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-Sixteenth Day: Monday, 29th April, 1946
(Part 1 of 12)

[Page 307]


DR. MARX (Counsel for defendant Streicher): Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Tribunal: Before continuing with questions to the defendant Streicher, may I ask permission to make a statement.

Herr Streicher, on Friday afternoon, referred to a case, namely, that Press report which concerned me and my professional attitude. I thereupon took the opportunity to refer to this case in my statement as well, and I pointed out that at that time I had had to ask for the protection of the Tribunal against this damaging attack on my work and that this protection was given me very graciously. On that occasion, and in that extemporary explanation I used the expression "newspaper writer." I used it exclusively with reference to the particular journalist who had written the article in question in that Berlin newspaper regarding me and my activities as a lawyer.

By no means did I express, or mean to express, a reference to the Press in general. It was far from my intention in any way to attack the Press, particularly not the members of the world Press who are active here; nor did I wish to injure their professional honour.

The reason for this statement of mine is a statement made on the radio, according to which I had attacked and disparaged the Press in general. I am, of course, aware of the significance of the Press. I know precisely, what the Press has to contribute, and I should be the last person to fail to recognise fully the extremely difficult work, and the responsibility of the Press. May I, therefore, quite publicly before this Tribunal ask that this statement be accepted, and may I ask the gentlemen of the Press to receive my statement in the spirit in which it is made, namely, that this was merely a special comment on that particular gentleman, and not in any way on the entire Press. That is what I wanted to say.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, the Tribunal understood your statement the other day in the sense in which you have now explained it.

DR. MARX: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall then continue with my examination.


Q. Witness, what aims did you pursue with your speeches and your articles in "Der Sturmer"?

A. The speeches and articles, which I wrote, were meant to inform the public on a question which appeared to me one of the most important questions. I did not intend to arouse hatred or anger, but to enlighten.

Q. Apart from your weekly journal, and particularly after the Party came into power, were there any other instruments of the Press in Germany which treated the Jewish question in an anti-Semitic way?

A. Anti-Semitic Press views have existed in Germany for centuries. A book I had, written by Dr. Martin Luther, was, for instance, confiscated. Dr. Martin Luther would very probably sit in my place on the defendants' bench today, if this book had been taken into consideration by the prosecution. In the book "The Jews and Their Lies," Dr. Martin Luther writes that the Jews are a generation of vipers and one should burn down their synagogues and destroy them ...

Q. Herr Streicher, that is not my question, I am asking you to answer my question as I put it. Please answer now with "yes" or "no," whether there were -

[Page 308]

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: I should like to raise an objection to this method of answering by making speeches here. We are utterly unable in this procedure to make objections when answers are not responsive to questions. Already there has been introduced into this case, through Streicher's volunteered speeches, an attack on the United States which will take considerable evidence to answer, if we are to answer it. It seems to me very improper that a witness should do anything but make a definite answer to a question, so that we may keep these proceedings from getting into issues that have nothing to do with them. It will not help this Tribunal, in deciding Streicher's guilt or innocence, to go into questions which he has raised here against us - matters that are perfectly capable of explanation, if we take time to do it.

It seems to me that this witness should be admonished, and admonished so that he will understand it, if that is possible, that he is to answer questions and stop, so that we can know and object in time to orations on irrelevant subjects.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, will you try, when you put the questions to the witness, to stop him if he is not answering the questions you put to him?

DR. MARX: Yes, Mr. President. I was just about ...

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant Streicher, you understand - you have heard what has been said, and you will understand that the Tribunal cannot put up with your long speeches which are not answers to questions which are put to you.


Q. I will now repeat the question, and I want you to answer the question first with "yes" or "no" and then to add a brief explanation regarding that question.

Apart from your weekly journal, and particularly after the Party came to power, were there other aspects of the Press in Germany which dealt with the Jewish question in an antagonistic way?

A. Yes, even before the coming to power there were in every district weekly journals that were anti-Semitic and one daily paper called the "Volkischer Beobachter" in Munich. Apart from that, there were a number of periodicals which were not working directly for the Party. There was also anti- Semitic literature. After the seizure of power, the daily Press was co-ordinated, and now the Party found itself in control of some three thousand daily papers, numerous weekly journals, and all types of periodicals, and orders were given by the Fuehrer that every newspaper should provide enlightening articles on the Jewish question. The anti- Semitic enlightenment was, therefore, after the seizure of power, carried out on a very large scale in the daily Press as well as in the weekly journals, periodicals and books. Consequently, Der "Sturmer," did not stand alone in its enlightening activity. But I want to state quite openly that I make the claim of having treated the question in the most popular way.

Q. Were the directives necessary for this issued by a central office, say, for instance, by the National Socialist Press Service?

A. Yes. The Propaganda Ministry in Berlin had a National Socialist Press Service. In this service, in every number issued, there were a number of enlightening articles on the Jewish question. During the war the Fuehrer personally gave the order that the Press, far more than previously, should publish enlightening articles on the Jewish question.

Q. The Indictment accuses you of contributing indirectly to mass murders by incitement, and, according to the transcript of 10 January, 1946, the following charge has been made against you: No government in the world could have undertaken a policy of mass extermination as was done here without having behind it a nation which agreed to it; and you are supposed to have brought that about. What have you to say to this?

A. To that I have the following to say: incitement means to bring a person into a condition of excitement which causes him to perform an irresponsible act.

[Page 309]

Did the contents of "Der Sturmer" incite, that is the question? Briefly stated, the question must be answered, "What did 'Der Sturmer' write?" Several volumes of "Der Sturmer" are available here, but one would have to look at all the issues of twenty years in order to answer that question exhaustively. During those twenty years I published enlightening articles dealing with the race, dealing with what the Jews themselves wrote in the Old Testament, in their history, what they wrote in the Talmud. I printed excerpts from Jewish historical works, works, for instance, written by Professor Dr. Graetz and by a Jewish scholar, Gutnot.

In "Der Sturmer" no editorial appeared written by me, or written by one of my co-workers, in which I did not include quotations from the ancient history of the Jews, from the Old Testament and from Jewish historical works of recent times.

It is important, and I must emphasise that I pointed out in all articles, that prominent Jews, leading authors, themselves admitted that which during twenty years, as author and public speaker, I publicly proclaimed.

Allow me to add that it is my conviction that the contents of "Der Sturmer" as such were not incitement. During the whole twenty years I never wrote in this connection: "Burn Jewish houses down; beat Jews to death." Never once did such an incitement appear in "Der Sturmer.

Now comes the question: Is there any proof that any deed was done from the time "Der Sturmer" first appeared, a deed of which one can say that it was the result of an incitement? As a deed due to an incitement I might mention a pogrom. That is a spontaneous deed when sections of the people suddenly rise up and kill other people. During the twenty years no progrom [sic] took place in Germany, during the twenty years, as far as I know, no Jew was killed. No murder took place, of which one could have said, "This is the result of an incitement which was caused by anti-Semitic authors or public speakers."

Gentlemen, we are in Nuremberg. In the past there was a saying that nowhere were the Jews in Germany so safe and so unmolested as in Nuremberg.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Marx, is not this becoming a rather lengthy speech?

Q. Streicher, you have explained this sufficiently. So that one can form an opinion - you want to say: I have not incited, in such a way that any spontaneous action carried out against the Jews by any group of people or by the masses resulted?

A. May I remark in this connection? Here we are concerned with the most serious, the most decisive accusation raised against me by the prosecution, and here I ask the Tribunal to permit me to defend myself against it objectively. Is it not of great significance, if I can establish that in Nuremberg, of all places, no murder took place, no single murder and no progrom [sic] either? That is a fact.

THE PRESIDENT: You have already said it. I have just written down, before I intervened, a saying that no Jews have been killed, not only in Nuremberg, but anywhere else, as a result of your incitement.


Q. Witness, we shall make reference to these demonstrations of 9 and 10 November, 1938, later.

A. Yes, but may I continue - the Indictment accuses me of having indirectly contributed by incitement to mass murders, and I ask to be allowed to make a statement on this: Something has been ascertained today about which I myself did not know. I learned of the will left behind by the Fuehrer, and I assume that a few moments before his death the Fuehrer told the world the truth in that will ... In it he says that mass murders were carried out by his order that the mass murders were a reprisal.

[Page 310]

Thus it is demonstrated that I, myself, cannot have been a participant in the incredible events which occurred here.

Q. Finished?

A. Yes. You said that the Indictment accuses me in saying that these mass killings could never have taken place if behind the Government and behind the leaders of the State there had not been an informed people.

Gentlemen, first of all, the question, "Did the German people really know what was happening during the years of the war?" We know today . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Defendant, that is a matter of argument and not a matter upon which you can give evidence. You can say what you know.

THE WITNESS: I was a part of that nation during the war. During the war I lived alone in the country. For five years I never left my farm. I was watched by the Gestapo. From 1939 on I had been forbidden by the Fuehrer to speak.


Q. Herr Streicher, we will certainly come to that later. I have interrogated you now on this question, and I will proceed with my questions. The other will come later.

A. But I wish to state that I had no opportunity - that is why I said this - to learn what was actually going on.

I first heard of the mass murders and mass killings at Mondorf when I was in prison. But I am stating here that if I had been told that two or three million people had been killed, then I would not have believed it. I would not have believed that it was technically possible to kill so many people, and on the basis of the entire attitude and psychology of the Fuehrer, as I saw it, I would not have believed that mass killings, to the extent to which they have taken place, could have taken place.

Q. The prosecution also raises the charge against you that it was the task of the administrators of the nation to train the people to murder and to poison their minds with hatred, that you had devoted yourself particularly to these tasks. What do you want to answer to this charge?

A. That is an allegation. We trained no murderers. The contents of the articles which I wrote could not have created murderers. No murders took place, and that is proof that we did not train murderers. What happened during the war - well, I certainly did not train the Fuehrer. The Fuehrer issued the order on his own initiative ...

Q. I now continue. The prosecution further asserts that the Himmler and Kaltenbrunner groups and other S.S. leaders would have had no one to carry out their orders to kill if you had not made that propaganda and if you had not conducted the trend of thought of the German people along these lines. Will you make a statement on that?

A. I do not believe that the National Socialists mentioned read "Der Sturmer" every week. I do not believe that those who received the order from the Fuehrer to carry out killings or to pass on the order to kill, were led to do this by my periodical. Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf," existed, and the contents of that book were the authority, the spiritual authority; but I do not believe either that the persons mentioned read that book and carried out the order on the strength of it. Based on my knowledge of what went on in the Movement, I am convinced that if the Fuehrer gave an order everyone acted, and I state here quite openly that maybe fate has been kind to me. If the Fuehrer had ordered me to do such things I would not have been able to kill, but perhaps today I would be facing some indictment which it has not been possible to lodge against me. Perhaps fate has taken a hand in this. But the conditions were in fact that the Fuehrer had such a power of hypnotic suggestion that the entire people believed in him; his ways were so unusual that, if one realises this fact, one can understand why everyone who received an order acted. And

[Page 311]

thus I wanted to reject as untrue and incorrect what was here thought fit to assert against me.

Q. What do you know about the general attitude of Adolf Hitler to the Jewish question? And when did Hitler first become hostile to the Jews, according to your knowledge?

A. Even before Adolf Hitler became publicly known at all, I had occupied myself journalistically with anti-Semitic articles. However, on the strength of his book, "Mein Kampf," I first learned about the historic connections of the Jewish problem. Adolf Hitler wrote his book in the prison in Landsberg. Anyone who knows this book will know that Hitler, many years back, either by study of anti- Semitic literature or through other experiences, must have developed this knowledge in order to be able to write that book in so short a time, in prison. In other words, in his book, Adolf Hitler stated to the world that he was anti- Semitic and that he understood the Jewish problem thoroughly. He himself often said to me personally ...

THE PRESIDENT: (Interposing) Dr. Marx, the book, "Mein Kampf," is in evidence, and it speaks for itself.

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