The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
16th April to 1st May, 1946

One-Hundred-and-Fifteenth Day: Friday, 26th April, 1946
(Part 7 of 8)

[DR. LATERNSER continues his redirect examination of Hans Bernd Gisevius]

[Page 296]

DR. LATERNSER: Yes, indeed. In the course of his testimony today the

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witness mentioned the fact that he had in his possession documentary evidence of murders in Poland and Russia. I wanted to ask him who had prepared these reports and, in particular, whether he is acquainted with a very thorough and scientifically prepared report made by Blaskowitz, commander in Poland, and intended for transmission to his superiors. That would be an extremely important point. Colonel General Blaskowitz is a member of the group which I represent. From the facts to be shown, it is clear that the members of this group have always taken a stand against cruelty, if such cases were reported to them through official channels. I must therefore establish whether these reports, the object of which was to prevent atrocities, are to be ascribed to the co-operation of generals belonging to the indicted group.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: It seems tome, if I may suggest it, your Honours, that counsel is under the apprehension that he has here to deal with individual generals. We are dealing only with the group. If what counsel says about General Blaskowitz is true, that is a defence for him, and he is right to say that General Blaskowitz did defy this Nazi conspiracy. And if that fact is ever verified, he certainly should not be subject to penalties for the acts which he stood up against.

It seems to me that we are going into individual defences here under a mis-apprehension that this is the occasion to try each and every one of the generals. We make no charge against them that they either did or did not have a putsch or a Fritsch affair. The Fritsch affair is only referred to here as fixing the time when the defendant Schacht became convinced that aggressive warfare was the purpose of the Nazi regime. The putsch is only introduced because, in his defence, Schacht says he tried to induce a putsch. It enters not at all into the case against the General Staff. Most of the General Staff who took any part in the putsch were hanged, and I cannot see how it could be any defence to those who remained and are under trial that a putsch was or was not conducted. It seems that we are off the main track.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, I would like to define my position with regard to this point. Unless I am permitted to ask questions about the attitude of the members of this group and in respect to such an important point, from which it is clear that they combated atrocities, it is impossible for me to make clear to the Tribunal the attitude typical of the high military leaders. It is absolutely necessary for me to follow up such points, especially since I have no other evidence at my disposal; for I cannot consider a group criminal unless - for instance - the majority of its members actually committed crimes. I must be in a position to ask in this case what position Colonel General Blaskowitz took in regard to the murders which took place in Poland.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn to consider the matter.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Laternser, the Tribunal considers that the questions that you have been putting, if relevant at all, are only extremely remotely relevant, and they cannot allow the cross-examination to continue for any length of time, or the time of the Tribunal would be wasted further. They think, and they rule, that you may put the question which they understand you desire to put in this form: The witness has spoken of reports which were received by the group of which he has spoken about atrocities in the East, and they think you may ask him who submitted those reports.


Witness, I should like you to answer this question: With whom did these reports of murders in Poland and Russia originate?

A. I know of one report made by Colonel General Blaskowitz during the first few months of the Polish campaign on the basis of information received by him and the military offices under him. Beyond that, as far as I know, such

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reports were compiled only by the group Canaris-Oster. But I should not care to assert that another report had not been written by someone else somewhere.

Q. What was the aim of the report which Colonel General Blaskowitz submitted?

A. Colonel General Blaskowitz intended ...

THE PRESIDENT: The report which one particular general made does not tend to show that the group was either innocent or criminal.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, it helps us to find out what the attitude of the group was.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal think that the report of one general is not evidence as to the criminality of the whole group.

DR. LATERNSER: Mr. President, is that question approved? I asked about the aim of the report.

THE PRESIDENT: No, the Tribunal is of the opinion that what was contained in that report is not admissible.

DR. LATERNSER: I have no more questions.

THE PRESIDENT: Then the witness may retire.

(The witness retired.)

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Pannenbecker, that concludes your case, does it?

DR. PANNENBECKER: The case of the defendant Frick is hereby concluded, except for the answers to the interrogatories which I have not yet received.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Counsel for the defendant Streicher, Dr. Marx; proceed.

DR. MARX (Counsel for defendant Streicher): With the permission of the Tribunal, Mr. President, I now call the defendant Julius Streicher to the witness box.

JULIUS STREICHER, a witness, took the stand and testified as follows:-


Q. Will you state your full name?

A. Julius Streicher.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:-

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)

THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down.



Q. Witness, would you give the Tribunal first a short description of your career?

A. I should like to ask the Tribunal to let me make a brief statement in respect of my defence. (1) ...

THE PRESIDENT: You really ought to answer the questions that are put to you.

A. My Lord, my defence counsel cannot say what I must say now. I should like to ask permission - in short, my defence counsel has not conducted and was not in a position to conduct my defence in the way I wanted; and I should like to state this to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, you understand that the Tribunal does not wish to have its time taken up with unnecessary matters. It has no objection to your stating what is material, or to your reading it if necessary. It hopes that you will be as brief as possible.

A. I mention only facts, four facts.

(1) The Charter created for this International Military Tribunal guarantees the defendants the right to an unhampered and just defence.

(2) Before the trial began the defendants received a list containing the names

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of the attorneys from whom each defendant could choose his counsel. Since the Munich attorney whom I had selected for my defence could no longer be placed at my disposal, I asked the Military Tribunal to put the Nuremberg attorney Dr. Marx at my disposal instead. That was done.

(3) When I met my counsel for the first time, I told him he must expect, as my counsel, to be attacked in public. Shortly afterwards, an attack was made by a communist newspaper published in the Russian zone of Berlin. The International Tribunal was compelled to make a public statement repudiating the attack of that newspaper and assuring my counsel of the express protection of the Military Tribunal.

(4) Although the statement made by the International Military Tribunal left no doubt as to the fact that the Tribunal wished to see the defence of the defendants unhampered, a renewed attack occurred, this time by radio. The announcer said, "There are camouflaged Nazis and anti- Semites among the defendants' counsel." These terroristic attacks were obviously made with the intention of intimidating the defendants' counsel, and may have contributed to the fact - that is my impression - that my own counsel has refused to submit to the Tribunal a large number of pieces of evidence which I considered important.

(5) I wish to state that I have not been afforded the possibility of making an unhampered and just defence before this International Military Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: You can rest assured that the Tribunal will see that everything, in the opinion of the Tribunal, that bears upon the case or is relevant to your case or is in any way material in your case, will be presented and that you will be given the fairest opportunity of making your defence.

THE WITNESS: I thank you. From my life ...

DR . MARX: Excuse me, Mr. President; may I ask briefly to be permitted to state my position. May it please the Tribunal, when I was asked to take over Herr Streicher's defence I naturally had grave misgivings. I have ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, I don't think it is necessary, really, for you to make any personal explanation at this stage. It is very possible that the defendant may have different ideas about his own defence. I think we had better let him go on with his defence.

DR. MARX: Nevertheless, I should like to ask permission, Mr. President, just to mention the following point: As attorney and as defence counsel of a defendant I have to reserve for myself the right to decide how I shall conduct the defence. If the client is of the opinion that certain documents or books are relevant, while his counsel is of the opinion that they are not, then that is a difference of opinion between the counsel and his client.

If Herr Streicher is of the opinion that I am incapable or not in a position to conduct his defence, then he should ask for another defence counsel. I am aware that at this stage of the proceedings it would be very difficult for me to follow the matter to its logical conclusion and ask to be relieved of this task of defence. I am not terrorised by any journalist, but for a counsel to lose the confidence of his own client is quite another matter; and for that reason I feel bound to ask the Tribunal to decide whether in these circumstances I am to continue to defend my client.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks, Dr. Marx, that the explanation and the statement which you have just made is in accordance with the traditions of the legal profession and they think therefore that the case ought to proceed and that you should proceed with the case. Now, defendant, will you go on.

THE WITNESS: About my life: I was born on 12 February, 1885, in a small

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village in Bavaria. I was the youngest of nine children. My father was an elementary school teacher. I too became a teacher. In 1909, after I had taught for several years in my native district, I was called to the municipal school in Nuremberg. Here I had the opportunity to contact the families of the working-class children in the suburbs and of observing social contrasts. This experience led to my decision in 1911 to go into politics. I became a member of the Democratic Party. As a young democratic speaker, I spoke at the Reichstag elections in 1912. The car put at my disposal was paid for by the banking firm of Kohn. I stress this point because at that time I had occasion to associate a good deal with Jews, even in the Democratic Party. I must therefore have been fated to become later on a writer and speaker on racial politics.

The World War came and I too joined up as a lance-corporal in an infantry regiment. Then I became an officer in a machine-gun unit. I returned home with both Iron Crosses, with the Bavarian Order and the rare Austrian Cross of Merit attached to the ribbon for gallantry. When I had returned home, I had no desire to go into politics again. I only intended to stay in private life and devote myself to my profession. Then I saw the blood-red posters of revolution in Germany and for the first time I joined the raging masses at that time. At a meeting, when the speaker had finished, I asked to be heard as an unknown person. An inner voice sent me on to the platform and I spoke. I joined in the debate and I spoke on recent happenings in Germany. In the November revolution of 1918 the Jews and their friends had seized the political power in Germany. Jews were in the Reich Cabinet and in all the provincial governments. In my native province of Bavaria, the Minister-President was a Polish Jew called Eisner-Kosmarowsky. The reaction among the middle classes in Germany manifested itself in the form of an organisation known as "Schutz und Trutzbund" (Society for Protective and Offensive Action). Local branches of this organisation were formed in all the large cities in Germany; and fate willed that after I had again spoken at a gathering, a man came up to me and asked me to come to the Kulturverein (Cultural Society) in the "Golden Hall" and hear what they had to say there.

In this way, gentlemen of the Tribunal, I became involved in what brings me here today. Destiny made of me what international propaganda thought it had made. I was called a bloodhound - a bloody czar of Franconia; my honour was attacked, a criminal was paid 300 marks to swear in this very hall that he had seen me, as an officer in France during the war, rape a Madame Duquesne, a teacher's wife in Atis, near Peroine. It was two years before someone betrayed him and the truth came out.

Gentlemen, the receipt for 300 marks was produced here in this court. For 300 marks they tried to buy my honour.

I mention this only because mine is a special case, and if it is to be judged with justice, then I must be allowed to make such a remark in passing. In this connection, I may say that it is no coincidence that the first question asked me by the Soviet Russian officer who interrogated me was whether I was a sex criminal.

Gentlemen, I told to you how I was fated to be drawn into the "Schutz und Trutzbund." I told you what conditions were like in Germany at the time, and it was therefore quite a natural development that I no longer visited the houses of revolution to join in debate. I felt myself impelled to call meetings of my own and so I spoke for perhaps 15 years almost every Friday before about 5,000 to 6,000 people. I admit quite frankly that I went on making speeches over a period of 20 years in the largest cities of Germany, sometimes at meetings on sport fields and on public squares, to audiences of 150,000 to 200,000 people. I did that for 20 years, and I state here that I was not paid by the Party. The

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prosecution will never succeed, not even through a public appeal, in getting anybody into this room who could testify that I had ever been paid. I still had a small salary which continued after I was relieved of my position in 1924. None the less, I remained the one and only unpaid Gauleiter in the movement. It goes without saying that my writing supported myself and my assistants later on.

And so, gentlemen, in the year 1921 - I return now to that period - I went to Munich. I was curious because someone had said to me "You must hear Adolf Hitler some time." And now destiny takes a hand again. This tragedy can only be grasped by those whose vision is not limited to the material, but who can perceive those higher vibrations which even today can be felt.

I went to the Munich beer-cellar. Adolf Hitler was speaking there. I had only heard his name. I had never seen the man before. And there I sat, an unknown among unknowns. I saw this man shortly before midnight, after he had spoken for three hours, drenched in perspiration, radiant. My neighbour said he thought he saw a halo around his head, and I, gentlemen, experienced something which transcended the commonplace.

When he finished his speech, an inner voice bade me get up. I went to the platform. When Adolf Hitler came down, I approached him and told him my name.

The prosecution has submitted a document to the Tribunal which recalls that moment. Adolf Hitler wrote in his book "Mein Kampf" that it must have cost me a great effort to hand over to him the movement which I had created in Nuremberg.

I mention this because the prosecution thought that these things in Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" should be submitted and used against me. Yes, I am proud of it, I forced myself to hand over to Hitler the movement which I had created in Franconia. With that Franconia movement and the movement which Adolf Hitler had created in Munich and Southern Bavaria, the way was paved to northern Germany. That was my doing.

In 1923 I took part in the First National Socialist revolution, or, rather, attempted revolution. It will go down in history as the Hitler putsch. Adolf Hitler had asked me to come to Munich for it. I went to Munich and took part in the meeting in which Adolf Hitler searched for an agreement with representatives of the middle classes to go to northern Germany and put an end to the chaos.

I marched with them up to the Feldherrnhalle. Then I was arrested and, like Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, etc., was taken to Landsberg on the Lech. After a few months I was put up as candidate for the Bavarian Parliament by the National Socialist Bloc (Volkischer Block) and was elected in the year 1924.

In 1925, after the movement had been permitted again and Adolf Hitler had been released from jail, I was made Gauleiter of Franconia. In 1933 I became a representative to the Reichstag. In 1933 or 1934, the honorary title of S.A. Gruppenfuehrer was bestowed on me.

In February, 1940, I was given leave of absence. I lived for five years, until the end of the war, on my estate. At the end of April I went to Southern Bavaria, to the Tyrol. I wanted to commit suicide. Then something happened which I do not care to relate. But I can say one thing: I said to friends, "I have proclaimed my views to the world for 20 years. I do not want to end my life by suicide. I will go my way whatever happens as a fanatic in the cause of truth until the very end, a fanatic in the cause of truth."

I might mention here that I deliberately gave my fighting paper "Der Sturmer" the sub-title "A Weekly for the Fight for Truth." I was quite

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conscious that I could not be in possession of the entire truth, but I also know that 80 or 90 per cent. of what I proclaimed with conviction was the truth.

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