The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-First Day: Monday, 17th December, 1945
(Part 16 of 16)

[COLONEL STOREY continues]

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I believe the next portion has been quoted, too. I now pass to the participation of the Leadership Corps in the suppression of the Christian Church and persecution of the clergy, and cite some illustrative crimes.

The evidence relating to the systematic effort of the defendants and co-conspirators to eliminate the Christian churches in Germany has been previously introduced in Exhibit USA Book "H" by Major Wallis with respect to the Nazi efforts to eliminate the Christian Church. The evidence now to be presented is limited to proving and pointing out the responsibility of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party and the members thereof, for illegal activities against the Christian Church and clergy.

The defendant Bormann issued a secret decree to all Gauleiter entitled, "Relationship of National Socialism and Christianity". And that is Document D-75, toward the top, I believe, your Honour. It is Exhibit USA 348. In this decree Reichsleiter Bormann flatly declares that National Socialism and Christianity are incompatible and that the influence of the churches in Germany must be eliminated. I quote from pertinent portions of this decree beginning with the first paragraph thereof, top of page 3, which reads as follows:

"National Socialist and Christian concepts are irreconcilable....

Our National Socialist ideology is far loftier than the concepts of Christianity which, in their essential points, have been taken over from Jewry. For this reason, also, we do not need Christianity.... If, therefore, in the future our youth learn nothing more of this Christianity whose doctrines are far below ours, Christianity will disappear by itself.... It follows from the irreconcilability of National

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Socialist and Christian concepts that a strengthening of existing confessions, and every assistance for originating Christian confessions, is to be rejected by us. A differentiation between the various Christian confessions is not to be made here. For this reason, also, the thought of an erection of an Evangelical National Church by merger of the various Evangelical churches has been definitely given up, because the Evangelical Church is just as inimical to us as the Catholic Church. Any strengthening of the Evangelical Church would merely react against us....

For the first time in German history, the Fuehrer consciously and completely has the leadership of the people in his own hand. With the Party, its components, and attached units the Fuehrer has created for himself, and thereby the German Reich Leadership, an instrument which makes him independent of the Church. All influences which might impair or damage the leadership of the people, exercised by the Fuehrer with the help of the N.S.D.A.P., must be eliminated. More and more the people must be separated from the churches and their organs, the pastors. Of course, the churches must and will, seen from their viewpoint, defend themselves against this loss of power. But never again must an influence on leadership Of the people be yielded to the churches. This influence must be broken completely and finally.

Only the Reich Government and, by its direction, the Party, its components and attached units have a right to leadership of the people. Just as the deleterious influences of astrologers, seers, and other fakirs are eliminated and suppressed by the State, so must the possibility of Church influence also be totally removed. Not until this has happened does the State leadership have influence on the individual citizens. Not until then are people and Reich secure in their existence for all the future...."

I next offer in evidence Document 070-PS, towards the beginning, Exhibit USA 349, which is a copy of a letter issued from Bormann's office, dated 25th April, 1941, to the defendant Rosenberg in his capacity as the Fuehrer's representative for the supervision of the entire mental and ideological training and education of the N.S.D.A.P. In this letter Bormann's office states that the measures have been taken leading to the progressive cancellation of morning prayers and other religious services, and their substitution by Nazi mottoes and slogans. I quote from the first paragraph of Document 070-PS:
"We are inducing schools more and more to reduce and abolish morning religious services. Similarly the confessional and general prayers in several parts of the Reich have already been replaced by National Socialist mottoes. I would be grateful to know your opinion on a future National Socialist morning service instead of the present confessional morning services which are usually conducted once per week...."
In a letter from Reichsleiter Bormann to Reichsleiter Rosenberg dated 22nd February, 1940, Document 098-PS, Exhibit USA 350, which I offer in evidence, Bormann declares to Rosenberg that the Christian religion and National Socialism are incompatible. Bormann cites, as examples of hostile...

[Page 47]

THE PRESIDENT: Would you take care to give us the number the documents?

COLONEL STOREY: I beg your pardon, Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: This is 098-PS.

COLONEL STOREY: Document 098-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: The one before you referred to was 070-PS.


THE PRESIDENT: Before that, D-75.

COLONEL STOREY: That's correct. With your Honour's permission, rather than quote the whole document I will summarise it: divergence between Nazism and the churches, the attitude of the latter on the racial question; celibacy of the priests; monasteries and nunneries, etc. Bormann further declares that the churches could not be subjugated through compromise but only through a new philosophy of life as prophesied in Rosenberg's writings. Bormann proposes the creation of a National Socialist Catechism in order to give that part of the German youth which declines to practice confessional religion a moral foundation and to lay a moral basis for National Socialist doctrines, which are gradually to supplant the Christian religions. Bormann suggests that some of the Ten Commandments could be merged with the National Socialist Catechism and states that a few new Commandments should be added, such as: "Thou shalt be courageous; Thou shalt not be cowardly; Thou shalt believe in God's presence in the living nature, animals, and plants; Thou shalt keep thy blood pure;" etc. He concludes that he considers the problem so important that it should be discussed with the members of the Reich Directorate as soon as possible.

And now a quotation from the fifth paragraph on the first page of that translation:

"Christianity and National Socialism are phenomena which originated from entirely different basic causes. Both differ fundamentally so strongly that it will not be possible to construct a Christian teaching which would be completely compatible with the point of view of the National Socialist ideology; just as the communities of Christian faith would never be able to stand by the ideology of National Socialism in its entirety..."
Then I quote from the last paragraph on Page 5 of that document:
"The Fuehrer's deputy finds it necessary that all these questions should be thoroughly discussed in the near future in the presence of the Reich Leaders (Reichsleiter) who are especially affected by them..."
I next offer in evidence Document 107-PS.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you suggest that these Blockleiter were actually present at that discussion?

COLONEL STOREY: Your Honour, in connection with the policy directives, the security of the sect goes from the top to the bottom, and if that policy is adopted they may by directive send for the Blockleiter. He is to discuss it in connection with the Reichsleiter, who are the Party Directors, and I assume that, if the Party Directors establish it as a policy, then they were to issue appropriate directives to the other subordinate members. Mr. Lambert has suggested also that it would not be possible to discuss this matter with all the Leadership Corps and therefore they discussed it with the Party Directors.

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THE TRIBUNAL (MR. BIDDLE): Does that show that he discussed it with the Directors?

COLONEL STOREY: No, Sir, that does not follow, but it shows that it was a subject of discussion for the Board of Directors of the Nazi Party.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but the question is, who are the Directors?

COL. STOREY: Five or six of them sit here, a total of 16.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but I thought that you were asking us to declare the whole of the organisation down to the Blockleiter as criminal.

COLONEL STOREY: That is true, your Honour, but this is one piece of evidence, one instance of the criminality of the organisation, and we cannot prove at each stage that all of them knew about it. We are trying to select different offenses and different crimes that were committed within the Party.

Document 107-PS, which is Exhibit USA 351, and which we now offer in evidence, is a circular letter, dated 17th June, 1938, addressed, by the defendant Bormann as Reichsleiter and Deputy of the Fuehrer, to all Reichsleiter and Gauleiter. Bormann's letter encloses a copy of rules, prepared by Reichsleiter Hierl, setting forth certain restrictive regulations with respect to participation of the Reich Labour Service in religious celebrations. I quote pertinent portions of the directions issued by Reichsleiter Hierl, beginning, with the first paragraph, the list of directions in Document 107-PS, on Page 1 of the English translation:

"The Reich Labour Service is a training school in which the German youth should be educated to national unity in the spirit of National Socialism....

What religious beliefs person has is not a decisive factor, but it is decisive that he first of all feels himself a German.

Every religious practice is forbidden in the Reich Labour Service because it disturbs the comradelike harmony of all working men and women.

On this basis, every participation of the Reich Labour Service in religious arrangements and celebration is not possible."

The Tribunal will appreciate that the position of the defendant Bormann as Deputy of the Fuehrer of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party and Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery, and the position of the defendant Rosenberg as the Fuehrer's representative for the whole spiritual and philosophical education of the Nazi Party, give to the views of these defendants on religion and religious policy the highest official backing. The anti-Christian utterances and policies of these two defendants reveal a community of mind and intention amongst the most powerful leaders of the Party which was amply confirmed, as the evidence will show, by the actual treatment of the churches since 1933 and throughout the course of the conspiracy. I now offer in evidence Document 2349-PS, Exhibit USA 352, which is an excerpt from the book "The Myth of the 20th Century," written by the defendant Rosenberg. I quote from that document:
"The idea of honour -- national honour -- is for us the beginning and the end of our entire thinking and doing. It does not admit of any equal-valued centre of force alongside it, no matter of what kind, neither Christian love, nor the Free-Masonic humanity, nor the Roman philosophy."
I now offer in evidence Document 848-PS, Exhibit USA 353, which is a Gestapo telegram, dated 24th July, 1938, dispatched from Berlin to Nurem-

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berg, dealing with demonstrations and acts of violence against Bishop Sproll in Rottenburg. The Gestapo office in Berlin wired its Nuremberg office a teletype account received from its Stuttgart office of disorderly conduct and vandalism carried out by Nazi Party members against Bishop Sproll. I quote from the fourth paragraph of Page 1 of the English translation of Document 848-PS, which reads as follows:
"The Party, on 23rd July, 1938, from 2100 hours on carried out the third demonstration against Bishop Sproll. Participants, about 2,500-3,000, were brought from outside by bus, etc. The Rottenburg populace again did not participate in the demonstration. This town took a rather hostile attitude toward the demonstrations. The action got completely out of hand of the Party member responsible for it. The demonstrators stormed the palace, beat in the gates and doors. About 150 to 200 people forced their way into the palace, searched through the rooms, threw files out of the windows and rummaged through the beds in the rooms of the palace. One bed was ignited. The Bishop was with Archbishop Groeber of Freiburg and the ladies and gentlemen of his menage in the chapel at prayer. About 25 to 30 people pressed into this chapel and molested those present. Archbishop Groeber was taken for Bishop Sproll. He was grabbed by the robe and dragged back and forth."
The Gestapo official in Stuttgart added that Bishop Groeber desires "to turn to the Fuehrer and to Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Frick, anew," and the Gestapo official added that he had found a report of the demonstration after "suppressing counter mass meetings."

On 23rd July, 1938, the Reich Minister for Church Affairs, Kerrl, sent a letter to the Minister of State and Chief of the Praesidium Chancellery, Berlin, stating that Bishop Sproll had angered the population by abstaining from the plebiscite of 10th April. I now offer in evidence Document 849-PS, Exhibit USA 354. In this letter Kerrl stated that the Gauleiter and Governor of Wuerttemberg had decided that, in the interest of preserving the State's authority, and in the interest of quiet and order, Bishop Sproll could no longer remain in office. I quote from the third paragraph of the first page of the Document 849-PS:

"The Reich Governor had explained to the Ecclesiastical Board that he would no longer regard Bishop Sproll as head of the Diocese of Rottenburg, on account of his refraining from the election in the office and that he desired Bishop Sproll to leave the Gau area because he could assume no guarantee for his personal safety; that in the case of the return of the Bishop of Rottenburg, he would see to it that all personal and official intercourse with him on the part of State offices, as well as the Party offices and the Armed Forces, would be denied."
Kerrl further states in the above letter that his deputy had moved the Foreign Office through the German Embassy at the Vatican to urge the Holy See to persuade Bishop Sproll to resign his Bishopric. Kerrl concludes by stating that should the effort to procure the Bishop's resignation prove unsuccessful, "the Bishop would have to be exiled from the land or there would have to be a complete boycott of the Bishop by the authorities."

On 14th July, 1939, the defendant Bormann in his capacity as Deputy of the Fuehrer issued a Party regulation which provided that Party members entering the clergy or undertaking the study of theology would have to leave

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the Party. I now offer in evidence Document 840-PS, Exhibit USA 355, and this is a copy of a regulation by Bormann, relating to the admission of the clergy and students of theology into the Party. I quote from the last paragraph of the English translation, which reads -- I quote from the second page near the end of the document:
"I decree that in the future Party members who enter the clergy or who turn to the study of theology have to leave the Party."
In this directive Bormann also refers to an earlier decree, dated 9th February, 1939, in which he had ruled that the admission of members of the clergy into the Party was to be avoided. In this decree, also, Bormann refers with approval to a regulation of the Reich Treasurer of the Party, dated 10th May, 1939, providing that "clergymen as well as other fellow Germans who are also closely connected with the Church cannot be admitted into the Party."

I now offer in evidence Document 3268-PS, Exhibit USA 356, which contains excerpts from the Allocution of His Holiness Pope Pius XII, to the Sacred College, 2nd June, 1945. In this address His Holiness, after declaring that he had acquired an appreciation of the great qualities of the German people in the course of 12 years of residence in their midst, expressed the hope that Germany could "rise to new dignity and a new life once it has laid the satanic specter raised by National Socialism, and the guilty have expiated the crimes they have committed." After referring to repeated violations by the German Government of the Concordat concluded in 1933, His Holiness declared as follows, and I quote from the last paragraph of Page 1 of the English translation of Document 3268-PS:

"The struggle against the Church did, in fact, become ever more bitter, there was the dissolution of Catholic organisations; the gradual suppression of the flourishing Catholic schools, both public and private; the enforced weaning of youth from family and Church; the pressure brought to bear on the conscience of citizens, and especially of civil servants; the systematic defamation, by means of a clever, closely organised propaganda, of the Church, the clergy, the faithful, the Church's institutions, teachings and history; the closing, dissolution, confiscation of religious houses and other ecclesiastical institutions; the complete suppression of the Catholic Press and publishing houses...

In the meantime the Holy See itself multiplied its representations and protests to governing authorities in Germany, reminding them, in clear and energetic language, of their duty to respect and fulfill the obligations of the natural law itself that were confirmed by the Concordat. In these critical years, joining the alert vigilance of a pastor to the long suffering patience of a father, our great predecessor, Pius XI, fulfilled his mission as Supreme Pontiff with intrepid courage.

But when, after he had tried all means of persuasion in vain, he saw himself clearly faced with deliberate violations of a solemn pact, with a religious persecution masked or open but always rigorously organised, he proclaimed to the world on Passion Sunday, 1937, in his Encyclical, 'Mit brennender Sorge' that National Socialism really was: the arrogant apostasy from Jesus Christ, the denial of His doctrine and of His work of redemption, the cult of violence, the idolatry of race and blood, the overthrow of human liberty and dignity...

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From the prisons, concentration camps, and fortresses are now pouring out, together with the political prisoners, also the crowds of those, whether clergy or laymen, whose only crime was their fidelity to Christ and to the faith of their fathers or the dauntless fulfillment of their duties as priests...

In the forefront, for the number and harshness of the treatment meted out to them, are the Polish priests. From 1940 to 1945, 2,800 Polish ecclesiastics were imprisoned in that camp; among them was the Auxiliary Bishop of Wloclawek, who died there of typhus. In April last there were left only 816, all the others being dead except for two or three transferred to another camp. In the summer of 1942, 480 German-speaking ministers of religion were known to be gathered there; of these, 45 were Protestants, all the others Catholic priests. In spite of the continuous inflow of new internees, especially from dioceses of Bavaria, Rhenania and Westphalia, their number, as a result of the high rate of mortality, at the beginning of this year did not surpass 350. Nor should we pass over in silence those belonging to occupied territories, Holland, Belgium, France (among whom the Bishop of Clermont), Luxembourg, Slovenia, Italy. Many of those priests and laymen endured indescribable sufferings for their faith and for their vocation. In one case the hatred of the impious against Christ reached the point of parodying on the person of an interned priest, with barbed wire, the scourging and the crowning with thorns of our Redeemer."

THE PRESIDENT: I think perhaps it would be time now to adjourn.

(The Tribunal adjourned until 1000 hours on 18th December, 1945.).

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