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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Day: Thursday, 27th June, 1946
(Part 3 of 5)

[Page 252]

DR. FRITZ: This quotation from Captain Sprecher's speech for the prosecution reads:

[Page 253]

"The evidence of letters reaching us from the front, of P.K. reporters and soldiers on leave shows that, in this struggle in the East, not one political system is pitted against another, not one view of life is fighting another, but that culture, civilisation, and human decency make a stand against the diabolical principle of a sub-human world."
[Hans Fritsche] A. I should like to state the following: With this statement I was neither calling for ruthless measures against the population of the Soviet Union, nor did I want to vilify the people of the Soviet Union. I refer to the total effect of the speech of 5th July. I do not wish to read this speech, but I should like permission to sum it up briefly.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, in my Document Book 1 - I do not know whether the tribunal already has it - I have all the radio speeches -

THE PRESIDENT: No, we have not got it.

DR. FRITZ: I have the full text of all these radio speeches of the defendant Fritzsche from which the prosecution quoted passages against him.

THE PRESIDENT: It has just been handed up to me. What page is it?

DR. FRITZ: Pages 8 to 13, the radio speech of 5th July, 1941.


Will you continue?

A. I ask for permission to sum up the contents very briefly.

I spoke of the report which the German public received about what German soldiers had seen in their advance in the Soviet Union, especially in connection with prisoners in various cities. I did not describe these things once more, I only recalled them from the reports which had been given out at the time. From them I drew the conclusion that now one saw how necessary the fight was against a system under which such atrocities were possible. For the peoples of the Soviet Union I expressly used words of compassion and sympathy.

Q. In the same connection, and with the same tendency, the prosecution then quotes a sentence from a paragraph of your radio speech of 10th July, 1941.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, that is in Document Book 1 - the speech of 10th July, 1941 - also in its full text, on Pages 14 to 19.

Q. (continuing): What do you have to say to this charge?

A. What I just said becomes even clearer in this quotation, and in this whole speech. I referred once more to the reports just mentioned. I also referred to the descriptions coming from foreign correspondents. I then, perfectly frankly, reported Moscow's attitude towards these events and I said, quite honestly, "Radio Moscow says that these atrocities are facts, but it maintains that these atrocities were not committed by Russians but by Germans."

In view of this attitude of Moscow, I, so to speak, took the public into my confidence. I called upon millions of German soldiers as witnesses; I called upon their mothers and fathers and wives as witnesses. I formally called as witnesses the inhabitants of the occupied territories in which Germans were in power at the time, and in which, as I said, they were subordinated only to the moral laws in their own breasts. Then I drew the conclusion: These German soldiers cannot have committed the atrocities, which were described by Berlin and Moscow in the same way.

The prosecution asserted that this attempt to ascribe German atrocities to the Russians was ridiculous. I do not consider it ridiculous, I consider it tragic. It shows clearly, as I understand it, the absolute cleanliness and honesty of the whole German conduct of the war. I still believe today that murder and violence and special commandos (Sonderkommandos) only clung like a foreign body, like a malignant tumour, to the morally sound body of the German people and its Wehrmacht.

Q. Finally, the prosecution quotes a passage from your speech of 9th October, 1941, another quotation from which was brought out elsewhere.

[Page 254]

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, this is in the Fritzsche Document Book 1; the speech in its full text is on Pages 20 to 25. The quotations of the prosecution are summed up in a document in the Fritzsche Document Book of the prosecution. I think the Tribunal can easily compare it.

Q. (continuing): The prosecution concludes from this quotation that you had approved of the policy of the Nazi conspirators in their ruthless exploitation of the occupied territories.

What have you to say to that?

A. There is no question of ruthlessness either in the quotation given by the prosecution or in the rest of the text of the speech of 9th October, 1941. I refer to my affidavit, Document 3469-PS, paragraph 39, a paragraph which the prosecution very fairly quoted in this connection.

In addition, may I once more sum up, very briefly, the gist of this speech.

That was the time when German soldiers were stationed from the Black Sea right down to the Bay of Biscay. I spoke of the possibility of using the resources of this enormous territory. I said, "The possibilities of this continent are so important that they can cover any need for war and for peace." I said, in this connection, that a starving-out by blockade, such as was attempted in 1914-1918, was now out of the question. I spoke of the possibilities of the organization of Europe which could begin in the midst of the war. By that I meant the organization of European nations with equal rights.

It is beyond all doubt that at that time I was not thinking of ruthless exploitation of the occupied territories, but only of winning them over politically and economically after the storms of war had blown over.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I now come to another subject, so perhaps this would be a good time to break off.


DR. THOMA (counsel for the defendant Rosenberg): I have a request, Mr. President. I would like to have my client excused for the rest of the day because I want to talk to him.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly.

(A recess was taken.)


Q. What did you know about the removal of Jews from occupied countries?

A. I did not know anything of their removal, but I heard that certain individuals were being arrested, both Jews and non-Jews.

Q. What did you know about the topic which we discussed here of slave labour?

A. I knew that millions of foreign workers were working in the Reich. I did not consider them slaves, for I saw them daily walking about free on the streets of all the cities.

Q. What did you know about their treatment, about their living conditions, and their wages?

A. Reports about these things were sent to me or to my co- workers from the office of Sauckel and the German Labour Front. From these reports, among other things, I remember the fact that the foreign workers were given the same treatment as the German workers in every respect. I further recall having heard that the initial inferior treatment accorded to Eastern workers had been done away with. I received many reports from listeners complaining about the fact that foreign workers were allegedly in a better position than German workers, and in this connection, I remember a reference to the fact that the foreign workers were permitted to send home money in the form of foreign exchange.

I also talked with foreign workers many times. I did not hear any special complaints. On the other hand, in the Propaganda Ministry, through official channels, I heard a great deal about the care given to foreign workers even along

[Page 255]

cultural lines. Frequently I was approached by Sauckel or the German Labour Front - I do not remember which it was - with the request to have radio broadcasts sent to one or another group of foreign workers. I was approached also with the request for turning over receiving sets to camps of foreign workers, etc.

Q. Did you know that most of them did not come to Germany voluntarily?

A. That was exactly what I did not know. Here in this trial it was mentioned that Sauckel in one meeting or another made a statement about the fact that only a small percentage had come voluntarily. That was unknown to me.

I did hear the following complaints: First of all, that extravagant promises had been made at the time of recruitment of the foreign workers, which could not be kept afterwards. In the interest of my propaganda I had objections raised against that through the propaganda department of my ministry when I heard about it. Then, I remember having heard complaints from Poland dealing with the fact that employers were "pirating" Polish workers from each other.

Q. Sauckel testified that in this connection he co-operated with the Propaganda Ministry, with whom he had many discussions. Did you participate in such discussions?

A. No. I thought that I met Sauckel here for the first time, but he reminded me of our meeting in the spring of 1945 at the home of Dr. Goebbels when some evening gathering took place.

Q. Did you have anything to do with propaganda used in the recruitment of foreign workers in occupied countries?

A. No.

Q. What did you have to do with the propaganda which was disseminated in the occupied countries?

A. This propaganda, as it applied to occupied countries, was not subordinate to me, not even as regards the Press or radio. This propaganda was conducted under the direction and supervision of the Reich Commissar, military commander or governor. However, I did exert influence on this propaganda in the occupied countries on two, three or four occasions when it was contrary to the directives which applied to the Reich. I usually gathered this from the echo abroad. I remember one special case which received general attention. A certain man by the name of Friedrich attacked the Pope over the German radio in Paris. I had this man Friedrich dismissed. That was the extent of my influence.

Dr. Goebbels however, exerted much more influence on the propaganda in the occupied countries, especially through his department "Foreign Press" or through his liaison officer to the OKW.

Q. Did you not make any radio broadcasts in the occupied countries?

A. Yes, broadcasts of two types. An example of the first type is as follows: At the time of the occupation, Radio Paris was under German influence. Despite that, I retained the old German broadcast in the French language via Radio Stuttgart. I wanted to have it understood quite specifically that the occupation was an abnormal and a temporary situation, and anything that was taking place during the period of occupation did not have anything to do with that part of, let us say, German-French language exchange which was being carried on by the two mother countries.

The second example is as follows: It concerns German broadcasts in the Spanish and Portuguese languages. I had them transmitted through three stations in Southern France, for it was easier to receive these transmissions in the Pyrenees peninsula. The basis for my work in this connection was a contract which we had with these stations, and the payment of regular charges. Negotiations for this contract were carried out through the Foreign Office.

Q. I shall now turn to a different topic. You are accused of making anti-Semitic statements. Were you anti-Semitic, and in what way did you participate in anti-Semitic propaganda?

A. I was not noisily anti-Semitic. The prosecution has asserted that all defendants - including myself - had shouted, "Germany awake, and Judaism

[Page 256]

die." I will state on oath, that I never did raise a cry to this effect or one similar to it. I was not anti-Semitic either in the sense of the radical theories or of the methods which started with Theodor Fritsch and went on to Julius Streicher.

The prosecution has stated that even the defendant Streicher, the main anti-Jewish agitator of all times, could hardly have excelled Fritzsche when it came to libels against the Jews. I protest against this statement. I do not believe that I deserve any such accusation. Never did I give out any propaganda dealing with ritual murders, Cabala, and the so-called Secrets of the Elders of Zion. At every period of my life I considered them machinations of a rather primitive agitation. For humanitarian reasons, I regret that I have to make a further statement, but I cannot refrain from so doing in the interests of truth.

My co-workers and I, in the Press and on the radio, without exception I would say, rejected Der Sturmer radically. I personally, during a period of thirteen years of regular newspaper comments, never quoted this paper, nor was it quoted in the German Press. The editors did not belong to the journalistic Union and the publisher did not belong to the publishers' organization during my term of office. How things developed along these lines later on, I do not know.

As I have already stated in my affidavit, I tried twice to prohibit this paper. However, I did not succeed. Then it was proposed that I censor it. However, I declined the offer. I wanted to prohibit its publication, not just because the mere verbatim publication of one of its pages was the most effective anti-German propaganda which ever existed, but I wanted to prohibit it simply for reasons of good taste. I wanted to prohibit it as a source of radicalism against which I fought wherever I met it.

The great secret of its sudden increase in circulation after 1933 to half a million, already referred to in this Court, was the same as the secret of the sudden increase of such organizations as the SA.

The Party in 1933 had blocked the influx of new members, and a great many people tried to affiliate themselves, if not directly with the Party, then with some organization connected with the Party, such as, perhaps, the SA. Or they tried to show that they had a connection with National Socialist ideas by subscribing to Der Sturmer and displaying it.

Therefore, in that sense, I was not anti-Semitic.

But I was anti-Semitic in this sense:

I wanted a restriction of the predominant influence of Jewry in German politics, economy, and culture, such as had manifested itself after the First World War. I wanted a restriction to that extent so that the relative importance of the participation of the Jews would be in line with the population. I proclaimed publicly this view of mine on occasions but I did not exploit these views in extensive systematic propaganda. Those anti-Semitic statements with which I am charged by the prosecution have a different connection. The facts are as follows: After the outbreak of the war I referred frequently to the fact that Jewish emigres, immediately after 1933, were the first ones to emphasize that a war against the National Socialist German State was necessary; for instance, Emil Ludwig or George Bernhard or the Pariser Tageblatt. As far as I recall, this was the only connection in which I made anti-Semitic statements of any kind. I cannot say this without asking to be permitted to emphasize one more point: Only in this trial here did I learn that in the autumn of 1939 there was more at stake than just one city and a way through the Corridor; that in truth and in fact, at the least a new partition of Poland had already been prepared, and only here did I learn that Hitler had acted on the warnings against the Jews by an order to murder them in a dreadful manner. If I had known both of these things at that time, then I would have pictured the role of Jewish propaganda quite differently before the outbreak of the war.

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