The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Sixteenth Day: Monday, 29th April, 1946
(Part 4 of 12)

[DR. MARX continues his direct examination of Julius Streicher]

[Page 319]

Q. Who was the author?

A. My collaborator, the editor-in-chief at that time, Karl Holz, who is now dead. But I assume the responsibility.

Q. Is it not so that even during the 20's you dealt with that question in "Der Sturmer?"

A. Yes; and in public speeches.

Q. Yes, in public speeches. Why did you now stir up again in 1935, this decidedly very grave matter?

A. I should like to ask my counsel to express no judgement as to what I have written; to question me, but not to express judgement. The prosecution is going to do that.

[Page 320]

You have asked me how this issue came about. I will explain very briefly ...

DR. MARX: Excuse me, Mr. President. I have to protest against the fact that Herr Streicher here, in the course of his interrogation by me, thinks he can criticise the manner in which I put my questions. Therefore, I ask the Tribunal to give a decision on this, as otherwise I am not in a position to ask my questions at all.

THE PRESIDENT: You have already stated your position and the Tribunal has given you full support. Will you please continue?

And let me tell you this, defendant, that if you are insolent either to your counsel or to the Tribunal, the Tribunal will not be able to continue the hearing of your case at this moment. You will kindly treat your counsel and the Tribunal with due courtesy.

THE WITNESS: May I be allowed to say something about this?

THE PRESIDENT: No. Answer the questions, please.


I will go on now with my questioning.

Q. The prosecution accuses you, in connection with this ritual murder affair, of having treated the matter without documentary proof, by referring to a story from the Middle Ages. What, in brief, was your source?

A. The sources were given in that issue. Nothing was written without the sources being given at the same time. There was reference made to a book written in Greek by a former rabbi who had been converted to Christianity. There was reference made to a publication of a high clergyman of Milan, a book which has appeared in Germany for the last fifty years. Not even under the democratic government did Jews raise objections to that book. That ritual murder issue refers to court files which are located in Rome, it refers to files which are in court. There are pictures in it which show that in twenty-three cases the Church itself has dealt with this question. The Church has canonised twenty-three non-Jews killed by ritual murder. Pictures of sculptures, that is, of paintings on stone, were shown as illustrations; everywhere the source was indicated; even a case in England was mentioned, and one in Kiev, Russia. But in this connection I should like to say, as I said to a Jewish officer here, that we never wanted to assert that all Jewry was ready now to commit ritual murders. But it is a fact that within Jewry there exists a sect which engaged in murders, and has done so up to the present. I have asked my counsel to submit to the Tribunal a file from Pisek in Czechoslovakia, very recent proceedings. A court of appeal has confirmed a case of ritual murder. Thus, in conclusion I must say ...

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I object to this statement, your Honour. After his counsel has refused to submit it, he insists on stating here the contents of a court record. Now this is not an orderly way in which to make charges against the Jewish people. His counsel apparently has refused, whereupon he starts to give evidence that he knows what in any case is a resume of the matters which his counsel has declined to submit here. It seems to me that having appointed counsel to conduct his case, he has shown repeatedly that he is not willing to allow him to conduct his case in an orderly manner, and he ought to be returned to his cell and any further statements that he wishes to make to this Tribunal should be transmitted through his counsel in writing. This is entirely unfair and in contempt of court.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, I think you had better continue.

DR. MARX: I should like to say that that closes this affair. The essential thing is whether one can say that he treated the case without documentary proof. The defence is not interested in the affair at all, and, according to my recollection, I even suggested to one of the gentlemen of the prosecution that this affair perhaps be left out altogether, because it is really so gruesome and so

[Page 321]

horrible that it is better not to deal with it. But the defendant only wanted to say that it was only on the basis of various evidence that he dealt with the case, and I believe that is sufficient; that should close the matter.

Now, Herr Streicher, you fall again and again into the mistake of going too far in your explanations, and of discussing things which can be considered propaganda on your part. I should like to ask you now, for the last time, to stick to the questions and leave out everything else. It is in your own interest. You are accused of having carried on various activities in your Gau, which were Crimes against Humanity, of having mistreated people who lived in your Gau. Thus you are accused of having sought out a political prisoner, a certain Steinruck in his cell and of having beaten him. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Was Steinruck a Jew?

A. No.

Q. For what reason did you do that?

A. Steinruck in a public place, in the presence of many witnesses had made derogatory statements about the Fuehrer, libellous statements. He was at police headquarters. I had spoken to the police chief about it and told him that I should like to see Steinruck. I went with my adjutant - the Goering report says that a party member, Holz, was there too, but that is not correct - I went with my adjutant to police headquarters. The same police chief who later denounced me to Reich Marshal Goering, took me to Steinruck's cell. We went into the cell, I stated that I had come with the intention of talking to him, talking to him reasonably. We talked to him. But he acted so cowardly that it became necessary to chastise him. I do not mind stating here that I am sorry about that case, that I regret it as a slip.

Q. Then it is asserted that in August, 1938, you beat up an editor, Burger. Is that correct?

A. No, this is not correct. If I had beaten him up, then I would say so here. But I believe that my adjutant and somebody else had an argument with him.

Q. What about the incident in the Kuenstlerhaus in Munich?

A. I went to Munich to the inn "Kuenstlerstaette," or something like that. I was received by the manager. Then a young man came up to me, drunk and quarrelsome, and shouted at me. The manager protested and ordered him out of the place. But the drunken young fellow came back again and again, and then my chauffeur grabbed him and my son helped. They took him into a room and beat him up, and then the proprietor of the inn thanked me for having rid him of the drunkard.

And now I should like to have the Tribunal's permission to state very briefly my position on one case which I believe the prosecution also has dropped, where I was accused of sadistic tendencies ...

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, you know perfectly well that that incident has been stricken from the record and is not, therefore, mentioned against you, so that it is quite unnecessary to go into it. The Tribunal cannot hear you on it.

Q. Witness, from the so-called Goering report I should like to submit to you some points which have been presented by the prosecution.

You know that after the action of November, 1938, in the district of Franconia, Aryanisation of Jewish property was undertaken to a considerable extent. Would you like to make a statement about that?

A. Here in the Goering report is a reference to a statement of the deceased Party member, Holz. In that statement it is pointed out that Holz came to see me after that action, that he made a report about the action and likewise declared the action to be wrong; he said, furthermore, that now this had happened, he considered it necessary to go further and Aryanise the property. The Goering report states that I then told Holz that could not be done and that I opposed it. Then it reports further that Holz said to me that he still thought it would be

[Page 322]

right if one were to do it. We could then provide the means for the establishment of a district school. Holz also states that I said, "Well, Holz, if you believe you can do it, then go ahead and do it."

I want to state here that what Party member Holz said is true. I was opposed at first and then, acting on a sudden impulse, which I cannot understand today, I said, "Well, if you can do it, then go ahead and do it." I want to state here that at that time when I said it I did not believe at all that it was to be done or would be done; but it was done. The Reich Marshal as trustee for the Four-Year Plan later stated his position on it in Berlin, sharply rejecting it. Only at that time did I find out exactly how Holz accomplished this Aryanisation. I had a talk with him, got into a serious dispute, and our friendly relations were broken off. Holz volunteered for a Panzer outfit, went to the Front and resigned as deputy. I returned from Berlin to Nuremberg; and later there appeared in Nuremberg a criminal commissioner sent by the Reich Marshal in his capacity as trustee for the Four-Year Plan. He reported to me and asked me if I were in agreement with an investigation of the whole matter, and I stated that I would welcome the investigation. Then the investigation took place. The Aryanisation order was repealed and it was established that Holz personally had not got any material advantage from it. The question of Aryanisation was then taken over by the government. I state frankly that in that affair I am at least guilty of negligence.

Q. Did you know that the amounts paid in the Aryanisation of houses or real estate represented only about twenty per cent., or even less, of the actual value?

A. Holz had not come to see me for weeks. He had carried on the Aryanisation in the Labour Front Office with the legal advisers there. Not until later, in Berlin, during the meeting which the Reich Marshal held, did I learn of the real situation; and thus the dispute and the break between Holz and myself came about, because I had to disapprove the manner in which the Aryanisation question had been handled.

Q. You are further accused of having had shares in the Marx Works at Nuremberg acquired at an extraordinarily low price, for purposes of enriching yourself, and, in the course of this acquisition, of having exerted an undue pressure on the owner of the shares?

A. It says in the Goering report, literally, that I had given an order and, in another place, that I had given the command that the Marx shares be acquired for me. I state here that I gave neither an order nor a command to acquire the Marx shares. The explanation is this. My publishing house chief, who had power of attorney, because I personally never, through all the years, bothered with financial or business matters, could do what he wished. One day he came to see me with my adjutant. I do not recollect now whether the adjutant or the publishing house chief was the one who spoke first. I was told the following. An attorney had called and said that the Marx shares were being offered for sale at an advantageous price. My publishing house chief asked me whether I agreed. I stated that never in my life had I owned any shares, that I had never bothered about financial matters in my publishing house, If he thought that the stock should be bought, then he could do it. The shares were bought. It was the most serious breach of confidence ever committed against me by any Party associate or employee. After a short time it came to light, that is, I was informed how these shares had been acquired. I found out that the owner had been threatened. When I discovered under what conditions this stock purchase had been made, I gave the order at once to return the stock. In the Goering report it is noted that this return took place. Among the confiscated files of my publishing house there is an official statement about this affair which shows that these shares were returned. In this connection perhaps I may be permitted to say that my publishing

[Page 323]

house was located, until the end of the war, in a rented house. At the time of the Aryanisation I was approached with the plan that an Aryanised house be acquired for my publishing firm. I refused that. I state here in conclusion that I have in my possession no former Jewish property.

When those demonstrations occurred in 1938, jewels had been brought into the Gauhouse. These pieces of jewellery were turned over to the police. A man who was the holder of the Honorary Party Emblem was convicted and sentenced to six years penal servitude, because he had given his sweetheart a ring and another piece of jewellery dating from that time. But I may add one thing: The guilt of this wearer of the Party Emblem rests perhaps with those who gave the order, "Go into the Jewish houses." The man, as far as I knew him, had always been personally decent. Because of that order, he was placed in the position in which he committed a crime. I have finished what I wanted to say.

Q. Is it not true that the allegations made by the publishing firm chief, Fink, before the Party Court, and also, even before that, at a police interrogation were different, in the main points, from your present representations?

A. The whole thing was that Fink, the publishing house manager, was called to police headquarters and interrogated. The police chief was interested in the hearing as for many years he had been a friend of mine and frequently visited me in my house. Fink returned from the interrogation completely upset. He paced up and down in front of me and shouted: "I was threatened, I have made statements which are not true. I am a blackguard. I am a criminal." A witness of that incident was my chauffeur. I calmed him down and told him, "I was called in for a hearing once, too. I was even imprisoned once. I will give them the opportunity ... "

THE PRESIDENT: Is it necessary to go into such detail in this matter?

DR. MARX: Excuse me, Mr. President. Perhaps this is necessary, because in this report reference is made to the testimony of Fink, and an attempt is made to prove with this that the explanation made by Streicher is wrong, that he gave the order to purchase this stock, possibly under pressure, and that he approved of it, whereas he counters that he knew neither that these shares were to be bought at such a low price nor that blackmail pressure was to be used. If that is not important, then, of course, we can close the matter.

THE PRESIDENT: That is what he has already said. He has said that quite clearly, has he not? I was only suggesting that it was not necessary to go into such detail in the matter.

Q. Witness, it may be of some importance to state what the development of "Der Sturmer" has been since 1933, as far as circulation is concerned. Give us a short statement on the circulation of "Der Sturmer" and then I shall put another question to you.

A. "Der Sturmer" appeared in 1923 in octavo format, and in the beginning it had a circulation of 2,000 to 3,000 copies. In the course of time the circulation increased to 10,000, At that time "Der Sturmer" circulated - until 1933 really - only in Nuremberg, in my Gau, perhaps in Southern Bavaria. The publisher was a bookseller and he worked first with one man, then with two. This is proof that the circulation was really small.

In 1933 - but I say this with certain reservations because it may be that the publisher did not always give me the correct circulation figures and I had no written contract with him - I say with reservations, that in 1933 the circulation was 25,000 copies.

In 1935 the publisher died, and at that time it was, I believe, 40,000. Then an expert took over the publishing house and organised it to cover all of Germany. The circulation increased then to 100,000, and increased to 600,000. It fluctuated, fell back and then dropped during the war - I cannot say exactly - but I believe it was about 150,000-200,000.

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