages 16 and 17 of Document 1893-PS:--

"As Hoheitstraeger (Bearer of Sovereignty) he is responsible for all expressions of the Party will; he is responsible for the political and ideological leadership and organisation within his zone of sovereignty.

The Ortsgruppenleiter carries the overall responsibility for the political results of all measures initiated by the offices, organisations, and affiliated association of the Party.

The Ortsgruppenleiter has the right to protest to the Kreisleiter against any measures contrary to the interests of the Party with regard to a united political appearance in public."

The Zellenleiter:

The Zellenleiter was responsible for from four to eight blocks. He was the immediate superior of, and had control and supervision over, the Blockleiter. His mission and duties, according to the Party manual, corresponded to the missions of the Blockleiter. I quote from the last paragraph of Page 15, just one line of that same document: "The missions of the cell-leader correspond to the missions of the block-leader."

The Blockleiter:

The Blockleiter was the one Party official who was peculiarly in a position to have continuous contact with the German people. The block was the lowest unit in the Party pyramidal organisation. The block of the Party comprised 40 to 60 households and was regarded by the Party as the focal point upon which to press the weight of its propaganda. I quote from Pages 13 and 14 of this same document:--

"The household is the basic community upon which the block and cell system is built. The household is the organisational focal point of all Germans living in an apartment, and includes boarders, domestic help, etc. The Blockleiter has jurisdiction over all matters within his zone relating to the Movement, and is fully responsible to the Zellenleiter."
The Blockleiter, as in the case of other political leaders, was charged with planning, disseminating, and developing a receptivity to the policies of the Nazi Party among the population in his area of responsibility. It was also the expressed duty of the Blockleiter to spy on the population. I quote from Pages 14 and 15 of this same document:--
"It is the duty of the Blockleiter to find people disseminating damaging rumours and to report them to the Ortsgruppe, so that they may be reported to the respective State authorities.

The Blockleiter must not only be a preacher and defender of the National Socialist ideology towards the member of the Nation and Party entrusted to his political care, but he must also strive to achieve practical collaboration of the Party members within his block zone.

The Blockleiter shall continuously remind the Party members of their particular duties towards the people and the state. The Blockleiter keeps a list (card file) about the households. In principle, the Blockleiter will settle his official business verbally, and he will receive messages verbally, and pass them on in the same way. Correspondence will only

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be used in cases of absolute necessity. The Blockleiter conducts National Socialist propaganda from mouth to mouth. He will eventually awaken the understanding of the eternally dissatisfied as regards the frequently misunderstood or wrongly interpreted measures and laws of the National Socialist Government. It is not necessary for him to fall in with complaints and gripes about possibly obvious shortcomings of any kind in order to demonstrate solidarity. A condition to gain the confidence of all people is to maintain absolute secrecy in all matters."
It will be shown that there were in Germany nearly half a million Blockleiter. Large though this figure may appear, there can be no doubt that these officials were in and of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party. Though they stood at the broad base of the Party Pyramid rather than at its summit, where rested the Reichsleiter, by virtue of this fact, they were stationed at close intervals throughout the German civil population.

THE PRESIDENT: I think, Colonel Storey, it would be an assistance to the Tribunal if you could tell us, that is, at some time convenient to yourself, approximately how many there were of each of these ranks in the corps.

COLONEL STOREY: If Your Honour please, that is the next subject.


COLONEL STOREY: It may be doubted that the average German ever looked upon the face of Heinrich Himmler. But the man in the street in Nazi Germany could not have avoided an uneasy acquaintance with the Blockleiter in his own neighborhood. As it is the "cop on the beat" rather than the Chief Magistrate of the nation who symbolises law enforcement to the average man and woman, so it was the Blockleiter who represented to the people of Germany the Police State of Hitler's Germany. In fact, as may be inferred from the evidence, the Blockleiter were "Little Fuehrers" with real and literal power over the civilians in their domains. As proof of the authority of the Blockleiter to exercise coercion and the threat of force upon the civil population, I quote from Document 2833-PS, which is an excerpt from Page 7 of the magazine entitled `The Face of the Party,' Document 2833-PS. It is just a line of quotation:--

"Advice and sometimes also the harsher form of education is employed if the faulty conduct of an individual harms this individual himself, and thus also the community."
Before I get to the numbers, I wanted to deal with the Hoheitstraeger.

THE PRESIDENT: Do not you think it is time to break off?


THE PRESIDENT: Until 2 o'clock.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

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