Post by Matt Seccombe
In December 2019, I analyzed the prosecution documents on two of the IMT defendants, Schirach and Bormann, amounting to 137 documents and 774 pages of material. This brought the total for the IMT to 3200 documents so far, in just under two years of analysis work. (Many more to follow.) Bormann was tried in absentia; he had in fact died at the end of the war but this had not been definitely established at the time. His role as Hitler’s aide and deputy for political matters involved him in many of the issues covered in the trial, but since he did not have individual control over executive functions his conduct did not raise any new issues; the material in the case against him is almost all repetitive.
The children: Schirach’s primary role in the regime was as leader of the Hitler Youth programs. The point of this was expressed by Hitler himself in 1935, who boasted that if an opponent told him, “I will not come over to your side,” he would reply, “Your child belongs to me already.” In 1938, the ideologue Rosenberg celebrated the fact that the old Christian youth groups were disappearing, so that the Christian-Jewish “black swindle” would die out: “The Hitler Youth is the absorbing sponge which nobody can resist.”
A magazine for every child: Hitler Youth listed twenty-one different publications for young people, ten for different regions and eleven appealing to different interests. The latter were remarkably varied: “Will and Power” for youth leaders, “The German Girl,” “The Glider Pilot,” “The Storm Troop.” There were even magazines published for the blind and the deaf, which is remarkable considering the regime’s long-term plan to eliminate those with any disability.
The rumors about the East: In October 1942 Bormann issued instructions to party and local officials about how to respond to rumors that started to circulate when soldiers on home leave talked about what was happening to Jews in the East. The story should be that the Jews were simply being moved to work camps. If concerns were raised about their treatment, officials were to emphasis the need to exercise “ruthless severity” in a defensive operation for “the final security of our people.”
The HLS Library holds approximately one million pages of documents relating to the trial of military and political leaders of Nazi Germany before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) and to the twelve trials of other accused war criminals before the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMT). We have posted five trials so far (NMT 1 through NMT 4 and NMT 7) and have completed digitization of all the documents and transcripts.
We are now engaged in the process of analyzing, describing and making machine readable the remaining trials’ materials in preparation for posting them to the Web. We hope to complete this work as soon as possible based upon available funding. For more information about this project, please contact [email protected].