Documents on the Nazi suppression of trade unions May 1933

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Documents on the Nazi suppression of trade unions May 1933

Post by David Thompson » 06 Oct 2004 04:00

"Document 2895-PS: Affidavit: [Former Leading Functionaries of the General German Trade Union Association [Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund]] [translation]", in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume V: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1946. pp. 563-564.

We, the undersigned, in our capacity a former leading functionaries of the General German Trade Union Association [Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund] (until 5/2/1933), being duly sworn, do hereby declare as follows:

1. On 5/2/1933 Nazi Party agents, with the assistance of the SA,' occupied' all the offices of the "control" office and branches of the "Bank of Tile Workers, Employees and Officials" [Bank der Arbeiter, Angeskellstellten und Beamten] throughout Germany.

2. The shares of the aforementioned bank were entirely in the hands of the General German Trade Union Association and of its affiliated trade unions. The individual members of the trade unions had their accounts with this bank as well as many individual members of the cooperatives [Genossenschaften]; and private individuals outside the trade unions were also depositors of the bank.

3. The overwhelming majority of the assets [Guthaben] of the General German Trade Union Association and of its affiliated trade unions were deposited with the "Bank of the Workers, Employee and Officials".

The above assurance by oath was given by us, the undersigned, on 11/13/1945 at Nurnberg, in the Justice Building before Captain D. A. Spreeher, AUS.

[signed] Joseph Simon

Joseph Simon, in 1933 President the National Association of the Shoemakers of Germany, affiliate of the General German Trade Union Association, [Zentraltverband der Schuhmacher Deutschlands, angeschlossen-dem Allgemeinen Deutschen Gewerkschaftsbund].

[signed] Lorenz Hagen

Lorenz Hagen, in 1933 President of the ADGB Local Committee, Nurnberg.

[signed] Mathias Lex

Mathias Lex, in 1933 Deputy Pres. National Union of the Shoemakers of Germany, affiliate of the General German Trade Union

[stellv. Pres. d. Zentralverbands Deutschlands, angeschlossen dem ADGB].

Sworn to before me 11/13/1946 in the Justice Building in Nurnberg,

[signed] D. A. Sprecher

D. A. Sprecher 02055516
Captain, Army of the United States.

"Document 2277-PS [translation]", in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume IV: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: GPO, 1947. pp. 951-953.

of Gustav Schiefer, born 7/17/1876, residence: Munich 9, No. 3 Armanspergstrasse, about what happened to him when the Nazis came on 3/9/1933.

I was employed as part time worker [Hilfsarbeiter] by the former Trade Union Society, Munich, beginning 11/11/1911. During the years 1914-1918, I was in the World War.

After the revolution in 11/1918 I was elected Executive Chairman of the General German Trade Union Association [Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund], Local Committee, Munich. I held this position without interruption until 3/9/1933.

On that day the Nazis stormed the Munich Trade Union Headquarters Building, 40/42 Pestalozzistrasse. The offices remained closed until 15 March. On 13 March my late colleague Erhard Kupfer, former District Secretary of the General German Trade Union Association [ADGB] and I had to report to the, then, State Commissar Wagner, and were ordered to reopen the Munich Trade Union Headquarters Building, and with it the offices, by 15 March, and to resume normal activity within the framework of the trade unions.

Since I was at the same time chairman of the Munich Trade Union Headquarters Building, Inc., it became my task to take over the house in its entirety, and with it the individual offices of the trade unions.

Because safes and strong-boxes, in fact everything that was locked, had been smashed open, and because safes and tills, in the main, were empty, I refused to take over the house and offices in their present condition. I stated that I would take over the house only in the condition in which it was when it was taken away from us on 9 March.

The house had been taken over on 3/9/1933 by Herr Kurt Frey, and returned to us on 16 March by the former executive secretary of the Hotel, Restaurant, etc. Employees' Association, Herr Reichart. This Nazi, with whom I did not get along too well because of his equivocal attitude, believed that the opportunity had arrived to wreak his vengeance on me.

I was dragged to the great hall, paper and pencil put before me with the challenge to designate these Nazis who had committed thefts during the period of 3/9-15/1933. I could not do that, since I did not know the individuals. As I refused my signature about 10 Nazis beat me promiscuously and indiscriminately until I collapsed. Upon that they seized me and threw me into the bottom of the light shaft of the Trade Union Headquarters Building. After lying there for some time I summoned up my strength and tried to rouse myself. When the Nazis noted that, they again dragged me into the hall and beat me until I collapsed and fainted. My colleagues Josef Gessl, former executive secretary of the Cobblers' Association, and Richard Moses, employee of the General Mutual Benefit Local Pay Office [Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse], Munich, grabbed me and brought me in this condition to the Munich-Schwabing hospital. In addition tomany other injuries, Professor Dr. Kerschensteiner, director of this institution, diagnosed serious concussion of the brain with hemorrhage into the brain. I remained from 15 March to 5/5/1933. On 5 May the Precinct Physician, at that time already a Nazi, certified that I was sufficiently fit for arrest. On 5 May I was transported to the Ettstrasse Police Prison, and from there to Stadelheim. I remained in Stadelheim until 8/25/1933.

It is due to an extraordinarily fortunate circumstance that I was saved from Dachau in 1933. Medical Privy Councillor Dr. Geisendoerfer, who was chief physician in Stadelheim, knew me from the Cooperative Sickness Benefit movement (I had been on the Committee of the General Mutual Insurance Local Pay Office [Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse], Munich, for 25 years). Through the many negotiations with the physician I had been in close touch with the above-named gentleman. During my stay in Stadelheim the Gestapo had me examined five times by the chief physician, who always held a protective hand over me, and to whom I am also indebted for my early release, due to a serious illness (intestinal gap of 15 cm depth and 7-8 cm length). I was then sick and unable to work until 12/24/1933. On that day I was sent away by the Trustee Physician of the General Mutual Benefit Local Pay Office, Munich (city), in spite of my request to allow me to draw sickness benefits until the eve of the New Year. He said that there was no reason to grant the request. As far as I know this Trustee Physician was Medical Councillor Dr. Plate. I was then unemployed until 5-6/1934 and then accepted various jobs as representative. After my release from Stadelheim I had to report to the police every third day for almost 2 years. Constant police supervision was one of the simplest cases of chicanery.

Upon the initiative of my colleague Wilhelm Leuschner, Berlin, I joined the movement against the Nazi system in good time; and it was exclusively due to he steadfastness of my colleague Leuschner that I, like many other friends, am still alive.

After the assassination attempt on Hitler on 7/20/1944, I was again arrested and shipped to Dachau Concentration Camp. As is well known, that project was called "Gitter."

On 10/6/1944 I was released without any interrogation. I was extraordinarily fortunate. Since 5/2/1945 I am again active, in the trade union as well as the political movement and also in social work and life.

As witnesses for the correctness of my statements I name the persons already mentioned above, who brought me to the Schwabing hospital (Josef Gessl and Richard Moses).

And how decent were we once more in the year 1945. Not a hair on the head of any of these swine was harmed on behalf of the trade unions. We bore witness, and still bear witness today, for human dignity and justice.

Other liberated colleagues of the Free Trade Unions got away with beatings in the cellar of the Trade Union Headquarters Building in the beginning. Among others my colleague, Anton Friebl, now living at 4 Gabrielenstrasse, 2nd floor. Many deceased colleagues, such as Georg Kandlbinder, Josef Ertl, Heinrich Gassner and many others.

Munich, 10/17/1945
[signed] G. SCHIEFER

Today on 11/19/1945, I have re-read and signed every single page of the statement given by me on 10/17/1945. I declare hereby under oath that this statement is true.

[signed] Gustav Schiefer
Gustav Schiefer

SWORN TO BEFORE ME 11/19/1945, Munich, Germany.

[signed] Kurt A. Baer, 0-1041959 Captain, CAC 3rd Military Government Regiment APO 403, US Army

"Document 2928-PS: Affidavit of Mathias Lex, [translation]", in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume V: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: GPO, 1946. pp. 594-597 et seq.

1. My name is Mathias Lex, born on 28 of December 1874 in Bergham, Upper-Bavaria. My residence is at Nurnberg, Katzwangerstrasse 62/II. From 1920-5/1933 I was vice-President of the National Union of Shoemakers [Zentralverband der Schuhmacher] affiliated with the A.D.G.B. The National Union was the parent organization of all shoemaker trade unions in the whole of Germany affiliated with the A.D.G.B. The main office was in Nurnberg and the office was located in the Essweinstrasse 1.

2. On 5/2/1933 I was as usual in the above-mentioned office. It was about 10 a.m. when a certain Rudel in civilian clothes entered the office, accompanied by about 12 uniformed SA men. He informed us that he was directed to take over the National Union [Zentralverband]. I then asked him whether he carried any identification. He replied this "would come immediately". Some minutes later the National Socialist Georg Pessler entered the room in the uniform of an SA man. He assembled all of us and informed us that the shoemaker union was being taken over by the NSDAP, that however under no circumstances was it intended to dismiss any of the employees, but that on the contrary all of us should continue our work conscientiously. Another civilian had entered the room together with Pessler. He asked immediately for Josef Simon, the president of our organization. I declared that Simon was in Berlin, at a meeting of the A.D.G.B. [Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund-General German Trade Union Association]. Schneider and Pessler wanted to know the address of Simon. I replied that I did not know it, because I was afraid of his being arrested. I was then informed that I would not be allowed to leave the office until I had given them the address of Josef Simon in Berlin.

During the afternoon Schneider remarked to Pessler that the son of Josef Simon was employed in the office and that his arrest in all probability would speed up the return of the father Josef Simon. When the closing hour came, all the keys, including those for the safe, were taken away from us by the nazis and we were allowed to go home. Especially Schneider during the day had accused us of embezzlement and of the abuse of money entrusted to us, accusations which I strictly denied. From the day our offices were occupied, a nazi guard in SA uniform of about 5 men was established there. On about 3 or 4 May I learned from young Simon that hrs father had been arrested in Berlin and was on his way to Nurnberg. Subsequently, young Simon and I went by railway to Fuerth, where we entered the Berlin-Nurnberg train, searched for Josef Simon and found him accompanied by a civil servant. We remained together in a compartment until Nurnberg. Simon was taken away immediately from the station at Nurnberg and was not permitted thereafter to return to his office.

3. From 5/2/1933 onwards until about 11 May I was forced to work in my office under Nazi supervision. During that time Pessler conferred the supervision of the offices to Rudel and to a newly arrived nazi functionary, Heid. Around the 2 or 3 May the nazis also took into protective custody the editor of our union organ "The Shoemaker". His name was Otto Trefflich. Another member of our office staff, Hermann Mueller was arrested about the same time. He was employed as a statistician by our trade union. In addition, however, he was sport director within the workers sport movement and I believe that he was arrested on account of that activity, as his position as statistician was not a leading one. He was also arrested on account of the fact that he was a very active member of the "Reichsbanner".

4. In Pirmasens, Palatinate, a payment-collection branch office of our union was established. In that office about the 8 or 9 May, the manager Adolf Ludwig and the cashier Dinges had been arrested. Upon my suggestion, Rudel agreed to go to Pirmasens in order to hear more details about the reason for the arrests. We arrived at Pirmasens about 11 May in the evening. A nazi named Schmitz had taken over the management of the payment-collection office in Pirmasens. When we entered the office a certain Fink was also present. He was a leading nazi in Pirmasens, in nazi uniform.

Both repeated the accusations against the arrested manager and cashier of our branch office: embezzlement, theft and personal enrichment, illegal transfer of money belonging to the trade unions to the cooperatives. On 12 May we had a detailed discussion concerning the guilt of the accused men and I defended them. At about noon Fink, Schmitz and Rudel left the room. Both arrested men, Ludwig and Dinges, who had been brought into the room upon my request and myself were left in the room under the guard of an SA man. After about 10 minutes a policeman entered the room and brought me into the district-court prison. I was retained there in custody until the 28 May. Afterwards, I protested in writing to the nazi leaders of Pirmasens against my arrest, but I never received an answer. On 28 May Fink and two civilians arrived and informed me that they would send me back to Nurnberg. I asked them whether I would again be taken into custody there. One of them said I would. I replied that in that case I might just as well stay in Pirmasens. Subsequently both Ludwig and Dinges, who had been called in before, and I were released after a few minutes.

5. When I showed up on Monday at my office for work, Rudel informed me that I was dismissed. I protested against an immediate dismissal on the ground of my rights against dismissal and Rudel rejected that flatly.

6. I reported three times weekly at the labor office until the 9/26/1934, but had no success. I had also offered my services for factory work with the same negative result.

7. In 9/1933 I secretly undertook a trip to Brussels in order to participate in the International Congress of Shoe and Leather Industry Workers (Internationaler Kongress der Schuhund Leder-Industrie-Arbeiter). My trip to Brussels was financed partly by my own means, partly with the help of my German colleagues. I returned to Nurnberg without the nazis being aware of my journey.

8. From the end of 1933-9/1934 I irregularly received money from friends of our union. I was in a certain way the trustee for the distribution of that money to needy members of our movement, who as victims of the nazis had become unemployed. In 9/1934 a house-search took place in Pirmasen at the house of a certain Robert Breyer and a money order hidden in a sugar bowl was found. This money order had been addressed to me at my Nurnberg address. Based on that lead, the Gestapo discovered my distributing activities. On 9/25/1934 a search took place in my house by the Gestapo man Osterhuber, accompanied by a policeman, but it was fruitless. These men ordered me to come to the Gestapo the following morning. After a four-hour cross-examination I was put into prison. I was retained in prison in Nurnberg for seven and a half months. During my custody in Nurnberg the Gestapo man Osterhuber handed me a protective custody order dated 10/8/1934. This order was handed over by me to the American authorities here in Nurnberg on 11/13/1945.

9. On 5/11/1935 I was taken to Dachau. I was detained there until 12/23/1938. During these 44 months of my stay in Dachau, I saw and spoke now and again to the following persons likewise confined at the Dachau concentration camp. After each name I have added the person's political or other ties, also the home town or else the place where the person worked, as far as I still remember:

1. Karl Proells, union man, social democratic party of Germany, Nurnberg
2. Reibenwein, union man and SPD, Nurnberg
3. Johann Dillinger, union man and SPD Nurnberg
4. Johann Sperber, union man and SPD, Nurnberg
5. Edelmann, SPD
6. Behmer, union man and SPD, Nurnberg
7. Buchmann, union man and KPD (Communist Party of Germany).
8. Huebner, union man and SPD, Nurnberg
9. Uebler, union man and SPD, Nurnberg
10. Max Hohle, union man and KPD, Muenchen
11. Leonhard Peter, union man, Munich
12. Balshaeuser, union man, Nurnberg
13. Stahlhuber, union man, Eichstaedt
14. Hauptreif, union man, Pirmasens
15. Weisspflock, union man, Munich
16. Hans Gollwitzer, union man, Nabburg
17. Julius Lossmann, Union man and SPD, Nurnberg
18. Kurt Schuhmacher, SPD, Hanover and member of the Reichstag.
19. Anton Mueller, SPD, Nurnberg
20. Heinrich Jasper, Dr., SPD, prime minister of Braunschweig, Braunschweig
21. Puchta, SPD, member of the Reichstag, Bayreuth
22. Alexander, leading police official in Vienna, when the labor party was in power there.
23. Unterleitner, SPD,member of the Reichstag, Munich
24. Ferdinand Abe, KPD, Munich 25. Hummel, SPD, Hessen
26. Feliner, SPD or KPD, Straubing Lower Bavaria
27. Haag, KPD, Gmuend, State Deputy of Wuertemberg
28. Archduke Ferdinand von Lothringen from the dynasty of Toscana (seen, but not spoken to) 29. Two Princes Hohenberg, sons of the deceased crown prince of Austria, archduke Franz Ferdinand.
30. Schmucker, Russian-orthodox bishop
31. Steinbrecher, SPD, minister of the interior of Braunschweig
32. The Reverend Spannlanc, Linz, Catholic priest
33. Tripula, shoemaker, Neustadt/Aisch

When I came the first time to Dachau, I estimated that there were 2000-3000 people confined in the camp. Of these about 50% at least were political prisoners. During my arrest in Dachau, I have spoken to additional other political prisoners, but I do not remember their names now. During my stay in Dachau, I noticed an increasing number of prisoners. Shortly before the Olympic games took place in Berlin in 1936, my friends to whom I was talking and I noticed a sudden increase of prisoners to Dachau, which I estimate at about 2000-3000 people. It was clear to us who discussed it that most of them were beggars, peddlers and cripples because many of them looked shabby and were partly tattered and torn. We described many of them as "Peddlers" and "Tramps". After the end of the Olympic Games, these people were gradually released. The next big transport appeared after the invasion of Austria and consisted of "Non-Reich-Germans", but only of Austrians. I estimate that the minimum figure was about 2500 people and that all of these people came in within about 2 weeks. The next big transport, which I estimate at about 1000 people, was brought in about 10/1938, immediately after the invasion of the Sudetenland. I spoke to some of these people, many of whom told me that they did not know at all why they had been arrested except that they were suspected of being non-nazis or anti-nazis. When I was released from Dachau in 12/1938, about 20000 people were held as prisoners there. At all times, however, when I was in Dachau, I estimate the percentage of the political prisoners to have been at least 50%. I include in the political prisoners the "Bible-researchers" whose number I estimate at over 150. When I left the concentration camp there must have been over 150 gypsies there. After we had read in the newspapers of the murder of von Rath, it was clear to us that the increased incoming of Jews was caused by it. I estimate the number of so-called "anti-socials" in the camp at about 500 men, including the drunkards etc. In the group of political prisoners, estimated by me, I have not included the so-called "A-Socials" elements, the gypsies, nor the Jews, drunkards, the shiftless, homosexuals, those who had escaped labor assigned to them, nor the criminals. The following groups were kept entirely isolated: The members of the so-called "punishment-companies", who were in a concentration camp for a second time and after about 1937 also the "Bibelforscher". Members of the "punishment-companies" There such prisoners, who had committed disciplinary or slight offences against the camp regulations. The following groups lived separately but could mix with the other groups during the day, either while working or while strolling through the camp: Political prisoners, Jews, "anti-socials", gypsies, felons, homosexuals, and before 1937 also the Bible-Researchers.

10. Until 4-5/1936 the commandant of the camp was the S Brigadier [Oberfuehrer] Deiwel, who was later on succeeded by SS colonel
[Standartenfuehrer] Baranowski and SS Major [Sturmbannfuehrer] Kruegel. Attached to the commandant of the camp was the SS Standartenfuehrer Vanselor, who was in charge of legal matters and interrogation of prisoners, who also interrogated me once. After Loritz had commenced duty, the treatment became considerably worse. The following SS men, holding the rank of Scharfuehrer were each in charge of a company of prisoners: Roth, Dammbach, Spatzenbecker, Wagner, Kaiser, Zimmermann, Schwarzhuber, Dalarmi, Seiss, Luedgemeyer, and many others.

11. After I had been brought to Dachau, I was subjected to numerous humiliations, annoyances, insults and ill treatments. We had to make our beds again and again under frivolous pretexts, we were not even allowed to have finger prints on our cupboards, but were forced immediately to rub them off. While washing our dishes we were not allowed to spill water. In winter we must assemble without overcoats. We were not allowed to wear scarves. We could have been beaten. If one of us laughed, we all had to undergo punishment drill. Once we had punishment drill for half an hour because in the opinion of the SS man in charge we had not sung nicely enough. Frequently for no reason we had to stand at attention for as long as an hour, bending our knees or skipping. Frequently we were ordered for general cleaning. We had to take all our belongings into the open. This was ordered with pleasure on holidays. The SS Scharfuehrer Seiss had a whistle. When he whistled once, everybody had to leave the barracks at once. Frequently this was done 4-6 times in succession. The last, who did not return to the barracks quickly enough, was kicked. This made everyone afraid and they jostled each other. When once during an alarm I returned too late to my barracks, Luedgemeyer called me "miserable rascal" and kicked me and thumped me in the face with his fist. Once when I entered the working room, and did not immediately take off my cap, the civilian Hintermann, (a camp employee) beat my face with his fist. Dambach beat me on my head with his fist because I had forgotten to deliver my watch when I was brought into the camp. A guard asked me, while I was carrying 2 planks, four meters long, to run with them. I was not able to do that. He kicked me and I fell to the floor with the planks. Another time an SS man called me names and for no reason at all made me do knee-bending until I was exhausted. On New Year's Day, 1937, we had to run continuously for 3 hours in the morning and for 3 hours in the afternoon. Another time we were made to run with our arms raised and dance at the same time. This lasted about half an hour. At the usual roll call in the evening, we often had to stand for more than 3 hours in the bitterest cold. Once when the company assembled too late, Spatzenecker deprived us of coffee. These are only a few examples of the treatment to which we were constantly exposed. When I arrived at Dachau, I was 60 years old. When I left Dachau, I had, during those 44 months, lost 30 lbs. in weight. I blame this loss of weight on the defective nutrition which gradually got worse and worse after Loritz had taken over.

12. Many anti-nazi political figures, who had held high positions before the nazi seizure of power, were as a rule treated much worse than the average political prisoners. As an example I name: Steinbrecher, Jasper, and as an example of harsh treatment of other than leading personalities, I name Buchmann, Steinbrecher, as former Minister of the Interior of Braunschweig, was mostly forced to do very hard work. Jasper was ridiculed and forced to work very hard. Once he was forced to wallow in dirt and another time was ordered to run around a tree about 100 times until he fainted. Buchmann, as another example, a communist, was inhumanly punished for suspected assistance in escape. He was made to jump into a canal, to dive, kneel, and was repeatedly threatened with a pistol in order to force a confession from him. Fellner, an ordinary worker, had to stay without any reason for 80 days in the bunker. The smallest violation against the rights of property was most severely punished. For example a prisoner named Haeusler, for the suspected theft of a pair of light shoes, received 36 lashings (the so-called "Schlageter celebration") in the presence of the whole camp. We were ordered to assemble. He was fixed on the box with his hands and legs strapped on to the box. Then he received from two SS men the 36 lashes. They were given with ox-hide whips which were held in both hands of each SS man. A doctor was in attendance. In my opinion this was only a matter of form. On 3/22/1937, I again witnessed this type of punishment. Again everybody had to assemble. Camp commandant Loritz was present. He threatened us and ordered that the men should be lashed slowly. There were 2 prisoners and each of them received 25 lashes. On the same day and at the same time I also witnessed another punishment: 10 prisoners, whose offenses were unknown to me, were hanged on trees. This was done in such a way that both hands were tied together behind their backs. They were hung on to the trees by their hands. This lasted for an hour. This kind of punishment took place weekly. I know that from those who suffered from it. One was named Biederer. From my own company a man named Wagner experienced it. Another was named Dirolf. On 3/22/1937 while we were standing at attention to witness the beating, one of our men had wiped his nose. Loritz noticed that. The man was brought out and also hanged on the tree. Many whippings took place without witnesses. I saw the preparations, especially the victims before the whipping. Degenfeld, Moecke, Sock and Hofman from my company have told me that they were whipped without witnesses. I also know of many other persons who received non-public whippings, but I no longer. remember the names. I witnessed four whippings before the assembled camp inmates. Besides that I also know of three Austrians having been whipped. In that case only Austrian prisoners were allowed to be present. I know this because we were forbidden to leave the barracks during the punishment. At other times we were allowed to stroll around freely. On the occasion of this whipping, a political prisoner, Tripula, went as a spectator against orders, and, being discovered, he also received 10 lashes. He, himself, later told me.

13. Around 4/1936 the order was issued to isolate the prisoners who were in protective custody for a second time. We were placed in a special barracks, altogether about 250 men. In contrast to the ordinary prisoners we were neither allowed to smoke, nor to have newspapers, nor to play any games. Instead of 8 hours we were now forced to work 10 hours, were only admitted for meals at the last group, were not allowed to write home nor to receive any mail. We were used for particularly heavy work. Also, in our working place we had to work entirely separately. Our barracks was completely shut in by wire netting. The windows looking on to the camp-street were covered by screens, thus making it impossible for anybody to look at us. We also could not get in touch with the outside because the window was covered and because the barrack doors only led to the place situated between both barracks. We were released from this special custody after about 8 weeks. Only those, however, who were in protective custody for a second time were released, not those who were in a concentration camp for a second time. They remained in the special custody as before and continued to be subjected to the above mentioned restrictions.

14. On 12/23/1938 I was released from Dachau. On 12/24/1938 I had to report to the Gestapo at Nurnberg. There the signing of a "Declaration" was demanded of me. This declaration is exactly the same as that signed by Josef Simon before the Bavarian political police on 12/20/1935 [Note: see document 2331-PS] with the exception that I had to report only every third working day instead of every second day, and that there was no fixed hour prescribed for me to report. In this "Declaration" signed by me, I was described as "union official". When I was released from Dachau, we were told by a high-ranking SS man while assembled, that for the slightest offence we would be sent again to Dachau. He added that in such a case we would in all probability never get out of Dachau. We were told not to talk about Dachau at all, neither in a good nor in a bad way, not even to members of our families. In such a case we would likewise be brought back to Dachau.

15. After returning from Dachau, I now received the normal unemployment compensation. I reported regularly with the labor office, but I was unable to get a job.

16. On 8/22/1944 at 5 a.m. I was arrested in my apartment by two criminal policemen and taken away. At the police station I met 20 other persons who like me had been arrested the same day. Among them was Lorenz Hagen, former president of the A.I3.G.B., Nurnberg local committee. At noon all of us were transported by railway to Dachau. On 9/1944 I was again released with some of the people arrested on 22 August. During that period we were kept isolated, had no shoes or hats and received filthy clothes. This time none of us had to do work. After my release I remained unemployed at Nurnberg until the end of the war.

17. I then resumed my relations with the union and with the party. Due to my age, however, I am no longer active.

I have read each page of the above statement and signed it. I assure hereby by oath that it is true.

[signed] Mathias Lex
Mathias Lex

Sworn to before me on 11/16/1945 at the Justice Building, Nurnberg, Germany

[signed] D. A. Sprecher
D. A. Sprecher, 02055516 Captain, AUS

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Post by David Thompson » 13 Oct 2004 06:31

"Document 392-PS [translation]", in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1947. pp. 380-385.
The Social Life of New Germany with Special Consideration of the German Labor Front [Das Sociale Leben in neuen Deutschland unter besonderer Beruecksichtigung der Deutschen Arbeitsfront] (Berlin, 1938)
by Prof. Willy Mueller. Pages 51-54. [Prof. Mueller was Reich Indoctrination Administrator in the German Labor Front].

"The Supreme Directorate of the Political Organization - The Staff Director"
Munich, 4/21/1933
Circular Letter Nr. 6/33

On Tuesday, 5/2/1933, the coordination action [Gleichschaltungsaktion] of the free trade unions begins.

The direction of the entire action lies in the hands of the Action Committee.

The Action Committee is composed as follows:

Dr. Robert Ley, Chairman.
Rudolf Schmeer, Deputy.
Schuhmann, Commissar of the General German Trade Union Federation [ADGB].
Peppler, Commissar for the General Independent Employees Federation [AFA].
Muchow Organization.
Bank Director Muller, Commissar, Director of the Bank for Workers, Employees and Officials.
Brinckmann, Commissar Chief Cashier.
Biallas, Propaganda and Press.

All the commissar directors of the unions belong to the broader Action Committee.

The essential part of the action is to be directed against the General German Trade Union Federation [ADGB] and the General Independent Employees Federation [AFA]. Anything beyond that which is dependent upon the free trade unions is left to the discretion of the Gauleiter's judgment.

The Gauleiters are responsible for the execution of the coordination action in the individual areas. Supporters of the action should be members of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organizations [NSBO or National-Sozialistische Betriebszellen-Organisation].

SA as well as SS are to be employed for the occupation of trade union properties and for taking into protective custody personalities concerned.

The Gauleiter is to proceed with his measures on a basis of the closest understanding with competent regional factory cells directors [Gaubetriebszellenleiter].

The action in Berlin will be conducted by the Action Committee itself.

In the Reich the following will be occupied: The directing offices of the unions; The trade union houses and offices of the free trade unions, The Party houses of the Socialist Democratic Party of Germany insofar as trade unions are involved there; The branches and pay offices of the Bank for Workers, Employees and officials, Inc. The district committees of the General German Trade Union Federation and of the General Independent Employees Federation. The local committees of the General German Trade Union Federation and of the General Independent Employees Federation.

The following are to be taken into protective custody: All trade union chairmen [Verbandsvorsitzende]; The district Secretaries and the branch directors of the "Bank for Workers, Employees and Officials, Inc."

The Chairmen of local committees as well as the employees of unions are not to be taken into protective custody but are to be urged to continue their work.

Exceptions are granted only with the permission of the Gauleiter.

The taking over of the independent trade unions must proceed in such a fashion that the workers and employees will not be given the feeling that this action is against them, but on the contrary, an action against a superannuated system which is not directed in conformity with the interests of the German nation.

The Provisional local direction of the General German Trade Union and of the General Independent Employees' Federations is to be taken over by a commissar of the National Socialist Factory Cells Organization [NSBO].

The dealings with the authorities and other organizations are to be handed over immediately to the newly installed commissars.

All funds and accounts of the independent trade unions are to be blocked immediately and remain thus until Thursday afternoon 1800 hours. Insofar as incumbent cashiers are permitted to remain in office they will be subject to the authority of the commissar. All payment receipts must be countersigned by a commissar.

After raising the blocking of funds the usual payments for the support of persons, etc. must be unconditionally assured in order not to create a feeling of uneasiness among the members of the trade unions.

As soon as possible mass assemblies are to be arranged for the free attendance by all trade union members. In these meetings the meaning of the action is to be set forth and it is to be explained that the rights of the workers and employees are being unequivocally guaranteed.

The following unions belong to the General German Trade Union Federation [Here follows an enumeration of 28 unions].

The following unions belong to the General Independent Employees Federation [Here follows an enumeration of 13 unions].

Up to the present time the following have been proposed for commissars: [Here follows an enumeration of 17 names as commissars for the most important arrangements of the General German Trade Union Federation].

For the rest, the newly installed commissars will be nominated by the Gauleiters in close cooperation with the Regional Factory Cells Office. [Gaubetriebszellenamt].

It is to be understood that this action is to proceed in a strongly disciplined fashion. The Gauleiters are responsible in this respect; they are to hold the direction of the action firmly in hand.

Heil Hitler!
/s/ Dr. Robert Ley


The NSBO (National Socialist Factory Cells Organization) took over not only the administrative apparatus but the entire press of the "Free Trade Unions." The papers and magazines which had a pronounced party political [parteipolitisch] tendency had to stop their publication, while the other special publications continued. By all these measures Marxism was to be hit exclusively, but not the idea of trade unions as such, in which the right and defense of the German workers were embodied.

On 5/5/1933, the leader of the action committee reported to Hitler the success of the ordered action. Then, in a public mass demonstration, he reported about the events of 2 May to the workers of Berlin; at the same time, he unfolded before them his future plans which were to secure the maintenance of the financial efficiency of the trade unions in the interest of the worker.

Following the crushing of the free trade unions, the danger came, of course, that former functionaries would try to acquire money and other property items for themselves in an illegal manner. This, however, would have entailed damage to the members. To avoid these dangers on 5/12/1933, the Attorney General of the State confiscated the property of the free trade unions and of all of their affiliated unions and administrative agencies in order to secure an orderly disposition of the property of the German workers. Dr. Robert Ley was assigned as the attorney with the right to dispose of the confiscated property [vefuegungsberechtigter Pfleger der beschlagnahmten Vermoegen].

While the free trade unions were smashed [zertruemmert] in the action of 2 May, Dr. Ley granted the entire Union of the Christian Trade Unions with further full liberty of movement. For this purpose, he told it on 5/6/1933 that "nothing will be changed in the present situation until the return of the Saar to the Reich and that they (the Christian Trade Unions) should continue as before to represent and carry on the idea of the Christian Trade Unions and of Germandom as they see it". Therefore the Christian Trade Unions put on temporary constraint in their attitude toward the social political events of 2 May and participated in the Saar in forming the "German Trade Union Front" in order to help to secure the result of the Saar voting by achieving a unity of the people.

The former free trade union leaders behaved differently. These, with the assistance of their colleagues abroad and of the international union of the trade unions, tried to oppose the measures of the German government; this induced Dr. Ley to introduce the defense against sabotage by the legal authorities.

The hostile activities reached their peak at the International Workers Conference of Geneva which began on 6/8/1933. From the German side, Dr. Ley also took part in it; representatives of the Reich Cabinet and of the Christian Trade Unions were with him. The subjects for the meeting were labor mediation, work conditions in certain branches of industry, social insurance, provision for unemployed, and shortening of the working time. The participating states were to enter the basic rules, which were to be set up in an international agreement, into their social legislations. The Germans represented voiced the opinion that the situation of the working people could not be improved by international agreement but by providing work and bread for the workers. In spite of this opposite opinion, Germany took part at the conference; in this way the German government wanted to prove that it had no purpose whatever to smash the social achievements of the German labor but that, on the contrary, she endeavored to retain them and lead them further. However, she was not willing to approve of an international agreement by which the further development of the German social legislation could be hampered.

During the conference, a few foreign personalities opposed the German representatives in such a way that Dr. Ley was induced to reject the further participation of the German Delegation in the discussions.

The atmosphere of Geneva did not remain without influence upon the representatives of the Christian Trade Unions. As already mentioned, the Christian Trade Unions were first given opportunity to continue their social work without interference. They began to exploit this favor. Also formally they have asserted that they were subject to all governmental measures which have been already taken or were to be taken; but that they could not refrain in the course of time from striving for a special position, which was to protect them from being ideologically converted to the world of national socialistic ideas. This attitude, which was contrary to the general interests and was prone to bring again dissension in the ranks of labor, induced Dr. Ley on 6/24/193 to order the complete incorporation of the Christian Trade Unions into the German Labor Front which had been founded in the meantime. It was again the NSBO to which this task was assigned. At the same time the leaders of the Christian Trade Unions lost their honorary positions which were granted to them by Dr. Ley in the new social order. Concerning this, Dr. Ley submitted the following statement:

I. With the formation of the German Labor Front the majority of workers' and capitalists' organizations should have an opposite orientation. Not only should the last refuge of Marxism be liquidated by this means, but also it should be possible to remove the unfortunate schism of the German laboring men. Petty and selfish persons do not wish to recognize this great and revolutionary fact and seek to weaken this work by imitations and self-help organizations. It is the will of the Fuehrer that outside of the German Labor Front no other organization (whether of worker or of employers) is to exist

II. National Socialism is exercising the power in its strength most generously, however this proceeding is being interpreted here and there by its small opponents as weakness. This National Socialism believed that it could be generous in dealing with the Christian trade unions and other middle-class groups. This fact was answered by ingratitude and disloyalty. It turns out that the afore-mentioned unions have shown the greatest corruption in treasury matters and in economic affairs. Because of this knowledge I offer the following: All offices of the Christian Trade Unions and of employee unions are to be occupied by National Socialists

(Signed) Dr. Robert LEY

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Oct 2004 23:37

"Document 2224-PS: The End of the Marxist Class Struggle [translation]" in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume IV: US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1947. pp. 864-867
Pages 1 and 2, Issue 381, 5/2/1933, of "NSK". National Socialist Party Press Agency [NSK, Pressedienst der NSDAP the official news agency of the NSDAP]. Edited by Wilhelm Weiss. Responsible for communications of the Reich Press Office. Dr. Otto Dietrich, Reich Press Chief. Published by Franz Eher's Successor, Munich.
NSK. The Action Committee for the protection of German labor reports:

On 1 May 1933 the entire German people has made a mighty profession of confidence to the new governmental leadership and to the German folk community. The greatest event of the day was the unanimous stand which the entire German working class in all its strata, in all levels and trades, has taken up, behind the government of Adolf Hitler. The flags of the new Reich, the symbols of the National Socialist uprising and of German socialism fluttered in the workers' districts of the cities just as on the farms, on factory smokestacks and on trade union headquarters, on state buildings and on homes in all German cities.

1 May 1933 was the death hour of the Marxist class struggle. Workers from the factories, manual and intellectual workers, clerical employees -- they all marched behind the swastika banner. The folk community is here -- the most splendid and exalted dream has become reality. The working masses have testified to their faith in National Socialism.

But as yet the trade associations of the German working class, the representative bodies of workers and employees, were in the hands of Marxist leaders, who did not guide the German labor movement for the benefit of the working German people, but only considered it as the shock troop of their crazy international Marxist class-struggle ideology.

National Socialism, which today has assumed leadership of the German working class, can no longer bear the responsibility for leaving the men and women of the German working class, the members of the largest trade organization in the world, the German Trade Union movement, in the hands of people who do not know a fatherland that is called Germany. Because of that, the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization [NSBO] has taken over the leadership of the trade unions. The NSBO has eliminated the old leadership of the Trade Unions of the AGDB [General German Trade Union League and of the AFA [General Independent Employees' Federation].

New German labor leaders have replaced senile ward-heelers [verkalkte Bonzen]. The proven pioneers of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization [NSBO], who have fought to the limit for the rights of German labor from the beginning, have taken over the leadership of the trade union associations. That proves that the struggle of National Socialism is not directed against the trade union idea as such, but only against the bureaucratized leaderships, because they are the foes of the German labor movement. The old, painstakingly attained rights of the workers' and employees' associations will not be touched. On the contrary, the new National Socialist trade union leadership will make good the harm inflicted on the German working class by class struggle and internationalism.

On 2 May 1933 the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization took over the leadership of all trade unions, all trade union buildings were occupied and most stringent control has been organized over financial and personnel matters of the organizations.

The leadership of the Action Committee for the Protection of German Labor has been assumed by Party Member Dr. Ley, Deputy: Schmeer.

The leadership of the General German Trade Union League has been taken over by Party Member Schumann. Party Member Muchow takes care of the fundamental questions of organization. Party Member Biallas is responsible for press and propaganda.

Party Member Peppler assumes leadership of the General Independent Employees' Federation [AFA].

Party Member Mueller assumes leadership of the "Bank for Workers, Employees and Civil Servants".

Auditing has been taken over by Party Member Brinkmann.

German workers and employees! Help us to build a new Germany of national liberty and socialist justice. Help to transform the trade unions to the media of fruitful work. Maintain discipline, then your work will be accompanied by success, to the benefit of the entire German people, but primarily of German workers and employees.

The new National Socialist trade union leadership will attempt to make good the damage done to the German working class by class struggle and internationalism. We appeal to the entire German people, to trade union members of all shades and associations.

Have confidence in the proven fighters of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization!

Attempts at sabotage by unscrupulous mischief-makers will be avenged with the whole severity of the law. Comply with all future directives, it is a matter of your and your children's future!

Now to work! Long live Socialism! Long live Germany!


The "National Socialist Party Press Agency" is informed that a great Workers' Congress will take place on Wednesday, 10 May, in the Prussian House of Lords in Berlin. The united front of German workers will be formed there. Adolf Hitler will be asked to assume the position of Honorary Patron.


NSK. On Tuesday noon, at about two o'clock, the gentlemen of the Action Committee for the Protection of German Labor visited the Reich Chancellery under the leadership of Dr. R. Ley, in order to inform the Reich Chancellor of the accomplished coordination [Gleichschaltung] of the Free Trade Unions in line with the general political situation in Germany. Dr. Ley informed the Chancellor of the smooth course encountered by the project, the necessity of which was based on the attitude of the German working class itself, which had demanded an end to Marxist activity in the trade unions. The Action Committee then asked Adolf Hitler to become Honorary Patron of the Great Workers' Congress to take place within the next few weeks.

The Fuehrer declared his readiness to assume this position of Honorary Patron and emphasized especially that he expected smooth execution of the various measures, so that especially from a financial point of view, the Purge Project [Reinigungsaktion] would result not only in harm to the German worker, but exclusively in benefit. The Action Committee asserted that the settlement was taking place in complete peace and order, and could promise that as of tomorrow the payments of the institutions concerned would be resumed to their full extent.

"ARBEITERTUM" OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE ADGB [General German Trade Union League]

NSK, Berlin, 2 May

In consequence of the co-ordination [Gleichschaltung] of the Free Trade Unions, the organ of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organizations [Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellenorganization], "Das Deutsche Arbeitertum", has been designated as official organ of the ADGB. In future "Arbeitertum" will appear weekly (instead of bi-weekly, as up to now) with a total circulation of about 4 million copies.

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