The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Fifty-Third Day: Thursday, 7th February, 1946
(Part 15 of 18)


[Page 154]

I turn then to the part which he played in the actual planning and preparation for aggressive war. We find that as early as in 1932 he was concerned with the rearmament and reorganisation of the Air Force. The Tribunal will remember a document, 1143-PS, Exhibit USA 40, dated 20th October, 1932, which showed that a report on the preparation of material and the training of air personnel to provide for the armament of the Air Force was sent to Hess by Rosenberg's chief of staff. That document, for reference, appears on Page 43 of the Tribunal's document book.

That was in 1932. Throughout the years we find him connected with the rearmament of the German Armed Forces. On 16th March, 1935, it was Hess who signed the decree for the introduction of compulsory military service. On 11th October, 1936, in a speech that he made, he took up Goering's cry of "Guns before Butter," when he said:

"We are prepared in the future, too, if need be, at times to eat a little less fat, a little less pork, a few eggs, since we know that this little sacrifice is a sacrifice on the altar of the freedom of our people. We know that the foreign exchange which we thereby save, expedites the output of armaments."
The phrase still holds good to-day -- guns instead of butter.

That document is 104-M. It becomes Exhibit GB 260 and will be found on Page 14 of the Tribunal's document book.

In May, 1941, he was making a speech at the Messerschmidt Works, of which occasion the Tribunal has already a photograph before it. It was one of those four photographs we were looking at a moment ago. He said then:

"The German soldier must understand that for the uniqueness and abundance of his weapons and his material, he has to thank the untiring efforts of Adolf Hitler over many years."
A report of that speech appears in the "Voelkischer Beobachter" on the 2nd May, 1941. It is 105-M and becomes Exhibit GB 261. It is on Page 15 of the Tribunal's document book.

One of the most important parts that this defendant took in the preparation for aggressive war was his organisation of the famous German Fifth Column. He was the responsible person, as Deputy of the Fuehrer, of the Auslandsorganisation of the Party -- that is to say, the Foreign Organisation of the Party. A history of that organisation, a very brief history, will be found in an American State publication, 3258-PS. It becomes Exhibit GB 262. It is on Page 147 of the document book.

I would only mention now two matters. In October, 1933, that organisation was placed directly under Hess's control, and a year later it was Hess himself who gave it its present name of the Auslandsorganisation.

For the convenience again of the Tribunal, a chart is set out in the organisation book for 1938, which is 2354-PS, Exhibit USA 430, and is on Page 69 of the Tribunal's document book, and I think it is unnecessary to refer to it now in detail. It had the various offices, Civil Service offices, cultural offices, Press and propaganda offices, labour front offices, and the foreign trade offices, the various offices dealing with the German merchant marine, which afforded, of course, an excellent medium for spreading Nazi propaganda to every port through the world.

The Tribunal has heard a good deal about a somewhat similar organisation of Rosenberg's, the A.P.A. Very briefly and in a word, I think the distinction between the two can be said to be that the A.P.A. was concerned with the enrollment and propaganda for non-Germans, for foreigners, whereas the Auslandsorganisation was concerned with Germans living abroad, who, of course, were to form the basis of Fifth Column activities in future years.

[Page 155]

I think the Tribunal will see that there are set out, under the heading "Scope of the Organisation's Work," two documents. I think that perhaps it is sufficient to refer to the first of them now, 3401-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 263, and which the Tribunal will find on Page 173 of that document book.

That is an article from the "Voelkischer Beobachter," which begins by saying, "National Socialism is a philosophy which takes hold of our fellow Germans, and strengthens them in holding fast to the German nature and customs," and then goes on to say that the place for the practical application of that policy and principle is the foreign organisation of the N.S.D.A.P., which is directly subordinated to the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Hess. I quote the last three lines of that paragraph.

"The work of the Foreign Organisation is literally extended over the entire earth, and the following slogan could, with full justice, be displayed in its workrooms in Hamburg 'My field is the world.' The whole Foreign Organisation, under the leadership of Gauleiter Bohle, who is aided by a large staff of experts and qualified co-workers, to-day includes over 350 national groups and cells of the N.S.D.A.P. in all parts of the world, and in addition to this, it looks after a large number of individual Party comrades in widely scattered places."
My Lord, in view of the time I will not refer to any further documents about the activity and the scope of that organisation. They will be found as set out in the following document, 3258-PS, which is at Page 150 of the document book. I beg your pardon, that is Exhibit GB 262 already in evidence. There is another extract from the British "Basic Handbook on Germany," which is in the addendum to the document book. It is not, I think, actually put into the Tribunal's brief. It appears as Document 122-M, and becomes Exhibit GB 264.

Two of the other various organisations which were run by the Foreign Organisation were known as the National League for Germanity Abroad, the V.D.A., and the German Eastern League, the B.D.O.

I would refer the Tribunal to a document which they will find on Page 38 of the document book. It is 837-PS, which becomes Exhibit GB 265. That is a letter, which it will be seen on the next page is signed by Hess, dated 3rd February, 1939. It is a circular order -- "Not for publication." The subject is the National League of Germans Abroad and the German Eastern League. I quote from the first paragraph:

"The Director of the Agency for Racial Germans, S.S. Gruppenfuehrer Lorenz" ...
The Agency for Racial Germans, which was the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, was another similar foreign organisation, but one run by Himmler and the SS. All these gentlemen appear to have had their own foreign organisations. No doubt they were all engaged for the same purpose. Himmler's was called the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle. I quote again:
"The director for that agency has instigated on my behalf the following new ruling for questions affecting racial work and work in the border country. The National League for Germans Abroad, the V.D.A., is the association responsible for national work beyond the frontiers."
I go down to the last two lines of that paragraph:
"The V.D.A. is organised into State associations which correspond in area to the Gaue of the N.S.D.A.P."
And the first two lines of the next paragraph:
"The German Eastern League, the B.D.O., is the association responsible for work in the border country."
I turn to the next page, Paragraph 4 of that letter, No. 4:
"The V.D.A. is solely responsible for racial work beyond the frontiers. I hereby forbid the Party, its organisations and affiliated associations

[Page 156]

from all racial work abroad. The only competent body for this task is the agency for racial Germans and the V.D.A. as its camouflaged tool. Within the Reich, the V.D.A., generally speaking, is responsible only for providing the means for racial work beyond the frontiers. In this task V.D.A. must be supported in every way by the Party offices. Any outward appearance of connection with the Party is, however, to be avoided."
Then it goes on to set up the activity of the B.D.O. and in the last paragraph:
"The activity of the V.D.A. and the B.D.O. is to be supported in every way by the Party offices. The National Socialist leaders of both associations will assure energetic co-operation, on their part, in all tasks assigned to them by the N.S.D.A.P. Their nature is determined by considerations of foreign policy and the associations must bear this in mind when representing them in public."
Now I come to the activity, therefore, of the Foreign Organisation, which, as I say, was the basis of the Fifth Column movement when war eventually broke out. I pass, then, to consideration of Hess's part in the preliminary occupations of Austria and Czechoslovakia, which led up to the aggressive wars themselves.

Hess is seen to be participating in the preparations to occupy Austria from the very beginning. In the autumn of 1934, it was he that appointed Reinthaler as leader of the Austrian Peasants in the Nazi Party in Austria, after the failure of the July, 1934, rising. That has already been given in evidence: Document 812-PS, Exhibit USA 61, and the relevant passage was read into the transcript (Part I, Page 227).

Another document that has already been put in evidence, 3254- PS Exhibit USA 704, is Seyss-Inquart's statement of 10th December, 1945, when he mentions that he held meetings with Goering and Hess in 1936.

On the morning that the German troops eventually marched into Austria, 12th March, 1938, Hess and Himmler, together, were the first of the leaders of the German Government to appear in Vienna, and they were there by midday on that day.

It was Hess who signed the law of the 13th March, the next day, for the reunion of Austria with the German Reich, and the Tribunal will, no doubt, remember the occasion, which was described fully by Mr. Alderman, of the shocking celebrations which were held in anniversary of the murder of Dollfuss, the celebrations being held on 24th July, 1938, when the highlight of the occasion was a speech by Hess.

I would refer the Tribunal to a document which appears on Page 165 of the document book, which throws some light, in his own words, both on his activity as far as Austria was concerned and also with Czechoslovakia. This was a speech he made on 28th August, 1938, at the annual meeting of the Foreign Organisation. It is 3258-PS. It is already in as Exhibit GB 262. I quote from the last three paragraphs on Page 165 of the document book:

"At the close of his talk Rudolf Hess recalls the days, last year, in Stuttgart, when German men and women, German boys and girls in their native costumes appeared here in Stuttgart aglow with enthusiasm for the ideal of Greater Germany, passionately moved by National Socialism, but nevertheless outwardly 'Volksdeutsche' Germans of foreign citizenship. 'To-day,' Rudolf Hess continued, 'they also stand openly in our ranks. Proudly and happily they will march in the formation of the National Socialist movement past their Fuehrer in Nuremberg, this time with German citizens. With all our hearts we rejoice as we see them. They have fought a long and tough battle, a battle against a treacherous and mendacious enemy'" -
--and so on.

[Page 157]

And then on the next page, 166, where he turns to discuss the struggle of the Sudetenland:

"The German people look at the German racial comrades in Czechoslovakia with the profoundest sympathy for their suffering. No one in the world who loves his own people and is proud of his own people will find fault with us if from this place here we also turn our thoughts to the Sudeten Germans. If we say to them that, filled with admiration, we see how they are maintaining an iron discipline, despite the worst chicanery, despite terror and murder, if it had in general required a proof---"
I don't think, perhaps, it is necessary for me to read any more of that document, but it shows, as I say, his interest in Czechoslovakia. By Document 3061-PS, which has already been put in as Exhibit USA 126, it has been shown that during the summer of 1938 -- that speech was made in August, 1938 -- continuous conversations were being held between Henlein and Hitler, Hess and Ribbentrop, informing the Reich Government of the general situation in Czechoslovakia. That document has been read into the transcript (Part 2, Page 107 et seq.), but if anything condemns Hess as participating in this action, it is a letter dated the 27th September, 1938, which was a letter, it will be remembered, that the Tribunal has already had before it. It was written by Keitel to Hess, asking for the Party's participation in the secret mobilisation, which was intended to take place without even issuing the code word for mobilisation. It was on the 27th September, 1938, that that letter was written. It is 388-PS, and has been put in as Exhibit USA 26, and it appears on Page 30 of the Tribunal's document book.

I would refer the Tribunal to one short document on Page 120 of the document book, on which begins another speech by the defendant, a speech he made on the 7th November, 1938, on the occasion of the initiation of the Sudeten German Party into the N.S.D.A.P.:

"If we had had to defend our rights, then they would have really got to know us, we, the National Socialist Germans. The Fuehrer," he declared amidst the ringing cheers of the masses, "learned his lessons. He armed at a speed that no one would have believed possible. When the Fuehrer has gained the power and, especially, since the Fuehrer has awakened the will of the German people to put their strength behind their rights, then Germany's right will be conceded!"
One might wonder what all those rights were at that time, November, 1938, when already Hitler had said on the 26th of September that he had no more territorial demands to make in Europe, at any rate.

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