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 8 of 11)

[MR. DODD continues his cross examination of Baldur von Schirach]

[Page 391]

Q. Well, of course, you have your view of him, but I think it is well that we brought it out in view of the fact that you have yourself offered before this Tribunal a statement by Stellrecht in your own document book. You are aware of that, of course, are you not? You want, of course, to have us understand that Stellrecht is reliable when you quote him, but he is not reliable when we quote him, is that it?

A. I do not mean that at all. He is a specialist in ballistics and out-door sports, and, of course, he represented his tasks, as is natural to human nature, as being the most important in youth training. Probably another office chief would have described cultural work or occupational competition contests, as the case might be, as being the most important aspects of youth training. At any rate, the decisive pronouncement for the education of German youth was not the remarks which Stellrecht made during a course for soldiers, but my own remarks to the youth leaders.

Q. I just want to remind you that a year after he made this speech, you wrote a preface for his book, did you not?

A. I believe this preface was written for the book Hitler Youth on Duty.

Q. I say it was a year after he made this speech, which was included in this book and published in Germany. He not only made the speech, but it was published in pamphlet form, was it not?

A. I cannot remember exactly.

Q. Well, I can tell you that if you look at the document which I handed to you, you will see that it is true. Well, in any event, we will pass along. You told the Tribunal yesterday that the statement in the Volkischer Beobachter, attributed

[Page 392]

to Hitler, on the 21st day of February, 1938, was something of a mystery to you; you did not know where he got his figures from. Did you understand what I said, witness?

A. Yes.

Q. And do you know to what I referred in your testimony of yesterday, that quotation from Hitler in the Volkischer Beobachter?

A. Yes.

Q. What is wrong with those figures?

A. I think that these figures are exaggerated, and I think that there are errors in the text in my possession, which is a translated text. He probably received these figures from Dr. Stellrecht's office, or so I assume. The statements regarding armoured troops were, I imagine, probably added by himself; for the conclusion that some thousands or tens of thousands qualified for driving licences is really an incorrect one, just as it is incorrect to deduce from the fact that some tens of thousands of lads qualify for driving licences, that they are trained as tank troops.

Q. Well, you see, we did not say so. You understand it was your Fuehrer who said so in February, 1938, and what I asked you was what is wrong with the figures, and I wish to examine them with you so that you can tell the Tribunal where they are in error and to what extent. Now Hitler said, according to the Press, that your Naval Hitler Youth comprised 45,000 boys. Would you say that figure was too large and altogether untrue?

A. No, that is correct.

Q. That is correct?

A. That is correct.

Q. He then said the Motor Hitler Youth comprised 60,000 boys. What do you say about that figure?

A. That is correct.

Q. And then he said that, as part of the campaign to encourage aviation, 55,000 members of the Jungvolk were trained in gliding for group activities. What do you say about that figure?

A. Glider training and model plane construction in the youth organization with - may I have the figure again - 50,000 youth airmen?

Q. 55,000.

A. 55,000 - yes, that is correct.

Q. That is correct. Then he says, "74,000 of the Hitler Youth are organized in its flying units." Now, what do you say about that figure?

A. You say "flying units"; those are "Fliegereinheiten," groups of Hitler youth airmen, who - as I must emphasize again - were concerned only with gliding and the construction of model planes. They may have been as many as that at the time.

Q. Is the figure correct, 74,000?

A. It may be.

Q. Well, he lastly says, "15,000 boys passed their gliding tests in the year 1937 alone." What do you say about that; is it too big or too little, or not true at all?

A. No, that is probably correct.

Q. Well, now, so far you have not disagreed with Hitler on any of the figures, have you?

A. No.

Q. Then, he lastly says, "Today, 200,000 boys of the Hitler Youth receive regular instruction in small-bore rifle shooting from 7,000 instructors." What's wrong with that figure, if anything?

A. It may be correct - of course, I have no documentary proof that we had 7,000 young men who conducted training in small-bore rifle shooting. I discussed this small-bore rifle shooting yesterday. It is well known that we carried that out.

[Page 393]

Q. Actually, you have not disputed any of these figures. They are true then, to the best of your knowledge, are they not?

A. My objection concerned a remark which I remember in connection with the speech mentioning the tank force.

Q. Well, we have not got it, but, if you have it, we would be glad to see it. But this is the Volkischer Beobachter speech that was put in by the prosecution at the time that the case against you was put in; there is nothing in that about the tanks.

A. I believe the reason is that the re-translation of the document from English back into German is incorrect.

Q. Well, in any event, we agree that Hitler was not very far off on his figures when he made this speech, or gave them out?

A. No; I think the figures which you have just mentioned are correct.

Q. All right. Now, then, in the Year Book of your Hitler Youth for 1939, Stellrecht, your man who had charge of training, uses that same expression. Do you recall that? "To handle a rifle should be just as natural for everybody as to handle a pen"?

A. 1939?

Q. Yes, sir.

A. May I have the month?

Q. Well, it is in the Hitler Year Book - the Year Book of the Hitler Youth for the year 1939, on Page 227. If you would like to see it, I will be glad to show it to you.

A. No, thank you. I do not have to see it. If he has already mentioned it before, it is possible that he will repeat it.

Q. Yes. You see, the importance of it to us is that this is two years after he made this speech, one year after you wrote the preface to his book, and I assume some time after you found him to be - what did you say - unreliable?

A. No, I did not say that. On the contrary, he was a reliable man, but differences of opinion arose between us because I did not agree with him on the question of over-emphasizing pre-military training.

Q. Well -

A. I considered the rifle training as constituting only a part of our training and not the most essential part; and he pushed it too much into the foreground.

Q. All right. But you let him write in the Year Book, and two years after he made the speech, he made this same kind of a statement, for young people to read, that they should be as handy with a rifle as they were with a pen. Did you make any objection when that book went to press? I assume you must have -

A. I did not see the book before it went to press.

Q. You did not read the proofs?

A. - and I had no objections to raise in particular.

Q. Did you object when you read in the same book, and on the same page, that the Wehrmacht had presented to your Hitler Youth, in 1937, 10,000 K.K. rifles?

A. No, I was very glad to have that gift from the armed forces. As we in any case did small-bore shooting, I was grateful for every rifle we received, because we always had less than we needed for training purposes.

Q. And were you distressed when you also read in that same Year Book that there was no shortage of shooting ranges. "Since organized rifle training was started in the autumn of 1936, 10,000 shooting instructors have acquired the green shooting licence in week-end courses and special courses; and this figure increases by some thousands every year." Do you remember that in your Year Book for 1939?

A. I do not remember it, but I think you are probably presenting the facts correctly; I will not dispute it. Switzerland gave her young men a much more intensive rifle training than we did, and so did many other countries.

Q. Yes, I know.

A. I do not deny that our young men were trained in shooting.

[Page 394]

MR. DODD: This Document is 3769-PS, Mr. President; it becomes Exhibit USA 857.

Q. Now, we have heard about the agreement that you and the defendant Keitel drew up in 1939, not very long before the war against Poland started. It was in August of 1939. It is already in evidence, Mr. President, as Exhibit USA 677. It was the 8th day of August, was it not - or 11th day, I'm sorry?

A. I do not know the exact date. The fact that the agreement was concluded in August, 1939, is enough to show that it did not have - and could not have had - any connection with the war.

Q. You say it had no relation to the war, three weeks before the attack on Poland?

A. If that agreement had had any significance in relation to the war, it would have to have been concluded much earlier. The fact that it was only concluded in August, evinces that we were not thinking of war. If we had wanted to train youth for the war, we would have made an agreement of this kind in 1936 or 1937.

Q. Well, in any event, will you agree to this: That this agreement between you and Keitel certainly was related to your shooting practice and related to the Army?

A. As far as I remember, the agreement referred to training for outdoor sports.

Q. Well, then I had better show it to you and read from it to you, if you have forgotten, in so far that you do not remember that it had something to do with your shooting practice.

A. I believe that it says-and to that extent a connection with rifle shooting does exist - that in future, field sports are to receive the same attention which has hitherto been given to shooting. I do not know if I am reproducing that correctly from memory.

Q. I will tell you what it says, and you can look at it in a minute. It says that you already have 30,000 Hitler leaders trained annually in field service. And in the complete sentence it says:

"In the Leadership Schools of the Hitler Youth, particularly in the two Reich schools for shooting practice and field sports, and in the District Leadership Schools, 30,000 Hitler Youth leaders are being trained every year in field service,"
and that this agreement gives you the possibility of roughly doubling that number.

A. Yes.

Q. And it goes on to say how you will quarter these people and billet them, and so on.

A. Yes.

Q. And it does have some relationship to your shooting training programme, does it not?

A. I explained that before I even saw it.

Q. Well, I misunderstood you then. I thought that you said that it did not have

A. No, no, I explained that I said that field service should have the same prominence as rifle training in the programme, but, here again, we are not concerned with training youth leaders to become officers. It was not a question of military training, but of training in field sports for the youth leaders who, after short courses - I believe they lasted for three weeks - went back again to their units. A young man of sixteen cannot be trained along military lines in that period of time, nor was that the purpose of the agreement.

Q. Surely you are not asking us to believe that you and Keitel were entering into an agreement over cross-country sports, are you, in August of 1939? Are you serious about that?

A. I am perfectly serious when I say that at that time I knew nothing about a war - the war to come. I said yesterday -

Q. Well, but you -

A. And I do not believe either that Field-Marshal Keitel drafted that agreement; I think one of his assistants worked it out along with hr. Stellrecht. If it had had

[Page 395]

any significance for the war, it would certainly not have been announced in August in an official publication.

Q. Well, now, listen. You just look at the first paragraph of this and read what it says is the purpose of this agreement, and perhaps we can put an end to this discussion.

"An agreement was made between the High Command of the Wehrmacht and the Reich Youth Leadership representing the result of close co-operation between the Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, General Keitel, and the Youth Leader of the German Reich, von Schirach, and promising the co-operation of the Wehrmacht in the military education of the Hitler Youth.
" You do not see anything there about cross-country running, do you, or training?

A. I should like to give an explanation as to that. What you have just quoted is not part of the text of the agreement, but represents a commentary by the editor of the collection Das Archiv.

Q. Well, I'm not going on, but I'll leave it to the Tribunal to decide whether that has to do with sports or has any relation to military education.

THE PRESIDENT: I think it is a convenient time to break off.

(A recess was taken.)

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