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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
20th June to 1st July 1946

One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Day: Thursday, 27th June, 1946
(Part 4 of 5)

[Page 256]

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, in this connection I should like to refer to the document which has already been submitted, Fritzsche Exhibit 2, affidavit by Dr. Scharping, with reference to Pages 9 to 11. This document is found in

[Page 257]

my Document Book 2; however, I do not know whether this book has been submitted to the High Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it has.

DR. FRITZ: Pages 9 to 11. I refer to the contents of this document. The prosecution has quoted a passage from the book by Muller, dealing with the Propaganda Ministry. According to this, among other things, it was the task of this Ministry to enlighten the population about the Jewish question.


Q. According to the picture drawn by the prosecution, matters stood as though you were the one charged with the task of this enlightenment; is that correct?

[Hans Fritsche] A. No.

The "Jewry" department was a branch of the "Propaganda" department which carried on this so-called active propaganda in opposition to the specialized or administrative departments. I never directed this department of propaganda.

Q. I should like to interpolate a question. The defendant Streicher, on 29th April, stated that the Propaganda Ministry published National Socialist correspondence which was sent to Der Sturmer as well and which contained in each issue several anti-Semitic articles. Is that true?

A. No. The National Socialist correspondence was not published by the Propaganda Ministry but by the Reich- Pressestelle (Reich Press Office) of the NSDAP; however, I did not have the impression that the particular policy followed by Der Sturmer took its character from these articles. On the other hand, Der Sturmer may have published one or the other article which was given out by the NSK.

Q. The prosecution quoted a passage from a speech which you made over the radio on 18th December, 1941. This speech will be found in full in my Document Book 1, Pages 26 to 32. In this instance, you said that the fate of Jewry in Europe had turned out to be as unpleasant as the Fuehrer predicted it would be in the event of a European war ... and that this unpleasant fate might also spread to the New World. The prosecution holds the view that this was a proclamation of further actions in the persecution of Jews. What can you tell us about this?

A. In this quotation, I discussed the unpleasant fate of Jewry in Europe. According to the things that we know today, this must look as though I meant the murder of the Jews. But in this connection I should like to state that at that time I did not know about these murders; therefore I could not have meant it. I did not even mean the evacuation of Jews, for even this fact was something which was not carried out in Berlin at least until a year or two later. What I meant was simply the elimination of Jews from politics and economic life. The expression "unpleasant" hints at this: otherwise it would be quite inexplicable because of its high meaning and as for the question: Why did I speak about the Jews in America in this connection? the sentence quoted by the prosecution is inextricably connected with a communication preceding it stating that a Jewish National Council had told President Roosevelt their wish to enter the war. Not even this connection of thought, which is perhaps understandable now, was used by me without good reason. The largest part of this speech in question, perhaps nine-tenths of it, in fact, deals with the commission set up in the United States to investigate the causes of the Pearl Harbour disaster.

THE PRESIDENT: There are a lot of pages in this.

DR. FRITZ: The Document Book 1, Mr. President, Pages 26 to 32.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes; I wanted to know whether first of all we are on Page 3.

DR. FRITZ: He is referring, in the statements which he is making now, to the entire contents of the speech, Mr. President. The prosecution had quoted only the very last paragraph of this speech.

[Page 258]


Please continue.

A. In this polemic address I not only suggested investigating whether the guards of the US navy had been inattentive but I also advised checking American politics, as to whether someone might not have been interested in the outbreak of the war. In this connection, I pointed out that an investigating committee of the American Senate, twenty years after the First World War, had investigated the causes for entry of the United States in the war of 1917. I said: "This Senate Committee proved that Wilson when entering the war knew that he was the victim of several warmongers."

I spoke regretfully of -

THE PRESIDENT: The Investigation Committee of the Americans about the entry into the last war? Is he not going rather far back?

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, I believe that the defendant can stop at this point. He only wanted to show that the quotation of the last paragraph cited by the prosecution in order to incriminate him was torn from its contents. That is the fact he wanted to show, Mr. President.


Q. The second quotation used by the prosecution is an excerpt from your radio, speech of 18th March, 1941. The prosecution was of the opinion that this was also an incitement for the persecution of Jews, and it said, further, that it was proof of your endorsement of the term "Master Race."

Mr. President, this speech of 18th March, 1941, may be found in my Document Book I, Pages 2 to 7.


Q. The prosecution quoted only one paragraph from this speech. What can you tell us in this connection?

A. I do not wish to read this quotation. I rather ask you that you read it carefully yourself, and after you have read it you will see that I completely agreed with Mr. Roosevelt when he said that there was no master race. I endorsed the correctness of this statement not only as it applied to the German people but to Jewry as well. The prosecution concluded from this sentence that it was a justification for acts committed in Jewish persecutions in the past and that it was a foreboding of more persecutions to come. I do not understand this conclusion; it has no basis whatsoever.

THE PRESIDENT: In our copy there is no date at the top of Page 2 of your Volume 1 - yes, I see it is in the index. Which page of it is the passage that the prosecution quotes?

DR. FRITZ: Page 5, under point 5, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Very well.

DR. FRITZ: It begins with the words: "But the crown - " and so forth. That is the quotation used by the prosecution.


Q. The third quotation used by the prosecution is a passage from the speech which you made on 9th October, 1941.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, the whole speech is to be found in Document Book 1, Pages 20 to 25.


Q. The prosecution quoted only one paragraph from this speech as well.

In this paragraph, you, Herr Fritzsche, are speaking about a new wave of international Jewish-democratic-Bolshevistic agitation. What can you tell us about this?

A. I have very little to say in this connection. This speech was made in those days of the autumn of 1941 when the Reich Press Chief had announced that German victory in the East had been decisive. I had warned the entire German Press

[Page 259]

about accepting this news without reservations. I did not believe in this decisive victory which supposedly had already taken place. I suggested to all German newspapers to speak about a prolonged duration of the war. In this speech of mine I wanted to decrease the effectiveness of the official victory bulletin. Therefore, perhaps for the first time in Germany, I mentioned those three factors which, in fact, later on determined the war in the East against Germany: First of all, the partisans; secondly, the international help in the way of arms and munitions; and thirdly, propaganda. This last part alone was quoted by the prosecution. As I have already said, this last part is quite in accord with the knowledge and opinion I held at that time.

Q. The next quotation used by the prosecution is an extract from a speech which you made on 8th January, 1944.

DR. FRITZ: The complete speech, Mr. President, may be found in my Document Book 1. It is speech No. 7, to be found on Pages 40 to 45.


Q. In this speech you state that it was not a new form of government or a new form of Socialism which had brought about the war but rather the agitation of Jews and plutocrats. How did you come to make that statement?

A. To justify it, I should like to refer here too to everything that I have already said, and beyond that, I should like to emphasize that this rather heated accusation was not made by me just out of the blue or just because I wanted to agitate. This is proved by the context.

If I may be permitted to do so, I should like to state briefly the connection in this case. The topic of this speech was the differences of opinion which existed at that time between the Polish Exile Government in Moscow - rather, in London - and the Soviet Government in Moscow. There was a matter of territorial demands which they disagreed on, and on this occasion I quoted the London Times word for word. The London Times said that "the relinquishing of Polish regions, as demanded by Russia, was only a small and modest price for the absolute and reliable guarantee to Poland of help through the Soviet Union." This quotation from the London Times, I used as a matter of course in a polemic statement in which I said:

"Yes, if The Times had said these things in August, 1939, that we were concerned only with a city and with a road, then there would not have been any war," and so forth.
On this occasion I should like to state that all of these quotations, almost without exception, show only the combination of the concepts, Jews, plutocrats, Bolsheviks. It was not the question of race which was the primary thing, but the ideological struggle which, to my mind, seemed to be taking place.

Q. The next quotation used by the prosecution refers to excerpts from your speech of 13th January, 1945.

DR. FRITZ: Mr. President, this is speech No. 8, contained in full in Document Book 1, to be found on Pages 46 to 51.

The prosecution in this case is quoting only two paragraphs, one on Page 50 of my document book, paragraph 2.


Q. In these passages you mention Jewish influence on British policies. How could you make those statements? What were your reasons?

A. The prosecution believe it to be possible to conclude from this quotation that it was the introduction to further persecution of the Jews, and to their complete destruction. This conclusion, however, is not justified either in the words or in the sense or when seen in the light of the context.

I shall forgo giving you in this case a picture of the connections, even in a brief summary. It can be gathered when you read the speech in question.

However, I cannot see where an appeal for the destruction of the Jews is to be found.

[Page 260]

Q. Forming a part of the general crimes against humanity you are accused of libel against the Jews. The logical result of which is said to have been further persecutions.

Therefore, I want to ask you about the murder of Jews. Did you know Hitler's decree, as testified by the witness Hoess, a decree according to which the Jews were to be murdered?

A. I should like to state on oath that I did not know of this order of Hitler. If I had known it, I would not have served the man who had given this order for another hour. I should like to state further that evidently this decree, as well as the entire subsequent action, was concealed with specific care from me and my co-workers, because once I almost discovered its existence.

Q. Did you receive at any time an indication about the killing of a large number of innocent people?

A. Yes. In February or March, 1942, I received a letter from a low-ranking SS leader of the Ukraine. I do not recall this man's name. The contents of the letter were to the effect that the author was the commander of an SS unit, that he had received an order to kill the Jews and the Ukrainian intelligentsia of his area. Upon receipt of this order, he had suffered a nervous breakdown and he was then in hospital. It seemed to him that a complaint along official channels was quite impossible for him. He said he did not know me but had confidence in me; perhaps I could help in some way. He asked me not to mention his name as he was bound to silence.

Without much hesitation, immediately upon receipt of this letter, I called Obergruppenfuehrer Heydrich, then leader of the RSHA and the Gestapo. I hardly knew him personally, but he declared himself quite willing to receive me immediately. I visited him, and in a plain way put this question to him: Is your SS there for the purpose of committing mass murders?

Heydrich was quite indignant at this question, and said that larger or smaller SS units had been assigned by him for police purposes to various ministers, Reich commissars, and so forth. These special details of SS men had been misused on various occasions, and he thought this might apply to the unit which had been placed at the disposal of Gauleiter Koch. He told me that he would have an investigation started immediately.

Next noon he called me, from headquarters as he said, and let me know that this action had actually been ordered by Koch. Koch, for his part, had referred to the Fuehrer for his authority. The Fuehrer however, had not answered as yet. Heydrich said I would receive further details.

Two days later Heydrich asked me to come and visit him and said Hitler had expressly declared that he had not given this order; Koch now said that there was a misunderstanding. I was further told that an investigation of Koch had been started. At any rate, Heydrich promised me that this action would not be carried through. I remember particularly well one sentence which was spoken in this discussion by Heydrich:

"Believe me, Herr Fritzsche, a person who has the reputation of being cruel does not have to be cruel. He can act humanely."
Shortly thereafter I became a soldier and asked to be sent to the Sixth Army, and was sent to the Ukraine.

Q. Did you -

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. I did not understand that last sentence. Heydrich said "Believe me, Herr Fritzsche ..." and then -

[ Previous | Index | Next ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.