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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
29th July to 8th August 1946

One Hundred and Ninety-First Day: Wednesday, 31st July, 1946
(Part 6 of 11)

[Page 129]

DR. ERNST HIRT - Resumed



Q. Witness, I want to ask you one or two questions on general matters. Am I right in saying that in towns and villages in many parts of the country there were glass cases exhibiting Der Stuermer?

A. In many places there were so-called Der Stuermer cases; that is right.

Q. Were they set up by the Party?

A. I know nothing whatever about that.

Q. You cannot tell me, can you, whether those Der Stuermer cases were set up on the instructions of either the Kreis- or Ortsgruppenleiter?

A. At times, I personally had the impression. that the local SA was responsible for setting up Der Stuermer cases.

Q. There were also, were there not, both in towns-particularly holiday resorts-and all over the countryside, notices saying that Jews were undesirable? "Juden unerwuenscht"?

A. I have seen such notices in various parts of Germany.

Q. Do you know whether they were set up on the instructions and by the authority of the local political leader?

A. I do not know.


My Lord, I have one new document which was put to this witness before a commission. Perhaps I might draw the Tribunal's attention to it now and to the relevant parts. It is Document D-901 A, which will become Exhibit GB 546.

Your Lordship will see that that is a circular issued in the Gau Cologne- Aachen on 31st January, 1941, and it contains instructions to all Kreis - and Ortsgruppen Organizationsleiter regarding the installing and keeping - of card indexes of households.

Under Paragraph 1, "The sense and purpose of card indexing households," it is stated that the purpose is a basis for statistical inquiries and, combined with the entries on the back of the card index of households, for the political judgment of the members of a household.

Then a few lines farther on, the information contained on them must enable the Ortsgruppenleiter to give at any moment a judgment of the household member concerned which is sufficient in all respects.

Then, my Lord, under Paragraph 5, "The Blockleiter must be in possession of lists which contain the same printed text as the household card index, and which ate to be provided with the necessary entries by the Blockleiter: family status, Party membership, membership of an organization, affiliated body, etc."

On the next page, the second paragraph in No. 10 sets out the information which is to be obtained. Half-way down that paragraph it says: "It is thus to be recorded since when the Voelkischer Beobachter was subscribed to, whether the family already possessed a swastika flag before the 1935 flag law, and what wireless apparatus is available in the household. It is easy to obtain this data from a conversation by Blockleiter with the German concerned."

The next paragraph deals with the political judgment of the inhabitants. I quote the last three lines: "The political judgment of every German is to be carried out by the Ortsgruppen Organizationsleiter in co-operation with the competent Block- and Zellenleiter, as well as in agreement with the Ortsgruppenleiter."

Then in the last paragraph, No. 14 on the next page, it describes how this information can be obtained. "It is prohibited on principle to give Germans and Party members lists or index cards to fill in themselves. Owing to their frequent visits to the individual households, the Blockleiter have sufficient opportunity to obtain the required data for the index by means of conversations with the Germans. The Blockleiter must make sure of the accuracy of the data supplied

[Page 130]

to him by looking through membership papers and such-like. The Blockleiter is responsible for the accuracy of the data supplied to the Ortsgruppen Organizationsleiter.

Your Honour, I have no further documents and no questions.

My Lord, General Raginsky has three documents which he desires to put in.

GENERAL RAGINSKY: Mr. President, with your permission I would like to submit three documents which characterize the role of Kreisleiter and Blockleiter in the participation of such crimes as the Germanization of occupied territories and their populations.

The first document I am submitting is Exhibit USSR 143. This document was discovered in the archives of the Kreisfuehrer of the town of Pettau in Yugoslavia in May, 1945. I would ask the Tribunal to pay attention to the fact that the document begins with the following phrase: "It is indispensable immediately to inform all the Blockfuehrer, down to the last one, of the contents of this document." Point No. 1 of this document states as follows:

The document is signed by a Kreisleiter.

"In the course of my tours of inspection I ascertained through the various local groups that there are still some Slovenian inscriptions on the houses. I request the Blockfuehrer once more to see to it immediately that all these Slovenian inscriptions, billboards, posters, etc., be removed. I, therefore, charge the local Gruppenfuehrer to see to it, that through personal conversation with the responsible priests, the Slovenian inscriptions are also removed immediately, without exception, from all church images (ikons), chapels, and churches."
Point 3 of this document is as follows:
"The local Gruppenfuehrer will, as before, be personally responsible to me to see that every office-holder down to the last blockfuehrer learns to speak and to write German."
The next document which I am presenting as exhibit USSR 449 is an excerpt from the speech of Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Frick, dated 16th December, 1941, in connection with the appointment of Gauleiter Dr. Friedrich Rainer. This document was seized in the archives of the Kreisleiter in Maribor by the Yugoslavian Army in May, 1945. In the speech is said:
"Dear Party Comrade Rainer:

The Fuehrer has appointed you to be a Gauleiter...."

I do not wish to read the whole excerpt.

THE PRESIDENT: General Raginsky, have you got the original of this document?

GENERAL RAGINSKY: I beg your pardon, Mr. President; I did not get your remark.

THE PRESIDENT: It is all right. We have the original of the document now. Now can you explain to us what the document is; I mean, how it is certified, how it is proved?

GENERALRAGINSKY: This document has been authenticated by the Yugoslav Government Commission for the Investigation of Crimes committed by the German Occupants in Yugoslavia. The original of this document is to be found in the archives of this commission. The copy which I am submitting to this Tribunal has been authenticated by the president of the Government Commission, Dr. Nedelkowitch.

"Dear Party Comrade Rainer:

Your duty, Party Comrade Rainer, consists in seeing that this entire district is again made totally German. . . . The German language must be given more and more priority in the life of the community. It is the only authorized language and the only one which may be used officially. Pupils in the schools must immediately be taught in German. Instruction must be given as soon as possible exclusively in German. . . .

[Page 131]

As to the rest of the population, they must be taught the German language at an increased tempo.

Only then, when not only the external picture, signs on institutions, the ruling language and inscriptions are in the German language, only then, when the whole of the young people will be speaking German, and when the German language takes the place of the Slovene language in daily life-only then will we be able to speak of the Germanization of the Upper Krain."

Finally, the last document, which I am submitting as Exhibit USSR 191. This document is an excerpt from the minutes of a staff conference of the Gauleiter of Lower Styria. The original of this document was seized by units of the Yugoslav Army in the archives of the Gauleiter of the town of Maribor in May, 1945.

On the first page of this excerpt, Mr. President, we can see that on 12th November, 1941, the Gauleiter held a conference with the Security Department. Members of the SS were present at this conference, and "SS Standartenfuehrer Lurcker informed the Gauleiter that approximately 2,000 persons had been removed to Serbia and 400 persons had been put into concentration camps, and, as a retaliatory measure for incidents which had recently taken place about thirty persons had been shot."

In the last paragraph on this page, an excerpt from the minutes of the conferenceof 5th January, 1942, it also states "On 27th December, 1941, as reprisal for an attack, forty persons were shot," and further, in the report of a speech by Dr. Carstanjen, Deputy Gauleiter of Styria, it states: "The removal to the frontiers of the old Reich is *practically completed. Only about 10,000 persons are still to be resettled."

I do not wish to quote the following pages, which contain excerpts of a similar kind.

RE-DIRECT EXAMINATION of the witness Dr. Ernst Hirt.


Q. Witness, you were not able to comment on the documents. I shall ask you a few brief questions about them. The first letter submitted was Document D-goi. It was a circular letter issued by the Gau Cologne-Aachen dated January, 1941. It mentions a card index of households. Do you know whether such card indexes of households were kept in your district similar to those mentioned here?

A. I know only of card indexes for inhabitants on which all inhabitants were listed according to their name, family status, birth, profession, and membership in the Party or its branches. No other essential questions were put on these cards and neither were they answered.

Q. Can this order here be considered an organizational exaggeration?

A. Up to now, I have really had no knowledge of this order. Had it been universal for all local districts in Germany, it would have had to be promulgated and carried out by us, too. As such a far-reaching order was issued in the Gau of Cologne-Aachen, it was certainly only the local Gauleiter and the executive officer of the Gau who was responsible for that, and it was certainly an exaggerated interpretation of the situation on their part.

Q. The next letter was a letter from the Styrian Heimatbund of Pettau, dated 30th April, 1942. It was addressed to all local district leaders and came from the district leader. It concerns the removal of Yugoslav signs. Did you ever obtain any information at all about such matters abroad?

A. No, they were completely unknown to me.

Q Did you know that up to 1918 Pettau was an old German city, and that it only became part of Yugoslavia after 1918?

A. I did not quite understand the name of the city.

[Page 132]

Q. Pettau. Then you cannot give an answer?

A. No.

Q. Then there has been submitted a speech by Dr. Frick to Reichsstatthalter Rainer. It refers to conditions in the new border Gau. Were you informed about these conditions which existed in the border Gau?

A. No, I had no knowledge of them.

Q. The last document contained notes on staff conferences of Gauleiter Ueberreither, which also refer to the border Gau and the adjoining Yugoslavia. Can you not testify about these things either?

A. Nothing whatsoever.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no more questions to put to this witness.


Q. Did you have anything to do with the deportation of foreign labour?

A. No.

Q. Who did?

A. I do not know.

Q. Did you not know anybody who was employing slave labour?

A. I did not understand the question.

Q. There was a great amount of foreign labour used in Germany, was there not?

A. There were many foreign workers in Germany who were employed in factories.

Q. And also in private houses?

A. I know that foreign women were also employed in private homes as maids.

Q. What I asked you was, did you have anything to do with the placing of that foreign labour either in factories, or in offices, or in workshops, or in private homes?

A. I had nothing to do with it in any respect.

Q. Do you know what officials did have to do with the placing of such labour?

A. I do not know that. I was certainly never interested in it.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness can retire.

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.