The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
7th January to 19th January, 1946

Thirty-Fourth Day: Tuesday, January 15th, 1946
(Part 10 of 10)

Page 284]

THE PRESIDENT: Captain Sprecher, I do not think I made it quite clear that the Tribunal is not really interested in these details by which the defendant von Schirach acquired his power over the German youth. You have told us sufficient to establish in our minds, so far at any rate, that he managed to get absolute command over the German youth. The only thing that seems to me to be material, at the present stage, is whether or not you can show us any direct evidence that the defendant Schirach was a party to the aggressive aims of the Reich leaders, or to any War Crimes or to any Crimes against Humanity. Unless you can show us that, your address to us is really not useful to us at this stage.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: I plan to take up directly, your Honour, the question of the militarisation of youth. I did want to make one reference at this point to the relation of the Hitler Youth to the League for Germandom Abroad, if that is satisfactory to your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: The League for Germandom Abroad?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, that may bear on the aggressive aims of the Reich Leaders.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: Schirach extended the influence of the Hitler Youth beyond the borders of Germany, by means of co- operation between the Hitler Youth and the League of Germandom Abroad, the V.D.A. This is proved by an agreement made in 1933 between Schirach and leaders of the V.D.A. which is contained in Document L-360-H, document book Page 3. This is offered in evidence as Exhibit USA 671.

Now, Schirach discusses in his book, "The Hitler Youth," under the chapter heading "Work Abroad" (that is Chapter 4 of the book, Pages 34 to 38 of the document book) some of the connections of the Hitler Youth with such Nazi ideas as Lebensraum - colonial policy - as an ideological weapon.

I will not read from that, since it also covers to a certain extent

THE PRESIDENT: Did it talk about "Lebensraum"?

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: It actually used the word, "Lebensraum." At Page 36 of the document book there is reference made to the "Ostraum," space in the East -

THE PRESIDENT: I thought the document you were dealing with was L-360 on Page 3.

I CAPTAIN SPRECHER: I am sorry. I had gone on from there to speak about Schirach's book.

[Page 285]

Document 1458-PS, and I had mentioned that at Pages 34 to 38 of that book there were references concerning the Nazi ideas of colonial policy and "Lebensraum," and that this book by Schirach indicated that the Hitler Youth was charged with spreading those ideas.

He uses the word "Ostraum" in speaking of space in the East, and he discusses German Youth organisations abroad and the German schools in these countries. And then I wish particularly to point out on Page 37 the following sentence:

"It will be taken into consideration concerning this schooling that the guiding line of German population policy which aims at the utilisation of the space in the East will not be violated."
Now, in concluding the question of the ideological significance of the Hitler Youth, I would like to ask your indulgence while I make a short quotation from that master Nazi ideologist, the defendant Alfred Rosenberg. This is Document 130-PS, your document book, Page 122, which is offered as Exhibit USA 672. Rosenberg was making an answer to some inquiries of the defendant Bormann about the expediency of initiating some legal proceedings against the Churches in 1939. Rosenberg replied, apparently, by enclosing an article which he had written the year before, and it is from this article that I wish to quote:
"We have made quite good progress in carrying the N.S. ideology to German Youth. What there is still left of Catholic Youth are only small groups, which will be absorbed as time goes on. The Hitler Youth is the absorbing sponge which nobody can resist. Furthermore, our programme for education in all categories of our schools has been built up already, with such an anti- Christian and anti-Jewish tendency, that the generation growing up now will be safe from the black 'swindle'."
I use that extract, your Honour, in connection with the expectancy of these conspirators themselves with respect to the Hitler Youth and what it was to do to the mind of young Germans.

Now, the conspirators devoted a great deal of energy to the perpetuation of their scheme of things by selecting and training successors for Nazi leadership, selecting and training and acquiring active Nazis for the rank and file of the N.S.D.A.P. and its affiliated organisations, including the S.A. and the S.S. which are alleged here to be criminal organisations.

A number of orders issued by the Party Chancellery under the heading, "Successor Problems," show the dominant part assumed by Schirach and his Hitler Youth in this field. Our Document 3348-PS, "Selections from Volume I of the Decrees, Regulations and Announcements of the Party Chancellery," already marked in evidence as Exhibit USA 410, contains some of these orders, which I will not take the time to read. But, they are all contained on one page - 113 - of your document book.

Only Hitler Youth members who distinguished themselves were to be admitted to the Party. Nazi leaders were directed to absorb full-time Hitler Youth Leaders into their staffs, so as to offer them practical experience and thus secure necessary successors for the Leadership Corps, which is also alleged as a criminal organisation. This pivotal and central function of the Hitler Youth in the domination of German life by the Party is also shown at Pages 80 and 81 of the 1938 Party Manual, Exhibit USA 430, found at Page 74 of the document book.

THE PRESIDENT: That last page, Page 113, does that refer to any of the matters to which I drew your attention? It is simply the organisation of the youth; it has nothing to do with any criminal aims.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: Your Honour, it certainly is the contention of the prosecution that any man who took an active part in furnishing, for these criminal organisations, young members, committed a crime.

[Page 286]

THE PRESIDENT: I quite understand that, and that is why I told you that we were satisfied that so far you had shown that he had acquired absolute control over and was the leader of the German youth. The only thing we want to hear about at this stage is whether he was a party to the schemes for aggressive war, to War Crimes, or to Crimes against Humanity. That is what we want to hear, and we do not want to hear anything else.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: Your Honours, may I pass, then, to the connection of Hitler Youth to the S,S. Document 2396-PS, which is found at Page 69 of the document book and which is offered as Exhibit USA 673, has a quotation in it concerning the "Streifendienst" of the Hitler Youth, the "Streifendienst" being the patrol Service, a type of self- police organisation of the Hitler Youth. The quotation which I intend to read will indicate how this organisation became the principal supplier of the S.S.

Are your Honours interested in hearing that quotation concerning the Hitler Youth as the main source of the S.S.?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, perhaps; I have not read it.

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: This document is an agreement between Schirach and Himmler. It was concluded in October, 1938. It bears, I think, partial quoting:

"Organisation of the 'Streifendienst.'

1. Since the 'Streifendienst' in the Hitler Youth has to perform tasks similar to those of the S.S. for the whole movement, it is organised as a special unit for the purpose of securing recruits for the General S.S. However, as much as possible, recruits for the S.S. Special Troops, for the S.S. Death Head Units, and for the officer candidate schools, should also be taken from these formations."

I am passing down now to 4-a, the second part, which is underlined in red in your book:
"The selection of 'Streifendienst' members is made according to the principles of racial selection of the Schutzstaffel. The competent officials of the S.S., primarily unit leaders, race authorities, and S.S. physicians, will be consulted for the admission tests."
Passing to 5:
"To ensure from the beginning a good understanding between Reich Youth Leadership and Reich S.S. Leadership, a liaison office will be arranged from the Reich Youth Leadership to the S.S. Main Office starting 1st October, 1938. The appointment of other leaders to the S.S. sections is a subject for a future agreement."
Then, going down to what I think is the most striking quotation, your Honour, 6:
"After the organisation is completed, the S.S. takes its replacement primarily from these Streifendienst members. Admission of youths of German blood, who are not members of the Hitler Youth, is then possible only after information and advice of the competent Bann Leaders."
Now, the Bann leader referred to there was the local leader of the Hitler Jugend, and without his consent no one could go into the S.S. after that agreement was made, which was in October, 1938.

Now, the second agreement which Schirach made with Himmler was made in December, 1938. It is Document 2567-PS, Page 98 of the document book. It is offered in evidence as Exhibit USA 674. It states that the Farm Service of the Hitler Youth

"is, according to education and aim, particularly well suited as a recruiting agency for the S.S., General S.S. and the armed section of the S.S., S.S. Special Troops, and S.S. Death Head battalions."

[Page 287]

The agreement concludes by stating that Farm Service members of the Hitler Youth who pass the S.S. admission tests will be taken over by the S.S. immediately after leaving the Hitler Youth Farm Service.

I might point out to your Honours that this meant that, after that time, any Hitler Youth member who was in the Farm Service was obliged to go into the S.S.

And now, to come directly to the point you have been inquiring about, your Honour:

Throughout the six years of Nazi political control over Germany before the launching of aggressive war, Schirach was actively engaged in militarising German youth. From the beginning, the Hitler Youth was set up along military lines with uniforms, ranks, and titles. It was regimented and led in military fashion under the leadership principle.

If your Honours will take any edition whatsoever of the Organisation Book, the Party Manual, and turn to the table, beginning with Tables 54 and 90, through the book, you will see the very striking insignia of the Hitler Youth, and how much it resembles the normal military insignia. You will further notice that one of the most prominent insignia is an "S" of the same type that the Nazis used with respect to the S.S. You will notice that part of the uniform was a long knife.

THE PRESIDENT: Is not that all a part of what they are pleased to call the Nazi ideology? I mean, the Fuehrership principle, military training?

CAPTAIN SPRECHER: There is a relation between all of these things, perhaps, and the leadership principle, because the leadership principle dominated absolutely every aspect of German life. However, your Honour, I suggest that showing to you, in this graphic way, the similarity between the uniform of the Hitler Youth and military uniforms, has some bearing upon the preparation for aggressive wars, about which I am further to speak in just a moment.

Now, Document 2654-PS, found at Page 102 of your document book is a whole book given over to just this question of the organisation and the insignia of the Hitler Youth.

The Tribunal will see how the Hitler Youth was divided into branches or divisions which were very similar to military divisions.

That document is offered as Exhibit USA 675. I will refer no further to it.

Now, in a speech in February, 1938, when the conspirators had already dropped some of the camouflage which surrounded their earlier military preparations for the wars, which we have recently suffered, Hitler discussed the military training of the Hitler Youth in the "Volkischer Beobachter" of 21st February, 1938. This is our Document 2454-PS, found at Page 97 of the document book. It is offered as Exhibit USA 676.

Hitler there said that thousands of German boys had received specialised training through the Hitler Youth in naval, aviation, and motorised groups, and that over 7,000 instructors had trained more than one million Hitler Youth members in rifle shooting. That was February, 1938, shortly before the Anschluss. Note the progress of military training within the Hitler Youth between then and August, 1939, just one month before the invasion of Poland.

At that time the defendant Schirach and the defendant Keitel, as Chief of the High Command, entered into another one of those informative agreements, which many of these defendants liked to make among themselves. It is Document 2398-PS, your document book Page 72. It is offered as Exhibit U.S.A. 677. It is taken from "Das Archiv" which, in introducing the actual agreement, declared that this agreement was "the result of close co-operation" between Schirach and Keitel. The agreement itself states, in part:

"While it is exclusively the task of the Hitler Youth to attend to the training of their units in this direction, it is suitable, in the sense of a uniformed training corresponding to the demands of the Wehrmacht, to

[Page 288]

support the leadership of the Hitler Youth for their responsible task as trainers and educators in all fields of training for defence by special courses."
And then, passing down towards the end, you will note this quotation within the agreement: "A great number of courses are in progress."

Your Honour, if I may take about five minutes, I can finish this one section on the aggressive war phase.


CAPTAIN SPRECHER: Whereas Hitler, in February, 1938, mentioned that 7,000 Hitler Youth leaders were engaged in training German youngsters in rifle shooting, Schirach and Keitel, in their agreement of August, 1939, note the following:

"Thirty thousand Hitler Youth leaders are already being trained annually in field service. The agreement with the Wehrmacht gives the possibility of roughly doubling that number. The billeting and messing of the Hitler Youth leaders is done, according to the regulations for execution already published, in the barracks, drill grounds, etc., of the Wehrmacht, at a daily cost of 25 pfennigs."

Just as Schirach dealt with the head of the S.S. in obtaining zealous recruits for organised banditry and the commission of atrocities, so also he dealt with the head of the Wehrmacht in furnishing young men as human grist for the mill of aggressive war.

The training of German youths runs through the Nazi conspiracy as an important central thread. It is one of the manifestations of Nazism which has shocked the entire civilised world. The principal responsibility for the planning and execution of the Nazi youth policy falls upon this defendant.

I wish to take merely one' sentence from his own affidavit, paragraph. 5, Document 3302-PS, so that there can be no doubt before this Tribunal or before the world, indeed, as to this defendant's own feeling of responsibility:

"I feel myself responsible for the policy of the Youth Movement in the Party and later within the Reich." I underline the phrase "I feel myself responsible."
Your Honour, that is a convenient breaking point before coming to a discussion of Schirach's connection to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity.


(The Tribunal adjourned until 10.00 hours on l6th January, 1946.)

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