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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
27th May to 6th June, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Day: Monday, 27th May, 1946
(Part 8 of 11)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of Hartmann Lauterbacher]

[Page 31]

Q. You told us, I believe, that since 1934 you had been Stabsfuehrer of the Reich Youth Leadership (Reichsjugendfuehrung). What tasks did the Stabsfuehrer of the Reich Youth Leadership have? Please tell us briefly, so we may have an idea of what your jurisdiction was.

A. As the title of Stabsfuehrer indicates, I was in the first place the leader of the staff of the Reich Youth Leadership. As such, I had the task of revising the general directives of the Reich Youth Leader, particularly those concerning the Hitler Youth offices and regions, in so far as the Youth Leader did not do that himself. I had to co-ordinate the various departments of the Reich Youth Leadership and in particular to deal with matters of an organisational and personal nature.

Furthermore, in the years 1935 to 1939 I made a number of journeys abroad at von Schirach's request.

Q. Who was the deputy of the Reich Youth Leader when he could not act personally?

A. I was his deputy on occasions when he was prevented from acting personally.

Q. Then apparently you were the first man in the Reich Youth Leadership after Schirach?

A. Yes.

Q. Were your relations with von Schirach purely official, or were you friends as well?

A. Our association was not limited only to official matters; we were also personal friends, and our personal relationship was not interrupted by Schirach's appointment in Vienna.

[Page 32]

Q. Do you believe, Herr Lauterbacher - regarding this friendly relationship that you had with von Schirach - that he concealed certain things from you; or are you of the conviction that so far as official matters were concerned he had no secrets from you?

A. I always have been, and still am today, convinced of the fact that von Schirach made all his intentions and educational measures known to me. He had no secrets from me.

Q. He kept nothing from you?

A. No, he kept nothing from me. If Schirach had discussions with Adolf Hitler during the earlier years he always informed me immediately afterwards.

Q. Witness, in the year 1939 the second world war broke out. Did the defendant von Schirach, in the last few years prior to the outbreak of the world war, have any discussions with you in which he expressed the view that youth should be educated for war - in other words, that in educating youth the necessities and requirements of future wars must be taken into account? What transpired on this point between you and von Schirach before the war?

A. The possibility of war was never discussed. Occasionally I attended Party rallies in the company of von Schirach, and on these occasions, when Adolf Hitler delivered a speech I only assured -

THE PRESIDENT: Please ask the witness not to go quite so slowly.

DR. SAUTER: Witness, please speak slowly, but not too slowly; just slowly enough for the interpreter to follow you. Otherwise it takes too much time. We have already taken a great deal of time in any case. Please go on.

A. On the occasion of these rallies I had the definite and invariable impression that Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist Reich were determined to maintain peace and to allow matters to follow a peaceful course. In any case, that is why it never occurred to me that youth should be trained specifically for war.

Q. Witness, in your capacity as Stabsfuehrer of the Reich Youth Leadership, did you have any knowledge about the general policy in which Schirach was instructed or in which he instructed others from his office?

A. I did see all the official mail.

Q. In the mail which reached Schirach in his office, did you see anything about directives for the Reich Youth Leadership received from Hitler, from the Party Leadership, from the OKW or from any other agency, either State or Party, regarding the preparations for war?

A. No, neither open nor camouflaged.

Q. Witness, we have already heard about the main functions of youth education in the course of the last few days. I do not believe, Mr. President, that I need go into these subjects in detail. The witness is the person best qualified to give us information, but I think I may take the subject of youth education as clarified.

THE PRESIDENT: I think so. I think the facts about it have been sufficiently stated.

DR. SAUTER: Thank you. Then I can pass on to another subject immediately.


Q. You said that you had not been a soldier. Did not Schirach attach importance to the inclusion among his collaborators of a certain number of officers, or at least of men who had served their term of military service and, who might be enrolled as instructors? Please be brief.

A. No, at first - that is, during the early years of the period of development, von Schirach rejected officers as youth leaders on ideological and educational grounds. The aim and mission of the Hitler Youth were those of a socialist community and of a socialist State; and the old type of officer of the period, the representative of a reactionary epoch, would have been absolutely incompatible.

[Page 33]

Q. Absolutely incompatible? Do you mean with the -

A. With the principles of education which Schirach had laid down for the Hitler Youth.

Q. Witness, have you any idea whether Schirach always rejected the proposal, or, to put it the other way round, do you know whether he agreed when any military authorities tried to influence the character of the Youth leadership? Perhaps you could also answer this point briefly.

A. Even in 1933 attempts were made to introduce officers into the Hitler Youth as leaders. As far as my information goes, two officers had been given appointments in the Hitler Youth before my period of office as Stabsfuehrer, under more or less direct orders from Hitler.

They were entirely unable to cope with youth as such; and I think I am justified in saying that their appearance was a hundred per cent failure.

Q. What happened to them?

A. Schirach went to Adolf Hitler and brought about the dismissal of these gentlemen; also, through him, a directive was drawn up by Hitler which said that officers were not to hold positions in the Hitler Youth.

Q. Were no further attempts of the kind made to force officers from somewhere or other upon him?

A. Oh yes. In 1936 and 1937, and then again in 1938, attempts were made to influence the education of the Hitler Youth through so-called liaison officers. But these attempts also failed; and up to the very end there were no officers working with the Hitler Youth who were responsible to any other authority except Schirach, apart from former Hitler Youth Leaders who had served in the Army and received officer's commissions.

Q. If I understood you correctly, witness, you wish to say - and please confirm that I have understood you correctly - that Schirach rejected these attempts. Is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Witness, why did the Hitler Youth wear uniform - the girls as well?

A. Uniform is perhaps not quite the correct term for the clothing worn by the members of the Hitler Youth. It was more in the nature of a costume, (Tracht) which was worn by members of youth organisations before the existence of the Hitler Youth, not only in Germany but in other countries as well. Moreover, Schirach was anxious that all boys and girls should, as he expressed himself, wear the dress of the socialist community.

Q. Of the socialist community - does that mean a community of all, of all the boys and girls of every class of German society without any distinction -

A. - Without any distinction as to class or creed or anything else.

Q. Or rich or poor?

A. Yes.

Q. Were the Hitler Youth in possession of weapons and were they trained in the use of military weapons?

A. No, they were not trained in the use of military weapons during the period in which Schirach and I held office.

Q. Did the Hitler Youth have, in particular, tanks, armoured cars and so forth, since reference was made to the training of the young men in the so-called "Motorized Hitler Youth" in connection with the question of the special unit (Sonderformation)? - Tanks, armoured cars -

A. No, to my knowledge the Hitler Youth never received any training in armoured cars, tanks or anything of the kind, even after Schirach's term of office, at any rate -

THE PRESIDENT: The facts stated by the defendant as to the weapons of the Hitler Youth and their formations were not cross-examined. You need not go into that. Mr. Dodd did not suggest that they had got tanks.

DR. SAUTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Then I can perhaps by more brief.

[Page 34]

Q. I now come, Herr Lauterbacher, to the defendant von Schirach's attitude towards the Jewish question. Was the Hitler Youth involved in any way in the Jewish pogroms of November, 1938?

A. I think I can answer your question with a definite "No."

Q. Herr Lauterbacher, you told me something about a speech made by the defendant von Schirach a few days after 9th November, 1938, on the subject of these Jewish pogroms. Tell me when and to whom he delivered this speech and what the contents of the speech were.

A. Von Schirach was in Munich on 10th November, 1938, and I was in Berlin. Schirach instructed me by telephone to tell the District Leaders of the Hitler Youth that their organizations were in no circumstances to take part in these anti-Jewish demonstrations, and to call a meeting of all these leaders to hear a specific declaration on this point. This meeting took place about 15th November, 1938.

Q. Where?

A. In Berlin. Schirach asked these District Leaders to report to him and expressed his satisfaction at having in the meantime received reports to the effect that the Hitler Youth had not been involved in these excesses. He then described the said excesses in his speech. I still remember this speech extraordinarily well, for it was particularly impressive. He described these pogroms as a disgrace to our culture and as amounting to self-defamation. He said that such things might be expected of an uncivilised people but not of the German people. He went on to say that we had antagonised not only the world in general but also all decent people in Germany itself by these demonstrations. He was afraid that serious political difficulties would arise at home as well as difficulties within the Party itself. As we know, the Party was not at all unanimous in its judgement of these happenings. A very large section of the Party membership and of the Party leadership condemned these excesses.

Q. Please tell us more of what Schirach said at that time. I should be more interested in that.

A. Von Schirach then gave the Youth Leadership special instructions to keep out of demonstrations of this or a similar kind in future, no matter what the circumstances might be, and condemned every use of violence on educational grounds alone. He concluded the proceedings by prohibiting the reading of the newspaper Der Sturmer by the Hitler Youth at club evenings or on any other occasions.

Q. On this occasion, Herr Lauterbacher, did he say anything about the needless destruction of so many cultural treasures, art treasures, property belonging to the people, etc., and did he not give certain instances of this? '

A. Yes. As an especially outstanding instance, he quoted the case of the attempt - which was at least partially carried through - to plunder the Jewish firm of Bernheimer, art dealers in Munich.

Q. Munich?

A. Yes. He quoted this example to the Youth Leadership to illustrate the dangerous and irreparable inroads made on the store of our culture and our cultural treasures by these demonstrations.

Q. Is it true that immediately after this Berlin speech about which you have just told us, the defendant von Schirach caused definite directives to be issued by telephone from Berlin through your agency, to the individual Hitler Youth offices?

A. This took place as early as 10th November, the day after the Munich Rally. It had nothing to do with the District Leaders' meeting, which only took place about 15th November.

Q. Herr Lauterbacher, I assume that, as time went on, you were present at a good many speeches made by the defendant von Schirach to his sub-leaders, or to the Hitler Youth, and that you listened to many of these speeches yourself. Did the defendant von Schirach engage in Jew-baiting on these or other occasions? Did he suggest that violence be used against the Jews? What was his attitude?

[Page 35]

A. Yes. I must have listened to all the important speeches delivered by yon Schirach before the Leadership Corps of the Hitler Youth, and on the occasion of these speeches I never heard him urge the use of violence, which would in any case have been completely foreign to his nature.

At any rate, I cannot recall that yon Schirach ever called upon the Youth Leadership, either directly or indirectly, to take part in acts of violence of any kind against anyone.

Q. What did Schirach usually talk about in delivering one of his many speeches addressed to youth? Just the main topic - briefly.

A. One must certainly differentiate between the long speeches which he delivered at public demonstrations and the speeches which he made before the Leaders of the Hitler Youth.

In the speeches he addressed to the Leaders, he always discussed the main political and ideological tasks and the tasks of social policy, cultural policy and professional training which he had assigned to the Hitler Youth.

Q. Now, we shall turn to a different topic, Herr Lauterbacher. Did Schirach cause you to leave the Church?

A. No.

Q. Did .you leave the Church?

A. I do not believe that Herr yon Schirach even knew to what religious denomination I belonged or whether I left the Church or not. I left the Church in 1937 or 1938, without being influenced or forced to do so by anyone.

Q. Did yon Schirach urge his other collaborators to leave the Church, as far as you know?

A. No.

Q. Did Schirach abuse Christianity or incite others to attack it on the occasion of the numerous speeches made by him, to which you have just told us that you listened?

A. On those occasions Schirach always told the youth to respect religious convictions - and characterised atheism as an evil, not only once but many times. In his speeches, yon Schirach vigorously criticised, for instance, the Athletic Clubs existing both before and after 1933 in connection with the various churches, and demanded the unity of youth; but on these occasions he did not attack Christianity or the religious convictions of others either in public or in private.

Q. Herr Lauterbacher, during the time the defendant yon Schirach was Reich Youth Leader, negotiations were pending with the Roman Catholic Church with a view to concluding a Concordat, so that relations between the State and the Church would be regulated by an agreement. Do you know whether yon Schirach took part in these Concordat negotiations and whether he took much trouble to effect an understanding with the Church on a basis satisfactory to both sides?

A. Yes. In 1933 and 1934 Schirach had numerous discussions with representatives of the Church, Reich Bishop Mueller of the Protestant Church and the representative of the Fulda Conference of Bishops, Bishop Berning of Osnabruck. I remember that Schirach strove to draw a dividing line between their respective powers and jurisdiction on basis of "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's."

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