The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Third Day: Thursday, 7th February, 1946
(Part 13 of 18)

[Page 148]

LIEUTENANT COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: May it please the Tribunal, it is my duty to present the evidence upon Counts One and Two of the Indictment against the defendant Hess.

My Lord, the trial brief, which I believe the Tribunal has before them, has been made out in the form of a fairly full note of the evidence to which I intend to refer, and it may be of convenience to the Tribunal to have it before them during this sitting.

May I first prove the positions which Hess held and which are set out in Appendix A of the Indictment, and say a word about his early life.

The defendant was born in 1894. He is now 52 years old. He served in the German Army during the last war and in 1919 he went to Munich University. There he became the leader of the Nazi organisation in that university and in 1920 he became a member of the Nazi Party itself. He was among the first of the S.A., and he became the leader of the students' corps of police. In 1923 he took part in the Munich Putsch, and as a result of that he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Half of that period he served in jail with Hitler himself. I stress that, because it was during those seven and one-half months in prison with Hitler that Hitler dictated "Mein Kampf."

THE PRESIDENT: Have you got...

LT. COL. GRIFFITH-JONES: I think I know what the difficulty is. This case was originally scheduled to be presented by the American Delegation and they did have a brief of their own. It may be that that is the brief which Mr. Biddle has before him. I will hand you up a spare copy.

Now, dealing with his actual appointments: From 1925 until 1932 he was private secretary and aide-de-camp to Hitler. In 1932 he became the Chairman of the Central Political Committee of the Party, in succession to Gregor Strasser. In March, 1933, after the Nazi Party came into power, he became a member of the Reichstag, and in April of that year he was appointed Deputy to the Fuehrer, a position which he held until he flew to England in May of 1941.

That evidence, so far, is all contained in two documents, one a book called "Dates of the History of the Nazi Party," by Volz, which is already in evidence as Document 3132-PS, and was put in evidence as Exhibit USA 592, and the other the "Deutsches Fuehrerlexikon," 3191-PS, Exhibit USA 593.

On 1st December, 1933, he became Reich Minister without Portfolio, another position which he held throughout the remainder of his time in Germany. That appears in the Reichsgesetzblatt. It is Document 3178-PS, and it goes in now as Exhibit GB 248. On 4th February, 1938, he became a member of the Secret Cabinet Council. My Lord, that is 3189- PS, and becomes Exhibit GB 249.

On 30th August, 1939 he became a member of the Council of Ministers for Defense of the Reich, 2018-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 250. On 1st September, 1939, he was appointed successor designate to the Fuehrer, after Goering. Goering, it will be remembered, was successor No. 1, and during that time Hess held the positions of Obergruppenfuehrer in the S.S. and in the S.A.

That completes the formal proof of the positions charged against him in the Indictment. I would say a word upon the authority he exercised under and holding these positions. The Tribunal will remember that in appointing Hess as his Deputy the Fuehrer decreed, in the decree by which he made the appointment, as follows: "I hereby appoint Hess as my Deputy and give him full power to make decisions in my name on all questions of Party leadership." The extent of his office as Deputy Fuehrer can be seen from the Party Year Book of 1941, to which I would briefly refer the Tribunal, as it appears on Page 104 of the Tribunal's document book. It is 3163-PS and has already been put in as Exhibit USA 255. I quote from that Year Book:

"By decree of the Fuehrer of 21st April, 1933, the Deputy of the Fuehrer received full power to decide in the name of the Fuehrer on all matters concerning Party leadership. Thus, the Deputy of the Fuehrer is the representative of the Fuehrer, with full power over the entire leadership of the

[Page 149]

National Socialist German Workers Party. The office of the Deputy of the Fuehrer is therefore an office of the Fuehrer. In essence, it is the duty of the Deputy of the Fuehrer to direct the basic policies of Party work, to give directives, and take care that all Party work be done in agreement with National Socialist principles. All the threads of the Party work are gathered together by the Deputy of the Fuehrer. He gives the final Party word on all intra-Party plans and all questions vital for the existence of the German people. The Deputy of the Fuehrer gives the directives required for all the Party work, in order to maintain the unity, determination and striking power of the National Socialist German Workers Party as the bearer of the National Socialist philosophy. In addition to the duties of Party leadership, the Deputy of the Fuehrer has far reaching powers in the field of the State. These are:

One, participation in national and State legislation, including the preparation of Fuehrer orders. The Deputy of the Fuehrer in this way validates the conception of the Party as the guardian of National Socialist philosophy.

Two, approval of the Deputy of the Fuehrer of proposed appointments for officials and labour service leaders.

Three, securing the influence of the Party over the self-government of the municipal units."

I would refer the Tribunal to Page 119 of the document book, which is a chart which shows the organisation of the Deputy of the Fuehrer's office. It is 3201-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 251. I would particularly refer the Tribunal to the square in the centre, showing the liaison officer of the Wehrmacht, and showing his close association with the Army; and in the right-hand column at the top: "Chief of the Foreign Organisation," of which I shall tell the Tribunal in a moment; "Commissar for Foreign policy," showing his concern with the foreign policy of the German State; "Commissar for All Technological Matters and Organisation"; "Commissar for All University Matters"; "Commissar of University Policy," showing his concern with the education of Germany; and further down, "Office for Racial Policy," showing his concern with the anti-Jew policy of the Nazi Government that followed; and at the bottom again, "Specialist on Education."

But a glance at that chart will show that he was really involved in every aspect and every branch of Nazi life and the organisation and administration of the State. As Reich Minister without Portfolio, in the Law to Secure the Unity of Party and State of 1st December, 1933, it was stated that his task was to guarantee the close working co-operation of the Party and the S.A. with Public authority. Put in as Document 1395-PS, it becomes Exhibit GB 252.

He acquired wide legislative powers, as it has already been seen from the extract which I have read from the Nazi Year Book of 1941. I would particularly draw the attention of the Tribunal to a decree of Hitler's dated 27th July. The extract which I wish to quote is set out in the trial brief. It has already been read and therefore I will do nothing now other than to draw the attention of the Tribunal to it. The document is 138-D and has been put in as Exhibit USA 403. By the Law for the Protection of People in November, 1933, it will be remembered that Hitler and his Cabinet obtained for themselves full powers of legislation, independently of the Reichstag, and this defendant, being a member of the Cabinet, of course shared in these powers.

His approval of that procedure can be seen from a speech he made on 16th January, 1937, and a short extract is again set out in the trial brief that the Tribunal has before them:

"National Socialism has seen to it that vital necessities of our nation can to-day no longer be talked to pieces by a Reichstag and made the object of the haggling of Parties. You have seen that in the new Germany

[Page 150]

decisions of historic importance are made by the Fuehrer and his Cabinet --- decisions which in other countries must be preceded by parliamentary debates lasting days and weeks."
That last extract is taken from Document 2426-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 253. That these powers and offices were no sinecure is clear from Hess' own order which he issued in October, 1934. I will not read it now because it has already been read. It is 139-D and was put in as Exhibit USA 404, and the Tribunal will remember that he is there issuing a decree, saying he has been given the right to participate in legislation by the Fuehrer, and any office that is promoting legislation, in which he therefore ought to take part, must let him have the draft in time to take effective action on it if he disapproves of it.

I think that again the extract I have read from the Year Book sufficiently describes the powers that he had, without my referring to more than two other documents upon this matter. On Page 5 of the trial brief it will be seen that he acquired powers and took part in the organisation and production under the Four Year Plan. I quote from a lecture given by the defendant Frick on the 7th March, 1940, which is Document 2608-PS and has already been put in as Exhibit USA 714. But the short passage that I quote now was not actually read. In that lecture Frick said:

"In order to guarantee the co-ordination of the various economic agencies of the Four Year Plan, those agencies were formed into a general council, under the chairmanship of Goering. Its members are the State Secretaries of the agencies working in the field of war economy, the Chief of the Military Office for Economy, and a representative of the Deputy of the Fuehrer."
And lastly, a quotation from the "National Zeitung" of the 27th April, 1941, which is 102-M and becomes Exhibit GB 254. My Lord, it appears on Page 4 of the trial brief. I quote from these passages, set out simply to save the Tribunal's time in referring to the document book. It does appear on Page 12 of the document book if the Tribunal desires to refer to the full extract:
"A long while ago" -- it was still before the outbreak of the war -- Rudolf Hess was once called the 'Conscience of the Party.' If we ask why the Fuehrer's Deputy was given this undoubtedly honourable title, the reason for this is plain to see. There is no aspect of our public life which is not the concern of the Fuehrer's Deputy. So enormously many-sided and diverse is his work and sphere of duty that it cannot be outlined in a few words; and it lies in the nature of the obligation laid on the Fuehrer's Deputy that the public at large hears little of the work of Rudolf Hess. Few know that many government measures taken, especially in the sphere of war economy and the Party, which meet with such hearty approbation when they are notified publicly, can be traced back to the direct initiation of the Fuehrer's Deputy.
Perhaps I ought to remind the Tribunal that in the decree appointing a Secret Cabinet Council, that council was appointed by Hitler to advise him in the conduct of foreign policy. The Tribunal will find attached to that document book a few photos. They are of little importance. They were really to emphasise or remind the Tribunal of the film that was shown earlier in the course of these proceedings, when, it will be remembered, the defendant Hess appeared in practically every scene of that film "The Rise to Power of the Nazi Party." These photographs are not actually photographs from that film; they are somewhat similar and I produce an affidavit with them to state they were taken by Hitler's own private photographer. That affidavit becomes Exhibit GB 255.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.