The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Other important powers and functions contained in the
ordinary cabinet were not included in the foregoing list. or
example, upon the creation of the People's Court on 24 April
1934) it was placed within the jurisdiction of the Ministry
of Justice (2014-PS). With the acquisition and occupation of
new territories, the integration and coordination thereof
were placed within the Ministry of the Interior. The Reich
Minister of the Interior, Frick, (in some cases in
cooperation with other Reich Ministers) was, by law, given
regulatory powers over such territories. The territory and
the applicable law may be listed as follows:

     (1) The Saar (1935, Reichsgesetzblatt Part I, page 66).
     (2) Austria (1938, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 237).
     (3) Memel (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 54).
     (4) Bohemia and Moravia (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 485).
     (5) Sudetenland (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 780).
     (6) Danzig (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 1547.

                                                  [Page 108]
     (7) Incorporated Poland (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 2042).
     (8) Occupied Poland (1939, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 2077).
     (9) Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet (1940, Reichsgesetzblatt, 
         Part I, page 803).
     (10) Norway (1941, Reichsgesetzblatt, Part I, page 765).

Such were the powers and functions of the ordinary cabinet.

(2) The Secret Cabinet Council. Of the other two
subdivisions of the Reichsregierung -- the Secret Cabinet
Council and the Ministerial Council -- the Secret Cabinet
Council had no legislative or administrative powers. It was
created by Hitler on 4 February 1938

     "To advise me in conducting the foreign policy ***."

Its position in the Nazi regime is described by Ernst Rudolf
Huber, a leading Nazi Constitutional Lawyer, in his book
entitled "Verfassungsrecht des Grossdeutschen Reiches"
("Constitutional Law of the Greater German Reich"). In this
book, which was an authoritative, widely used work on Nazi
Constitutional Law, Huber States (1774-PS):

     "A privy cabinet council, to advise the Fuehrer in the
     basic problems of foreign policy, has been created by
     the decree of 4 February 1938 (RGBI. I, 112). This
     privy cabinet council is under the direction of Reich
     Minister v. Neurath, and includes the Foreign Minister,
     the Air Minister, the Deputy Commander for the Fuehrer,
     the Propaganda Minister, the Chief of the Reich
     Chancellery, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Supreme
     Command of the Armed Forces. The privy cabinet council
     constitutes a select staff of collaborators of the
     Fuehrer which consists exclusively of members of the
     Government of the Reich; thus, it represents a select
     committee of the Reich Government for the deliberation
     on foreign affairs." (1774-PS)

(3) The Council of Ministers for the Defense of the Reich.
The powers concentrated in the Ministerial Council, which
did possess legislative and administrative functions, at its
creation in 1939, are best expressed by the lecture which
Frick gave before the University of Freiburg on 7 March
1940. The lecture, published in a pamphlet entitled "The
Administration in Wartime," contains these statements (2608-PS):

     "*** The composition of the Ministerial Council for
                                                  [Page 109]
     the defense of the Reich shows the real concentration
     of power in it. General Field Marshal Goering is the
     chairman and also the Supreme Director of the War
     Economy and Commissioner for the our Year Plan. He is
     joined by the Plenipotentiary General for the Reich
     Administration, who directs the entire civilian
     administration with the exception of the economic
     administration, and the Plenipotentiary General for
     Economy. The Chief of the High Command of the Armed
     Forces is the liaison man to the Armed Forces. It is
     primarily his duty to coordinate the measures for
     civilian defense in the area of administration and
     economy with the genuine military measures for the
     defense of the Reich. The Deputy of the Fuehrer
     represents the Party, thus guaranteeing the unity
     between Party and State also within the Ministerial
     Council for the Defense of the Reich. The Reich
     Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery is in
     charge of the business management of the Ministerial
     Council for the Defense of the Reich."


     "The Ministerial Council for the Defense of the Reich,
     the highest legislative and executive organ in wartime
     next to the Fuehrer, created a subordinate organ for
     the purpose of the defense of the Reich: The
     Commissioners for the Reich Defense, who have their
     headquarters at the seat of the individual corps area."

With such power concentrated in the Reichsregierung and to
such a high degree, the Nazi conspirators possessed a
formidable weapon to effectuate their plans.

D. Acts and Decrees of the Reichsregierung.

Under the Nazi regime the Reichsregierung became the
instrument of the Nazi party.

(1) Execution of the Nazi Party Program. In the original
Cabinet of 30 January 1933 only three cabinet members were
members of the Party -- Goering, Frick, and Hitler. As new
Ministries were added to the Cabinet, prominent Nazis were
placed at their head. On 30 January 1937, Hitler accepted
into the Party those Cabinet members who were not already
members. This action is reported in the Voelkischer
Beobachter, South German Edition, of 1 February 1937 (2964-PS):

     "In view of the anticipated lifting of the ban for
     party membership, the Fuehrer, as the first step in
     this regard, personally carried out the enlistment into
     the party of the
                                                  [Page 110]
     members of the Cabinet, who so far had not belonged to
     it and he handed them simultaneously the Gold Party
     Badge, the supreme badge of honor of the party. In
     addition, the Fuehrer awarded the Gold Party Badge to
     Generaloberst Freiherr von Fritsch; Generaladmiral Dr.
     H. C. Raeder; the Prussian Minister of Finance,
     Professor Popitz; and the Secretary of State and Chief
     of the Presidential Chancellery, Dr. Meissner.
     "The Fuehrer also honored with the gold party badge the
     party members State Secretary Dr. Lammers, State
     Secretary Funk, State Secretary Koerner and State
     Secretary General of the Airforce Milch."

It was possible to refuse the party membership thus
conferred. Only one man, von Eltz-Rubenach, who was the
Minister of Post and Minister of Transport at the time, did
this. His letter from von Eltz-Rubenach to Hitler, dated 30
January 1937, reads as follows (1534-PS):
     "I thank you for the confidence you have placed in me
     during the four years of your leadership and for the
     honor you do me in offering to admit me to the party.
     My conscience forbids me however to accept this offer.
     I believe in the principles of positive Christianity
     and must remain faithful to my Lord and to myself.
     Party membership however would mean that I should have
     to face without contradiction the steadily aggravating
     attacks by party offices on the Christian confessions
     and those who want to remain faithful to their
     religious convictions.
     "This decision has been infinitely difficult for me.
     For never in my life have I performed my duty with
     greater joy and satisfaction than under your wise state
     "I ask to be permitted to resign.
                                     "With German Greetings:
                                      Yours very obediently,
                         "(signed) Baron v. Eltz" (1554-PS).
But the Nazis did not wait until all members of the cabinet
were party members. Shortly after they came to power, they
quickly assured themselves of active participation in the
work of the Cabinet. On 1 December 1933, the Cabinet passed
a law securing the unity of party and state (1395-PS). In
Article 2 of that law the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Hess, and
the Chief of Staff of the SA, Roehm, were made members of
the Cabinet (195-PS). Lest mere membership in the Cabinet
would not be effective, Hitler endowed his deputy with
greater powers of participation. An

                                                  [Page 111]
unpublished decree signed by Hitler, dated 27 July 1934, and
addressed to the Reich Ministers, provides (D-138):

     "I decree that the Deputy of the Fuehrer, Reich
     Minister Hess, will have the capacity of a
     participating Reich Minister in connection with the
     preparation of drafts for laws in all Reich
     Administrative spheres. All legislative work is to be
     sent to him when it is received by the other Reich
     Minister concerned. This also applies in cases where no
     one else participates except the Reich Minister making
     the draft. Reich Minister Hess will be given the
     opportunity to comment on drafts suggested by experts.
     "This order will apply in the same sense to legislative
     ordinances. The Deputy of the Fuehrer in his capacity
     of Reich Minister can send as representative an expert
     on his staff. These experts are entitled to make
     statements to the Reich Ministers on his behalf.

                           "[signed] Adolph Hitler" (D-138).

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