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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
14th May to 24th May, 1946

One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Day: Thursday, 23rd May, 1946
(Part 5 of 10)

[DR. SAUTER continues his direct examination of Baldur von Schirach]

[Page 336]

Q. We will perhaps come back to that later with another question. You say the Hitler Youth had been trained with Flobert rifles, or small calibre rifles, as they are also called. Was the Hitler Youth also trained with infantry rifles, or even machine guns or automatic pistols?

A. Definitely not.

Q. Not at all?

A. Not a single German boy, until the war, had been trained with a war weapon, a military weapon, whether you speak of infantry rifle, machine gun, or infantry gun; nor with hand grenades in any form.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, in the Document Book Schirach are several documents which will show that the attitude of the defendant von Schirach concerning the question of military or pre-military education of the Hitler Youth was exactly the same as he has stated it today, and in particular, that he expressed himself against military drill, barrack-square methods, and all such things.

The principal documents concerned in the Document Book Schirach are: 55, then 122, 123, 127, 127-A, 128 and 131. I ask you to take judicial notice of these documents. They contain, on the whole, the same statements which Herr Schirach has made briefly already.


Q. Herr von Schirach, in connection with the so-called military training of youth, I should like to know what influence the SA had on this.

A. None at all. The SA did try to influence the education and training of youth.

Q. In what way?

A. It was in January of 1939. At that time I was in Dresden, where I arranged a performance which presented modern gymnastics for girls. I still remember it distinctly. While I was there, a newspaper was shown me which published a decree by Hitler, according to which the two oldest age groups of the Hitler Youth were to receive pre-military training from the SA. I protested against that at once and after my return to Berlin I succeeded in having the decree - while not withdrawn, for that could not be done for reasons of prestige since Hitler's name was on it - but I succeeded in having it invalidated as far as the youth were concerned.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, that incident is contained in a document in the Document Book Schirach, No. 132. That is a statement from Das Archiv, a semi-official news periodical. I should like to refer to that as evidence; and in regard to the question of training in marksmanship, I should like to ask the defendant one more question.


Q. What portion of the entire training did the shooting practice have in the HJ? Was it a very essential part?

[Page 337]

A. Unfortunately, I have not the documentary material here which would enable me to answer that in detail. But at any rate, it was not an essential part of the training in the HJ.

Q. Did that marksmanship training go any farther, according to your experiences and observations, than the similar training of youth in other countries?

A. The marksmanship training of youth in other countries went much farther, much beyond that which we had in Germany.

Q. Do you know that from your own observation?

A. I know that from many of my assistants who constantly made a detailed study of the training in other countries, and I know about it from my own observation.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you think that is relevant, the fact that other countries trained youth in marksmanship? I am not sure it is true, either, but anyhow, it is not relevant.


Q. Then I come to another question, witness. The prosecution have asserted, and I quote:

"... that thousands of boys were trained militarily by the HJ in the work of the Navy, of naval aviation and of the armoured corps, and that over seven thousand teachers trained over a million Hitler Youth in rifle marksmanship."
That has been asserted by the prosecution, and refers to some official statement of the year 1938. I should like you to state your position with regard to the question here, the question of the special units of the HJ.

A. The prosecution refers, if I am not mistaken, to a speech which Hitler made. How Hitler arrived at the figures concerning the training I cannot say. As regards the training in the special units, I can only say, and prove with documents, the following:

In the year 1938 the Motorized Hitler Youth - that is that special unit of our youth organization which the prosecution think received pre-training in the tank branch - in 1938 the Motorized Hitler Youth had 328 vehicles of their own.

Q. In all Germany?

A. In all Germany. There were 3,270 private vehicles of their family members which, of course, were at their disposal for their work; and 2,000 vehicles of the NSKK, National Socialist Motor Corps. In the year 1938 21,000 youth got their driving licences. I believe, but I cannot be sure about it, that that is twice the number of youngsters that received a driving licence in 1937. That is, the driving licence for a passenger car. These figures alone show that the Motorized Hitler Youth did not receive pre-training for our armoured forces. The Motorized Hitler Youth had motorcycles; they made cross-country trips. That is correct. What they learned from this was, of course, valuable also for the Army if these boys later went into motorized units; but it was not true that the boy who had been in the Motorized Hitler Youth went to the Army. There was no compulsion in that respect. The Motorized Hitler Youth was not created upon the request of the Wehrmacht, but it was created in the years long before the seizure of power, simply from the natural desire of the boys who owned motorcycles and wanted to drive them. So we formed our motorized HJ; we used these boys as messengers between our camps, and we used them as drivers for our minor leaders, and later, in order to give them a regular training, especially knowledge of motors, of engines, we made an arrangement with the NSKK, which had motor schools and could train the boys.

Other units were created in the same way. The flying HJ, for example, never had any motorized planes. We had only gliders. The entire Hitler Youth had one motorized plane and that was my own, a small Klemm machine. Apart from that, the Hitler Youth had only model aeroplanes and gliders. The Hitler

[Page 338]

Youth taught not only their own members the use of gliders in the Rhon Hills and elsewhere, but also thousands of youth from England and other countries. We had glider camps where young Englishmen were our guests and we even had camps in England.

Q. The Navy HJ, did they perhaps have warships?

A. The Navy HJ, of course, had not a single warship, but from time to time our former Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Raeder, kindly gave us the use of an old cutter, and with that we put to sea.

The boys, for instance, who lived in a city like Berlin, near the Wannsee and did some rowing, became members of the Navy HJ. When entering the Wehrmacht they did not go to the Navy just because they had been in the Navy HJ, but just as many of them went afterwards to the army or the Air Force, and the same thing happened with other special units.

Q. Witness, you say, therefore, that in your opinion the Hitler Youth was not educated in a military way for the war?

A. I should like to be quite precise about that. The training in these special units was carried out in such a manner that it really had a pre-military value. That is to say that whatever the boy learned in the Navy "Hitler Jugend," regardless of whether he wanted to use it only as a sport later, or whether he actually went into the Navy, the basic principles were valuable as pre-military education. If one considers these special units of the HJ, one can establish that here a pre-military education actually took place.

But no military training took place. The youth were not prepared for the war in any place in the HJ; they were not even prepared for the military service, because the youth did not go direct from the Hitler Youth into the Army. From the Hitler Youth they went into the Labour Service.

Q. And how long were they in the Labour Service?

A. Half a year.

Q. And only then did they come to the Wehrmacht?

A. Yes.

Q. In that connection, however, the prosecution has used an agreement which was made between the HJ leadership and the OKW in August 1939, and which has been submitted as Document PS-2398 by the prosecution. What are the facts about that agreement between you and the OKW?

A. I cannot remember any details. Between Field-Marshal Keitel and myself, according to my recollection, there was no discussion concerning that agreement, but I believe we arranged that by correspondence. And I should like to state generally that during the entire time from 1933 to 1945, only one or two conversations, of about half an hour, took place between Field-Marshal Keitel and myself. The agreement, however, resulted from the following considerations

We endeavoured in the Hitler Youth, and it was also the endeavour of the leading men in the Wehrmacht, to include nothing in our training which belonged to the later military training. However, in the course of time, the objection was raised on the part of the military, that youth should not learn anything in its training which later would have to be unlearned in the Wehrmacht. I am thinking, for instance, of the compass. The Army used the Infantry Compass; the Hitler Youth, in cross-country sports, used compasses of various kinds. It was, of course, quite senseless that youth leaders should train their boys, for instance, to march according to the Besar compass if later, in their training as recruits, the boys had to learn something different. The designation and the description of the terrain should also be given according to the same principles in the Hitler Youth as in the Army, and so this agreement was made by which, I believe, thirty or forty thousand HJ leaders were trained in cross-country sports. In these cross-country sports no training with war weapons took place.

BY DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, now I come to another chapter. It may be that this is the best time to adjourn.

[Page 339]

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will now adjourn. (A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)


Q. Witness, before the adjournment we spoke about the question of the military or pre-military education of youth. And now I come to another similar chapter; that is the question of whether you, as youth leader, in your articles, speeches and orders did in any way attempt to influence young people psychologically towards an aggressive war in order to make them war-minded by such means.

A. No, never in my speeches to German youth, or in anything which I laid down for youth in the way of orders and directives, did I prepare German youth for war; nor have I ever, even in the smallest circle of my colleagues, expressed myself in that way. All my speeches are contained in the collection, Das Archiv, at least their essential contents. A considerable part of my speeches is collected also in a book, The Revolution in Education, which has been laid before this Tribunal.

All this evidence shows that I never spoke to the youth of the country in that sense; it would have been in direct contradiction to all my aims of co-operation with the youth of other nations.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, perhaps I may draw your attention in this connection to the document which is in the Schirach Document Book under No. 125 - I repeat, 125 - and also 126, where Schirach expresses his opinion about the question of preserving peace and rejecting war. I ask the Tribunal to take judicial notice of these documents as evidence.

Q. Witness, you have just spoken of co-operation between your Reich Youth Leadership Office and the German Hitler Youth and the youth of other nations. Could you give us a more detailed statement on that, in particular with regard to which youth associations of other nations you co-operated with, or attempted to approach and to what extent?

A. Starting in 1933, and in an increasing degree year by year, I made efforts to bring about exchange camps with youth organizations in other countries. Here in Germany there have on numerous occasions been groups of English youth, French youth, Belgian youth and youth from many other countries, particularly, of course, from Italy, as our guests. I remember that in one year alone, I think in 1936, there were approximately 200,000 foreign youths who stayed overnight in our youth hostels.

Perhaps it is important in this connection that I should say that the youth hostel system, which I took over in 1933, was extended by me and finally formed a part of an international youth hostel system, the president of which was sometimes a German, sometimes an Englishman. An international youth hostel agreement made it possible that youngsters of various nations could stay in youth hostels of the host nations.

I myself made particularly great efforts to bring about an understanding with French youth. I must say that this was a pet idea of mine. I think that my former assistants will remember just how intensely I worked on implementing that idea. I had my leaders' periodical printed in the French language, I do not know how frequently, but certainly at least once, so that the understanding between the French and the German youth could be strengthened thereby.

I went to Paris and I invited the children of one thousand servicemen from the first World War to come to Germany. I very often had young French guests as my visitors in Germany. But, over and above this understanding with France, which eventually also led to difficulties between the Fuehrer and myself, I co- operated with many, many other youth organizations.

[Page 340]

Perhaps I may add that German-French co-operation, as far as youth was concerned, was supported particularly by Ambassador Poncet in Berlin, President Chautemps and other French personalities who wrote in my leadership periodical on that particular subject. I exchanged views with youth leaders all over the world and I myself undertook long journeys to visit youth organizations in other countries and establish contact with them. The war terminated that work. I do not want to omit mentioning here that during one whole year I put the entire youth programme under the slogan "Understanding," and that in all my speeches before youth I tried to bring about and educate for better understanding towards other nations.

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