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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Day: Thursday, 23rd May, 1946
(Part 6 of 10)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of Baldur von Schirach]

[Page 340]

Q. Is it true that, for instance, even during the last years before the war, I think even in the winter of 1937-1938, and again 1938-1939, you received large delegations of English youth in skiing camps of the Hitler Youth, and that also during those years considerable delegations of Hitler Youth leaders and Hitler Youth members were sent to England so that these people could get to know and understand each other?

A. Yes, that is correct. There were innumerable encampments of foreign youth in Germany, and very many camps of German youth abroad, and I myself often visited such camps or received delegations from them.

Here is something else I want to say. As late as 1942, I made an attempt to co-operate with the youth of France. At that time the difficulty lay in Mussolini's attitude. I went to Rome, and through Count Ciano's intervention had a long conversation with Mussolini and succeeded in having him withdraw his objections to our youth inviting all French groups to come to Germany.

Unfortunately, when I reported this result to our Foreign Minister, Hitler turned it down. At any rate, that is what Herr von Ribbentrop said.

Q. From an article in the paper Das Archiv of 1938 I gather, for instance, that during that year you invited, among others, 1,000 children of French servicemen to come into the Hitler Youth camps in Germany and into the German-French youth skiing camps. Is that correct?

A. Yes, I have already told you that.

Q. Another article shows me that, for instance, I believe in 1939, you had a special memorial erected, I think in the Black Forest, when some members of an English youth delegation were accidentally killed during the sports there.

A. Yes.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, the defendant had mentioned earlier that near Berlin he erected a special house for these purposes under the name, "The Foreign House of the Hitler Youth." May I present to the Tribunal, in the original, a picture of this "Foreign House" as Document No. 120, and may I ask the Tribunal to look at this picture, because in that picture it is -

THE PRESIDENT: We are quite prepared to take it from you without looking at the house. The particular style of architecture will not affect us.

DR. SAUTER: Yes, but if you will look at the picture, then you will know how the house was furnished, and you will see that in the house, for instance, there was not a single swastika, not a single picture of Hitler, or any such things. That, again, shows consideration for the views of the foreign guests.

In this connection, Mr. President, may I also ask you to take judicial notice of a number of documents, all of which refer to the efforts of the defendant von Schirach to bring about an understanding between German youth and the youth of other nations. These are the documents in Schirach's Document Book which have the numbers 99 up to and including 107, then Documents 108 to 113, and also Documents 114 up to and including 116-A, and then Documents 117, 119 and 120. All these documents refer to the same subject.

[Page 341]


Q. Witness, when you invited such delegations from foreign youth organizations to Germany, was anything concerning German institutions and organizations, particularly with reference to the Hitler Youth, ever kept secret from these delegations?

A. No, as a matter of principle, foreign youth leaders who wished to get to know our institutions were shown everything without any reservations whatever. There was, in fact, no institution of German youth in the past which was not shown to our foreign guests. Also the so-called pre-military education was demonstrated to them in every detail.

Q. And then in 1939 the second World War broke out. During the last months before that happened, did you seriously expect a war?

A. I was firmly convinced that Hitler would not allow a war to break out. It was my opinion that he was in no way deceived about the fact that the Western Powers were determined in their attitude. Until the day when war broke out, I firmly believed that the war could be avoided.

Q. Did you discuss with military leaders or political personalities at that time the danger of war and the possibilities of maintaining the peace?

A. No; in fact, I want to say something here and now about my discussions with military personalities.

I have already stated that over a period of 12 years - that is from 1933 to 1944 or 1945 - I had perhaps one or possibly two half-hour conversations with Field-Marshal Keitel. I remember that one of them dealt entirely with a personal matter.

During the same period I had, I think, only one single discussion with Admiral Raeder, and Admiral Donitz I only met here in Nuremberg.

I never had any official discussions with General Jodl at all, and I talked to the late Field-Marshal von Blomberg, if I remember rightly, possibly twice for half an hour. I had no official discussions at all with the former Supreme Commander of the Army, von Fritsche. I was his guest on only one occasion when he was running skiing competitions for the Army - and kindly invited me because he knew that I was interested in skiing.

With his successor, von Brauchitsch, I had a general chat on questions of education when I talked before the youth of Konigsberg in 1933. Later, I believe, I visited him once on official business, and we discussed a question which was of no particular importance for the education of youth. It was some technical matter.

Those are the discussions with military personalities which I have had.

In fact, altogether I must say that I did not have time for conferences. I led an organization comprising eight million members and my duties in that organization were such that I could not possibly have time to participate in conferences and discussions in Berlin regarding the situation, even if I had been admitted to them, which was not the case.

Q. Witness, since 1932 you have been a Reichsleiter. That means that you belonged to the highest level of leaders in the Party. Were you not, in that capacity as Reichsleiter, informed by Hitler, his deputy or other political personalities about the political situation?

A. I think that Hitler invited the Reichleiter and Gauleiter, on an average, twice a year to a conference, during which he retrospectively discussed political events. Never at any time did Hitler discuss before these men operations of the future, of either a political or military nature.

Q. Then, if I understand your answer correctly, you were always surprised by these foreign developments.

A. Yes.

Q. Does the same apply to the question of the Austrian Anschluss?

[Page 342]

A. Yes. I heard of the Anschluss of Austria, which of course I hailed enthusiastically, during, if I remember rightly, a trip by car from my academy at Braunschweig to Berlin, through the radio. I continued my journey to Berlin, boarded a train at once, and arrived the following morning in Vienna. There I greeted the youth and the youth leaders, some of whom had been in prisons or in a concentration camp at Wollersdorf for a long time, and also many woman youth leaders, who had also experienced great hardships.

Q. And what about the march into Czechoslovakia?

A. Like every other German citizen, I heard of that through the radio, and did not learn any more than any other citizen learned from the radio.

Q. Were you, in any capacity, a participant in the negotiations regarding the Munich Pact with Chamberlain and Daladier in 1938?

A. No.

Q. And what was your opinion?

A. I regarded that agreement as the basis for peace, and it was my firm conviction that Hitler would keep that agreement.

Q. Did you know anything about the negotiations with Poland in 1939?

A. No, I did not hear about the negotiations which led to the war, until I was here in this courtroom. I was only acquainted with that version of those negotiations which was officially announced through the radio or by the Ministry of Propaganda, and I knew no more, therefore, than what every other German citizen knew. The version which Hitler announced before the Reichstag was considered by me to be absolutely true; and I never doubted it, or at least I did not doubt it until about 1943, and all I have heard here about it is new to me.

Q. Witness, the prosecution, among other things, have made the accusation against you that in your book, Hitler Youth, Idea and Form - which, Mr. President, is No. L-360 - you used the expression "Lebensraum," living-space, and "Ostraum," Eastern space, and that by doing so you welcomed or considered as a necessity German conquests in the East, that is, at the expense of Soviet Russia and Poland.

What do you have to say about that? A. In this book of mine, Hitler Youth, Idea and Form, the word "Lebensraum," living-space, is not used at all to my knowledge. Only the word "Ostraum" (Eastern space) is used, and I think it is in connection with a Press service in the East. In a footnote, in connection with a description of the tasks of the Colonial Advisory Board in the Reich Youth Leadership, there is a statement to the effect that, as a result of the activities of this Colonial Advisory Board the necessity of drawing the attention of youth to the exploitation of the Eastern territories, and by that is meant the thinly populated Eastern area of Germany, should not be overlooked.

That was a time when we, in the youth organizations, were particularly concerned with the problem of "flight from the land," that is to say, the migration of the second or third sons of farmers to the cities. I formed a special movement of youth to counter that trend, the Rural Service, which had the task of stopping this flow of youth from the country to the towns, and also of bringing home to youth in towns the challenge of the country.

Of course I never thought of an occupation of Russian territory because, ever since I occupied myself with history, it was always my point of view politically that the policy regarding mutual security with Russia, which broke off with Bismarck's dismissal, should be resumed. The attack against the Soviet Union was considered by me to be the suicide of the German nation.

Q. Witness, did you, as the Youth Leader of the German Reich, have the right to report to Hitler directly?

A. Yes, that is true; but this right to make reports was more or less only on paper. To picture that precisely, before the seizure of power I frequently reported to Hitler in person. In 1932 he quite often announced his intention to dine with me, but it is clear that in the presence of my wife and other guests

[Page 343]

political questions were not discussed, particularly not the questions which came under my special sphere. Only now and then, perhaps, could I touch upon a subject which interested me in connection with education.

In 1933, as far as I can remember, I reported twice to him personally, once regarding the financing of the youth movement, and the second time in connection with the Party rally of 1933. During the following years my reports averaged one or two a year. Of the fifteen odd points on which I proposed to report to him, I managed to deal with three or four, and the others had to be dropped because he interrupted me and very explicitly elaborated on the things which interested him most.

I then tried to counter that by taking along models of youth buildings, views of the big stadiums and of youth hostels, which I had set up in a hall in the Reich Chancellery, and when he looked at them I used the opportunity to put two or three questions to him.

Here is something I must tell you because I think I owe it to German youth. Hitler took very little interest in educational questions. As far as education was concerned, I received next to no suggestions from him. The only time when he did produce a real suggestion as far as athletic training was concerned was in 1935, I believe, when he told me that I should see to it that boxing should become more widespread among youth. I did so, but he never attended a youth boxing match. My friend von Tschammer und Osten, the Reich sports leader, and I tried very often to make him go to other sporting events, particularly to skiing contests and ice hockey championships in Garmisch, but apart from the Olympic games, it was impossible to get him to attend.

Q. You have told us a little earlier about this so-called military or pre-military education, stating that, it played only a minor part in the training of Hitler Youth.

May I ask you to tell us, briefly what were the chief aims of your youth education programme. Be very brief.

A. Tent encampments.

Q. Tent encampments?

A. Journeys, construction of youth hostels and youth homes.

Q. What do you mean by "journeys"?

A. Youth hikes, individually and in groups; also the construction of more and more youth hostels. In one year alone, more than 1,000 homes and youth hostels were built by me in Germany. Then there was additional professional training, and then what I called the "Labour Olympics," namely the annual Reich trade contests, voluntary competition between all youth of both sexes who wanted to participate. In fact, millions participated. Then our great Reich sports contests, championships in every type of sport, our cultural work, and the construction of our singing groups, our acting groups, youth concert choirs, and the development of our youth libraries, and then something which I mentioned in connection with countering the migration from the country, the Rural Service, with its rural helper groups, those youths who, for idealistic reasons, were working in the country, even town boys - to show the country boys that the country was really more beautiful than the city, that a city boy, too, gives up his life in the city temporarily to devote himself to the land and to tilling the soil. Then, as a great communal accomplishment I must mention the dental improvement and the regular medical examinations.

These, in a few words, were the main tasks which our youth organizations had, but they are by no means all.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, these ideas, these thoughts, and these aims of the defendant von Schirach are contained in a number of documents which are found in the Schirach Document Book, and which are extracts from his works, speeches and orders. I am referring to Schirach Document Book, Nos. 32 to 39, 44 to 50, 66 to 74-A, 76 to 79, and finally, 80 to 83.

[Page 344]

All these documents deal with the tasks which the defendant Schirach has just described to you, and I am asking the Tribunal to take judicial notice of the details in those documents.

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