The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Twenty-Second Day: Tuesday, 18th December, 1945
(Part 1 of 8)

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COLONEL STOREY: If the Tribunal please, before adjourning yesterday afternoon, your Honour properly asked a question or two about Documents 3051 and 3063, to which I think I have an answer that will help the Tribunal. Your Honour will recall, with reference to Document 3051-PS... I believe it might be of assistance to turn to that document.


COLONEL STOREY. Your Honour asked yesterday afternoon, since this had to do with the S.D. and the S.S., how the Party was involved. And I should like to quote paragraph Number I on Page 2 of the English translation, which answers this question, and I am quoting:

"The Chiefs of the State Police, or their deputies, must get in contact by telephone with the Political Leaders (Gauleitung oder Kreisleitung) who have jurisdiction over their districts and have to arrange a joint meeting with the appropriate inspector or commander of the Order Police to discuss the organisation of the demonstration. At these discussions the Political Leaders are to be informed that the German Police have received from the Reichsfuehrer S.S. and Chief of the German Police the following instructions, in accordance with which the Political Leaders should adjust their own measures."
That had to do with the preparation for the general anti- Jewish uprisings.

Now, with reference to Document 3063, which follows just one or two documents below...

THE PRESIDENT: What was the document?

COLONEL STOREY: Number 3063 was the next, just below that one, if your Honour pleases.


COLONEL STOREY: That, if you recall, your Honour, was a report from the Supreme Party Court Justice Buch to the defendant Goering, concerning punishment for the uprisings that followed the 9th and 10th of November demonstration. I should like to quote the portion signed by the defendant Goering. It is, I believe, the second page of the English translation.

It is dated: "Berlin, 2nd February, 1939."

"Dear Party Member Buch:

I thank you for forwarding the report of your special senate about the proceedings which were taken in regard to the excesses on the occasion of the anti-Jewish operations of the 9th and 10th of November, 1938, of which I have taken cognisance.

Heil Hitler!

And then, passing, your Honour, to page number I, immediately following, of the English translation, I think the next two paragraphs will answer your Honour's question. I quote:
"On the evening of 9th November, 1938, the Reich Propaganda Director

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Party Member Dr. Goebbels told the Party Leaders assembled at a social evening in the old town hall in Munich that in the districts (Gauen) of Kurhessen and Magdeburg-Anhalt it had come to hostile Jewish demonstrations, during which Jewish shops were demolished and synagogues were set on fire. The Fuehrer, at Goebbels' suggestion, had decided that such demonstrations were not to be prepared or organised by the Party; but so far as they originated spontaneously, they were not to be discouraged either. In other respects, Party Member Dr. Goebbels carried out the purport of what was prescribed in the teletype of the Reich Propaganda Administration of 10th November, 1938.

It was probably understood by all the Party leaders present."

PRESIDENT: What does "12:30 to 1 o'clock" mean there?

COLONEL STOREY: That is the time of the teletype message, I assume, your Honour.


COLONEL STOREY: "It was probably understood by all the Party leaders present, on the basis of the oral instructions of the Reich Propaganda Director, that the Party should not appear outwardly as the originator of the demonstrations but in reality should organise and execute them. Instructions to this end were telephoned immediately" -- thus a considerable time before transmission of the first teletype -- "to the bureaux of their districts (Gauen) by a large part of the Party members present."

Now, your Honour properly asked, yesterday afternoon, how the "Blockleiter" would be affected. Your Honour will recall that, in the instructions to the "Blockleiter" defining his offices, it was stated that his instructions would be received orally and they would be transmitted orally, and writing was never to be used except in extreme cases. Therefore I say that these quoted portions clearly indicate that the Party was in fact used in connection with these famous anti-Jewish demonstrations of 9th and 10th November, 1938.

Now, reverting to the text where I left off yesterday afternoon:

The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated in the confiscation of church and religious property.

I offer in evidence Document 072-PS, which is Exhibit USA 357, which is a letter, dated 19th April, 1941, from Reichsleiter Bormann to Reichsleiter Rosenberg. This letter exposes the participation of the "Gauleiter" in measures relating to the confiscation of religious property.

I now quote from the last paragraph of Page 1 of the English translation of Document 072-PS, which reads:

"The libraries and art treasures of the monasteries confiscated in the Reich were to remain for the time being in their monasteries in so far as the 'Gauleiter' had not determined otherwise."
On 21st February, 1940, the Chief of the Security Police and S.D. Heydrich, wrote a letter to Reichsfuehrer S.S. Himmler, proposing that certain listed churches and monasteries be confiscated for the accommodation of so-called "racial Germans".

The Tribunal, of course, will recall Himmler's position.

After pointing out that, on political grounds, outright expropriation of religious property would not be feasible at the time, Heydrich suggested

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certain specious interim actions with respect to the church properties in question, to be followed progressively by outright confiscation.

I now offer in evidence R-101A -- it is right towards the end of your Honour's Exhibits -- as Exhibit USA 358.

If your Honour pleases, there are several of those documents under R-101, and at the bottom you will notice they are labeled "A", "B", and "C". The first one is R-101A, and I quote the first five paragraphs on Page 2 of the English translation:

"Enclosed is a list of church possessions which might be available for the accommodation of racial Germans. The list, which I beg you to return, is supplemented by correspondence and illustrated material pertinent to the subject.

For political reasons, expropriation without indemnity of the entire property of the churches and religious orders will hardly be possible at this time.

Expropriation with indemnity or in return for assignment of other lands and grounds will be even less possible.

It is therefore suggested that the respective authorities of the Orders be instructed that they make available the monasteries concerned, for the accommodation of racial Germans, and remove their own members to other less populous monasteries."

There is a marginal note opposite this paragraph that, translated means "very good."
"The final expropriation of these properties thus placed at our disposal can then be carried out step by step in the course of time."
On 5th April, 1940, the Security Police and Security Service S.S. sent a letter to the Reich Commissar for the Consolidation of Germandom, enclosing a copy of the foregoing letter from Heydrich to Himmler of 21st February, 1940, proposing the confiscation of Church properties. The letter of 5th April, 1940, is included in the Document R- 101A, just introduced in evidence; and I quote from this second sentence of the first paragraph thereof, on Page 1 of the English translation of that document. It is the first paragraph of Page I:
"The Reich Leader S.S. has agreed to the proposals made in the enclosed letter and has ordered the matter to be dealt with by collaboration between the Chief of the Security Police and Security Service and your office."
If your Honour pleases, I believe it is on Pare 1 of the document. It is from the second sentence of the first paragraph. It is on the same one as the tab, your Honour.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I have it.

COLONEL STOREY: I now offer in evidence Document R-101C, Exhibit USA 358. This is a letter dated 30th July, 1941, written by an S.S. Standartenfuehrer, whose signature is illegible, to the Reich Leader of the S.S. The letter supplies further evidence of the participation of the "Gauleiter" in the seizure of church property. I quote from the first three paragraphs of the English translation of Document R-101C:

"In accordance with the report of 30th May, 1941, this office considers it its duty to call the Reich Leader's attention to the development which is taking place in the incorporated Eastern Countries with regard to seizure and confiscation of Church property.

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As soon as the Reich laws on expropriation had been introduced, the Reich Governor and `Gauleiter' in the Wartheland adopts the practice of expropriating real estate belonging to churches for use as dwellings. He grants compensation to the extent of the assessed value, and pays the equivalent amount into blocked accounts.

Moreover, the East German Estate Administration, Limited, reports that in the 'Warthegau' all real estate owned by the churches is being claimed by the local 'Gau' administration."

I next offer in evidence Document R-101D, which immediately follows Exhibit USA 358, already in evidence. This is a letter from the Chief Of Staff of the Main Office to Himmler, dated 30th March, 1942, dealing with the confiscation of church property. The letter evidences the active participation of the Party Chancellery in the confiscation of religious property.

In this letter the Chief of Staff, Main Office, reports to Himmler concerning the policy of the S.S. in suspending all payment of rent to monasteries and other church institutions whose property had expropriated. The letter discusses a proposal made by the Reich Minister of the Interior, in which the Party Chancellery prominently participated, to the effect that the church institutions should be paid amounts corresponding to current mortgage charges on the premises, without realising any profit. The writer further suggests that such payments should never be made directly to the ecclesiastical institutions but rather should be made to the creditors of the institutions:

I now quote from the fourth sentence on Page 3 of that document:

"Such an arrangement would be in line with the basic idea of the settlement originally worked out between the Party Chancellery and the Reich Minister of the Interior."
I understand the Reich Minister of Interior for 1933-1944 was the defendant Frick.

The Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party participated in the suppression of religious publications and interfered with free religious education.

In a letter dated 27th September, 1940, Reichsleiter and Deputy of the Fuehrer Bormann transmitted to the defendant Rosenberg a photostatic copy of a letter from Gauleiter Florian, dated 23rd September, 1940, which expresses the Gauleiter's intense disapproval, on Nazi ideological grounds, of a religious pamphlet entitled, "The Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers," written by a Major General von Rabenau.

I now offer in evidence Document 064-PS, Exhibit USA 359. It is an original letter signed by Rosenberg attaching the copy of that matter. It contains defendant Bormann's letter to Rosenberg, dated 27th September, 1940, transmitting the Gauleiter's letter of 23rd September, 1940, to the defendant Hess, in which the Gauleiter urges that the religious writings of General von Rabenau be suppressed. In his letter to the defendant Hess, Gauleiter Florian discusses a conversation he had with General von Rabenau at the close of a lecture delivered by the General to a group of younger Army officers at Aachen. This conversation illumines the hostile attitude of the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party towards the Christian churches. I quote from the second sentence of the second paragraph of the second page of the Gauleiter's letter to the defendant Hess, which appears on Page 2 of the English translation -- the second paragraph:

"After he had affirmed the necessity of the churches, Rabenau said, with emphasised self-assurance, something like the following:

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'Dear Gauleiter, the Party is making mistake after mistake in the treatment of the churches. Obtain for me the necessary powers from the Fuehrer and I guarantee that I shall succeed in a few months in establishing peace with the churches for all time.'

After this catastrophic ignorance, I gave up the conversation.

Dear Party Member Hess, the reading of von Rabenau's pamphlet 'Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers' has reminded me again of this. In this brochure Rabenau affirms the necessity of the Church straight-forwardly and clearly, even though he is prudently careful. He writes on Page 28: `There could be more examples; they would suffice to show that a soldier in this world can scarcely get along without thoughts about the next one.'

Because von Rabenau has a false spiritual basis, I consider his activities as an educator in spiritual affairs to be dangerous, and I am of the opinion that his educational writings are to be dispensed with absolutely and that the publication section of the N.S.D.A.P. can and must renounce these writings. The churches with their Christianity constitute that danger against which the struggle must always be carried on."

That the Party Chancellery shared with the Gauleiter this hostility to the Christian Churches is further revealed by the defendant Bormann's instruction to the defendant Rosenberg, set forth in Bormann's letter of transmittal, that Rosenberg "take action" on the Gauleiter's recommendation that the General's writings be suppressed.

I now offer in evidence Document 089-PS, Exhibit USA 360, which is a letter from the defendant Bormann, as Deputy of the Fuehrer, to the defendant Rosenberg, dated 8th March, 1940, enclosing a copy of Bormann's letter of the same date to Reichsleiter Amann. Amann was a top member of the Leadership Corps by virtue of his position as Reichsleiter for the Press and Leader Of the Party Publishing Company. In this letter to Amann Bormann expresses his dismay and dissatisfaction that only 10 per cent of the 3,000 Protestant periodicals in Germany have ceased publication, for what are described as "paper saving" reasons. Bormann then advises Reichsleiter Amann that "the distribution of any paper whatsoever for such periodicals is barred."

I now refer to this Document 089-PS, and I quote the second paragraph of Bormann's letter to Amann, which appears on the first page -- the second paragraph -- of the English translation:

"I urge you to see to it, in any redistribution of paper to be considered later, that the confessional writing, which, according to experiences so far gathered, possesses very doubtful value for strengthening the power of resistance on the part of the people toward the external foe, receive still sharper restrictions in favour of literature politically and ideologically more valuable."
I next offer in evidence Document 101-PS, Exhibit USA 361, which is a letter from the defendant Bormann, again, to Reichsleiter Rosenberg, dated the 17th January, 1940, expressing the Party's opposition to the circulation of religious literature to the members of the German Armed Forces. Among the soldiers of the United Nations, the proposition that there are no atheists in the fox-holes received a wide and reverent acceptation. However, in

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this document there is a contrary meaning, and I quote from Page 1 of the English translation, which reads:
"Nearly all the districts" -- (that is Gauen) -- "report to me regularly that the churches of both confessions are administering spiritually to members of the Armed Forces. This administration finds its expression especially in the fact that soldiers are being sent religious publications by the spiritual leaders of their home congregations. These publications are, in part, very cleverly composed. I have repeated reports that these publications are being read by the troops and thereby exercise a certain influence on the morale.

I have, in the past, by sounding out at once the General Field Marshal, the High Command of the Armed Forces, and fellow Party Member Reich Director Amann, sought to restrict considerably the production and shipment of publications of this type. The result of these efforts remained unsatisfactory. As Reichsleiter Amann has repeatedly informed me, the restriction of these pamphlets by means of the paper rationing cannot be achieved because the paper used for the pamphlets is being purchased on the open market.

If the influencing of the soldiers by the church is to be effectively combated, this will only be accomplished only by producing many good publications in the shortest possible time under the supervision of the Party.

At the last meeting of the Deputy Gauleiters, comments were made on this matter to the effect that no considerable quantity of such publications is available.

I maintain that it is necessary that in the near future we transmit to the Party Service Offices down to the Ortsgruppenleiter a list of additional publications of this sort which should be sent to our soldiers by the Ortsgruppen..."

The Leadership Corps also participated in measures leading to the closing and dissolution of theological schools and other religious institutions. I now offer in evidence Document 122-PS, Exhibit USA 362, which, again, is a letter from the defendant Bormann to the defendant Rosenberg in his capacity as the Fuehrer's Representative for the Supervision of Spiritual and Ideological Schooling and Education of the N.S.D.A.P. This letter is dated 17th April, 1939, and transmits to Rosenberg an enclosed photostatic copy of a plan suggested by the Reich Minister for Science, Education and Training for the combining and closing of certain specially listed theological faculties. In his letter of transmittal the defendant Bormann requested Reichsleiter Rosenberg, to take "cognizance and prompt action" with respect to proposed suppression of religious institutions. I now quote from the next to the last paragraph of Page 2 of the English translation, in which the plan to suppress the religious institutions is summarised, and which reads:
"To recapitulate, this plan would mean, in addition to the closing of the theological faculties at Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich, which has already taken place, and the contemplated transfer of the faculty of Graz to Vienna -- that is the disappearance of four Catholic theological faculties:

(a) The closing of three more Catholic theological faculties or higher

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schools and of four Evangelical theological faculties in the Winter Semester 1939/1940;

(b) the closing of one more Catholic and of three more Evangelical theological faculties in the near future."

From the foregoing evidence the inference is irresistible, that the Leadership Corps of the Nazi Party shares a responsibility for the measures taken to subvert the Christian Churches and persecute the Christian clergy, both in Germany and in German-occupied territories of Europe. The evidence just offered, together with that previously presented by the prosecution, demonstrates that there was a general participation by the Leadership Corps, ranging from the Reichsleiter to the Gauleiter, adhered to by the rank and file, in the deliberate programme undertaken to undermine Christian religion.

We stress the significance of the appointment of the defendant Rosenberg, whose anti- Christian views are open and notorious, as the Fuehrers "delegate" or "representative" for the whole spiritual and philosophical education of the Nazi Party. It was precisely this position which gave Rosenberg his seat in the Reichsleitung, the general staff of the Party, comprising all the Reichsleiter. But emphasis is placed not merely upon the fact that anti-Christs, such as the defendants Bormann and Rosenberg, held directive positions in the Leadership Corps but also upon the fact that their directives and orders were passed down the chain of command of to the Leadership Corps and caused the participation of its membership in acts subversive to the Christian Church.

In Document D-75, which I believe has been previously introduced -- and I am just going to quote one line from it -- the defendant Bormann stated:

"Nazism and Christianity are irreconcilable concepts."
The defendant was never more right, but he erred grievously by his prophecy as to which of the two would first pass away.

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