The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/12/09

Q. Now, do you recall issuing a decree in 1933, [Document
referred to did not form part of prosecution case as finally
prepared and hence is not published in this series.] as
President of the Reich Press Chamber, to the effect that
organizations could not obligate their members to subscribe
to certain newspapers?

A. I remember this decree but it was not in 1933 because
there was no Reich Press Chamber at that time.

Q. When was the decree issued?

A. At the earliest, 1935.

Q. Well, was that decree seriously followed with respect to
the Party newspapers?

A. The purpose of the decree was to stop the many
subscription agents, whose practice it was to get
subscribers by any means. I even issued instructions to
forbid any subscription campaigns all over the Reich. Every
subscription agent had to be authorized by an identification
card, signed by me. Every agent was investigated for
previous criminal record, political reliability, and so
forth and I insisted he got a fixed salary so that financial
distress would not force him to use wild methods.

Q. Did you ever license any agents who were not Party

                                                 [Page 1528]
A. Most of them were non-Party members.

Q. I thought you said they were investigated as to political

A. No. Only the publishers would be investigated as to
political reliability; the agents as to previous criminal

Q. Whatever the ostensible reason for issuing the decree,
did it not in fact occur so that the result of it was to
prohibit people who belonged to various organizations which
had their own publications, from subscribing to those
publications as a condition of membership in the

A. The decree had as a purpose the preventing of pressure on
simple Party members, who belonged to different Party
organizations or affiliated organizations, from being forced
to subscribe to every single newspaper published by these
organizations. For instance, men who belonged to the SA had
to subscribe to the "Gau Zeitung." He had to subscribe to
the weekly "SA Mann." His wife had to subscribe to the
"Frauenschaftzeitung;" his daughter to the "BDM Zeitung" and
in addition, very often people were still reading the
neutral non-political papers, as in the past, and did not
want to give them up. As nobody can afford five or six
newspapers every day, this decree tried to prevent this type
of pressure on the Party members.

Q. Is it your statement now, this decree was intended to
ease pressure on the Party members?

A. In general, no, this decree was planned to have a general
effect. I didn't want any subscriptions which were not
voluntary because it could destroy the whole prestige of the
Party if we would force everybody constantly to pay for
newspapers he didn't want.

Q. I suppose you consider it only an incidental fact that
other organizations which were opposed to the Party, such as
the Catholic organizations, that the members thereof could
not subscribe to their papers, as a condition of belonging
to such organizations?

A. At that time there were no Catholic newspapers anymore,
only the general press. The Catholic newspapers were
discontinued under the order of Hitler. There were about 63
dailies, Catholic dailies, which were discontinued. This
decree, furthermore, led to a general Party order that "Gau"
newspapers should only be sold and subscribed to in the
specific Gau.

Q. When were the 63 Catholic newspapers suppressed?

A. During the year 1935 and from then on.

Q. Now, as a matter of fact, you signed the decree
suppressing these newspapers. Isn't that right?

                                                 [Page 1529]
A. I don't remember this exactly but it is possible that it
originated with the Reich Press Chamber.

Q. Anything is possible. What do you recall about it?

A. I remember that the Reich Press Chamber required all
publishers to sign a declaration which said that as a
publisher of a German newspaper he was affirming the
National Socialist State and this declaration could not be
given by publishers of the Catholic newspapers because they
had the point of view, and quite rightly from their
position, that they could not affirm certain National
Socialist measures, like sterilizations for instance, and so
these publishers could not sign required declarations.

Q. Now, isn't it a fact that shortly after the Party came
into power, that papers of a political left, that is
Communist and Marxist papers, were suppressed immediately?

A. Yes, they were closed down by the police.

Q. Isn't it a further fact that shortly after the Party came
into power, that papers of other political parties, that is
non-Marxist or non-Communist, but also non-Party, were with
some exceptions left undisturbed until suitable legislation
had been drafted to deal with them?

A. I assume that is correct but the Marxist papers were
suppressed immediately.

Q. Wouldn't it be a fair statement to say that the whole
purpose of the Nazi press program was to eliminate all press
in opposition to the Party?

A. Yes, that can be said.

Q. Do you recall another decree on the 24th of April 1935,
which prohibited the formation of press combines, that is,
no publisher was allowed to issue more than one independent
newspaper in more than one locality? [See document 2315-PS,
vol. IV, p. 1007.]

A. That is possible. We talked about it already.

Q. Do you recall issuing that decree?

A. This decree was published, after months of negotiations,
by the Propaganda Minister.

Q. Isn't it a fact, as a result of this decree, that many
publishers were required to sell one or more of their

A. If the decree stated things as I was told yesterday, but
I am still not certain whether the decree contained that

Q. The record will show exactly the phraseology of the
decree. There is no question about it. My question is
whether or not it did not compel certain publishers to sell
to you one or more of their newspapers? I do not mean that
the decree required the sale to be made to you, but you were
the ultimate purchaser.

                                                 [Page 1530]
A. He could sell to anybody as long as this person was
politically reliable.

Q. And so, it was just by coincidence you happened to be the
purchaser, is that it?

A. Most probably the main reason was that during this
revolutionary and confused period, very few had the courage
to start a newspaper venture without having previous

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