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-Eighth Day: Friday, 24th May, 1946
(Part 5 of 11)

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

[Page 373]

Q. The prosecution further accuses you of having founded the so-called Adolf Hitler Schools, where the training of young leaders for the National Socialist State, and for the Party, was carried out. What have you to say to this accusation?

A. There is a lot that I could say about that accusation, but I shall limit myself to essential remarks only.

The Adolf Hitler Schools were founded at scholastic units within the HJ. They were founded with the means which Dr. Ley placed at my disposal when I told him of my plans for the training I had envisaged. These schools were not intended to train leaders for the Party exclusively, but served to prepare the youth of the country for all the professions. I myself often talked to these boys on their graduation, and I always told them: "You can choose any profession you like. Your training in this school carries no obligation, either moral or otherwise, to become a political leader." Comparatively few political leaders emerged from the Adolf Hitler Schools, although very many of the boys became doctors, officials, et alia. I cannot quote any figures from memory, but the communications I have received from the young people, including statements from teachers in the Adolf Hitler Schools, have evinced their attitude towards this point of the Indictment. And I should like to ask that at least fifty to sixty of these numerous affidavits, which confirm all that I have said, be submitted in support of my declarations.

Q. Witness, one more question on a different topic. Did you ever receive any so-called endowment funds, or anything of that kind from Hitler, or from other sources?

A. No, I never received any endowment funds.

Q. Did you ever receive gifts in kind, such as valuable paintings or other costly gifts?

A. The only thing Hitler ever gave me was his photograph on the occasion of my thirtieth birthday.

Q. His photograph - presumably with a few words of dedication?

A. Yes.

Q. Now I have a few final, very brief questions to ask you - they refer to the last days of your activities in Vienna. You have already mentioned in connection with Himmler's visit to Vienna at the end of March, 1945, that you had, at that time, received from Himmler the so-called authority for the proclamation of martial law. If I have understood you correctly, you, as Reich Defence Commissar, were authorized to proclaim martial law?

A. Yes, and that made me Lord of Life and Death.

Q. As far as I know, this court was only supposed to pass death sentences?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you ever convene this court in Vienna, and did you appoint the members?

A. I appointed the members of the court. A leading lawyer was the President. I never convened the court, and I never once imposed the death sentence. If I remember rightly, the military court of the local military commandant passed four

[Page 379]

death sentences on four military traitors. My court never met and never passed a death sentence.

Q. Had you any connection with the military courts?

A. No. The Vienna Commandant was, of course, President of that particular court, and I was the head of court "Schirach."

Q. You said you had a distinguished lawyer as your President?

A. Yes.

Q. What was his profession?

A. I think he was Court President (Landgerichts-Direktor) or something of the kind. I cannot quite remember.

Q. So he was a Viennese official judge?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you give the order, in Vienna, to have certain vitally important factories either blown up or destroyed, as so often happened in other Gaue, as, for instance, here in Nuremberg?

A. No. It has escaped my knowledge - that much I must admit - how far crippling and destructive measures were executed in the military and armament sectors, pursuant to instructions from the Central Reich Government. For instance, the dynamiting of bridges was a military precaution. The order could never have emanated from me. Hitler himself issued the orders for blowing up the bridges over the Danube. The Chief of Army Group South, prior to giving the order for blowing up these bridges, had to consult the Fuehrer's Headquarters by telephone.

Q. When did you yourself leave Vienna?

A. I left Gau Vienna after the withdrawal of the last troops from the city, and after the combat area of the 2nd Corps of the 6th SS Motorized Army had been moved to the region of the lower Danube.

Q. When was that?

A. That was - sorry, I cannot remember the date offhand. It was towards the end of the battle for Vienna.

Q. And now I have one last question to ask you. You know that the order went out from the Party Leadership and from circles of the Reich Chancellery to stage a "Werewolf" Movement for fighting the advancing troops. What was your attitude towards this movement?

A. I prohibited any Werewolf Organization in my Gau, but, to avoid misunderstandings, I must tell you that there was a Youth Battalion, a Volksturm Battalion, which bore the name of "Werewolf," but there was no Werewolf Unit. I invariably refused, both for the young people and the adults, permission to participate in any form of combat contrary to International Law.

DR. SAUTER: Mr. President, I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other member of the defendants' counsel want to ask any questions?

BY DR. THOMA (counsel for defendant Rosenberg):

Q. Witness, what was the attitude of Rosenberg, as Fuehrer's Plenipotentiary for the Ideological Education of the Party, towards the Reich Youth Leadership?

A. I believe that the Chief of the Department for Ideological Education (Schulungsamt) in the Reich Youth Leadership had to attend, on an average, two, perhaps three meetings per annum, also attended by educational leaders from other organizations. These meetings took place under the chairmanship of Reichsleiter Rosenberg. On these occasions, so I have been told, Rosenberg was wont to lay down general instructions and directives and ask for reports on the educational work of the individual organizations.

Q. Did Rosenberg select definite theses, to be lectured on at these meetings?

A. That I do not know for certain. At these meetings of the Youth Leadership representatives, at which Rosenberg spoke once a year, he usually selected educational themes, themes dealing with character training. He would, for instance,

[Page 380]

speak about solitude and comradeship, and, as far as I can remember, about personality, honour et alia.

Q. Did Rosenberg at these meetings mention the Jewish problem and the question of the Confessional.

A. During these Youth Leadership Sessions, he never made any speeches against the Jews, nor did he, as far as I can remember, ever touch on the subject of the Confessional. At least, not in my presence. I usually heard him speak on subjects such as I have just enumerated.

Q. Witness, did you read Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century? And if so, when?

A. No, I began to read it, but I did not read the whole of the book.

Q. Did this Rosenberg's Myth make any impression on the young people or did other leaders have experiences similar to your own?

A. The Youth Leaders certainly did not read the Myth of the Twentieth Century.

DR. THOMA: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Does any other defendants' counsel want to ask questions? Or perhaps we had better adjourn now.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)



BY DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for the defendant Sauckel):

Q. Witness, you have already stated in connection with Sauckel's directive regarding employment of labour that you were flooded with such directives. Were these carried out?

A. As far as my own information goes, I can confirm that. I had the impression that the functionaries of the Labour Employment Administration felt that they had to keep strictly to Sauckel's orders, and in those industrial plants which I visited, I was able to ascertain that the requirements stated in the directives were in fact fulfilled.

Q. Did Sauckel himself take steps to ensure that these things were carried out?

A. Yes. I remember that Sauckel once came to Vienna - I think in 1943 or 1944 - it must have been 1943 - and that on that occasion he addressed all his labour employment functionaries and repeated orally everything which he had stated in his directives. He spoke of the foreign workers in particular, demanded just treatment for them, and I remember that on this occasion he even spoke of putting them on the same footing as German workers.

Q. I have a few more questions about the political leaders. How were political leaders on the Gauleiter level informed? Did the Gauleiter have individual interviews with the Fuehrer especially in connection with the Gau assemblies?

A. No. After the Gauleiter assemblies, the Fuehrer always addressed a comparatively large circle just as he did in his speeches. Interviews in the real sense of the word did not exist. He always made speeches. Fixed dates on which Gauleiter could have interviews with Hitler almost ceased to be made once the war had begun.

Q. Could not a Gauleiter approach Hitler personally and ask for an interview?

A. He could ask for an interview, but he didn't get it; he received as answer from Bormann, usually in the form of a telegram. That happened to me very frequently, because I made such requests; one was asked to submit in writing the points one wanted to discuss, after which, one either received an answer or did not receive one.

[Page 381]

Q. Witness, a letter has been submitted here as Document 728, signed or initialled by Gauleiter Sprenger. You were here when it was submitted, and you know the document. I have two questions concerning it.

Do you know anything about a list which was to be compiled containing the names of those suffering from heart and lung diseases who were to be removed from the population?

A. No, I know nothing about that.

Q. Or that you were to make suggestions for this to the Fuehrer?

A. No.

Q. It would appear that that document contains an error which has already been mentioned here, namely, the word "Herr" as a form of address. This letter was addressed to the "Herren Ortsgruppenleiter," and repeated mention is made of the "Herren Kreisleiter and Ortsgruppenfuehrer" in the text. I ask you now if the expression "Herr" was customary in Party language?

A. No, I have never known a Party document with the exception of this one, which I consider a fraud, in which the term "Herr" was used.

Q. You are, therefore, of the opinion that that wording proves in itself that the document is false?

A. Yes.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

BY DR. STEINBAUER (counsel for the defendant Seyss-Inquart):

Q. Herr von Schirach, your predecessor a s Gauleiter was Josef Burckel What sort of relations existed between Burckel and Seyss-Inquart?

A. I can only repeat what was generally known in the Party about relations between them. They were extremely bad, and all of us had the impression that from the very beginning, Burckel worked hard to push Seyss-Inquart out.

Q. Which one of the two really had the power in his hands?

A. Burckel undoubtedly.

Q. Who in your opinion, according to the actual information you obtained from the files, is responsible for the persecution of Jews in Vienna?

A. Hitler.

Q. All right. You say Hitler; but Hitler was not in Vienna. Who carried out these orders in Vienna?

A. In my opinion, these orders were carried out - even during Burckel's and Seyss-Inquart's time - by the same man who has already been mentioned here once today, and who, in the meantime, has been condemned to death in Vienna - Dr. Brunner.

Q. Good. Are you aware that Seyss-Inquart repeatedly protested to Burckel about excessively severe measures and quarrelled with Burckel on account of that?

A. I cannot say anything about that. I do not know.

Q. My client has been accused in a document of presenting to Adolf Hitler tapestries and Gobelins formerly in the Emperor's possession. Do you know anything about that?

A. I know that: In the large collection of Gobelins in Vienna, there were two sets of tapestries depicting Alexander's victory. The inferior ones were loaned by the Reich Governor Seyss-Inquart to the Reich Chancellery, where they hung in the lobby.

Q. So it was a loan and not a definite gift, which would have entailed a loss for Vienna?

A. In the catalogue of the Gobelin collection, this set was marked as a loan.

Q. Are you aware that other Gobelins were put at the disposal of the Reich - that is to say, at Adolf Hitler's disposal - by Seyss-Inquart?

A. No, I was not aware of it.

Q. But maybe you know who did take away other Gobelins and tapestries?

A. I assume that you allude to Burckel?

[Page 382]

Q. Yes.

A. I do not know for certain whether Burckel took Gobelins. When I took up my appointment in Vienna, I found that Burckel had taken from the Imperial Furniture Depot a number of pieces of furniture, including, I believe, some carpets, not for his personal use, but for a Viennese house, which he intended to establish in Gau Saarpfalz as a sort of clubhouse.

I therefore approached the competent office in Berlin - I do not know whether it was the Reich Finance Ministry, or the Reich Ministry of Culture - and when I was not successful there, I approached Hitler himself. In the end, I succeeded in having Burckel ordered to return these objects to Vienna at once. I cannot say with certainty whether these objects were in fact returned. I know that he received injunctions to return them, and I assume that these objects were returned later.

Q. All right. You know from statements which I have made to your defence counsel that we Austrians always hated Burckel intensely for a number of very good reasons, and that in fairness, it must be admitted that many things, including, for instance, the city's food supplies, improved after you took over. For this reason, it seems to me all the more important to clear up completely the most serious charge against you. You have been made responsible in your capacity of Reich Defence Commissar for the destruction of the most valuable monuments in Vienna. I ask you: On 2nd April, when your deputy Scharitzer and Engineer Blanschke, the National Socialist mayor, wanted to declare Vienna an open city as the Red Army approached, did you oppose them, and give orders that Vienna must be defended to the last? Or who gave that order?

A. Neither Blaschke nor Scharitzer expressed the view that Vienna should be declared an open city. There was -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Steinbauer, the Tribunal understands you are appearing for the defendant Seyss-Inquart?

DR. STEINBAUER: Yes, because this is a war crime, and according to the theory of conspiracy, he is responsible for everything, and the main charge made against Herr von Schirach must be clarified - i.e., we must find out who actually gave this order which did so much harm.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, but you just said that you were not asking the questions in defence of Seyss-Inquart, but in defence of von Schirach. I do not think that the Tribunal really ought to have the defence of von Schirach prolonged by questions by other counsel. We have already had his defence for a considerable time presented by Dr. Sauter.

DR. STEINBAUER: Then I shall not put this question.


Q. Do you also remember what attitude Seyss-Inquart adopted on Church matters when dealing with Burckel?

A. I know only that Dr. Seyss-Inquart, generally speaking, was considered a man with Church ties. That this brought him into conflict with Burckel is quite obvious to me. I cannot go into details.

THE PRESIDENT: Does the prosecution wish to cross-examine?

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