The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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12.  About the beginning of April 1933, Dr. Goebbels, who in
the meantime on 17 March 1933 had become Minister for
Peoples Enlightenment and Propaganda, called me. He proposed
to take out the Wireless Service from the Reich Radio
Corporation and to bring it into his new ministry. Deadline,
the 1st of May. At another meeting we discussed the
personnel which should be transferred into the ministry.
After a long discussion, Dr. Goebbels agreed that almost all
editors could come with me. I remember still the names Dr.
Kuehner, Zentrum party, and Thormeier, member of no party,
who were taken over. I became a member of the NSDAP on the
1st of May 1933 and remained an NSDAP member until the
collapse in 1945. When I joined the Propaganda ministry I
had to hire only two secretaries who were party members. The
two secretaries whom I thereby had to dismiss, Misses
Kiepsch and Krueger, I placed with the Reich Radio
Corporation, where they were still in higher positions at
the beginning of 1945. The editor Hartmann, a Social
Democrat, I could place there likewise after a certain
period, where he was still working until the end of the war.
The editor Eckert, a Democrat, who had some

                                                  [Page 178]

Jewish ancestors, I could not place immediately. For about
one to two years he had to fight very hard as a free lance
writer. Then, however, I could place him with the Transocean
Agency, which was under my official supervision. At the
collapse he was still there in a good position.

13. When at the end of April 1933 I reported to Dr. Goebbels
that I had accomplished the reorganization, which was based
on many technical and organizational changes, and when I
asked him for his permission to return to my position with
the Telegraph Union, or to be permitted to work as a free
lance writer, he asked me to stay. My salary had to be
reduced from 1500 marks monthly to 700 marks per month.
Things like that happened in the ministry and one could not
avoid it. But he wanted to add to my present work as editor
a very interesting task, namely, the reorganization of the
various small German news agencies such as the Transocean
Company, Europa Press, Fast Service Company [Eildienst
G.m.b.H.] which had nearly all gone to sleep. In view of
this task, which to me as an expert was very interesting, I
accepted his offer to join his ministry. Next, as head of
the Wireless Service of the Reich Radio Corporation, I
entered the press division of the Reich Ministry for Peoples
Enlightenment and Propaganda with the greater part of my
staff. This is an honest presentation of the circumstances
under which I came into the propaganda ministry from the
Hugenberg press. Many of my former colleagues from the
Wireless Service were able to remain in their old positions
or to find employment with the propaganda ministry. In some
few cases I could assist them by virtue of my governmental
position. My former colleagues from the Telegraph Union were
almost without exception taken over in the Deutsche
Nachrichten Bureau [D.N.B.], established by the fusion
between Telegraph Union and the Wolff News Agency.

To clarify my functions and relations within the propaganda
ministry I herewith submit the following statement:

14.  The main division of the propaganda ministry for the
spreading and control of news was the "Press Division of the
Reich Cabinet" [Presseabteilung der Reichsregierung] which
was headed by Dr. Otto Dietrich from the summer of 1938
until February 1945. This division was composed, since 1938,
of three subdivisions, namely: "German Press Division" by
far the most important and largest; "Periodical Press
Division"; and "Foreign Press Division". Successive heads of
the German Press Division were Privy Counsellor [Geheimrat]
Walter Alexander Heide,

                                                  [Page 179]

 from about March 1933 until June 1933; Ministerial
Counsellor [Ministerialrat] Dr. Kurt Jahncke, from June 1933
until about 1935; Ministerial Director [Ministerialdirektor]
Alfred Ingemar Berndt, from about 1935 up to 23 December
1938; I myself, from 23 December 1938 up to 3 November 1942;
Ministerial Counsellor Erich Fischer, from 3 November 1942
until February 1945; deputy heads of the German Press
Division were successively: Ministerial Counsellor Werner
Stephan, from 1933 until about 1938; Ministerial Counsellor
Dr. Hans Brauweiler, from about the beginning of 1938 up to
about June 1938; myself, from June 1933 up to 23 December

15.  During the whole period, from 1933 up to 1945, it was
the task of the German Press Division to supervise the
entire domestic press and to provide it with directives by
which this division became an efficient instrument in the
hands of the German State leadership. More than 2300 German
daily newspapers were subject to this control. The aim of
this supervision and control, in the first years following
1933, was to change basically the conditions existing in the
press before the seizure of power. That meant the
coordination into the New Order [Neuen Ordnung] of those
newspapers and periodicals which were in the service of
capitalistic special interests or party politics. While the
administrative functions wherever possible were exercised by
the professional associations and the Reich Press Chamber,
the political leadership of the German press was entrusted
to the German Press Division. The head of the German Press
Division held daily press conferences in the ministry for
the representatives of all German newspapers. Hereby all
instructions were given to the representatives of the press.
These instructions were transmitted daily, almost without
exception, and mostly by telephone, from headquarters by Dr.
Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief, in a fixed statement, the
so-called "Daily Parole of the Reich Press Chief". Before
the statement was fixed the head of the German Press
Division submitted to him (Dietrich) the current press
wishes expressed by Dr. Goebbels and by other ministries.
This was the case especially with the wishes of the Foreign
Office about which Dr. Dietrich always wanted to make
decisions personally or through his representatives at the
headquarters, Helmut Suendermann and chief editor Lorenz.
The practical use [Auswertung] of the general directions
[Ausrichtung] in detail was thus left entirely to the
individual work of the individual editor; therefore, it is
by no means true that the newspapers and periodicals were a
monopoly of the German Press division or that essays and

                                                  [Page 180]

ing articles through it (German Press Division) had to be
submitted to the ministry. Even in war times this happened
in exceptional cases only. The less important newspapers and
periodicals which were not represented at the daily press
conferences received their information in a different way--
by providing them either with ready-made articles and
reports, or with a confidential printed instruction. The
publications of all other official agencies ere directed and
coordinated likewise by the German Press Division. To enable
the periodicals to get acquainted with the daily political
problems of newspapers and to discuss these problems in
greater detail, the "Informationskorrespondenz" was issued
especially for periodicals. Later on it was taken over by
the Periodical Press Division. The German Press Division
likewise was in charge of pictorial reporting insofar as it
directed the employment of pictorial reporters at important
events. In this way, and conditioned by the current
political situation, the entire German press was made a
permanent instrument of the propaganda ministry by the
German Press Division. Thereby, the entire German press was
subordinate to the political aims of the government. This
was exemplified by the timely measuring and the emphatic
presentation of such press polemics as appeared to be most
useful as shown for instance in the following themes: the
class struggle of the system era [Systerzeit]; the
leadership principle and the authoritarian state; the party
and interest politics of the system era; the Jewish problem;
the conspiracy of world Jewry; the bolshevist danger; the
plutocratic democracy abroad; the race problem generally;
the church; the economic misery broad; the foreign policy;
and living space [Lebensraum].

16.  Finally there was a main section "Archiv und Lectorat"
attached to the German Press Division. This main section
employed about 30 people. Within this main section the basis
was laid for the entire work of the division by production
of newspaper clippings, excerpts from and condensing of the
contents of domestic and foreign newspapers and periodicals.
The material thus obtained was also put at the disposal to
the highest Reich authorities regularly, and, if especially
requested, also in single cases. In another working group
"Room 24" all new information, inquiries, and counter-
questions were centralized within a day and night service
established for this special purpose. Here was the main
nerve of the entire division. With this presentation of the
organization and tasks of the German Press Division, I am
now able to describe my own position within the propaganda

                                                  [Page 181]

17.  As mentioned before, I joined the Press Division of the
Reich ministry on 1 May 1933 as head of the Wireless Service
of the Reich Radio Corporation. At this time Dr. Goebbels
suggested to me, as a specialist on news technique, the
establishment and direction of a section "News" within the
Press Division of his ministry, in order to organize fully
and to modernize the German news agencies. In executing the
assignment given to me by Dr. Goebbels I took for my field
the entire news field for the German press and the radio in
accordance with the directions given by the propaganda
ministry, at first with the exception of D.N.B. I achieved
this reorganization and modernization with the assistance of
the following persons, methods and technical means: (1)
Examination of the efficiency of the offices compared to
foreign competition; (2) Improvement of their news supply;
(3) Increase of the funds granted by the Reich to these
bureaus from 400,000 to 4,000,000 marks; (4) hiring of good
experts, for instance from the United Press; (5) speeding up
the elaboration of news; (6) elimination of delaying
censorship; (7) generous introduction of teletype and radio-
writing [Schreibfunk]; (8) within the ministry for this
purpose I had not one collaborator; (9) for Transocean I
hired the chief editor von Homeyer, formerly in Cairo; for
Europa Press I hired the chief editor Roesgen, formerly in
Paris. The directions of the propaganda ministry which I had
to follow were essentially the following: (1) increase of
German news copy abroad at any cost; (2) No gratis offer to
foreign newspapers in order to avoid suspicion of
propaganda; (3) avoiding mutual competition at one and the
same place abroad; (4) spreading of favorable news on the
internal construction and peaceful intentions of the
national socialist system. At a later period, about summer
1934, the fusion of the Telegraph Union and of the Wolff
Telegraph Agency (WTB) (the most important news agencies)
into D.N.B. was achieved by the then Reich press chief Funk.
I was never chief editor of the news agency D.N.B. nor was I
employed therein in another capacity. Chief editor,
respectively director, of the German News Bureau (D.N.B.)
was to my knowledge, from its establishment in about 1934 up
to 1945, Dr. Gustav Albrecht, a former director of W.T.B.;
the former director of the Telegraph Union, Otto Mejer, who
at first was also general manager of D.N.B., resigned later
on. Head of the radio division of the propaganda ministry
were successively to my knowledge: Ministerial Counsellor
Horst Dressler-Andress, Eugen Hadamovsky, Alfred Ingemar
Berndt, Hans Gottfried Kriegler, Wolfgang Diewerge up to 3
November 1942; and later

                                                  [Page 182]

up to 1945, I myself. As head of the "Section News" I
extended the business of Transocean agency and erected
several new modern short-wave senders. I intensified the
activity of the Europa Press agency and I put the economic
news information within the Fast Service Company [Eildienst
G.m.b.H.] on a new basis. The Transocean Agency was owned
before and afterwards by the Reich; it was directed by chief
editor Schredler. The Europa Press was owned before and
afterwards by the Reich and was directed by chief editor
Fleischer. The Fast Service Company [Eildienst G.m.b.H.] was
owned before and afterwards by the Reich and directed by
Ministerial Counsellor Puhlmann. Around 1937 I coordinated
the work of these offices within the inland Europe and
overseas foreign countries with each other and in
relationship to DNB. With this office I conflicted the first
time by establishing a wireless television radio. The task
of the section, until that period, was therefore a purely
journalistic, organizational one; actual political
directives were only given by the head cf the press division
or by his delegate to the news agencies.

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