The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1997/12/09

Q. We have already discussed the decree of 24 April 1935,
with reference to the "scandal press." Now, isn't it a fact
that this decree was used or could be used against any
newspaper that was not covered by the other two decrees that
we have discussed?

A. That decree against scandal sheets was a very clear
matter. The person in question either must have had a
criminal record or there must have been an investigation
already pending against him on a criminal case.

Q. But, the fact of the matter is, a newspaper could be
threatened with this decree, is that not so?

A. I for myself would never have used any threat because I
did not need any more newspapers.

Q. What about your assistant, Dr. Winkler? Was he above
using such threats?

A.  He also knew exactly my position that I was not eager to
buy additional newspapers.

Q. But you bought them?

A. I only bought newspapers which were offered voluntarily
but later on there was a certain pressure on me by the
Gauleiters to buy newspapers and those Gauleiters were quite
powerful people and they would tell me to buy certain

Q. Speaking of Gauleiters, did you ever form a newspaper
holding company, by the name of Phoenix?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. Do you recall the original capital of this financial

A. Well, the matter about the Phoenix Holding Company was
the following. In order to secure for myself the benevolence
of the quite dangerous Gauleiters, who always said that the
Eher Publishing Company was making money through the Gau
newspapers, I founded a separate holding company, the
Standarte, and I could always tell the Gauleiters that the
profits were put into this holding company and did not reach
the Eher Publishing House but were used to increase the
business of the Gau newspapers. There was another
difference. Into the Phoenix Holding Company, or as we
called it, Dachgesellschaft, we took former

                                                 [Page 1531]
Catholic newspapers mainly. There was another holding
company, I don't recall the name, into which former German
national newspapers were absorbed, which Hugenberg could not
continue. The last one which continued to exist was the
Standarte, and another was the Herold Publishing Company.
The purpose of these holding companies was to have a more
rigid control of the administration of the newspapers.

Q. Now, as I understand your statement, it is to the effect
that the Phoenix Company was the device by which various
newspapers were acquired, is that right?

A. No. It was a matter of form so as to make it easier to
recognize the previous tendency of the newspaper. If it was
a former Center newspaper, and so forth, then it would
belong to the Phoenix. If it had another direction formerly
it would belong to another holding company.

Q. In other words, it was used for the acquisition of
newspapers, was it not?

A. Yes. That is true. But it was not actually the Phoenix
Holding Company which acquired newspapers because whatever
capital might have been there belonged finally to the Eher
Publishing House.

Q. Isn't it true that within less than one year this Phoenix
Company acquired 365 newspapers of all types and kinds?

A. I don't believe that it was that much.

Q. How many would you say?

A. Perhaps 60 to 80 and that, I think, is a very high

Q. Well, how many did the Eher Publishing House acquire in
the space of a year, taking the best year of its operations?

A. I cannot say so; I am very weak in figures.

Q. You had substantially completed your acquisition of
newspapers by 1938, had you not.

A. I had substantially completed acquisition of newspapers
as early as 1936 or 1937.

Q. The party had three hundred newspapers in 1933, and
between 1,200 and 1,500 by 1941, and you told me you didn't
start acquisition of newspapers until 1935 and now you tell
me you completed it in 1937. That means that you had
acquired between 800 and 1,100 newspapers in the space of
two years.

A. I don't remember the figures anymore. But our
administrative office has clear statistics on that.

Q. Would you say the computation I just gave you is

A. The Phoenix figure you gave is much too high.

                                                 [Page 1532]
Q. I am talking about the other figure.

A. In my estimate it seems to be correct.

Q. Would you consider it a fair statement to say that under
the decrees, to which we have referred this morning, and the
other things to which we have referred, that newspapers were
faced with the alternatives of either being ruined and
closed down with no compensation received for the properties
or of selling out at the price fixed by your representative?

A. I would have objected strongly if anybody would have
worked with such a threat.

Q. I am not speaking of that particularly, but I am speaking
of the situation where these newspapers were considered
politically undesirable or considered scandal sheets of
whatever other reasons there were for closing them down.
Those are the situations I am referring to. Isn't it a fact
in those situations the publishers were faced with the
alternative of having their properties closed down, without
any compensation being received, or accepting the price that
was offered by your representatives?

A. I never bought former scandal sheets.

Q. Now, answer my question.

A. He could look for a person who was nationally or
politically reliable and try to get the price from him.

Q. You don't seriously contend there was any competitive
bidding for these newspapers, do you?

A. Unfortunately there was no  competitive bidding. I would
have preferred it because with every new newspaper I had
additional work.

Q. And yet, you were the only bidder for most of these
papers, isn't that right?

A. I gave a specific order to my agents to look for sons or
relatives who could continue the business.

Q. Well, my question still remains that when these
newspapers were sold you were the only bidder, isn't that

A. Well, as nobody else was available I was the only bidder.

Q. Yes. That is what you told me before. I do not see why
you were so reluctant to tell me this time.

A. I only wanted to make my point of view clear, that I
always followed a fair price policy in the purchases.

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