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 9 of 11)

[Page 395]

THE MARSHAL: May it please the Tribunal, the report is made that the defendant Raeder is absent.


Q. Witness, would you agree that from time to time members of your Hitler Youth both in their songs and otherwise conducted themselves in a manner which certainly was hostile to organized religious institutions?

[Baldur von Schirach] A. I do not intend to deny that isolated members behaved in that way during the early years of the National Socialist State, but I should like to add a short explanation.

In the early years I took into my movement millions of young people from Marxist organizations and the atheist movement, etc., and, of course, it was not possible in the space of two or three or four years' time to discipline all of them completely. But I think I may say that after a certain date - say 1936, things of that sort no longer happened.

Q. Well, I thought perhaps we could say, anyway, that in 1935 this sort of thing was going on and so save some time. Would you agree to that? They were singing songs such as "Pope and rabbi shall yield, we want to be pagans again"; and that sort of stuff. Are you familiar with that? Do you know that kind of thing which came to the attention of the Minister of Justice or the prosecuting authority in Baden.

A. No. Q. Do you know that they sang a song published in the song book Blut und Ehre, a song saying, "We want to kill the priest, out with your spear, forward; set the red cock on the cloister roof." You know that old song?

A. That is a song dating back to the Thirty Years War, and sung by the youth movement for many, many years, even before the First World War.

Q. I know, you have told me that before. I am trying to cut that down. Will you agree that your people were singing it in 1933, 1934 and 1935 to the extent that, when clerics objected, they were prosecuted by authorities for interfering and criticising? That is how important it was.

A. I know, as I have already said, that this song dates back to the Thirty Years War. It was sometimes sung by young people in the years 1933-34. I tried to abolish this song, but I cannot give you any information as to special complaints which were lodged about it.

Q. I do not think that we have made clear that these songs were put out in a book which you published for the Hitler Youth to sing in these days. Do you agree to that?

[Page 396]

A. I think it is possible, as for many years this song was included in every collection. It is a song which appeared in the first song books of the Wandervogel movement in 1898.

Q. I am not really interested in the history. All I am trying to establish is that in your song book for your young people this song was present, that it was sung, that when the church people complained, they were prosecuted for complaining.

A. I must dispute the last point.

Q. Well, I will have to put this document in.

MR. DODD: It is Document 3751-PS. These are extracts from the diary of the prosecuting authorities, the diary of the Minister of Justice. And that becomes Exhibit USA 858.


Q: Now, the very first entry that is shown to you is a note from the diary of the Minister of Justice on the Catholic vicar, Paul Wasmer regarding criminal proceedings against him, and it is a question of whether a penal sentence should be proposed by Rosenberg because of libel. The bishop, in his sermon, cited a song being sung by young people. I quoted a few words of it a moment ago about "Pope and rabbi shall yield, out with the Jews," and so on. The Minister of Justice, in his diary, goes on to say that this Catholic bishop also quoted from "the little book of songs published by Baldur von Schirach," a verse with the following text:

"To the Lord in heaven we'll surely say
That we his priest would gladly slay,"
and so on:
"Out with your spear, forward march."
And he further quoted you as saying, "The path of German youth is Rosenberg." Now, that is what he got into trouble for doing, and all I am asking you - and all I did ask - is if you will not admit that people who criticized the use of this kind of stuff by your young people and under your leadership, were liable to possible prosecution, and in many cases, were actually prosecuted? You see, you told the Tribunal yesterday that you never did anything directly to interfere with the Church, Catholic or Protestant.

A. The song quoted, which has the refrain "Kyrieleis," which, in itself, shows it is a very old song -

Q. May I interrupt you to say - A. - may possibly be included in the song book Blood and Honour. I am, of course, unaware that a clergyman was prosecuted for criticising it. That is something new, which I learn of here for the first time.

Q. All right. Look at Page 192 of that same diary, and you will see where the Archbishop of Paderborn reported the incident of 12th May. In this case, he was asking that something be done to stop this sort of thing, and there is a rather nasty little song there about a monk and a nun, and so on, which your young people were singing, and then it goes on to say what happened to the Archbishop when he came out into the square, and what the Hitler Youth did, what names they called him, and it says there were seven Hitler Youth leaders from outside, present in that city that day, and they were in civilian clothing. Do you mean to say you never heard of these things?

A. I know of this incident. I called the competent leader of the area, Langanke by name, to account for this. I had a good deal of work in connection with the incident. I shall therefore ask my counsel to question the witness Lauterbacher, who then held the rank of Stabsfuehrer, and is acquainted with the details. Some lines of the song you quoted just now caused a good deal of violent feeling among the population at the time - some of those lines are quoted here - on account of the foreign currency racketeering indulged in by some clergymen. That is why this satirical song was sung.

[Page 397]

I should like to say in conclusion that I thoroughly and publicly disapproved of the actions of these Youth Leaders. The whole affair is, as I have already said, one of those incidents which occurred years ago when I had to take into my organization an enormous mass of youths from other organizations, and with an entirely different intellectual background.

Q. All right, turn to Page 228 of that diary, and you will read that a Chaplain Heinrich Muller, and a town clergyman Franz Rummer, came under suspicion because they said in a circle of Catholic clergy that a certain song was sung by the Hitler Youth at the Party Rally in 1934:

"We are the rollicking Hitler Youth
We have no need of Christian truth;
For Adolf Hitler is our Leader
And our Interceder.

No evil old priest these ties can sever;
We're Hitler's children now and ever."

A. I have not found the place.

Q. It is Page 228, a and b. I'm sorry. Maybe you will remember the song, anyway, if I read it to you. Do you remember the lines that said, "We do not follow Christ, but instead Horst Wessel"?

A. This is the first time I have seen this song. I do not know this song.

Q. All right; I will not go on reading it. You noticed that in an entry in the diary, the last paragraph, it says:

"The Advocate-General notes that there is no doubt that the song in question was sung or circulated in Hitler Youth circles; he thinks that the statement that this song was sung at the Party Rally, i.e., to a certain extent under the eyes and with the consent of the highest Party officials, can be refuted."
The third stanza reads
"I am no Christian, no Catholic;
I follow the SA through thin and thick."
A. I gather that it is not a youth song. If the young people sang that song, I very much regret it. That song was certainly not sung at a youth festival at the Party Rally in 1934, as stated here.

Q. All right.

A. I myself read through all the programmes for youth events at the Party Rally.

I do not know this song; I have never heard it; and I do not know the text.

Q. You will notice that the last line says:

"Baldur von Schirach take me too"!
The only point to all this is that certainly it is a surprise to the prosecution to hear you say, as the Youth Leader, that you did not know that there were great differences and struggles between the Churchmen of all the Churches in Germany and the Youth organization in Germany, certainly during these years.

A. The point that I should like to make clear to the Tribunal is that in the Youth Movement there was a period of storm and stress during its development - and that the organization must not be judged by the actions of a few individuals or groups in the same year in which these individuals or groups became members of the organization. The result of educational work cannot be judged until some years have elapsed. It is possible that a group of youth who entered our ranks from the atheist movement in 1934, composed and sang these songs. In 1936 they would certainly no longer have done it.

Q. Well, let us see - what you were doing in 1937. You know the publication Enjoyment, Discipline, Faith? Do you know that handbook for cultural work in your youth camps?

[Page 398]

A. I should like to see it, please.

Q. I'll show it to you, but I wanted to ask you, first of all: Do you know the publication? Do you know what I am talking about when I refer to it?

A. I do not know all our publications. We had such an enormous number of publications that unless I have the book in front of me, I cannot make any statement on the subject.

Q. All right; I'll take your answer that you do not know this one without seeing it. We will show it to you. This one, among other things, has the programme for a week in one of your camps, a suggested series of programmes. And again, I will ask you a question, and maybe we can cut this down.

Is it not a fact that in your camps you tried to make Hitler and God more than partners, and particularly tried to direct the religious attitudes of young people to the belief that Hitler was sent to this earth by God, and was His divinely appointed apostle in Germany?

Well, just answer that first of all, and then we can look at the programme.

A. No. I never made any comparison between Hitler and God; and I considered it blasphemous and have always considered such a comparison blasphemous.

It is true that during the long period of years in which I believed in Hitler, I saw in him a man sent by God to lead the people. That is true. I believe any great man in history - and in the past, I considered Hitler such a man - may be regarded as being sent by God.

MR. DODD: This is a Document 2436-PS, Exhibit USA 859.

Q. I am not going to go all through it with you, but I do want to call your attention to some specific parts.

First of all, on Page 64, you have the names of people suggested as inspiring examples for the day. They are all political or military heroes of Germany, I expect, are they not?

A. Arminius, Geiserich, Braunschweig -

Q. You do not need to read them all. If they are not, say they are not, and if they are, say yes. I merely asked you if they were not all military or political heroes of Germany.

A. I do not know whether Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia can be characterised simply as a war hero. He was certainly an artist as much as an officer.

Q. All right, I will pass that and take your answer that they are not.

Let's turn to the Sunday morning celebration mentioned on Page 70 of your text, near the end of it. I wanted particularly to direct your attention to this in view of what you said about Rosenberg earlier this afternoon:

"If there is no one who can make a short formal address - it must be good and hold attention - extracts from Mein Kampf, or from the Fuehrer's speeches or Rosenberg's, works should be read."
Do you find that?

A. Yes, I have found it.

Q. Well, do you still say that Rosenberg and his works had nothing to do with your Hitler Youth? You were suggesting that for Sunday morning reading, they might listen to this benign philosopher's works, were you not?

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say Rosenberg on Page 70?

MR. DODD: Of the English text? No, sir, Page 3; it is Page 70 of the German text.


Q. It may be Page 71 of your text, witness. I had it as Page 70. You will find it there. Do you see it?

A. Page 71 of the German text. Nothing is proved by the fact that such a reference is made in one of the numerous handbooks of cultural work to one of the training staff who attended those bi-annual discussions of Rosenberg which

[Page 399]

I have already mentioned. I think you will look a long time before you find this particular passage in one of the many Youth handbooks.

Q. Let me ask you something about this. You find one line in here for the Sunday morning celebration about a Churchman, a chaplain, holy scripture, or anything related to religious institutions and tell the Tribunal where it is.

A. I take it as certain that nothing like that occurs there.

Q. That is your Sunday morning programme.

A. The Hitler Youth was a State youth organization, and my aim was to separate religious and State education. A young man who wanted to go to church could go after the morning celebration - it was a camp function - or before it, according to whether he wanted to attend mass or go to a Protestant service, and on these Sundays on which he was not in camp - the whole camp lasted three weeks at the outside - he was completely free to attend church at home with his parents or other friends.

Q. All right.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dodd, I think it is fair to say that immediately before the words "Page 71" there are three lines which might be said to refer to religion.

MR. DODD: Yes, I intend to quote it. I was saving that for a little later. I will be glad to do it now if your Honour prefers to have it.



Q. I want to call your attention to an historical moral ballad that is suggested for the youth of this camp, on Page 89 of your text, or 90, and on Page 6 of the English text.

Now, you will note - I am not going to read this whole ballad, but I think you will agree that it ridicules, to put it mildly, the Jews, and other political parties in Germany. It refers to "Isidor, Isidor" in the opening lines, and lower down you will see, "Poor Michael was a wretched man; he had to serve the Jewish clan." In another line, "He gave the gang and the Jew a kick."

And then your Party Youth leaders suggest that they have a - what is it - a shadow show: "The nose of Isidor must be strongly exaggerated; the German Michael is to be presented in the conventional manner; the Communist as a wild stormer of barricades; the Social Democrat with a balloon cap; the Central Party man with a Jesuit cap, and the reactionary with top hat and monocle."

Did you ever see one of those shows, by the way?

A. I cannot find the text you have just quoted on Page 89.

Q. I probably have given you the wrong page. I have just been told it is Page 154 of your text - 155, rather.

A. Yes.

Q. Well, I just want to know about this suggested part of the programme for these young people of yours.

A. I should like to say something about the whole question as far as this book is concerned. I wrote the preface, and I accept responsibility for the contents. I did not read every detail of this book beforehand; and I do not wish to dispute the fact that in the camps forming part of the camp circus, as it was called, political caricatures were presented in the form of shadow-shows.

[ Previous | Index | Next ] [an error occurred while processing this directive]