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-Seventeenth Day: Tuesday, 30th April, 1946
(Part 3 of 10)

[Page 365]

DR. MARX: Yes.


Q. Will you state your full name.

A. Ernst Heifer.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:-

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Since when have you known Herr Streicher? How did you get into contact with him, and what position did you have in "Der Sturmer?"

A. At the end of 1934 I was introduced to the then Gauleiter Julius Streicher in the "Deutscher Hof" in Nuremberg. Streicher gave me the assignment of working for his public health journal "Die deutsche Volksgesundheit." In 1935 I also wrote reports for "Der Sturmer." Streicher then had me transferred to the editorial staff of "Der Sturmer."

Eventually, under Streicher's direction and the direction of other staff members of "Der Sturmer," I did editorial work as a co-editor. The responsible editor of "Der Sturmer" was Karl Holz, Streicher's deputy, but the leading spirit of the paper was Streicher himself. In the year 1938 instructions came from Berlin to the effect that Holz was permitted to contribute to "Der Sturmer," but in his capacity as state official - he was the Deputy Gauleiter - he was no longer to be mentioned in the editions of "Der Sturmer." Thereupon, on instruction from Streicher, my name was entered in "Der Sturmer" as responsible editor. The over-all direction of the paper and all authority connected therewith remained in Streicher's hands, and Streicher retained this position until the collapse.

Q. What was the main idea of "Der Sturmer's" policy? What was the leitmotiv?

A. Streicher wanted by means of "Der Sturmer," in the simplest and most popular language, to convey to every man and every woman of the German nation knowledge about the Jews. Streicher wanted the entire German people to realise that the Jew was a stranger among them.

Q. Herr Hiemer, I do not want to know that. I want you to tell me whether

[Page 366]

Herr Streicher, let us say, wished to advocate emigration or whether he followed a different train of thought. Long expositions on the Jewish problem are not required.

A. Streicher was of the opinion that in Germany the Jewish question should be solved by emigration. He repeatedly criticised the leadership of the Reich because the emigration of Jews was not being carried through in the manner desired by Streicher. When the war came, Streicher asserted that the Jewish problem would no longer have had any significance for a Germany at war, if, in accordance with his idea, it had been solved by complete emigration of the Jews during the preceding time of peace.

Q. Is it correct that the Palestine and Madagascar problem was discussed in the journal?

A. Yes. Streicher stated his opinion in words as well as in writing, that Palestine and Madagascar would be suitable localities for absorbing the Jews living in Germany. However, he did not follow-up this thought, since not Germany but only England and France could dispose of Palestine and Madagascar.

Q. What do you think about the influence exerted by Streicher and "Der Sturmer" since 1933? Is it not true, since 1933, its influence among the German people was much in decline?

A. Yes, that is correct. In many circles it was known that the influence of Streicher and of his paper on the movement did decrease. After 1933 Streicher had many conflicts with other Party leaders, and he made many enemies. In particular, beginning with the year 1937, Streicher was pushed into the background more and more. The "Institute for the Study of the Jewish Problem," under the leadership of Rosenberg, was, on orders of the Party, theoretically dealing with the Jewish problem, but actual authority over the Jews belonged, as is well known, exclusively to Himmler.

When finally, in the year 1940, Streicher was relieved of his post as Gauleiter, he was completely isolated. From then on he lived on his farm and worked there as a farmer; he wrote articles only for "Der Sturmer."

Q. What was the circulation of "Der Sturmer" since 1933? Can you give us figures? Of course, only after the date when you joined the paper.

A. This question of the circulation could, of course, be answered best by the publication manager who was concerned with it. However, I remember approximate figures. "Der Sturmer" was, in 1933, a very small paper; but by the year 1935 its circulation increased to about 800,000. After that, however, there was a sharp decline.

Of course, during the war "Der Sturmer" had a smaller circulation. I cannot give you any exact figures and during the last months the circulation of the paper was, of course, extremely small. On the average, I might say that "Der Sturmer" had a circulation of perhaps half a million. Of course, there were special issues which had a much larger circulation. As I said, only the publisher could authenticate these figures.

Q. What can be the reason for the increase in the year 1935?

A. It is very difficult for me to answer that question.

Q. Wasn't it because Party authorities ... because subscriptions were made compulsory in factories and other places?

A. You are putting questions to me which really only a publisher can answer. I myself cannot answer the question with assurance, and therefore must remain silent; my testimony would not be reliable.

Q. Of course, if you don't know, you are free to say "My knowledge on this point is not sufficient." Did Herr Streicher know of the happenings in the East, especially in the concentration camps, and what did he personally tell you about these things?

A. Streicher himself never told me that he knew about the happenings in the

[Page 367]

concentration camps. On the contrary, Streicher said he learned of these things only in 1944 through the Swiss Press. Streicher received the Swiss Press regularly, in particular the "Israelitisches Wochenblatt" of Switzerland, and in 1944 this journal published rather detailed descriptions about what was going on in the concentration camps.

Streicher at first refused to credit these reports in the Swiss Press and called them intentional lies. He declared that these reports were being printed merely for the purpose of undermining the prestige of the German people abroad. It is true, Streicher soon changed his opinion. He began to doubt that his opinion was right and finally he believed that the occurrences in concentration camps, as pictured in the Swiss Press, did after all correspond to the facts.

Streicher said that Himmler was the only man who could have authorised such crimes.

Q. You said that Streicher soon changed his opinion. What does

that mean? A. In the beginning he had decidedly said that these reports could not be true. Then he became uncertain and said that perhaps they might be true. I had the impression that, either the detailed manner of the reports in the Swiss Press had convinced Streicher that these things had actually occurred, or that Streicher, from one source or another, either through personal contacts or through letters, had received knowledge that these happenings were actually taking place in the concentration camps. To that I ascribe his change of viewpoint.

Q. And when was that, approximately?

A. I cannot give you the exact date, but I believe it was in the middle of 1944.

Q. What attitude did he take when he was finally convinced? Did he express satisfaction at the fact that so many people had been killed?

A. No. Streicher definitely deprecated what was done in the concentration camps. It did happen that Streicher, in anger - if he had been especially upset by political events - often or at times asserted that the Jew, as an enemy of the German people, should be exterminated. However, Streicher talked in that way only in the first phase of excitement. When he was calm, he always opposed the extermination of the Jews.

Q. But repeatedly in articles of "Der Sturmer" there is talk of the extermination of the Jews?

A. Yes. It is a fact that in reports of "Der Sturmer" the extermination of Jewry is spoken about. However, on the other hand, Streicher again and again opposed the murder of the Jews, and I am quite convinced that Streicher and "Der Sturmer" had nothing whatever to do with the happenings in concentration camps. I do not believe it. For it is known now that these crimes in the concentration camps were committed on the instructions of individual leading men; that is, on official orders, and it is my firm conviction that neither Streicher nor "Der Sturmer" had anything to do with them.

Q. How were the articles, which you wrote, prepared? Did you receive directives for the articles from Streicher and then merely edit them, or were you the real author?

A. Streicher was the founder and the publisher of "Der Sturmer." But he was in fact also the chief editor, and all his colleagues, no matter whether it was his deputy, Holz, or others, all of them had to submit their articles to Streicher before they were printed. Streicher then ordered changes if the need arose; he also gave the editors assignments for articles, that is, he told them on what lines these articles were to be drawn up, and Streicher knew of all the articles which appeared in "Der Sturmer." In fact, he was the editor responsible for "Der Sturmer." All others were his assistants. He himself was, as he often said with pride, one and the same with "Der Sturmer." "Streicher and 'Der Sturmer' are one and the same." That was his maxim.

[Page 368]

Q. That, of course, he admits; he says that he assumes the responsibility. What can you tell us about the so-called pornographic library?

A. "Der Sturmer" was in possession of a large archive. This archive consisted of many thousands of German and foreign- language books, documents, edicts and so forth. These books were either put at the disposal of "Der Sturmer" archive by friends of "Der Sturmer," or they came from Jewish apartments. The police put books which were found in Jewish houses at the disposal of Rosenberg's Institute for the Study of the Jewish Problem for research purposes. Whatever remained in the Jewish dwellings in Nuremberg was turned over to "Der Sturmer" archive. Among these books there were also numerous volumes which dealt with sexual knowledge, books by Magnus Hirschfeld, Bloch, and some which were simply pornographic. These, then, consisted both of books which had been sent in by friends of "Der Sturmer," and books which had been found in Jewish buildings.

These books were kept in a special section of "Der Sturmer" archive under lock and key, and the public did not have access to them. This literature was no personal pornographic library of Streicher, but formed a part of "Der Sturmer's" archive. Streicher never read these books. They were to be reviewed after the war in the course of the reconstruction. All those which were not of direct Jewish origin were to be removed, but as I said, Streicher did not read these books.

Q. Where were these books kept? Were they in the publishing house, or how is it that a part -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, there is no charge here with respect to these particular sort of books.

DR. MARX: This is my last question. I just wanted to clarify this matter, since it played an important part in the public mind. I have no further questions to the witness.

THE PRESIDENT: Then, are there any questions from the other defence counsel?

BY DR. THOMA (Counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

I have one question only.

Q. Did Rosenberg have any connections with the editorial staff of "Der Sturmer"?

A. To my knowledge, his connections were almost non- existent. I only knew personally Dr. Ballensiefen, who worked with Rosenberg. I also knew Dr. Pohl; but no relations existed between "Der Sturmer" and the "Institute for the Study of the Jewish Problem" for the purposes of co- operation.

Q. Did Ballensiefen and Pohl have connections with "Der Sturmer"?

A. Pohl had personal connections with me. He was a student of Hebrew and had made translations of the Talmud; he had also published the "Talmudgeist." Through that I came to know him. Ballensiefen also had no personal connection with "Der Sturmer."

Q. Does this mean that Pohl did have personal connections - ?

A. Only with me, not with "Der Sturmer."

Q. Or was he sent by Rosenberg in this matter?

A. No.

DR. THOMA: I have no further questions, your Honour.



Q. I have only one matter to ask you about. Do I understand you to say, that by the middle of 1944 Streicher had become convinced that the reports in the Swiss newspaper, "Israelitisches Wochenblatt," were true?

A. I did not understand you. Will you please repeat the question?

Q. Do I understand you to say, that by the middle of 1944 Streicher had

[Page 369]

become convinced of the truth of the reports he was reading in the Swiss newspaper about concentration camps?

A. Yes, I had the impression that Streicher in the middle of 1944 -

Q. I only wanted an answer yes or no. That is quite sufficient.

Let me just read to you three lines of an article which was published in "Der Sturmer" on 14 September, 1944.

A. Yes.

Q. "Bolshevism cannot be defeated; it must be destroyed. The same applies to Judaism; it must be defeated, disarmed and made defenceless; it must be exterminated." That is Page 52A. Then the word that you use or is cited for "exterminated" is "ausgerottet," which I understand means completely wiped out. Why was that article appearing in "Der Sturmer" in September, 1944, when it was known by the owner of "Der Sturmer" what was going on in concentration camps in the East? What was the purpose of that article?

A. I personally did not write this article. I believe that Streicher wrote it, therefore I myself am not able to judge the intention of the article. But I do maintain that Streicher made statements opposing the murders in the concentration camps, and that he did not want the murder of Jewry.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: Very well, I will leave that.

My Lord, in the interest of time I do not propose to cross- examine this witness any further. Perhaps I might be allowed to draw the Tribunal's attention to those articles contained in your bundle, which are articles actually written by this witness. There are about seven of them. Pages 3A, 35A, 38A, 40A, 49A, 50A and 51A. That is covering a period from January, 1939, up to August, 1944.

And, my Lord, the other matter that I would draw the Tribunal's attention to is that this witness was the author of the disgusting children's book which I presented to the Tribunal in putting the individual case against Streicher.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any further cross-examination?

Dr. Marx, do you wish to re-examine? You heard what counsel said about the various articles written by this witness. You wish to re-examine, or not? Have you any questions you wish to ask the witness?

DR. MARX: Yes, please.

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