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

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
August 22, 1946

Two Hundred and Ninth Day: Thursday, 22nd August, 1946
(Part 1 of 9)

[Page 1]

DR. BOEHM (for the SA): Mr. President, may it please the Tribunal. Yesterday I submitted some of the documents which prove that many people were forced into the SA through legal compulsion. I should now like to continue my presentation of evidence in that direction.

SA Documents 200, 201, 203, 208, and 213 demand service for young personnel in the financial administration.

It is regrettable that on account of the attitude of one of the occupying powers the witness, Dr. Meder, could not appear here. Defence counsel for the SA was able to correspond with him until it became known that he had been selected as a witness in this trial. In spite of all the efforts of the General Secretary of this High Tribunal we have not succeeded in bringing this witness to Nuremberg from the Russian Zone.

This witness had been called to testify that from 1936 to the end of 1944, fourteen Reich Finance Schools -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Boehm, we are hearing you now upon your documents; we are not hearing you upon the question of any difficulties there may have been in getting witnesses.

Kindly go on.

DR. BOEHM: The following are the Finance Schools which existed in the Reich: Herrsching Ilmenau, Meersburg, Wollerhof, Berlin, Molln, Feldkirch, Leipa, Leitmeritz, Bodenbach, Thorn, Sigmaringen, and Boppard.

Even private enterprises, to a large extent, required membership in the HJ and the SA as a condition for employment. This is proved by Documents 215 and 216.

SA Document 218 states that the directive of the 3rd October, 1933 -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): You are going a little bit too fast; your light is flickering.

DR. BOEHM: Very well, Mr. President, I shall try to speak more slowly.

SA Document 218 states that the directive of the 3rd October, 1933, ordered that the Auxiliary Pioneer Service (Hilfspionierdienst) of the Technical Emergency Service was to be transferred into the SA.

SA Document 220 deals with the question of whether expulsion from the SA was a reason for terminating an employment contract, and under certain circumstances the answer was "Yes".

A commentary on this point is furnished by Document 221, I quote:

"The obligation under the oath sworn to the Fuehrer means that leaving the SA or any other association is absolutely impossible. Only physical unfitness or an assignment to special work elsewhere can warrant leaving the SA."
This is an excerpt from the Handbook of the SA, published by permission of the Supreme SA Command.

[Page 2]

Document 222 also shows that expulsion from the Party or from its formations might result in loss of occupation. The fact that this was stated in a basic official directive of the Reich and Prussian Ministry of Justice explains why this attitude was adopted in practice. Therefore, it is not surprising that even non-German quarters pointed out the existing coercion. As may be seen from Document SA 243, a note of the Holy See dated 14th May, 1934, reads:
"The Holy See is aware of the extent to which freedom to make decisions is restricted in Germany today through the pressure brought to bear on officials, employees, workmen, scholars, even on the formerly free professions, in fact on almost all German citizens, by economic factors and by exploiting the anxieties for a bare existence."
THE PRESIDENT: Is it 243 in your document book?

DR. BOEHM: 143, Mr. President.


DR. BOEHM: In the third part of my presentation of evidence, I should like to deal with the aims of the SA as they appeared to members of the SA who had no special leading position; thus, in keeping with the decision of the Tribunal of 13th March, 1946, paragraph 6 (3), I shall quote testimony on behalf of the SA by members of the SA themselves.

In Document 224, an excerpt of the journal Der SA Fuehrer, a magazine for the SA, the term "Wehrtuchtigkeit" (Proficiency in military service) is explained as follows: "Instruction in the use of arms and the mastering of the weapons of war and their use will be given to the German man in the Wehrmacht, during service and exercises."

SA Document 224 shows clearly that the SA did not have anything to do with the Waffenschule (Military Training School), and that it did not give military training to its members. This is also proved by SA Documents 225 and 226, again excerpts from the magazine, Der SA Fuehrer, published by the Supreme SA Command. I quote:

"In addition one can recognise the clear limits drawn between the tasks of the SA on the one hand, and those of the Wehrmacht on the other; these limits always have existed and always will exist. After the HJ, the SA only creates the necessary spiritual, mental and physical preliminary conditions."
Document 226 shows that Hitler was quite clearly and definitely opposed to giving the SA a military character, the character of a defence organisation, of a militia or of a Free Corps.

Document 229 shows that members of the SA could not have known of the criminal aims of the SA, as the prosecution calls them, because as early as 21st March, 1925, the Rhineland Commission lifted the ban on the German Freedom Party and the National Socialist Party. How well Hitler knew how to lull the people to sleep is proved by his order of 1st July, 1934, in which he gave to the Roehm Putsch a background entirely different from the real facts.

Mr. Jackson has said that members of the various formations could not be charged with joining the organisations, but were charged with remaining in the organisations, once they knew - as they did - of the conditions in the concentration camps. In this connection I should like to submit Document 250 in which one of the most prominent members of the Catholic Church in Munich, who spent many years in a concentration camp, deals with the question of whether the injustices which took place in the Third Reich were easily apparent. The document quite clearly shows that the answer was "No". I quote:

"For eight years I collected everything available concerning National Socialist laws, decrees, police measures, information about injustices, acts of violence, infamy, crimes, blasphemies, persecution of the Church, murder, etc. Hundreds of pages of the book The Persecution of the Catholic Church,

[Page 3]

published in 1940, which I have already mentioned, come from my collection. It will carry all the more weight if I testify that, as far as atrocities in concentration camps and crimes in the occupied territories were concerned, I could discover and report practically nothing."
How, then, could the things which have now come to light be discovered by an ordinary person who, moreover, would not have at his disposal the sources of information available to Prelate Newhaeusler.

I shall now turn to the third part of the presentation of documents, which deals with the assertion of the prosecution that the SA was a terror organisation. What the real facts regarding this so-called terror were may be seen from Documents 285, 286 and 287. The pamphlet quoting from a judgement of the State Tribunal of the Republic illustrates clearly that it was the KPD which incited the people against the democratic republic; and that it was the KPD which propagated the class conflict. As is shown in Document 286, this incitement to class conflict was embodied in the so- called idea of world revolution. In this connection I also submit Document 132, which describes how civil war was advocated by the KPD in 1921. The terroristic conflicts, therefore, originated with the political Left.

SA Document 287, a judgement passed by State Tribunal on 14th January, 7925, against Link and his associates, shows that in this period of latent civil war the call to fight the fascists, that is the NSDAP and the Reichswehr, was made again and again. The fact that the SA was established for this reason, namely, as a protection against the Leftists, is shown in Documents 311 and 314. These are excerpts from Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

SA Document 300, an excerpt from Gisevius's book, Until the Bitter End, also states that pressure from the Reds produced counter-pressure from the Brownshirts. Although these were very like times of civil war, even an opponent such as Herr Gisevius had to admit, and this is evident from Document SA 301, that the National Socialist revolution cost comparatively few victims. In SA Document 302, Herr Gisevius admits that when excesses did occur, it was on the whole, just a very small clique which perpetrated them. May I quote:

"They were the group staffs, their hired staff guards and that gang of hooligans which can be found wherever mischief is afoot."
SA Documents 304, 305 and 306 show how seriously Hitler, as the Supreme SA Leader, was determined to prevent a civil war. For that reason, he repeatedly, in his many proclamations, demanded discipline. In this connection I would like to present the directive of 30th March, 1931, SA Document 306. It expressly says, in paragraph 2:
"Every Party member, regardless of his position in the Party, will be immediately excluded from the Party if he should venture either consciously to violate the regulations of the emergency decrees or to tolerate or approve such offences."
Document SA 312 deals with the directive forbidding terrorisation of Jewish citizens.

In the fifth part of my document book I have set forth the attitude of the SA with regard to the Church. Document 316 shows that in 1933 the Party and the Church had come to an agreement. The proclamation of the German episcopate shows that the Church believed she could be confident that the prohibitions and warnings previously issued were no longer necessary. For that reason, entire formations were permitted to attend services also.

SA Document 317 says that youth was asked to join the formations of the Party and to work in them for the future of Germany. I quote:

"For that reason, we mean to devote our entire Catholic heritage, Christian Conservative ideas and Christian progressive forces to the New Germany; to build and enhance her spirit with our own. We are, therefore, determined to work actively, with all the means and ways at our disposal, for the union

[Page 4]

of all Germans. And for the same reason, we commend to all our members a practical military training as their duty."
And then:
"It must particularly be the task of youth to work with courage for a union between our vigorous national movement and the eternal Christian values."
SA Document 320 mentions the assurance given in the 115th Session of the Bavarian Diet of the 29th April, 1931. It reads:
"On the contrary, our Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, has repeatedly stated that the Party will always be led in a way which will not bring any Roman Catholic, as a faithful member of the National Socialist Party, into conflict with his conscience."
SA Document 327, the Hitler speech of the 23rd March, 1933, contains the same assurance:
"The National Government considers both the Christian Churches factors of the greatest importance in the life of our nation. It will respect the agreements concluded between them and the administrations of the Lander, and their rights shall not be infringed. The National Government will permit and safeguard the rightful influence of the Christian Churches in school and education. The Government is anxious to secure sincere co- operation between Church and State."
This shows that there was no reason to anticipate a struggle with the Church, particularly since, after feelings had run high, a directive issued by the Fuehrer's Deputy on the 23rd January, 1933 (SA Document 321) stated:
"In my directives of 11th April, 1937, and 1st June, 1938, I decreed that the Party, its formations and affiliated organisations were to abstain from influencing internal Church matters in any way."
SA Document 326 shows that in the year 1931 there was no thought of an extermination of the Jews, as unfortunately actually happened later.

Now I shall deal with the members of the Steel Helmet Organisation (Stahlhelm) who came from the Stahlhelm into the SA. May I draw the attention of the Tribunal to the SA document book, dealing with the Stahlhelm.

Document No. 1 is a radio address of the leader of the Stahlhelm, Franz Seldte.

THE PRESIDENT: Which book is it?

DR. BOEHM: Book 4, Mr. President.

The first document is a radio address of the leader of the Stahlhelm organisation, Franz Seldte, delivered on the 27th April, 1933. It contains the condition for the transfer which subsequently took place, a condition based on sovereign rights. I quote:

"Having no Party affiliation, I hereby declare my entry into the Nation Socialist German Workers' Party, because this Party is the movement which will unite the entire German people in a single unit. I therefore place myself and the Stahlhelm association of front-line soldiers which I founded, as military unit complete in itself under the command of the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler."
Document 2 contains a statement of the Reich directorate of the NSDAP, signed Rudolf Hess, dated 1st May, 1933, and taken from the German newspaper Frankischer Kurier. This document shows that the Stahlhelm, despite its subordination to Hitler, was to remain a unit complete in itself.

Document 3 is an excerpt from a report made by the leader of the Stahlhelm on 28th April, 1933. The first few paragraphs show that the deputy leader Duesterberg, was not willing to accept the contact established by the leader, Seldte, with the National Socialists. The next paragraph describes the immediate dismissal of the deputy leader, Duesterberg, in a telegraphic order of Seldte. From the last paragraph of this document, I should like to quote the last sentence - from Seldte's telegram of the same day:

[Page 5]

"I herewith assume the sole dictatorial leadership of the Association."
Document 5 contains the open letter to one of the leaders of the Stahlhelm, dated the 3rd May, 1933; the letter speaks of these events and states that, as a result of Seldte's unconstitutional measures, the opposition group Duesterberg would no longer consider him as the lawful leader of the organisation.

Document 6 contains an agreement between Hitler and Seldte.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Boehm, if I remember rightly, one of your witnesses who was heard here before the Tribunal dealt with the entry of the Stalhhelm into the SA, did he not?


THE PRESIDENT: And was he cross-examined at all, to contradict him?

DR. BOEHM: No, Mr. President.

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