From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I was born on 12 January 1893 in Reval in Estonia. After having graduated there from high school I began to study architecture in the autumn of 1910 at the Institute of Technology at Riga. When the German-Russian front lines approached in 1915, the Institute of Technology, including the professors and students, was evacuated to Moscow, and there I continued my studies in this capital of Russia. The end of January or the beginning of February 1918 I finished my studies, received a diploma as an engineer and architect, and returned to my native city.
Note: The source for most items is the evidence presented to the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at the first Nuremberg Trial, between November 21, 1945 and October 1, 1946. As always, these excerpts from trial testimony should not necessarily be mistaken for fact. It should be kept in mind that they are the sometimes-desperate statements of hard-pressed defendants seeking to avoid culpability and shift responsibility from charges that—should they be found guilty—could possibly be punishable by death.February 1917: Rosenberg receives a diploma in architecture from the University of Moscow. Living in Moscow during the events of the Russian Revolution, some of his enemies in the Nazi Party will later claim that that he had flirted with the idea of becoming a Bolshevik.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: When the German troops entered Reval, I tried to enlist as a volunteer in the German Army, but since I was a citizen of an occupied country, I was not accepted without special recommendation. Since in the future I did not want to live between the frontiers of several countries, I tried to get to Germany.
To the Baltic Germans, notwithstanding their loyalty toward the Russian State, German culture was their intellectual home, and the experience I had had in Russia strengthened my resolution to do everything within my power to help prevent the political movement in Germany from backsliding into Bolshevism. I believed that this movement in Germany, because of the precarious structure of the system of the German Reich, would have meant a tremendous catastrophe. At the end of November 1918 I traveled to Berlin and from there to Munich. Actually, I wanted to take up my profession as an architect, but in Munich I met people who felt the way I did, and I became a staff member of a weekly, which was founded at that time in Munich. I went to work on this weekly paper in January 1918 and have continued in literary work since that time. I lived through the development of the political movement here in Munich until the Rate-Republic in 1919 and its overthrow.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: In addition to my immediate artistic interests in architecture and painting, I had since childhood pursued historical and philosophical studies and thus, of course, instinctively I tended to read Goethe, Herder, and Fichte in order to develop intellectually along these lines. At the same time, I was influenced by the social ideas of Charles Dickens, Carlyle, and, with regard to America, by Emerson. I continued these studies at Riga and, naturally, took up Kant and Schopenhauer and, above all, devoted myself to the study of the philosophy of India and related schools of thought. Later, of course, I studied the prominent European historians of the history of civilization; Burckhardt and Rohde, Rankeand Treitschke, Mommsen and Schlieffen. Finally, in Munich I started to study modern biology more closely ... it is a matter of course that the idea, to see the world as an embodiment, goes back to Goethe.November 30, 1918: Rosenberg marks the "beginning of [his] political activities with a lecture about the 'Jewish Problem.'"
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I do not want to give a lengthy exposition of my views as evolved from my study of history—I do not at all mean the study of anti-Semitic writings but of Jewish historians themselves. It seemed to me that after an epoch of generous emancipation in the course of national movements of the 19th Century, an important part of the Jewish nation also found its way back to its own tradition and nature, and more and more consciously segregated itself from other nations. It was a problem which was discussed at many international congresses, and Buber in particular, one of the spiritual leaders of European Jewry, declared that the Jews should return to the soil of Asia, for only there could the roots of Jewish blood and Jewish national character be found.
But my more radical attitude in the political sphere was due partly to my observations and experiences in Russia and partly to my experiences later in Germany, which seemed to particularly confirm their strangeness. I could not conceive how, at the time when the German soldiers returned, they were greeted by a Jewish university professor who explained that the German soldiers had died on the field of dishonor. I could not understand that lack of reverence could go so far. If it had been but an individual reaction, one could have said that the man had slipped. But in the course of 14 years, it became apparent that it was indeed the expression of a definitely alienating tendency. The statements of the opposite side, as they appeared constantly during these 14 years, had in part already appeared prior to the rise of the National Socialist movement. After all, the incidents of the Rate Republic in Munich and in Hungary took place long before the National Socialist movement was in a position to gain influence . . . .
Of course, I have always been conscious of the fact that many Jewish-German citizens were assimilated into the German environment, and that in the course of this development many tragic individual cases appeared, and that these, of course, deserved consideration. On the whole, however, this did not involve the entire social and political movement, especially since the leading papers of the so-called democratic parties recognized the increase of unemployment in Germany and suggested that Germans should emigrate to the French colonies, to the Argentine, and to China. Prominent Jewish people and the chairman of the Democratic Party suggested three times quite openly that, in view of the increase of unemployment, Germans should be deported to Africa and Asia. After all, during those 14 years just as many Germans were expelled from Poland as there were Jews in Germany, and the League of Nations took no effective steps against this violation of the pact in favor of the minorities.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: In May 1919 the publisher of the journal which I mentioned was visited by a man by the name of Anton Drexler, who introduced himself as the chairman of a newly founded German Labor Party. He stated that he advocated ideas similar to those expressed by this journal, and from that time I began to have connections with a very small group of German laborers that had been formed in Munich. There in the autumn of 1919 I also met Hitler. Well, at that time I had an earnest conversation with Hitler, and on that occasion I noticed his broad view of the entire European situation.
He said that in his opinion Europe was at that time in a social and political crisis, such as had not existed since the fall of the ancient Roman Empire. He said that seats of unrest were to be found everywhere in this sphere, and that he was personally striving to get a clear picture from the viewpoint of Germany's restoration to sound conditions. Thereupon, I listened to some of the first speeches by Hitler which were made at small meetings of 40 and 50 people. I believed, above all, a soldier who had been at the front, and who had done his duty silently for 4 1/2, years, had the right to speak now. At the end of 1919, I entered the Party--not before Hitler, as it is contended here, but later. In this original Party I was assigned Number 625 as a member.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I did not participate in setting up the program. I was present, however, when this program was read and commented upon by Hitler on 24 February 1920.1921: Rosenberg is made editor of the Voelkischer Beobachter, the official Nazi party newspaper.
From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: Alfred Rosenberg, although he was often hailed as the "intellectual leader" of the Nazi Party and indeed its "philosopher," was also a man of mediocre intelligence. Rosenberg may with some truth be put down as a Russian. Like a good many Russian "intellectuals," he was of Baltic German stock . . . .
It was inevitable that a man who had actually received a diploma in architecture would impress the man who had failed even to get into a school of architecture. Hitler was also impressed by Rosenberg's "learning," and he liked the young Balt's hatred of the Jews and Bolsheviks. Shortly before Eckart died, toward the end of 1923, Hitler made Rosenberg editor of the Völkischer Beobachter, and for many years he continued to prop up this utterly muddled man, this confused and shallow "philosopher," as the intellectual mentor of the Nazi movement and as one of its chief authorities on foreign policy.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: In response to different inquiries regarding the 25 points of the program, I wrote a commentary at the end of 1922, which has been read to the Tribunal in fragments. Our general attitude at the time may perhaps be stated briefly as follows:
The technical revolution of the 19th Century had certain social and mental consequences. Industrialization and the clamor for profit dominated life and created the industrial state and the metropolis with all its backyards and estrangement from nature and history. At the turn of the century, many people who wanted to regain their homeland and its history turned against this one-sided movement. The revival of tradition, folk song and folklore of the past, originated with the youth movement of that time. The works of art, for instance, by Professor Schultze-Naumburg and by some poets were a characteristic protest against this one-sided movement of the time, and it is here that National Socialism attempted to gain a foothold-in full consciousness though, that it was a modern movement and not a movement of retrospective sentimentality. It linked itself with the social movement of Stocker and the national movement of Schonerer in Austria without using them in their entirety as a model.
I should like to add that the name "National Socialism," I believe, originated in the Sudetenland, and the small German Labor Party was founded under the name of "National Socialist German Labor Party."
If I may say so, what finally animated us in essence and the reason for our calling ourselves National Socialists—for, you see, many terrible things have been delivered during these 3 months by the Prosecution, but nothing has been said about National Socialism—we were, at the time, aware of the fact that there were two hostile camps in Germany, that in both camps millions of decent Germans were fighting; and we found ourselves facing the problem of what could be acceptable to both these camps from the viewpoint of national unity and what was preventing an understanding between these two camps.
In short, at that time as well as later we explained to the proletarian side, that even if the class conflict had been and still was a factor in social and political life, nevertheless, as an ideological basis and permanent maxim it would mean eternal disunity of the nation. The direction of a movement for social appeasement or any kind of social conflict by an international center was the second decisive obstacle to social reconciliation. The call for social justice, raised generally by labor, was, however, justified, worthy, and necessary. Concerning the bourgeoisie, we believed we would be able to establish that in some cases the reactionary caste prejudice of privileged circles had worked to the detriment of the people and secondly that the representation of national interests should not be based on privileges of certain classes; on the contrary, the demand for national unity and dignified representation was the right attitude on their part . . . .
I know that this problem [the charge that National Socialism preached a master race philosophy] is the main point of the Indictment, and I realize that at present, in view of the number of terrible incidents, conclusions are automatically drawn about the past and the reason for the origin of the so-called racial science. I believe, however, that it is of decisive importance in judging this problem to know exactly what we were concerned with.
I have never heard the word "master race" (Herrenrasse) as often as in this court room. To my knowledge, I did not mention or use it at all in my writings. I leafed through my Writings and Speeches again and did not find this word. I spoke only once of super humans as mentioned by Homer, and I found a quotation from a British author, who in writing about the life of Lord Kitchener said the Englishman who had conquered the world had proved himself as a creative superman (Herrenmensch). Then I found the word "master race" (Herrenrasse) in a writing of the American ethnologist, Madison Grant, and of the French ethnologist, Lapouge. I would like to admit, however—and not only to admit, but to emphasize—that the word "superman" (Herrenmensch) came to my attention particularly during my activity as Minister in the East—and very unpleasantly—when used by a number of leaders of the administration in the East.
Perhaps when we come to the question of the East, I may return to this subject in detail and state what position I took in regard to these utterances which came to my attention. In principle, however, I was convinced that ethnology was, after all, not an invention of the National Socialist movement, but a biological discovery, which was the conclusion of 400 years of European research. The laws of heredity discovered in the 1860's, and rediscovered several decades later, enable us to gain a deeper insight into history than many other earlier theories.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I would like to say that at the end of 1923, after the collapse of the so-called "Hitler Putsch," when the then representatives of the Party either were arrested or had emigrated to Austria, and when I remained in Munich with a few others, I advocated that a new development must take place and that the Party should prove itself in a parliamentary contest. The Führer, who was then in prison at Landsberg, turned that suggestion down. My collaborators and I continued to try to influence him, however, whereupon the Führer wrote me a long, handwritten letter, which is also in the files, in which he once more developed his reasons for not wanting to comply with my suggestion. Later on, nevertheless, he agreed.
And here in this letter I asked him—he later agreed—not to nominate me as Reichstag candidate, because I felt not entitled to the privileges of a Reichstag deputy by favoring a Reichstag election, and secondly, because I felt myself too new in Germany for exposing myself in such a way after only a few years of activity.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: Of course I will allow that as far as historically founded creeds were concerned I pronounced severe personal judgment. I would like to emphasize, in this connection, that in the introduction to my book I described it as a work dealing with personal opinions; secondly, that this book was not directed against the religious elements in the public ... and thirdly, that I rejected a policy of withdrawal from the church ... and also rejected political interference by the state in purely religious confessions which is also expressed clearly in this book. I further rejected many proposals to have my book translated into foreign languages. Only once a Japanese translation was submitted to me, although I was not able to recall having given my approval for the translation.
I naturally never assumed that this book, which deals with many problems, does not contain errors. I was, to an extent, grateful to receive criticism, and I made certain corrections; but some attacks I could not consider justified, and I thought that later I would certainly thoroughly revise this work—which, of course, also contained political comments.
I would like to state here that this work was published 2 1/2 years before the assumption of power, and that it was naturally open to criticism from all sides, but that the main criticism arose after the assumption of power. I answered these attacks in two pamphlets, but I never made use of the Police to suppress these attacks or persecute the authors of these attacks.
From Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer: Rosenberg sold his seven-hundred page Myth of the Twentieth Century in editions of hundreds of thousands. The public regarded the book as the standard text for party ideology, but Hitler in those tea-time conversations bluntly called it "stuff nobody can understand," written by "a narrow-minded Baltic German who thinks in horribly complicated terms." He expressed wonderment that such a book could ever have attained such sales: "A relapse into medieval notions!" I wondered if such private remarks were carried back to Rosenberg.
From The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg: We now realize that the central and supreme values of the Roman and Protestant churches, being a negative Christianity, do not respond to our soul. Liberalism preached: Freedom, generosity, freedom of trade, Parliamentarianism, emancipation of women, equality of mankind, equality of sexes, etc., that is to say, it sinned against a law of nature, that creative actions can only come from the working of polarized potentials, that a potential of energy is necessary to produce work of any kind, to create culture. The German idea today demands in the midst of disintegration of the old effeminate world: Authority, type-creating energy, self-elimination, discipline, protection of racial character, recognition of the eternal polarity of the sexes. The idea of honor—national honor—does not permit Christian love, nor the humanity of the Freemasons, nor Roman philosophy . . . .
Today, a new faith is awakening; the myth of the blood, the belief that the divine being of mankind generally is to be defended with the blood. The faith embodied by the fullest realization that the Nordic blood constitutes that mystery which has supplanted and overwhelmed the old sacraments . . . .
The essence of the contemporary world revolution lies in the awakening of the racial type; not in Europe alone but on the whole planet. This awakening is the organic counter movement against the last chaotic remnants of the liberal economic imperialism, whose objects of exploitation out of desperation have fallen into the snare of Bolshevik Marxism, in order to complete what democracy had begun, the extirpation of the racial and national consciousness.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I will not deny that during that time of struggle up to 1933, I too had used strong polemic arguments in my writings, and that many hard words and suggestions appeared in that connection. After seizure of power I thought—and I had good reason to think that the Führer thought so too—that now one could renounce this method, and that a certain parity and a chivalrous treatment of this question should be observed. Under "parity" I understood the following—and I stated it in a public address on 28 July 1933 and also at the Party rally in September 1933 publicly over all the broadcasting systems—that it was not possible, for example, that the communal hospitals in Berlin should have 80 percent Jewish doctors when 30 percent was their ratio.
I stated further at the Party rally that we had heard of conditions that the Reich government, in connection with all these parity measures and beyond that, were making exceptions for all those members of the Jewish people who had lost a relative, father or son, during the war; and I used the expression that we would now have to make efforts to solve this problem in a chivalrous way. That it turned out otherwise is a tragic destiny, and I must state that the activities following in connection with the emigration and the support of this emigration in many countries abroad had as a result the aggravation of the situation; then things occurred which were regrettable and I must say robbed me of the inner strength to continue petitioning the Führer for the method I favored. As I said, what was stated here recently in the veiled phraseology of the police and made known here, and what has been testified to here the other day, I considered simply impossible and I would not have believed it even if Heinrich Himmler himself had related it to me. There are things which, even to me, appear beyond the humanly possible, and this is one of them.
I must say that at that time I advocated—and this in full agreement with Adolf Hitler—and I advocated in my book, Myth of the 20th Century, the view that the Leadership Principle did not consist of one head but that both the Führer and his collaborators are to be bound by common duties. Further, that this Leadership Principle concept should be understood to mean the establishment of a senate or, as I described it, Ordensrat, which would have a correcting and advisory function. That point of view was emphasized by the Führer himself when he had a senate hall with 61 seats built in the Brown House in Munich, because he himself considered it necessary. . . . .
I must say, I wrote The Myth of the 20th Century during the years 1927 and 1928 approximately, after certain historical and other preliminary studies. It was published in October 1930 with an introduction to the effect that this was a purely personal opinion, and that the political organization of which I was a member was not responsible for it.
From the Introduction of a later edition of The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg: To the 150,000th copy: The Myth has today drawn deep, ineffaceable furrows into the emotional life of the German people. Every new edition is a clear indication that a decisive spiritual and mental revolution is growing into a historical event. Many things which in my book seemed to be a peculiar idea have already become a reality of State policy. Many other things will yet, I hope, materialize as a further result of this new vigor.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: That is certainly entirely correct. This book of 700 pages does not concern only those points of which I am accused here. This book deals with a large number of problems, the problem of the peasants, of the world states, of the concept of socialism, of the relation between leadership, industry, and labor.August 24, 1931: From a letter from Hitler to Rosenberg (Document 047-PS):
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: This question, of course, has been put to everybody and the fact that concentration camps existed became known to me in 1933. But although this may appear a repetition, I must nevertheless state that I knew by name only two concentration camps, Oranienburg and Dachau. When these institutions were explained to me I was informed, among other things, that in one concentration camp there were 800 communist functionaries whose previous sentences averaged 4 year prison terms or partly also penitentiary terms. In view of the fact that this involved a complete revolution and even though it had legal basis it was still something revolutionary, I considered it comprehensible that protective custody should be for some time decreed by this new State for these hostile persons. But at the same time I saw and heard how our toughest opponents, against whom otherwise no charges of a criminal nature were made, were treated so generously that, for example, our strongest opponent, the Prussian Minister Severing was retired with full ministerial pension, and I considered this very attitude as National Socialistic. Thus I had to assume that these arrangements were politically and nationally necessary, and I was thoroughly convinced of this.
I should perhaps add one thing: I visited no real concentration camp, neither Dachau nor any other one. Once—it was in 1938--I questioned Himmler on how things really were in the concentration camps and told him that one heard from the foreign press all sorts of derogatory atrocity reports. Himmler said to me, "Why don't you come to Dachau and take a look at things for yourself? We have a swimming pool there, we have sanitary installations—irreproachable; no objections can be raised."
I did not visit this camp because if something actually improper had been going on, then Himmler, upon being questioned about it, would probably not have shown it to me. On the other hand I desisted from going for reasons of good taste; I simply did not want to look at people who had been deprived of their liberty. But I thought that such a talk with Himmler made him aware that such rumors were spreading.
A second time, later on—I cannot say, however, whether it was before or after the outbreak of the war—Himmler himself spoke to me about the matter of the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses, that is, about a matter which, has also been submitted by the Prosecution as a religious persecution. Himmler told me only that it was certainly impossible to put up with conscientious objections, considering the situation the Reich was in, that it would have incalculable consequences; and he went on to say that he had often talked personally to these internees in order to understand them and eventually convince them. That, he said, has been impossible, however, because they replied to all questions with quotations—quotations from the Bible which they had learned by heart, so that nothing was to be done with them. From that statement by Himmler I gathered that since he was telling me such a story he could not possibly want to plan or carry out executions of these Jehovah's witnesses.
An American chaplain has very kindly given me in my cell a church paper from Columbus. I gather from that that the United States, too, arrested Jehovah's Witnesses during the war and that until December 1945, 11,000 of them were still detained in camps. I presume that under such conditions, every state would answer in some way such a refusal of war service; and that was my attitude too. I could not consider Himmler wrong on this point . . . .
I assumed more or less that in case there really were unfavorable things [in the concentration camps], I certainly would not see them anyway. I heard this [that there were unfavorable things doing on in the camps] through the foreign press ... already in the first months of 1933. I did not read the foreign press at all for unfortunately I do not speak English. I received only some excerpts from it from time to time, and in the German press there were occasional references to it with the strict declaration that these allegations were not true. I can still remember the statement by Minister Göring in which he said that it was beyond his comprehension that something like that could be written.
I assumed that in such a revolutionary process surely a number of excesses were taking place, that in some districts also on occasion there might be conflicts, and that the fact that murders of National Socialists in the months subsequent to the seizure of the power continued most probably resulted in sharp countermeasures here and there. . . . . The chief reports upon the continuance of murders of members of the Hitler Youth, of the Police, and of members of the Party were made especially in 1933 and 1934, but I do not remember that many reports still were published about this in subsequent years. I said very frankly that under some circumstances excesses might be taking place, and I talked to Himmler about this matter so that he in any case knew that we were informed about such things from abroad and that he should watch his step. Only once did I receive a complaint directly myself.
From A Short Report on the Activities of the APA of the NSDAP by Rosenberg: The Press Division of the APA is staffed by persons conversant with all languages to be considered. They examine approximately 300 newspapers daily and deliver to the Führer, the Führer's deputy, and all other interested offices the condensations of the important trends of the entire world press. . . .
The Press Division furthermore maintains an exact record on the prestige of the most important papers and journalists of the world. Many embarrassments during conferences in Germany could have been avoided had one consulted these archives . . . . Further, the Press Division was able to arrange a host of interviews with me as well as conducting a great number of unobjectionable foreign journalists to the various official representatives of Germany . . . .
Hearst then personally asked me to write often about the position of German foreign policy in his papers. This year five detailed articles have appeared under my name in Hearst papers all over the world. Since these articles, as Hearst personally let me know, presented well-founded arguments, he asked me to write further articles for his paper.
From Göring's IMT testimony: I believe that the Party's Central Department for Foreign Policy [APA] after the seizure of power was never once consulted by the Führer on questions of foreign policy. It was established earlier only so that certain questions on foreign policy which arose within the Party could be dealt with centrally. I am not informed in detail about the methods of that office. As far as I know Rosenberg was certainly not consulted on questions of foreign policy after the accession to power.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: The Foreign Policy Office was founded in April 1933. After its accession to power, many foreigners came to Germany in order to obtain information about the origin and nature of the National Socialist Party. In order to create an information center for the Party, the Fuehrer assigned me to direct this office. As I said, it was the task of this office to receive foreigners who were interested in these problems, to give them information, to refer them to the proper organizations of the Party and the State, if they were interested in the labor front, the youth problem, the winter aid work, and so forth We were also interested in working provisionally on certain initial suggestions made to us in the field of foreign trade and, if they deserved support, in transmitting them to those departments of the government particularly concerned.
Furthermore, we studied the foreign press in order to have good archives for future research work and to inform the Party leadership politically by short excerpts from the foreign press. Among other things, I am accused here of having written articles for the Hearst press. On invitation by the Hearst combine, I wrote five or six articles in 1933 or 1934; but, after I had met Hearst once for about 20 minutes at Nauheim, I did not see him or speak to him again. I heard only that the Hearst combine did get into extraordinary difficulties because of the favor shown me by publishing my impartial statements . . . .
Adolf Hitler called a meeting at Bamberg, I believe in 1927, at which he stated his foreign political conviction that at least some nations could have no direct interest in the total extinction of central Europe. By "some nations" he meant particularly England and Italy. After that in wholehearted agreement with him, I tried to find a way to an understanding by personal contacts I had made. Frequently, I had conversations with British Air Force officers of the British Air Forces General Staff. On their invitation I visited London in 1931, and at that time had purely informal conversations with a number of British personalities.
And when, in 1932, at a meeting of the Royal Academy of Rome, the topic "Europe" was discussed, I was offered an opportunity to speak, and I made a speech about this problem in which I explained that the development of the last centuries had been determined mainly by four nations and states—namely, England, France, Germany, and Italy. I pointed out that, first of all, these four should define their vital interests so that shoulder to shoulder they would defend the ancient and venerable continent of Europe and its traditions. I believed that these fourfold national roots of the rich European culture represented a historical and political legacy. Excerpts of my speech were published, and parts of it with approval have been translated for the Tribunal.
On the last day of the conference, the former British Ambassador to Italy, Sir Rennell Rodd, came to me and told me that he had just left Mussolini who had told him that I, Rosenberg, had spoken the most important words of the conference.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I know only that a coworker of mine was in contact with many Party offices as a matter of policy and, of course, was also in touch with the SS. Through him I received many circular letters from the church authorities: pastoral letters, the circular letters of the Fulda Conference of Bishops, and many others. No arrests of individual church leaders came to my attention—although, of course, later on I did find out that during the war many monasteries had been confiscated, ostensibly for state political reasons—and so I never was able to find out in detail the political motives involved. I must mention that in the year 1935 a bishop sent an official letter to the administrative head of his province, asking him to prohibit me from delivering speeches in that city. That, to be sure, was of no avail; this church dignitary was not harmed either by me or by anybody else, however.May 1933: Rosenberg travels to London.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: In May 1933 I was again in London, this time by Hitler's personal order; and I visited a number of British ministers, whose names are not relevant here, and tried again to promote understanding for the sudden and strange development in Germany. My reception was rather reserved, and a number of incidents occurred which showed that the sentiment was very repellent. But that did not prevent me from keeping up these personal contacts and from inviting a great number of British personalities to come to Germany later. It was not within the scope of my assignment to do that.May 17, 1933 Norwegian Constitution Day: Quisling and lawyer Johan Bernhard Hjort form the Nasjonal Samling (National Unity), the Norwegian fascist political party.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I met Quisling in the year 1933, when he visited me, and I had a discussion of 20 minutes' duration with him. Subsequently, an assistant of mine, who was interested in Scandinavian culture and had written books about it, corresponded with Quisling. It was all of 6 years before I saw Quisling again.September 3, 1933: Hitler speaks:
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: I stated that the National Socialist State may not be a caste which reigns over the German nation and that the Fuehrer of a nation must not be a tyrant. However, I did not see in Adolf Hitler a tyrant, but like many millions of National Socialists I trusted him personally on the strength of the experience of a 14-year-long struggle. I did not want to limit his own full power, conscious though I was that this meant a personal exception for Adolf Hitler, not in keeping with the National Socialist concept of the State. Nor was this the Leadership Principle as we understood it or a new order for the Reich.
I served Adolf Hitler loyally, and what the Party may have done during those years, that was supported by me too. And the ill effects, due to the wrong masters, were branded by me, in the middle of the war, in speeches before political leaders, when I stated that this concentration of power as it existed at that moment, during the war, could only be a phenomenon of the war and could not be regarded as the National Socialist conception of a State. It may be opportune for many, it may be opportune for 200,000 people, but to adhere to it later on would mean the death of the individuality of 70 million.
I said that in the presence of the Higher SS leaders and other organization leaders or Gauleiter. I got in touch with the heads of the Hitler Youth, together with my staff, fully conscious that after the war a reform would have to be carried out here in the Party, so that the old demands of our Movement, for which I too had fought, would find respect. However, that has not been possible any more; fate has finished the Movement and has taken a different course.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: The Führer once spoke to me in this connection and explained to me that in the leadership of a large movement and of a state three factors had to be considered. There are, for instance, men who by their natures feel they must deal with any rising problems fundamentally through contemplation and then in lectures; then there is the directorate—that is to say, he, himself—who must select that which shows possibilities of realization; and finally, there are those people who have the task of putting the selected problems into practice in the social, political, and economic fields by dint of painstaking labor.
So it was that he originally conceived of my task, and he entrusted me with the supervision of training with the intention of expecting me to adopt a constructive attitude, by reason of my knowledge of the movement. The executive and legislative powers were in the hands of the respective ministries—that is, the Ministry for Education and the Reich Propaganda Ministry—and the general representation of the Party was in the hands of the Party Chancellery. The Party Chancellery occasionally asked me to define my position with regard to this or that question but was not obliged to consider my views.
I did not have any direct influence on school policies. The school systems were an affair of the Reich Ministry for Education—the actual internal organization of the schools is not to be confused with the Party training—and the organization of the universities, the task of the ministry concerned with this problem. The so-called National Socialist educational institutions were special foundations under the leadership and direction of the Ministry for Education and the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, for the purpose of training a distinct disciplined class; and the inspection of these educational institutions was in the hands of a special SS leader detailed to the Ministry for Education.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: My office, as far as ideological education was concerned, worked with the SS Main Office for Political Training. We were, of course, in constant contact with them. The so-called "guiding pamphlets" of the SS, which appeared as an instruction periodical, were read in my office. I myself had it repeatedly in my hands, and during these years I found that in this Office for Political Training, in these periodicals, a great number of very valuable articles with mostly very decent ideas was contained. This is one of the reasons why, through all these years, I did not enter into any conflict with the SS.September 15, 1935: Two measures are announced to the Reichstag at the annual Party Rally in Nuremberg. The Reich Citizenship Law declares those not of German blood are to be designated Staatsangehoeriege (state subjects) while so-called "Aryans" are Reichsbuerger (citizens of the Reich). Together with The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor (text below), they will be known as the Nuremberg Laws.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: As far as the Jewish question is concerned, the objective as to this problem was expressed in the program of the NSDAP. That is the only official statement which guided the Party members. Anything which I said about it, and what others wrote about it, were just reasons that were set forth. Certainly much of that was accepted, but as far as the Führer and the State were concerned these proposals were not binding rules. In agreement with the Party program, I had the one objective in mind—to change the leadership in the German State as it existed from 1918 to 1933! That was the vital aim. As to elimination, even from economic life, we did not talk about it at that time; and yesterday I already referred to two of my speeches—which are available in print—in which I declared that after the end of this harsh political battle an investigation or examination of the problem would have to take place. There was even earlier [?] about the demand for Jewish emigration from Germany, quite rightly. Later, when matters became more critical, I expressed this idea again in conformity with the proposals of very prominent Jewish leaders that German unemployed be deported to Africa, South America, and China.1938: From a description of the functions of Rosenberg's office as the Fuehrer's delegate, from the National Socialist Year Book for the year 1938:
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: When the case of Pastor Niemöller was being tried in Germany I sent one of my staff to the trial because I was interested in it both from an official and humane point of view. This official—his name was Dr. Ziegler—made a report to me from which I concluded that this arraignment was based partly on misunderstandings on the part of the authorities, and furthermore that he was not as seriously incriminated as I had assumed. I then submitted that report to the Deputy of the Führer, Rudolf Hess, and I asked him whether he could not give this case consideration also, and after some time, when I was with the Führer once) I brought the conversation around to this subject, and stated that I thought this whole trial and the subsequent handling most unfortunate. The Führer told me:
"I have asked only one binding statement from Niemöller—that he, as a clergyman, will not challenge the State. He has refused to give that and hence I cannot set him free. Apart from that, I ordered that he receive the most decent treatment possible, that he, being a heavy smoker, receive the best cigars, and that he have the means for carrying on all learned studies, if he wants to do this."
I do not know on what reports the Führer based this statement, but as far as I was concerned it was clear that I was not in a position to intervene any further in this matter.
From Rosenberg's IMT testimony: The Document Number 107-PS [above] was submitted by the Prosecution as proof of persecution of the churches. This was a circular letter sent out by the Party Chancellery and written by the Chief of the Reich Labor Service. In this circular, on Page 1, it is decreed that denominational discussions were to be prohibited within the Reich Labor Service. I believe that was done so that particularly in the Reich Labor Service, where young people of all classes and backgrounds were taken in, denominational and religious discussions would be avoided.
"Just as it is of no concern to the Reichsarbeitsdienst to forbid its individual members to have a church wedding or funeral, so the Reichsarbeitsdienst must by all means avoid taking part, as an organization, in church ceremonies which exclude Germans of other beliefs."
I considered this decree as the strictest adherence to religious freedom: for it meant that members of the Protestant faith could not be forced to attend Catholic services and vice versa; furthermore, that persons who perhaps did not belong to any religious denomination could not, on order of their organization, be forced to attend the services of one denomination or the other. Therefore, I cannot see that in this case we are concerned with religious persecution.
[Next: Part Two, Click Here.]
[Part Six, The Nuremberg Trial.] [Part Five, 3/1/1942-5/19/1945.] [Part Four, 8/20/1941-2/28/1942.] [Part Three, 3/29/1941-7/17/1941.] [Part Two, 1/24/1939-3/20/1941.] [Part One, 1/12/1893-1/10/1939.]
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Caution: As always, excerpts from
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be punishable by death.
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