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-Eighth Day: Friday, 24th May, 1946
(Part 4 of 11)

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

[Page 373]

Q. Was there a concentration camp in your own Gau?

A. No.

Q. In connection with this entire group of questions on the treatment of the Jews, I turn to orders allegedly issued, in your presence, to the Camp Commandant

[Page 374]

of Mauthausen, in March, 1945. It is Document 3870-PS, submitted by the prosecution. According to this document, Himmler, in March 1945, is supposed to have issued a directive to the effect that the Jews from the Vienna East-Wall, were to be sent on foot to Mauthausen. Did you have anything at all to do with this?

A. I can tell you exactly what Himmler said at that time.

Himmler came to Vienna, towards the middle or the end of March, to talk to the Commander of Army Group "South." On this occasion he had ordered all the Reichsstatthalter of the Ostmark up to Vienna, and granted them full authority to enforce martial law in the future, since Vienna and some of the other Ostmark Gaue had, by that time, almost become front-line zones. Regarding this discussion, Himmler told his adjutant to call Ziehreiss in, while the papers authorising martial law were being typed in the next room. That is how I came to meet Ziehreiss for the second time in my life.

And now Himmler did not, as Marsalek said, tell Ziehreiss that the Jews were to be marched on foot from the South-East Wall to Mauthausen, although he did say something else which surprised me enormously. He said: "I want the Jews now employed in industry to be taken by boat, or by bus, if possible, under the most favourable conditions, and with the best medical care, to Linz or Mauthausen." I do not quite remember whether he said they should be taken to Mauthausen, but he also said, in the presence of Ziehreiss: "Please take every care of these Jews and treat them well; they are my soundest capital investment."

From this declaration I assumed, in the first moment - it was my first fleeting impression - that Himmler wished to deceive me in some way or another, and then it became clear to me that he was carrying our certain foreign political plans in the last moments of the war with these instructions, by emphasizing excellent treatment of the Jews.

What Marsalek therefore said about making them go on foot is not correct. As I have mentioned, Himmler, above all else wanted the best possible treatment to be given to the Jews. I gained the impression - and later on, it was confirmed by other things we heard - that he wished, at the last minute, to somehow redeem himself with this good treatment of the Jews.

Q. That was the end of March, 1945?

A. That was the end of March, 1945, on the occasion when authority to apply martial law was granted to the Governors of the Ostmark.

Q. Therefore, immediately before the collapse?

A. Yes.

Q. In connection with your activities in Vienna, there is also an accusation, witness, brought against you by the prosecution, to the effect that you participated in the persecution of the Church. This accusation is supported exclusively as far as I can see by Document R-146. I repeat, R-146, which has already been submitted by the prosecution.

This is a letter addressed by the witness, Dr. Lammers, who has been heard before the Tribunal, to the Reich Minister for the Interior, dated 14th March, 1941. In connection with this matter, there is also a letter from Bormann, addressed to all the Gauleiters, dated 20th March, 1941.

I should like to hear your comments on both of these letters, especially since Dr. Lammers' letter speaks of anti-national and enemy property, whereas in Bormann's letter of the 20th March, 1941, mention is made of the confiscation of Church property (monastic property), etc. Do you know what led to these letters, and what part did you yourself play in the matter?

A. The document written by Dr. Lammers is correct. Bormann's covering letter referred to Church property; I referred to "anti-national and enemy property," for that was a technical term at the time. I should like to mention, in this connection, that when I came to Vienna in 1940, the confiscation of such property was already in full swing; an argument had arisen on the subject between the Gauleiter and the Reich Minister. The Reich Minister for Finance wanted the

[Page 375]

confiscated property taken over by the Reich, while I considered that fundamentally this property should remain the possession of the Gaue.

So far as I can remember, my active participation in this question was due to the following confiscation: Prince Schwarzenberg possessed property, the greater part of which lay in the region of the Upper Danube; the rest was in the famous Vienna "Palace." Now this Prince Schwarzenberg had refused, in the presence of some German consul-general or consul abroad, to return to Germany and serve in the Army. Thereupon his property was confiscated. In the interest of the Reich, I wished to hold this property for the Vienna Reich Gau, and to prevent it from passing over to the Reich. I have no files before me, so I cannot from memory give you any information about other similar actions.

I am not responsible for confiscations in the other Austrian regions. But I must say one thing quite definitely, namely - that I put an end to all confiscations throughout the entire Reich. When, through an intermediary, women from an Austrian convent appealed to me for help, I went behind Bormann's back and asked my father-in-law to explain to Hitler the disastrous effects which these confiscations would have, and to beg him to issue a direct order for their suppression. This was achieved, and when the order was put through, Bormann turned against my father-in-law as well. Since then, I never had any further opportunity to bring this question to the Fuehrer's notice.

Q. Witness, you have not, so far, quite explained your attitude towards Dr. Lammers's letter of the 14th March, 1941. To refresh your memory, I should like to read out the first sentence of that letter. This letter of Lammers's, dated 14th March, 1941, Document R-146, states, and I quote:

"The Reichsstatthalter and Gauleiter von Schirach, together with Dr. Jury and Eigruber, have recently complained to the Fuehrer that the Reich Minister for Finance is still of the opinion that the seizure of property belonging to enemies of the State and people should be effected in favour of the Reich, and not in favour of the Reich Gau."
Thus runs the quotation.

And because of this incident, the prosecution has accused you of participating in the persecution of the Church in Vienna. I must request you to tell us what you really did do in the matter.

A. Well, the Church in Vienna had actually been persecuted under my predecessor, Burckel, and this can be proved. I mentioned yesterday the demonstrations before the Archbishop's palace. But from the day of my arrival in Vienna, anti-Church demonstrations, in a political sense, no longer took place. Immediately upon my arrival, I gathered together all the political officials and all my other colleagues, and demanded that they should never, either in writing or byword of mouth, express anything likely to offend the religious sentiments of other people. I believe it is a fact that my action was gratefully noted by the entire population of Vienna. From that day on, there were no further actions against the Church. Just how much Church property, though, was confiscated in compliance with the laws governing the conduct of war, laws which likewise applied to other property, I cannot tell you without documentary evidence.

Q. Witness, we can see from this document that you must have spoken on the subject to Hitler personally -

A. Yes.

Q. - because it states that the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter von Schirach complained to Hitler on the subject. You have not said anything to us about that so far.

A. Yes. I myself, during a visit by Hitler to Vienna, when he came to sign the South-East Pact, told him I was of the opinion that the property confiscated belonged to the Gaue and not to the Reich. That was my point of view, and one which I believed to be correct.

[Page 376]

Q. Witness, the Indictment further accuses you of having had some kind of connection with the SS, and that you made use of the SS. Were you yourself ever a member of the SS?

A. No.

Q. Did Himmler, Leader of the SS, have any influence over the Youth Organizations and over the education of the young people?

A. No.

Q. Were the replacements in the SS, especially in the SS Leadership Corps, recruited from the HJ, and if so, why?

A. The replacements in all the leadership corps in Germany were recruited from the HJ. Our Youth Organization was a State institution. You now are probably referring to an agreement which I had with Himmler on the Patrol Services?

Q. Yes, that too plays a part in this connection.

A. Agreements of that sort -

Q. Just one more moment, Herr von Schirach. This agreement is entered in the document of the Prosecution as No. 2396-PS - I repeat, 2396-PS, in which a special statement occurs - and I should appreciate your comments on the subject to the effect that the SS received their replacements from the Patrol Service of the HJ, allegedly by an agreement of October, 1938. Please tell us all about it and explain to us what this Patrol Service actually was.

A. The Patrol Service was one of the special units of the HJ which I forgot to mention yesterday. The Patrol Service was a youth service for keeping order. It consisted of outstandingly decent lads who had no police duties - I now refer to documentary reports which have been submitted to me - but who had to supervise the general behaviour of the young people, examine their uniforms, and control the visits of the boys to the taverns, and it was their duty to inspect the HJ hostels for cleanliness and neatness; to supervise the hiking expeditions of the young people and the HJ hostelries in the country. They acted as guards and orderlies at mass meetings and demonstrations. They watched over encampments and accompanied the convoys, they were employed in the search for youths who were lost, they gave advice to youths travelling, attended to station services, were supposed to protect young people from criminal elements, and above all, to protect national property, i.e., woods, fields, etc., and to prevent fires.

As Himmler might have made trouble for this section of the Youth Organization, it was up to me to see that he - that is the police - recognized my Patrol Service; for it was my view that the Police should not be employed against the State youth organization, but that the young people should keep order amongst themselves. That this principle was a sound one, can be judged from the immense decline in youthful delinquency from 1933 up to the end of the war.

Q. Witness -

A. One moment, I have not yet finished; after this agreement -

THE PRESIDENT: Surely, Dr. Sauter, we have heard enough about this unit. The whole point of the prosecution was that it was used as a recruiting unit for the SS, was it not? That is the complaint of the prosecution.

DR . SAUTER: Yes, the Patrol Service -

THE PRESIDENT: We have heard at a considerable length the description of what they did, "the protection of the youth"; surely we have heard enough about that.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, the so-called special units were specially mentioned by the prosecution as a means for preparation for war; i.e., as a means for the military training of the young people. In this connection, all these special units were mentioned, and for that reason we considered it both important and necessary that the defendant inform you what this Patrol Service really was. But I can, Mr. President, now leave this particular subject.

[Page 377]

THE PRESIDENT: We have heard what they were at some considerable length.

DR. SAUTER: Very well.


Witness, from which formations did the SS mainly recruit its leader replacements?

A. In order to assure its leader replacements, the SS founded its own training schools which were entirely outside my competence. They were the so-called National-Socialist Training Institutes.

Q. In connection with the SS, the prosecution, witness, mentioned a further agreement between you and Reichsfuehrer SS Himmler, an agreement of December, 1938, submitted as No. 2567-PS, the so-called "Landdienst " (Service on the Land) of the HJ. Why was this agreement concluded with the Reichsfuehrer SS?

A. It is very hard to give a brief answer. The Reichsfuehrer SS was a farmer with an agronomical degree. In his student days, he had belonged to the "Artaman Movement," whose programme was to prevent the flight from the land, and he was particularly keen to collaborate, within the SS, with the land-worker groups of the HJ Patrol Service who were doing the same work as the "Artaman" Groups in the past. In conclusion, I should like to say about the "Landdienst " and the Patrol Service, that no coercion was ever brought to bear on the young people to enter the SS. Any lad from the Patrol Service was, of course, free to become a member of the SA or of the NSKK - and frequently did so - or else become a political leader, just like any other boy from the land services or the Hitler youth.

Q. Witness, the Indictment states, inter alia, that a directive was addressed to the political leaders demanding that the Hitler Youth leaders, i.e., the leaders subordinate to you - be employed on their staffs. What can you say to that?

A. I can only say in reply that this was one of many attempts by the Party Chancellery to bring the Youth Leadership into the political leadership. The only practical result of the directive was that a number of Youth Leaders were given insignificant duties as adjutants. They bitterly complained to me and I withdrew them from these posts. It is an historical fact that in Germany there was no real flow of people from the Youth Organization into the political leadership. I can personally name those Youth Leaders who went to the political leadership, there were so few of them.

Q. Witness, the Soviet Prosecution has submitted a document, Exhibit USSR 6, which is a report from the Lemberg Commission. Herein the following fact is mentioned: A Frenchwoman, Ida Vasseaux, the head of an asylum for old people in Lemberg, testified in writing (I am only quoting the gist of the affidavit) that ghetto children were handed over as presents to the Hitler Youth, and that these children were then used as living targets by the HJ for their drill practice. In all the time that you were active in the Reich Youth Organization, did you ever hear of such misdemeanours or excesses?

A. No. We are dealing here with the first and, so far, the only accusation of crimes committed by the HJ which has been brought to my notice.

There were no HJ commandos, either in the East or in the West, capable of committing such crimes.

I consider the statements in this affidavit as absolutely untrue, and that is all I can say on the matter.

Q. Witness, in the course of his examination your fellow-defendant, Dr. Schacht, mentioned that a suggestion had been made in his time to Mr. Eden, to divest the SS, the SA and the Hitler Youth of their military character if the other Powers would consent to disarm. What do you know of such proposals or negotiations?

A. I know of no such offer, as far as the HJ is concerned. I consider it entirely out of the question that any such offer could have been received by Mr. Eden regarding the HJ, for Hitler himself did not consider the HJ as a military or even a semi-military organization. The disarming of the Hitler Youth Organization could factually never have taken place since the only weapon carried by the Hitler

[Page 378]

Youth was the camping knife, the equivalent of a Boy Scout's bowie knife of the Jung-Volk Pimpfen (boys 10-14 years of age).

Q. Witness, the prosecution further accuses you of having, in 1933, concluded an agreement with the VDA - an abbreviation for the "Verein fur das Deutschtum im Ausland" (Union of Germanism Abroad). Is that true? And what was your intention in concluding this agreement?

A. That is true. I do not wish to express an opinion on the aims and objects of the VDA. I believe that defence counsel for Herr Frick has already done so. I merely state that it was my perfectly natural wish to incorporate in my Hitler Youth Organization the numerically powerful group of lads belonging to the VDA. The majority of these youths, moreover, had graduated from the public schools, and it was my second intention to place some of my collaborators on the Board of the VDA so as to be currently informed about the young people abroad.

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