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-Fifth Day: Wednesday, January 16th, 1946
(Part 3 of 11)


[Page 298]

The Tribunal will recall that it asked certain very material questions with respect to whether the prosecution's evidence involved the rank and file of the Leadership Corps. In the last paragraph of this decree Bormann instructs the Ortsgruppenleiter - now that is way down in the Leadership Corps hierarchy under Kreisleiter and Gauleiter - to report to the Gestapo, persons who criticise Nazi Party institutions. Now, an important point with respect to the link between Bormann and the S.S. The Tribunal has already received the evidence establishing the criminality of the S.S. In this connection, I respectfully request the Tribunal to notice judicially the July, 1940, issue of "Das Archiv," our Document 3234-PS. On Page 399 of that publication, under date 21st July, 1940, it is stated that the Fuehrer promoted defendant Bormann from Major-General to Lieutenant-General in the S.S. Accordingly, we respectfully submit that Bormann is chargeable and jointly responsible for the criminal activities of the S.S.

After the flight of the defendant Hess to Scotland, in May, 1941, the defendant Bormann succeeded him as Head of the Nazi Party under Hitler, with the title Chief of the Party Chancery. I request the Tribunal to take judicial notice of a decree of 24th January, 1942, 1942 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 35. In our conception this is an extremely important decree, because by virtue of it the participation of the Party in all legislation and in government appointments and promotions had to be undertaken exclusively by Bormann. He was to take part in the preparation - and we emphasise that - as well as the enactment and promulgation of all Reich laws and enactments; and further, he had to give his assent to all enactments of the Reich Laender, that is, the States, as well as all decrees of the Reich Governors. All communications between State and Party officials had to pass through his hands. And, as a result of this law, we respectfully submit, Bormann is chargeable for every enactment, issued in Germany after 24th January, 1942, which facilitates and furthers the conspiracy.

It will be helpful, I believe, to point out and to request the Court to take judicial notice of a decree of 29th May, 1941, 1941 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part 1, Page 295. In this decree Hitler ordered that Bormann should take over all powers and all offices formerly held by the defendant Hess. I request the Tribunal to take judicial notice of another very important decree, that of the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich, 16th November 1942.

THE PRESIDENT: Are these documents set out in the document book?


THE PRESIDENT: You have not given us the reference.

[Page 299]

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: That is true, Sir. I recall from memory, although I have not got it in my manuscript, that document, that important decree of 24th January, 1942, is, I believe, our Document 2001-PS.

I now request the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the important decree of the Ministerial Council for the Defence of the Reich, dated 16th November, 1942, 1942 Reichsgesetzblatt, Part, 1, Page 649. Under this decree, all Gauleiter who were under Bormann by virtue of his position as Chief of the Party Chancery, were appointed Reich Defence Commissars and charged with the co-ordination, supervision, and management of the aggressive Nazi war effort.

From then on the Party, under Bormann, became the decisive force in planning and conducting the aggressive Nazi war economy.

On 12th April, 1943, as is shown in the publication "The Greater German Reichstag," 1943 Edition, Page 167, our Document 2981-PS, Bormann was appointed Secretary of the Fuehrer, and we submit that this fact testifies to the intimacy and influence of the defendant Bormann with the Fuehrer and enlarges his role in, and responsibility for, the conspiracy.

We now come to the important point of Bormann's executive responsibility for the acts of the "Volkssturm." I request the Tribunal to notice judicially a Fuehrer Order of 18th October, 1944, which was published in the official " Volkischer Beobachter," 20th October, 1944 edition, in which Hitler appointed Bormann political and organisational leader of the "Volkssturm." This is set forth in our Document 3018- PS. In this decree Himmler is made the military Leader of the "Volkssturm," but the organisational and political leadership is entrusted to Bormann. The Tribunal will know that the "Volkssturm " was an organisation consisting of all German males between 16 and 60. By virtue of his leadership of the "Volkssturm" Bormann was instrumental in needlessly prolonging the war, with a consequential destruction of the German and the European economy, and a loss of life and destruction of property.

We come now to deal with the responsibility of the defendant Bormann with respect to the persecution of the Church. The defendant Bormann authorised, directed and participated in measures involving the persecution of the Christian Church. The Tribunal, of course, has heard much in this proceeding concerning the acts of the conspiracy involving the persecution of the Church. We have no desire now to rehash that evidence. We are interested in one thing alone, and that is nailing on the defendant Bormann his responsibility, his personal, individual responsibility, for that persecution.

I shall now present the proofs showing the responsibility of Bormann with respect to such persecution of the Christian Churches.

Bormann was among the most relentless enemies of the Christian Church and Christian Clergy in Germany and in German-occupied Europe. I refer the Tribunal, without quoting therefrom, to Document D-75, previously introduced in evidence as Exhibit USA 348, which contains a copy of the secret Bormann decree of 6th June, 1941, entitled "The Relationship of National Socialism to Christianity." In this decree, as the Tribunal will well recall, Bormann bluntly declared that National Socialism and Christianity were incompatible, and he indicated that the ultimate aim of the conspirators was to assure the elimination of Christianity itself.

I next refer the Tribunal, without quotation, to Document 098-PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 350. This is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 22nd February, 1940, in which Bormann reaffirms the incompatibility of Christianity and National Socialism.

Now, in furtherance of the conspirators' aim to undermine the Christian Churches, Bormann took measures to eliminate the influence of the Christian Church from within the Nazi Party and its formations. I now offer in evidence Document 113-PS, as Exhibit USA 683. This is an order of the defendant Bormann, dated 27th July, 1938, issued as Chief of Staff to the Deputy of the

[Page 300]

Fuehrer, Hess, which prohibits clergymen, from holding Party offices. I shall not take the time of the Tribunal to put this quotation upon the, record. The point of it is, as indicated, that Bormann issued an order-forbidding the appointment of clergymen to Party positions.

THE PRESIDENT: Perhaps this would be a good time to break off for ten minutes.

(A recess was taken.)

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: May it please the Tribunal, we are dealing with the efforts of the defendant Bormann to expel and eliminate from the Party all Church and religious influence.

I offer in evidence Document 838-PS, as Exhibit USA 684. I shall not burden the record with extensive quotation from this exhibit, but merely point out that this is a copy of a Bormann decree dated 3rd June, 1939, which laid it down that followers of Christian Science should be excluded from the Party.

The attention of the Tribunal is next invited to Document 840-PS, previously introduced in evidence as Exhibit USA 355. The Tribunal will recall that this, was a Bormann decree of 14th July, 1939, referring with approval to an earlier Bormann decree of 9th February, 1937, in which he had ruled, that in the future all Party members who entered the clergy or who undertook the study of theology were to be expelled from the Party.

I next offer in evidence Document 107-PS, Exhibit USA 3M. This is a circular directive of the defendant Bormann dated 17th June, 1938, addressed to all Reichsleiters and Gauleiters, top leaders of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party, transmitting a copy of directions relating. to the non-participation of the Reich Labour Service in religious celebrations. The Reich Labour Service, the Tribunal will recall, compulsorily incorporated all Germans within its organisation.

DR. BERGOLD (Counsel for defendant Bormann): The member of the prosecution has just submitted a number of documents, in which he proves that, on the suggestion of Bormann, members of the Christian religion were to be excluded from the Party, or from certain organisations. I beg the High Tribunal to allow the member of the prosecution to explain to me how and why Bormann's activity, that is, the exclusion of Christians from the Party, can be a War Crime. I cannot gather this evidence from the trial brief. The Party is described as a criminal conspiracy. Is it a crime to exclude certain people from membership in a criminal conspiracy? Is that considered a crime? How and why is the exclusion of certain members from the Party a crime?

THE PRESIDENT: Counsel will answer you.

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: If the Tribunal will willingly accommodate argument at this stage, we find that the question -

THE PRESIDENT: Only short argument.

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: Yes, Sir - admits of a short, and, as it seems to us, easy answer.

The point we are now trying to prove - and evidence is abounding on it - is that Bormann had a hatred and an enmity and took oppositional measures towards the Christian Church. The Party was the repository of political power in Germany. To have power one had to be in the Party or subject to its favour. By his efforts, concerted, continuing and consistent, to exclude clergymen, theological students or any persons sympathetic to the Christian, religion, Bormann could not have chosen a clearer method of showing and demonstrating his, hatred and his distrust of the Christian religion and those who supported it.

THE PRESIDENT: Counsel for Bormann can present his argument upon this subject at a later stage. The documents appear to the Tribunal to be relevant.

LIEUTENANT LAMBERT: With the Tribunal's permission, I had just put in Document 107-PS and pointed out that it transmitted directions relating to the

[Page 301]

non-participation of the Reich Labour Service in religious celebrations. I quote merely the fourth and fifth paragraphs of Page 1 of the English translation of Document 107-PS, which reads as follows:
"Every religious discussion is forbidden in the Reich Labour Service because it disturbs the comrade-like harmony of all working men and women.

For this reason also, every participation of the Reich Labour Service in Church, i.e., religious, arrangements and celebrations is not possible."

The attention of the Tribunal is next invited to Document 070-PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 349. The Tribunal will recall that this was a letter from Bormann's office to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 25th April, 1941, in which Bormann declared that he had achieved progressive success in reducing and abolishing religious services in schools, and in replacing Christian prayers with National Socialist mottoes and rituals. In this letter, Bormann also proposed a Nazified morning service in the schools, in place of the existing confession and morning service.

In his concerted efforts to undermine and subvert the Christian churches, Bormann authorised, directed and participated in measures leading to the closing, reduction and suppression of theological schools, faculties and institutions. The attention of the Tribunal is invited to Document 116-PS, Exhibit USA 685, which I offer in evidence. This is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 24th January, 1939, enclosing, for Rosenberg's cognisance, a copy of Bormann's letter to the Reich Minister for Science, Training and Public Education. In the enclosed letter, Bormann informs the Minister as to the Party's position in favour of restricting and suppressing theological faculties. Bormann states that, owing to war conditions, it had become necessary to reorganise the German high schools, and in view of this situation, he requested the Minister to restrict and suppress certain theological faculties.

I now quote from the first paragraph on Page 3 of the English translation of Document 116-PS, which reads as follows:

"I, therefore, would like to see you put the theological faculties under appreciable limitations in so far as, according to the above statements, they cannot be entirely eliminated. This will concern not only the theological faculties at universities, but also the various State institutions which, as seminaries having no affiliation with any university, still exist in many places. I request you not to give any express explanations to churches or other institutions and to avoid public announcement of these measures. Complaints and the like, if they are to be answered at all, must be countered with this explanation, that these measures are carried out in the course of planned economy, and that the same is being done to other, faculties. I would be glad, if the professorial chairs thus made vacant could then be turned over to the fields of research newly created in recent years, such as racial research and archaeology.

"Martin Bormann."

In our submission, what this document comes to is a request from Bormann to this effect: "Please close down the religious faculties and substitute in their place Nazi faculties and university chairs, with the mission of investigating racialism, cultism, Nazi archaeology." This sort of thing was done in the Hohe Schule, as was so clearly demonstrated in the prosecution's case against the plundering activities of the Einsatzstab Rosenberg.

The attention of the Tribunal is next invited to Document 122-PS, previously put in as Exhibit USA 362. The Tribunal will recall that 122-PS is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 17th April, 1939, transmitting to Rosenberg a photostatic copy of the plan of the Reich

[Page 302]

Minister of Science, Training and Public Education for the combining and dissolving of certain specified theological faculties. In his letter of transmittal, Bormann requested Rosenberg "to take cognizance and prompt action" with respect to the proposed suppression of religious institutions.

I next offer in evidence Document 123-PS, Exhibit USA 686. This is a confidential letter from the defendant Bormann to the Minister of Education, dated 23rd June, 1939, in which Bormann sets forth the Party's decision to order the suppression of numerous theological faculties and religious institutions. The Tribunal will note that the letter lists 19 separate religious institutions with respect to which Bormann ordered dissolution or restriction.

After directing the action to be taken by the Minister in connection with the various theological faculties, Bormann stated as follows, and I quote from the next to last paragraph of Page 3 of the English translation of Document 123-PS:

"In the above I have informed you of the Party's wishes, after thorough, investigation of the matter with all Party offices. I would be grateful if you would initiate the necessary measures as quickly as possible. With regard to the great political significance which every single case of such a combination will have for the Gau concerned, I ask you to take these measures, and particularly to fix dates for them always in agreement with me."
I next offer in evidence, without quotation, Document 131- PS, as Exhibit USA 687. In summary, without quotation therefrom, this is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 12th December, 1939, relating to the suppression of seven professorships in the near-by University of Munich.

Now, I deal briefly with the responsibility of Bormann for the confiscation of religious property and cultural property. Bormann used his paramount power and position to cause the confiscation of religious property and to subject the Christian churches and clergy to a discriminatory legal regime.

I offer in evidence Document 099-PS, Exhibit USA 688. This is a copy of a letter from Bormann to the Reich Minister for Finance, dated 19th January, 1940, in which Bormann demanded a great increase in the special war tax imposed on the churches. I quote from the first two paragraphs of Page 2 of the English translation of this document, which reads as follows:

"As it has been reported to me, the war contribution of the churches has been specified from 1st November, 1939 on, at first, for a period of three months, at R.M. 1,800,000 per month, of which R.M. 1,000,000 are to be paid by the Protestant church, and R.M. 800,000 by the Catholic church per month. The establishment of such a low amount has surprised me. I see from numerous reports that the political communities have to raise such a large war contribution, that the execution of their tasks, partially very important - for example, in the field of public welfare - is, endangered. In consideration of that, a larger quota from the churches appears to be absolutely appropriate."
The question may arise: Of what criminal effect is it to demand larger taxes from church institutions? As to this demand of Bormann's taken by itself, the prosecution would not suggest that it had a criminal effect, but when viewed within the larger frame of Bormann's demonstrated hostility to the Christian Church, and his efforts, not merely to circumscribe but to eliminate it, we suggest that this document has probative value in showing Bormann's hostility and his concrete measures to effectuate that hostility against the Christian churches and clergy.

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