The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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I would like to call your attention first of all to an

Organisation with which we will have to become very

familiar: the Leadership Corps of the NSDAP, the

"Reichsleiter," which has been named as a defendant

Organisation and which comprises the sum of the officials

and leaders of the Nazi Party. If your Honour will be good

enough to follow me down the centre line of the chart, we

come to the main horizontal line of division where the word

"Reichsleiter" appears. That is the first category of the

Leadership Corps, I should say, the main category, perhaps,

of the Leadership Corps.

The Fuehrer, of course, stands above it. As we follow the

vertical line of division to the lower part of the chart, we

reach five additional boxes, which may be referred to

collectively as the "Hoheitstraeger," the bearers of the

sovereignty of the Party, and those are the "Gauleiter," the

"Kreisleiter," the "Ortsgruppenleiter," the "Zellenleiter,"

and the "Blockleiter."

The Fuehrer at the top of our chart is the supreme and the

only leader in the Nazi hierarchy. His successor-designate

was first, the defendant Hess, and subsequently the

defendant Goering.

The "Reichsleiter," of whom sixteen are shown on this chart,

comprise collectively the Party Directorate (Reichsleitung).

Through them, co-ordination of the Party and State machinery

was achieved. A number of these "Reichsleiter,"

                                                   [Page 92]

each of whom, at some time, was in charge of at least one

office within the Party Directorate, were also the heads of

other Party formations and affiliated or supervised

organisations of the Party and also of agencies of the

State, or even held ministerial positions. The

"Reichsleitung " may be said to represent the horizontal

organisation of the Party according to functions, within

which all threads controlling the varied life of the German

people met. Each office within the "Reichsleitung" of the

NSDAP executed definite tasks assigned to it by the Fuehrer,

or by the leader of the Party Chancellery (Chef der

Parteikanzlei), who on the chart before you appears directly

under the Fuehrer.

In 1945 the chief of the Party Chancellery was Martin

Bormann, the defendant in this proceeding, and before him,

and until his flight to England in 1941, the defendant

Rudolf Hess. It was the duty of the Reichsleitung to make

certain that these tasks assigned to it by the Fuehrer were

carried out with expedition and without interruption, so

that the will of the Fuehrer was quickly and accurately

communicated to the lowest Party echelon, the lowliest Zelle

or Block. The individual offices of the Reichsleitung had

the mission to remain in constant and closest contact with

the life of the people through the agency of the

subdivisions of the component Party organisations in the

"Gau," within the "Kreis," or the "Ort" or the lower group.

These leaders had been taught that the right to organise

human beings accrued through the appreciation of the fact

that a people must be educated ideologically;

"weltanschaulich," the Germans call it, that is to say,

according to the philosophy of National Socialism.

Among the former Reichsleiter, on trial in this cause, may

be included the following defendants:-

If your Honour will follow me to this broad, horizontal

line, we started at the extreme left at the box marked with

the defendant Frank's name. At one time, although not in

March, 1945, he was the Head of the Legal Office of the

Party. He was the "Reichsleiter des Reichsrechtsamtes."

In the third square appears the defendant Rosenberg, the

delegate of the Fuehrer for Ideological Training and

Education of the Party. He was called "Der Beauftragte des

Fuehrers fur die Uberwachung der gesammten geistigen und

weltanschaulichen Schulung und Erziehung der NSDAP." Next to

him, to the right, is the defendant von Schirach, Leader of

Youth Education (Leiter fur die Jugenderziehung). Next to

him, appears the late defendant Robert Ley, at one time Head

of the Party Organisation (Reichsorganisationsleiter der

NSDAP) and also the Leader of the German Labour Front

(Leiter der Deutschen Arbeitsfront).

Then, if we cross the vertical line, and proceed to the

right, in passing I might allude to the box marked with the

name of Schwarz. He was the Party Official and Reichsleiter,

who certified to the chart before the Tribunal.

As we proceed further to the right, next to the last box, we

find the name of Frick, who was the leader of the Reichstag

fraction (Leiter des NS Reichstags-fraktion).

The next categories to be considered are the

"Hoheitstraeger," at the bottom of the vertical line, in the

centre of the chart. The National Socialists called them the

bearers of sovereignty. To them was assigned the political

sovereignty over specially designated subdivisions of the

State, of which they were the appointed leaders. The

"Hoheitstraeger " may be said to represent the vertical

Organisation of the Party.

These leaders, these "Hoheitstraeger" included all

Gauleiters, of whom there were 42 within the Reich in 1945.

A "Gauleiter" was a political leader of the largest

subdivision of the State. He was charged by the Fuehrer with

the political, cultural and economic control over all forms

and manifestations of the life of the people and the co-

ordination of the same with National Socialist philosophy

and ideology.

A number of the defendants, before the bar of this Tribunal,

were former "Gauleiter" of the NSDAP. I mention, in this

connection, the defendant

                                                   [Page 93]

Streicher, Gauleiter of Franconia, "Franken-Fuehrer" they

called him, whose seat was in the city of Nuremburg. Von

Schirach was Gauleiter of Vienna and the defendant Sauckel

was Gauleiter of Thuringia.

The next lower category on the chart, were the

"Kreisleiter," the political leaders of the largest

subdivision within a Gau. Then follow the "Ortsgruppen-

leiter," the political leaders of the largest subdivision

within the Kreis. And a Kreis consisted perhaps of several

towns or villages or, in the case of a larger city, anywhere

from 1,500 to 3,000 households.

The next "Hoheitstraeger" were the Zellenleiter, the

political leaders of a group from four to eight city blocks,

or of a corresponding group within country districts, and

then follow the Blockleiter, the political leaders of from

40 to 60 households.

Now, each of these political leaders, of these

"Hoheitstraeger," or bearers of sovereignty, was directly

responsible to the next highest leader in the Nazi

hierarchy. The Gauleiter was directly responsible to the

Fuehrer      himself; the Kreisleiter was directly

responsible to the Gauleiter; the Ortsgruppenleiter to the

Kreisleiter, and so on.

The Fuehrer himself, reserved to himself, in accordance with

the philosophy that runs through the Party, the right to

name all fuehrers. It was he, personally, that named the

Reichsleiter, all members of the Party Directorate. It was

he that appointed all Gauleiter and Kreisleiter and all

political leaders, down to the grade of "Gauamtsleiter,"

which was a lower classification of political leader within

the Party Organisation of the Gau.

These "Hoheitstraeger," together with the Reichsleitung,

constituted the all-powerful group of leaders by means of

which the Nazi Party reached right down into the lives of

the people, consolidated its control of them and compelled

them to conform to the National Socialist pattern. For this

purpose broad powers were given to them, including the right

to call upon all Party formations to effectuate their plans.

They could requisition the services of the SA and of the SS,

as well as of the HJ and of the NSKK. If I may direct your

attention, for the moment, to the Party organisations that

appear at the extreme left of the chart, I would just like

to say that structurally these were organised regionally to

with the offices and regions controlled by the

"Hoheitstraeger." If I might be more explicit, let us take

the SA. The subsidiary formations of the SA came down and

corresponded, in its lower organisations, to the Gau, so

that we have "Gauleitung" in the SA, and further down, to

the Kreis, so that we have a Kreisleitung within the Kreis.

Thus, we have a Kreisleitung in the SA so that the Gauleiter

and the Kreisleiter, to cite two examples, charged with a

particular duty by the Fuehrer, could call on these

organisations for assistance in carrying out their tasks.

These sinister implications of the use of this power will

become more apparent as the prosecution's case develops, and

as the wealth of evidentiary material is introduced into

evidence to prove the criminality of the defendant


The component Party-organisations, called "Gliederungen"

within the Party, are shown at the extreme left of the

chart, and are the organisations to which I directed the

attention of your Honour a moment ago. These organisations

actually constitute the Party itself, and substantially the

entire Party-membership is contained within them. The four

principal organisations are sometimes referred to as

"paramilitary" organisations. They were uniformed

organisations and they were armed. These were the notorious

SA and SS, who are named as party-defendants in this case,

the HJ (Hitler Youth) and the NSKK (the Motor Corps of the

Party'). Then there were also the National Socialist Women's

Organisation, the National Socialist German Students Bund

(Deutscher Studentenbund), and the National Socialist

University Teachers' Bund.

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