IMT: Documents on Suppression of the Christian Churches

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IMT: Documents on Suppression of the Christian Churches

Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:29

This is another documentary research thread, containing the texts of the documents listed in support of the IMT Indictment alleging Nazi suppression of the Christian Church. The documents are listed in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, vol. I, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 287-296, and can be seen at: viewtopic.php?p=816254#816254

For a while, this thread will be a work in progress. I'll continue to add documents until all of them on the list are here in this thread. Now for the first of them:

Document 064-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III. US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 109-111.

[Letterhead NSDAP]
The Deputy of the Fuehrer Chief of Staff
at present in Berlin, 27 Sept 40 Bo-An [Rubber stamp] Chancellery
Rosenberg Received No. 265. 1 October 1940

To Reichsleiter A. Rosenberg Berlin W 35 Margaretenstr. 17

Dear party member Rosenberg:

I am sending you a photostatic copy of a letter from Gauleiter Florian dated 23 September 1940 and I request you to take action on it. Heil Hitler!

Yours very respectfully signed: M. BORMANN

Enclosure:

[Letterhead of the NSDAP] Duesseldorf
Duesseldorf 23 September 1940

Gauleitung Subject: Lecture of Major General von RABENAU
Our file: Fl./V.
Department: The Gauleiter Personal
[Receipt stamp] Deputy of the Fuehrer 27 September 1940

To the Deputy of the Fuehrer Party member Rudolf HESS
Munich

Photocopy [penciled]

Dear Party Member Hess:

A pamphlet entitled "The Spirit and Soul of the Soldiers" written by Major General Dr. h. c. (doctor, honorus causa) von Rabenau has appeared in the publications section of the NSDAP.

Group I: German Military Might, published by the Central Publishing Co. of the NSDAP, Successors to Franz Eher Inc. Ltd. (GmbH) Berlin.

I cannot but point out this spiritual outpouring as a digression, at least as inadequate. It is on the same order as the many lectures which General von Rabenau gave to officers before the present war and its tendencies are directed against the concept of the German soldier which was born with the national-socialistic revolution, even if this tendency is cleverly kept to a minimum in this case. Just as in his lectures, Rabenau uses the method of arbitrary juggling with philosophic learning, which on one hand displays a widespread knowledge, and on the other consciously holds back from the clarity for which we strive with the national-socialistic world philosophy [Weltanschauung].

As I have reported before in conversation with you, General von Rabenau gave a lecture in Aachen some time before this war to a group of some 60 to 70 younger officers and about 15 leader of the party who were invited, and among whom I chanced to be, about the development of the people's army. According to Rabenau, the present people's army began about 1813 during the wars of Liberation (Napoleonic) and developed in the decades which followed to its present size, thanks to the great German qualities of soldiery which reached their zenith in the army of one hundred thousand men. The national-socialistic revolution which created the popular will for soldiery, and with it the developments for the establishment of the first German people's army is not mentioned in any way, much less, in the role of being the dynamic creative force. Rabenau contented himself with presenting only a few quotations from the Fuehrer's "Mein Kampf". The politically ignorant officers got the impression, as Rabenau knew how to talk vividly and convincingly, that the size of the present day people' army was an accomplishment of the old military forces, and in their later thinking they will ask themselves: "Why is there so much emphasis on the Party? Why invite the Party fuehrers? This is an affair for soldiers."

Then I asked a question after the lecture, which unfortunately did not offer a discussion period, and explained to him that he was in no wise justified by history, that he had denied the mother of the people's army, the Revolution, the Party, he overbore me in the arrogant manner which is peculiar to him with reference to Indian, Chinese, French, English and German philosophies in order to prove to me in front of several listeners that his lecture presentation was correct. I replied with the philosophic ideas which I have won in the practical struggle of life, and insisted on the correctness of my concept. He professes not to be able to allow my contentions because they were not scientifically based. According to all appearances only those philosophic ideas are scientifically based, for him, which were developed before the national-socialistic revolution.

The inadequacy of Rabenau made itself clear at the close of this conversation, when the church came into the debate as the educational factor [Erziehungsfaktor]. After he had affirmed the necessity of the churches, Rabenau said with emphasized self-assurance something like the following, "Dear Gauleiter, the Party is making mistake after mistake in the business with the churches. Obtain for me the necessary powers from the Fuehrer and I guarantee that I shall succeed in a few months in establishing peace with the churches for all times." After this catastrophic ignorance I gave up the conversation about the importance of philosophic ideas for our ordinary life [Volksleben].

Dear Party Member Hess: The reading of General von Rabenau's pamphlet "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" has reminded me again of this. In this brochure, just as at that time, Rabenau affirms the necessity of the church, straightforward and clearly, even if it is prudently careful. He writes on page 28:

There could be more examples, they would suffice to show that soldiers in this world can scarcely get along without thoughts about the next one.

Because General von Rabenau is falsely based spiritually, I consider his activities as an educator in spiritual affairs as dangerous and I am of the opinion that his educational writings are to be dispensed with absolutely, and that the publications section of the NSDAP can and must renounce these writings.

If such spiritual educational work should be done, in the interests of the German armed forces, then the Publications Section of the NSDAP can be permitted to accept for publication only brochures about "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier" which point out most strongly the permanent danger for "Spirit and Soul of the Soldier." The churches with their Christianity are this danger against which the struggle must always be carried on.

I considered it my duty to tell you again of my concept of General von Rabenau, as well as to convey my criticism of the Publications Section of the NSDAP.

Heil Hitler
signed: FLORIAN

official seal of Gauleiter Gau Duesseldorf enclosure
Last edited by David Thompson on 29 Dec 2005 07:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:33

Document 068-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 114-116.

TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 068-PS

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

Berlin
Wilhelmstrasse 64
The Deputy of the Fuehrer
Munich
Brown House
5 April 1940 III/Dr Kl.-Pu

Office Rosenberg Rec'd Nr 1028 M 9 April 1940
Submitted to R April 9 Copy AR and Urban H
Personal!

To Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg
Berlin W 35 Margaretenstr. 17

Subject: "Church Services

Enclosed please find a copy of the letter of the High Command of the Navy as well as a copy of my reply of this date, for your personal information.

Heil Hitler!

by [illegible]
signed: M BORMANN

2 enclosures

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

Berlin
Wilhelmstrasse 61
The Deputy of the Fuehrer
Munich
Brown House 5 April 1940 III/Dr. Kl-Pu

To the High Command of the Navy
Berlin W 35, Tirpitzufer 72/76

Subject: "Church Services" Your letter of 9 February 1940AMA/

M Wehr IIb B. Nr 896

In the opinion of the party the term "Church Service" cannot be objected to. I consider it fitting since it properly implies meetings arranged and organized by the churches.

Those Germans who are not members of a Christian Church may be offended by an announcement in a daily newspaper that only the members of the Christian confession are holding a "divine service". After the National Socialist State has created the conception "God-believing" [Gottglaubig] especially for those Germans who confess the belief in
God and who have placed their lives in the "Service of God" -- without being members of a Christian confession -- it can no longer be justified to refer exclusively to the Services arranged by the Christian confessions as "Divine Services", even in the National Socialist dailies.

Heil Hitler!
signed: M BORMANN (acting)


The High Command of the Navy, AMA/M Wehr IIb B Nr 896
Berlin W 35, Tirpitzufer 72/76 2/9/1940

To the office of the Deputy of the Fuehrer.

With reference to the letter of the Supreme Commander of the Navy dated 24 October 1939 and the reply of the Deputy of the Fuehrer dated 3 November 1939 I inform you that in the Wilhelmshaven newspapers the expression "Church Services" is still being changed to "Divine Services".

The High Command requests that this regulation, apparently issued erroneously to all principal newspapers by the Chief Press Agency in Bremen, be revoked.

Heil Hitler!

by [illegible]
signed: [signature illegible]

Rear Admiral and Headquarters Commandant in the Supreme Headquarters of the Navy.
certified a true copy: signed: PAFF

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:34

Document 070-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 117-118.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

The Deputy of the Fuehrer Staff Munich 33,
The Brown House 25 April 1941
III DSchw, 1180/0
Chancellery Rosenberg Receipt No. 4746 Urg 5 May 1941

Submitted to the RL on May 6

To the Fuehrer's Commissioner for the Supervision of the entire mental and world-philosophical training and education of the NSDAP
Berlin. W 35 Margaretenstrasse 17

Subject: National Socialist School Services

We are inducing schools more and more to reduce and abolish religious morning services. Similarly, the confessional and general prayers in several parts of the Reich have already been replaced by national socialist mottos. I would be grateful to know your opinion on a future national socialist morning service instead of the present confessional morning services which are usually conducted once per week.

Should those services he held at designated times, that is once per week or once every other week, or should they only be held at special occasions? I would further appreciate your advice on whether you have prepared concrete suggestions for the arrangement of such national socialist school services. If so I would be grateful to receive them.

Copy to Party member Scheller April 41
complied Dr. Stellbrechtstang
complied 6 April

Heil Hitler!
signed: KRUEGER [?]

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:35

Document 072-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, p. 122.

TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 072-PS

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY
The Deputy of the Fuehrer,
Staff Commander

Fuehrer Headquarters 19 April 1941
Fuehrer Bureau (Bo/Fu) Chancellory Rosenberg No 4609 H,
21 April 1941
Shown to the Reichsleiter on the 22. 4 [rubber stamp]

To Reichsleiter Alfred Rosenberg Berlin W 35, Margaretenstr. 17
Copy to Utikal

Dear party member Rosenberg!

In connection with the received draft of the decree I attended, as ordered, a speech made by SS Brig. Gen. Heydrich. The latter called attention to the fact that the sentence, "In the confiscations undertaken, or to be undertaken in the Reich area, of the property of ideological opponents, the same rules apply", anticipates a regulation which has so far not been introduced and would for the first time set a precedent through this decree-draft. Moreover, the regional governments [Gauleitungen] are never allowed to carry out confiscations.

Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich further pointed out that he could under no circumstances recognize the attempted regulation in the final sentence of your decree-draft, since there existed some objections to it. The scientific treatment of the ideological opposition could only be done in conjunction with the political police work. Only the material should be handed over to you, and the seminar respectively. If a speedier treatment through your office is necessary, duplicates and photocopies should be put at your disposal.

The Fuehrer emphasized that in the Balkans the use of your experts would not be necessary, since there were no art-objects to be confiscated. In Belgrade only the collection of Prince Paul existed, which would be returned to him completely. The remaining material of the lodges, etc. would be seized by the agencies of Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich.

The libraries and art objects of the monasteries, confiscated in the Reich, were to remain for the time being in these monasteries, insofar as the Gauleiters had not determined otherwise. After the war, a careful examination of the stock could be undertaken. Under no circumstances, however, should a centralization of all the libraries be undertaken, the Fuehrer has repeatedly rejected this suggestion.

signed: M. BORMANN

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:36

Document 089-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 147-148.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

The Deputy of the Fuehrer Chief of Staff

Munich 33, Brown House, at present Berlin w8 Wilhelmstr. 64,
8 March 1940 III-DR Kl/Gf

Chancellory Rosenberg Receipt Nr 705. 14 Mar 1940
To Mr. Reichsleiter
Rosenberg Berlin w 35, Margaretenstr. 17

Concerns: Confessional writing

In the enclosure I am sending you a carbon copy of my letter of today to Reichsleiter Amann for recognition.

signed: M BORMANN

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

The Deputy of the Fuehrer Chief of Staff
Munich 33, Brown House, at present Berlin w8 Wilhelmstr. 64,
8 March 1940
III-DR Kl/Gf

To Mr. Reichsleiter Amann
Munich, Thierschstr. 11

Concerns: Confessional writing.

I am referring to the discussion of my expert, party member Dr. Klopfer, with party member Dr. Rienhardt, and inform you once more of the fact that according to a report I have received, only 10% of the over 3000 protestant periodicals in Germany, such as Sunday papers etc. have ceased publication for reason of paper saving. Party member Dr.
Rienhardt has already informed my expert that at present the distribution of any paper whatsoever for such periodicals was barred.

I urge you to see to it in any redistribution of paper to be considered later that the confessional writing, which according to experiences so far gathered, possesses very doubtful value for strengthening the power of resistance of the people toward the external foe, receives still sharper restrictions in favor of literature, politically and ideologically more valuable.

Without doubt the draft of an order "for fulfillment of the organizational duty by the production of writings", presented upon your request, will be a suitable means for this purpose.

signed: M BORMANN

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:37

Document 098-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 152-157.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN LABOR PARTY

Munich, 33, Brown house at present Berlin,
22 Feb 1940

Deputy of the Fuehrer Staff Leader
Mr. Reich leader Alfred Rosenberg
Berlin W 35 Margareten Str. 17
Chancellery Rosenberg,
24 Feb 1940 rec. No. 555 copy AR and Urban St

Subject: Directions for the administration of classes in religion

Dear Party Member Rosenberg:

The deputy of the Fuehrer has heard from different sources, that Reich Bishop Mueller tells everywhere, that he received a commission from you to work out directions for formulating the teaching of religion for the schools.

I have not been able to examine the statements of Reich Bishop Mueller as to their correctness. The question, having come up for discussion again by the statements of Reich Bishop Mueller, is however in my mind of such fundamental importance for the future ideological position of the party, that I find it necessary, already now to point out to you the serious objections I have in regard to such a commission.

The ministry for education of the Reich has repeatedly indicated its desire in the course of the past few years for new directions for formulating the teaching of religion, which would also be acceptable to the NSDAP.

With your agreement, this request has repeatedly been refused by the Fuehrer's deputy. Just as your ministry did, so the deputy of the Fuehrer took the position based on the assumption, that it could not be the task of the party to give directions for the instruction of the teachings of Christian religions.

Christianity and National Socialism are phenomena which originated from entirely different basic causes. Both differ fundamentally so strongly, that it will not be possible to construct a Christian teaching which would be completely compatible with the point of view of the national socialist ideology; just as the communities of Christian faith would never be able to stand by the ideology of national socialism in its entirety. The issuing of national socialist directions for the teaching of religious classes would however be based on a synthesis of national socialism and Christianity which I find impossible.

If the directions should really be permeated by the spirit of national socialism, some very fundamental articles of faith of the Christian teachings could not be recognized. I am referring here only to the position of the Christian churches to the race question, to the question of hindrance or destruction of life not valuable, its position to marriage, which speaks for the celibacy of priests and the toleration and furtherance of orders for monks and nuns, the teaching, contradictory to German feeling, of the immaculate conception of Mary, etc.

No matter how these directions may be formulated, in no case will they ever simultaneously find the approval of the church and the party.

In addition to this, the religions themselves cannot agree on the contents of the christian teachings; as far as the Protestants themselves are concerned, there are not only the followers of the confessional church in the Reich and the German Christians, but also the adherents of a teaching, which is endeavoring to create a new Lutheran Christendom of a particular kind approximately in the shape which seems desirable to the Reich Minister of churches, party member Kerrl. The party thus would have to decide first which of these directions of faith it would give preference, or if it should even decide for a fourth. I do not think it entirely impossible that the Reich Bishop may take this latter road, since according to his last publication he himself has already turned sharply away from conceptions which up to now have been part of the faith of the German Christians.

But if directions for the instruction of religion should ever be worked out, it will not be enough, to my mind, to make them for Protestants only; respective directions should also be worked out for Catholics. To work out directions for instructions of Catholic faith, the Reich Bishop is hardly the suitable person, and one would probably have to choose a Catholic. Of course the directions for both faiths would differ in fundamental questions, each, however would lay claim to the fact that it really contained the truly authentic interpretation of article 24 of the party program.

By issuing directions nothing would therefore be improved in the present situation in the field of the churches. The fight between the faiths would be carried on in the old form and spread into the lines of the party. Yes, all faiths and Christian groups would attack state and party, because they had assumed to encroach upon their own territory, that of teaching the Christian faith and to try to reform it.

The churches cannot be conquered by a compromise between national socialism and Christian teachings, but only through a new ideology, whose coming you yourself have announced in your writings. Because of this conviction we have always been careful, not to exert a reforming influence on the Christian dogma in any shape nor to exert any influence on the church directives for religious teachings. In complete mutual agreement we have rejected the intention of the Reich Minister for churches who, against the objection of the party, always tried anew to renew the church life in the frame of national socialist spirit, in searching for a compromise between Christian teachings and the ideology of national socialism.

Should, however, any one personality emanating from the life of the church, be charged now to work out directions for the teaching of the Christian religion, the party would thereby basically approve and accept for itself the position of the Reich Minister for the churches previously opposed by it as there is no basic difference between a position which wants to reform and reorganize the church life in its entirety, and one which aims at this goal solely in the realm of the education of youth.

So far we have always been in accord, that by taking such a step the party would leave the soil on which it is firmly planted and would step on the swaying ground of the controversial Christian doctrines. It would enter into the domain of the interpretation of the teachings of Jesus, and there would doubtless be subordinate to those who for centuries have done nothing but interpret and rewrite the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth as written in the old books about the actual wording of which the scientists fight even today. When in later decades and centuries the German people's soul liberated by national socialism should once again be choked and crippled by Christian doctrines, it could be possible that it may have been caused by today's attempt to effect a synthesis between national socialism and Christianity.

On the other hand, of course I am also of the opinion that it is not possible to eliminate the religious instruction in schools without replacing it with something better for the moral education of youth.

Religious instruction as given in schools today does not only comprise the instruction in the Christian doctrines of faith, the teachings of the creation of the world and of the life thereafter; besides, the children receive also instructions in the ten commandments, which for most comrades of the people to this day still are the only directives for their moral behavior and for an orderly collective life in the people's community. If this instruction is taken from the children without replacing it with something better, the objection can be made -- in my estimation not without reason, that, as many contend, the present degradation of youth is in part caused by the lack of religious instruction in schools.

What, in my opinion, is therefore necessary is the preparation of a short directive about a national socialist life formulation. We need for the work of education in the party, especially also in the Hitler Youth a short resume in which the ethical principles are documented, to respect which each German boy and girl, who at one time will be representatives of the national socialistic Germany, must be educated. In such a directive for instance belongs the- law of bravery, the law against cowardness, the commandment of love for the soulful nature in which God makes himself apparent also in the animal and the plant, a commandment to keep the blood pure; many principles also belong here which are for instance also contained in the decalogue of the Old Testament, as far as they can be regarded as moral principles of all people's life.

The publication of such a directive can and must only come out of our national socialist conduct of life. Its commandments of customs need to be explained by reference to any doctrines of faith about the creation of life and about life of the soul after death.

They can and must originate beyond any confessional discussions.

I take the publication of such a directive to be of utmost importance, because the German boys and girls must once be told what they can and must do, and what is forbidden for them to do. I don't even think it necessary to introduce this directive immediately into the schools as a text; it would be sufficient if for the time being it would be introduced into the party and its affiliations. Later it could also be taken over by the schools just as the little Catechism also was not created by the school boards, but first taught by the Church and later taken over by the schools.

As far as the religious instructions in the schools is concerned, I do not think that anything has to be changed in the present situation. No fault can be found with any national socialist teacher, who after the unmistakenly clear instructions of the Fuehrer's deputy, is ready to give school instructions in the Christian religion. For the contents of this instruction, however, the directives should still be binding which have in former year been made by the churches themselves. In the circular of the Fuehrer's deputy No. 3/39 of 4 January 1939 it is stated explicitly that the teachers charged with religious instruction are not to choose from the material on biblical history at their own discretion, but have the obligation to teach the entire biblical instruction material. Interpretations, explanations and separations in the sense of several attempts of particular church directions have to be omitted. The pupils must be given the entire picture of the biblical instruction material.

However, the teachers have the right to present this material as property of biblical thought and not as that of Germany or national socialism. If thus in some cases comparison will be drawn, this, according to the circular, corresponds only to the duties of the educator. Against such instruction of religion the churches cannot have any objections.

When, sometime later, the proposed directive for a new German conduct of life first to be used in the educational work of the party, will have found entry into the schools, it shall in no way supplant classes in religion. It may perhaps be used as a foundation for some classes in German and must have validity for all pupils, without consideration of their religious affiliations. Against such educational procedure the churches could not object, either because it would really be a matter of additional education, which would take place next to the religious instruction and without any connection with it. On the contrary, the churches would have reason to be thankful to the state because it is not satisfied with the religious instruction according to the very insufficient moral education based on the ten commandments, but that it is giving youth an additional Education, which makes much higher demands on its moral conduct.

Parallel to that the desire of the parents for the instruction in the doctrines of faith may thus well go on. The stronger and more fertile our positive educational work in the schools will be formulated, however the more certain it is that instruction of religions will be losing in importance.

If the youth which is now being educated according to our moral laws will later have to decide if it is still willing to have its children brought up in the far inferior Christian doctrines, he decision will in most cases be negative.

I would think that today, seven years after taking over the power, it should be possible to set up principles for a national socialist conduct of life. They have long been apparent to the people from the numerous early fighters for the national socialist idea.

As long as we do not master this task, however, it will always be pointed out from various sides, and rightly so, that children, not taking part in religious instruction, are no longer taught even the most simple moral laws which are a standard for the communal life of all nations.

The Fuehrer's deputy finds it necessary that all these questions should be thoroughly discussed in the near future in the presence of the Reich leaders, who are especially affected by them. I would appreciate it very much if you would let me know your position in this matter before the discussion.

Heil Hitler!
/s/ M. Bormann

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:38

Document 100-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, p. 160.

TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 100-PS

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY
Munich 33 Brown House at present Berlin,
18 Jan 1940 Bo/Si

The Deputy of the Fuehrer, Chief of Staff
Mr. Rosenberg, member of the executive board of the Party
[Reichsleiter] Berlin W 35 Margaretenstr. 17

Office Rosenberg No of entry 196.
20 January 1940 submitted to RL Rosbg 1/20
Copies AR and Urban

Dear Party Member Rosenberg:

A few days ago you expressed to the Fuehrer at the Reich Chancellory that Reich Bishop Mueller had written an excellent book for the German soldier. I am of different opinion. This book familiarizes a new soldier who has already given up Christianity with partly camouflaged trains of thought.

As I have written to you already, I consider it the most essential demand of the hour that NS publications worth reading for the German soldier should be written immediately by your Office and other qualified National Socialists. This opinion has been confirmed by many regional Party leaders. Thus we set against the sale of Christian pamphlets the highly increased sale of national socialist publications which are popular.

Heil Hitler:
Yours
Signed: BORMANN (M. Bormann)

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:39

Document 101-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 160-162.

National Socialist German Workers' Party

Munich 33, the Brown House
At Present, Berlin W 8, 17 January 1940
Wilhelmstrasse 64 IIIDr. Kl/Gf Rosenberg
Chancellory Entry No. 187[??]
18 Jan. 1940 Reich Director Rosenberg Shown 189 Copy [??]

The Deputy of the Fuehrer Staff Director
To Reich Director Party Member Rosenberg
Berlin W 35 Margaretenstr. 17

Nearly all the districts report to me regularly, that the Churches of both confessions are administering spiritually to members of the Armed Forces. This administering finds its expression especially in the fact that soldiers are being sent religious publications by the spiritual leaders of the home congregations. These publications are in part very cleverly composed. I have repeated reports that these publications are being read by the troops and thereby exercise a certain influence on the morale.

I have in the past sought by sounding out the General Field Marshall, the High Command of the Armed Forces and Party Member Reich Director Amann, to restrict considerably the production and shipment of publications of this type. The result of these efforts remain unsatisfactory. As Reich Director [Reichsleiter] Amann has repeatedly informed me, the restriction of these pamphlets by means of the printing paper rationing has not been achieved because the paper used for the production of these writings is being purchased on the open market. Publications can only be confiscated by special police measures because they are designed to weaken the morale of the troops. Such police measures are really unsatisfactory and in their final execution very much disputed.

Likewise, the prior censorship of all writings by the High Command of the Armed Forces which takes place at the distribution points of the Armed Forces service bureau, is not sufficient in my opinion, to guarantee that the soldiers are not given an undesired influence by the Churches. A publication, the contents of which are clearly tied to the Christian dogma and which do not contain attacks against Party, State or the Armed Forces, can not in general be refused permission by this examining commission.

If the influencing of the soldiers by the Church is to be effectively combatted, this will only be accomplished, in my opinion, by producing many good publications in the shortest time possible under the supervision of the Party. These publications should be so composed that the soldiers will really prefer to read them, and at the same time, indoctrinate the soldiers with a National Socialist World philosophy, not the Christian viewpoint.

Thus at the last meeting of the deputy Gauleiters complaints -were uttered on this matter to the effect that a considerable quantity of such publications are not available. This is the reason I believe, that the publication by your expert, Office Director [Amtsleiter] Party Member Ziegler, "Soldier Belief Soldier Honor" [Soldatenglaube--Soldatenehre] has had so great a sale in a short time.

I maintain that it is necessary that in the near future we transmit to the Party Service Offices down to local group directors [Ortsgruppenleitern] a list of additional publications of this sort which should be sent to our soldiers by the local groups, Party military units [Sturme] or their adherents and friends in the field. I should not regard it as necessary or even good if the majority of these publications should have a spiritual or philosophical character. Rather I should regard it as much preferable if these publications in their finished form were styled in as varied a manner as possible, thus having an appeal to all members of the Armed Forces, regardless of their occupational or professional achievements, regardless of their interests and their background.

I should be very appreciative if you would devote your very special attention to this task, in the near future. My expert, Party Member Dr. Klopfer, is available to you for consultation about the material on hand here which is at your disposal at any time upon your call.

As the production of these publications (which at the moment are not in existence) will take a certain amount of time, and as, on the other hand, I believe that the supplying of the troops with good publications ought not to be delayed a day, I should be indebted to you if you would transmit to me a list of the already existing publications which the deputy of the Fuehrer can recommend to the Party Service Offices as suitable for dispatch to the Armed Forces.

Heil Hitler !
[Signed] M. BORMANN

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:40

Document 107-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 162-164.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY
Munich 17 June 1938
The Brown House

Deputy of the Fuehrer Staff Leader

CIRCULAR LETTER NR. 72/38
To all Reichsleiter and Regional Directors [Gauleiter]

Enclosed please find, for your information, a copy of directions for participation of the Reichsarbeitsdienstes in religious celebrations.

Signed: M. BORMANN

Rosenberg Chancellory In Nr. 226601 on 21 June 1938
Certified true copy M

Directions for the participation of the Reichsarbeitsdienstes in religious celebrations.

The Reichsarbeitsdienst is a training school in which the German youth should be educated to national unity in the spirit of National Socialism.

This problem can only be solved, if all the ideas which at one time were directed to the breaking up of national unity, are subdued in Reichsarbeitsdienst. Therefore it is forbidden to have any class, professional and religious barriers in the Reichsarbeitsdienst.

What religious beliefs a person has is not a decisive factor, but it is decisive that he first of all feels himself a German.

Every religious practice is forbidden in the Reichsarbeitsdienst because it disturbs the comrade-like harmony of all working men and women.

On this basis every participation of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in churchly, that is religious, arrangements and celebrations is not possible.

A religious creed will strive within the German people for predominance. The Reichsarbeitsdienst in all its male and female leaders, working men and women strive for the indissoluble binding of the whole people.

Therefore not only allowing the members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst to attend church in a body, but also participation by the members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in religious celebrations for example, weddings or funerals, violates the educational task which is facing the organization.

As little as it is the affair of the Reichsarbeitsdienst to forbid its individual members to have a church wedding or funeral, so definitely must the Reichsarbeitsdienst avoid taking part as an organization in a festival which is strictly religious, that is, which excludes Germans of other beliefs.

It is therefore, in any case, necessary to execute a clear temporal separation between the churchly celebration and the debut of the Reichsarbeitsdienst.

The Reichsarbeitsdienst does not participate in religious celebrations, but rather turns her support to the marriage or burial of a member before or after the churchly celebration.

The participation of the musical band of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in classical churchly concerts (for example, production of the "Schoepfung" by Haydn) is not to be regarded as a partaking in a religious celebration, and is always to be decided according to the local conditions.

Signed: HIERL
Authenticated: REISMEIR

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:41

Document 116-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 165-167.

TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 116-PS

SECRET Copy Dt.

National Socialist German Workers Party
The deputy of the Fuehrer Staff
Director.
Munich, 24 January 1939.
III DEs 3230/0/154278 g.

Rosenberg Chancellery Receipt Nr. 6007-31 Jan 1939

To the Delegate of the Fuehrer for the surveillance of the whole spiritual and world political philosophy schooling and education of the Nazi Party.

Reich Director [Reichsleiter] Party Member Alfred Rosenberg, or representative.
Berlin W. 35. Margarethenstr. 17
Concerning: Theological Faculties.

My dear Party Member Rosenberg:

I am transmitting to you by the attached enclosure a copy of a letter I have written today to the Reich Minister for Knowledge, Education and Popular Education. I request that you take cognizance of the same.

1 Attachment.

Heil Hitler.
Your very devoted,
(signed) M. BORMANN. SECRET Copy Dt.

National Socialist German Workers Party
The Deputy of the Fuehrer
Munich,
24 January 1939
III D-Fs 3230/0/15-4278 g

To the Reich Minister for Knowledge, Education and Popular Education.
To the Attention of Government Counsel Jahnertor representative in the Office.
Berlin W. 8 Unter den Linden 69.
Concerning: Theological Faculties.

In regard to your letter of 28 Nov 1938 (Office Chief W) and the conference between Mr. State Minister Dr. Wacker and my expert party member Wemmer, I would like to again inform you of the stand the Party is taking.

Fundamentally, theological inquiry cannot be placed on the same footing as the general fields of knowledge in the Universities as it represents less a free field of knowledge than a confessional (i.e. religious) aim of research. No doubts exist on this ground if the theological faculties in the German High schools are appreciably restricted.

In this case, as you have likewise pointed out in your letter, the clause of the Concordat and the Church Treaties are to be taken into consideration. In the case of certain faculties, which are not mentioned by a specific clause in the Concordat and Church Treaties, as for example Munich and a few others, a suppression can be begun without further to do. This is equally true of the theological faculties in Austria, Vienna and Graz.

But also, in the case of the faculties which are specifically mentioned in the Concordat or Church Treaties, there now exists a special legal situation which has been created by the general change in circumstances. Particularly, the introduction of military service and the execution of the Four Year Plan must be considered. By virtue of these measures, and in addition by virtue of the fact of an extraordinary lack of replacement men in contrast to the earlier numerous replacement men available, it will be necessary to execute a certain reorganization of the German High Schools. Thus economics and simplifications are necessary. I should like to refer particularly once more to these questions on the basis of the oral discussion between Mr. State Minister Dr. Wacker and my expert. Because of this I would appreciate it very much if you would restrict the theological faculties insofar as they cannot be wholly suppressed in accordance with the above statement. In this event the matter concerns not only the theological faculties in the universities, but also the various state establishments which still exist in many places as institutes of high learning exclusively devoted to theology and without connection with a university.

I request in this instance the omission of any express declaration to the churches or to other places as well as the avoiding of a public announcement of these measures. Complaints and the like must be answered (if they are to be replied to) in the fashion that these measures are being executed in the course of the economic plan of reorganization and that similar things are happening to other faculties.

I would appreciate it very much if professorial chairs, thus vacated, can be then turned over to the newly created fields of inquiry of these last years, such as racial research, archeology studies, etc.

Heil Hitler!
as representative
Signed: M. BORMANN
Certified true copy
Signed: Engel

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:42

Document 122-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 173-175.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY

Deputy of the Fuehrer
Chief of Staff Munich,
17 April 1939
Brown House
[Rubber stamp]: Receipt Rosenberg Chancellory
24 April 1939 III/16Tho
3230/0/15 270 g

To the Official appointed by the Fuehrer for the Supervision of spiritual and philosophical schooling and education of the NSDAP.
Attention of office director Kerksiek or his deputy in the office.
Berlin W 35 Margaretenstrasse 17.

[Rubber stamp] SECRET
handwritten note: submitted to Pg Bradmann for comment--R]

Subject: Theological faculties.

I send you the enclosed photostatic copy of a plan suggested by the Reichs Minister for Science, Education and training, for the combining of theological faculties with a request for your cognizance and prompt action.

Heil Hitler!
Signed: M. BORMANN
1 enclosure

[SYNOPSIS OF DOCUMENT]
Berlin W 8,
6 April 1939
Letterhead of Reichs Minister of Science, Education and Training

The plan which I expect to put into operation at the beginning of the winter semester 1939/40 presents the following picture.

In the East the following faculties will be maintained: Koenigsberg (Evangelic), Braunsberg (Catholic), Breslau (Evangelic and Catholic), Vienna (Evangelic and Catholic). I have already ordered the combination of the Catholic faculty in Graz with the one in Vienna which will remain the only place in Austria with both faculties.

In Bavaria after closing the Munich faculty there will remain the Catholic faculty at Wurzburg and the Evangelic faculty at Erlangen. The continuation of these is important but the five state theological institutes of Bavaria should be reduced to three. I ask you to suggest the two to be closed.

In the Southwest regions I suggest the removal of the Evangelical faculty in Heidelberg to Tubingen and of the Catholic faculty in Tubingen to Freiberg. That will provide an exchange between Wurttemberg and Baden based on the Catholic predominance in Baden and Evangelic predominance in Wurttemberg.

In West Germany a similar exchange between Bonn and Munster is proposed but which shall be designated Catholic or Evangelic is a difficult question. A decision I should like to postpone a little time.

A similar question arises with the proposed transfer of the faculty from Giessen to Marburg. Since the closing of the forestry faculty at Giessen this university has not many students. The reversal of transfer is perhaps the solution but that is not feasible at this time because of the newly organized Institute for Religious Science. Professor Frick who is to head this institute has pointed out that his transfer from religious to philosophical endeavors may be viewed as a tendency against religion. I have suggested a gradual transfer of activity and consider the final time of transfer to be the propitious moment for such a transfer of the Evangelic faculty of the University of Marburg to that of the University of Bonn. Until that time it will be best to maintain the faculty at Gottingen since its influence in the Anglican world is great.

In the central German regions I propose a transfer of the Leipzig faculty to the University of Halle. The small faculty at Jena I should like to maintain because of its German-Christian stand.

In north German regions a combination of the Evangelic faculties of Rostock and Kiel at Kiel is planned.

Finally I should like to combine the faculties of Berlin and Griefswald in Greifswald. A double purpose would be achieved. Griefswald's weak enrollment would be improved and the Berlin faculty would not have to be included in the new university city of Berlin. I am sure this proposal will rouse the Berlin faculty but believe I can handle that problem.

To recapitulate this plan would include the complete closing of theological faculties at Innsbruck, Salzburg and Munich, the transfer of the faculty of Graz to Vienna and the vanishing of four Catholic faculties.

a. Closing of three Catholic theological faculties or Higher Schools and of four Evangelic faculties in the winter semester 1939/40.

b. Closing of one further Catholic and of three further Evangelic faculties in the near future.

I ask your comments at your earliest opportunity. I propose then to give the Ministry of Churches this information.

By direction: ZSCHINTZSCH
(Authenticated)

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:43

Document 129-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 179-183.

Reich Minister Kerrl
Berlin W 8,
6 September 1939

CONFIDENTIAL

Dear Mr. Stapel!

I have received your letter of 31 August and in no wise neglected your memorandum on the situation of the Evangelical Church in Germany, but read it through immediately. I must tell you that I agree with the portrayal of the situation down to the last word, although I must assume that the "inflation of principles" is also aimed at me. However that did not annoy me, I understand your idea rather completely. So that you understand me too, I want to continue your memorandum with my reasons. You close with the absolutely correct conclusion:

The State should neither combat existing religion nor introduce a new religion. It should allow Christianity to prove by itself that it still has vital force. It should confine itself to spiritual affairs and only exercise compulsion in the production of a legal and administrative unity of the Evangelical Church.

My action is determined however by the following situation:

As you know from the speech of the Fuehrer in the Reichstag on 30 January 1939, every power in exercising compulsion in the production of a legal and administrative unity of the Evangelical Church was completely withdrawn from me. The Fuehrer considers his efforts to bring the Evangelical Church to reason, unsuccessful and the Evangelical Church with respect to its condition rightfully a useless pile of sects. As you emphasize the Party has previously carried on not only a fight against the political element of the Christianity of the Church, but also a fight against membership of Party Members in a Christian confession.

I am of the opinion that in this situation it can very easily eventuate that the "Organization of German Understanding of the Christian Religion Through Luther" will collapse of its own accord, if, as in Austria and in the Sudetan Gau, the privileges, namely of collecting taxes and state subsidies are entirely removed from the Evangelical Church. If it comes to that then from the collapse of the organization of the Evangelical Church the advantage will redound not to the State but to the Catholic Church which cannot receive a mortal blow through such measures in its well-aimed unified, basically political organization.

The Catholic Church will and must, according to the law under which it is set up, remain a thorn in the flesh of a Racial State. An effective combatting of it cannot ensue from a State which thanks to its secure ideological basis desires and must refrain from every intervention into religious things. The National Socialistic State can therefore put nothing positive or new in the place of that which it must perhaps destroy and from the collapsing Evangelical Church the people somewhat deceived about their religion would in large numbers stream into the Catholic Church, and this Church would then divide the people into two mutually hostile groups in a much more regrettable manner than has happened through the confessions.

In addition every negative struggle, which cannot in a positive manner replace that which has been destroyed, is anyhow condemned to failure.

In this factual situation I see an unheard of danger for the religious peace of the German people approaching and, all my efforts -- you will understand that -- have previously been only directed at eliminating this danger. But that is only possible if the Party learns to distinguish in the clearest manner between religion and ideology and thus, as Luther established and Kant scientifically proved, realizes, that ideology must limit itself to the area of experience, where alone reason can become knowledge. It must further realize that knowledge based on reason alone cannot satisfy the human being here on earth, but, that he (the human being) according to the structure of the "world of freedom within himself", or let us say, according to "the Kingdom of God within himself" cannot overcome the compelling moral necessity to attain certainty concerning the essence of God. The human being is now no "purely moral being", but the torture and the happiness of his earthly life consists in moving about in flesh and blood. Therefore however we have power over the inevitable weakness of not always being able to harmonize moral thought and deed. To be sure we do not need to be ashamed of original sin or to find our body despicable, for it, and thereby original sin is from God and we are no gods, but human beings. But how could we, who must believe in the moral importance of our life and the world, get along, because we without being sure of our immortality would not be able to yield our bodily life in fulfillment of our duty itself, without a religion going beyond the boundaries of reason? How could we who ourselves are righteous, doubt the fact that God must be just, and how could we demand of him the all-knowing, who knows our thoughts, that he confer on us immortality, if our righteousness condemns the one whom it recognizes as acting against his better moral conviction. Our life here on earth would be senseless, if we could find out nothing about the true essence of God, if we were not in some way certain that it is not righteousness but divine love. But we cannot find it out through knowledge based on reason, but only by the power of faith which we can get for ourselves through the personality of Christ, therefore from the true Christian religion, for which in no wise is the presentation of the priests standard, but only Christ himself.

The "Foundation of the Religion of Christ" rests in our own inner being. The Evangelical Church of today has not been able to lead us to this real "Religion of Christ". This Religion of Christ is only to be grasped if not only the genius of a Luther, but everybody has learned to distinguish the domains of reason and faith. It depends neither on sacred orders nor on sacraments, but one finds the way to it only if one has learned to doubt reason, as this reason has most accurately become acquainted with its magnitude and its narrow boundaries, and only Priests who have grasped that with reason and heart, can penetrate from pseudo-priesthood to the true priesthood and thus fill the hearts of the people with true faith.

Therefore for 15 years I have been working on a book which explains to everybody the scientific basis of National Socialism in such a way that one learns to recognize the extent and the boundaries of reason as well as of ideology and the necessity of the religion of Christ, and comprehends, that in this area Party and State can do only one thing: to completely take one's own position and to renounce any claim to a decision.

I believe I can finish this work at this time; its publication however will not be possible until the return of peace.

However, in order that meanwhile these conclusions mentioned above which would lead to the destruction of the organization of the Evangelical Church, might not occur, it was my most important job to see to it that today's pile of sects in the Evangelical Church would consolidate of their own accord into an organ at least filled with a desire for unity.

Therefore, as I was no longer allowed to issue orders under the State I tried again and again to exercise influence on the district church leaders even though they seemed to be powerless according to your statements approved by me in your memorandum, at least to create this condition for the possibility of preserving the organization of the Lutheran Church. These efforts have at least reached a certain conclusion and become fruitful to such an extent that it was possible to aim at a unity among them over three men, who as a confidential council of the church chancellery now possess the possibility of finding by positive work confidence of the people who feel united in the Evangelical Church.

If these men, Bishop Mardahrens, Bishop Schultz of Mecklenburg and Oberkonsistorialrat Hymmen apprehend the commandment of the hour, then by positive work they can line up the direction of the Evangelical Church with the goals desired by me into a complete legal and administrative unity. If they do not understand how to direct this positive work correctly, then both of us will have to bury the hope of a preservation of the organization of the Lutheran Church, because only the success of such a work can give the Fuehrer the justification of giving us full power in the direction desired by us.

You can imagine that I would much prefer to see you among these three men, because l would then know that the work was being actively and successfully lined up with the goal jointly desired by both of us. However I shall pursue this aim with all the energy in my power as long as I am in my job and the decision of the Fuehrer gives me approval or
disapproval.

These are difficult times into which our people are now entering, but I believe that Providence even here has correctly guided everything. It has through the Fuehrer created for conditions for the inevitable battle, as they cannot be found more favorable. If the German people maintain themselves -- and what justifies us in doubting it -- everything must come to a good and victorious end, and thereby would be created just the proper condition for the extension of the Third Reich externally in tranquil safety and in well-aimed work at home, but then would be created just the right soil for the possibility of nationalistic church work in the congregations, which you rightfully consider the most important thing.

Please be convinced that I am always happy to think of you and rejoice at every communication from you.

I know that you are a man who has already accomplished extraordinary things for the spiritual enlightenment of the German people and I am convinced that you will still accomplish in the future fruitful things in this work.

I need not emphasize to you that this letter is confidential. However, I shall make accessible to the Confidential Council copies of your splendid memorandum as well as copies of this letter for confidential cognizance. I would be especially glad if in the near future I found the opportunity to discuss orally with Reich Minister Hess your memorandum and my answer.

With hearty greetings and with Heil Hitler!
Yours
[Signed] Kerrl

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:43

Document 840-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, p. 606.

NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS' PARTY
The Deputy of the Fuehrer
Brown House, Munich 33,
14 July 1939
Regulation No. 140/39

Subject: Admission of Clergymen and Students of Theology into the NSDAP

In my regulation No. 24/37 dated 9 February 1937 I have decreed that in order to avoid the penetration of contrasts of ecclesiastical-political nature into the movement and to avoid the suspicion of a one-sided attitude for or against an existing denomination, the admission of members of the clergy into the Party is to be avoided. It turned out that the nonadmission of members of the clergy into the Party is not sufficient for the purpose in question.

In his regulation No. 34/39 on the lifting of the restriction of memberships dated 10 May 1939 the Reich Treasurer of the NSDAP has done justice to this experience by decreeing that clergymen, as well as other fellow Germans who are also closely connected with the church, cannot be admitted into the Party.

In addition to this I decree that in the future Party members who enter the clergy or who turn to the study of Theology have to leave the Party. This decree does not affect those students who are matriculated mainly in other factors and, not intending to become clergymen later attend only some lectures of the theological faculties.

Signed: for BORMANN
Attested: [ Signature illegible ]
Distribution. IV b

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:45

Document 848-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 613-614.

GESTAPO NURNBERG-FUERTH OFFICE TELETYPE SECTION

Teletype No. 12309
Received 24 July 1938,
1515 hours from WF via GM

Dr. Berlin Nue 167 262 24 July 1938 1500 to Stapo Nurnberg -- Urgent -- Transmit
at once.

Subject: Bishop Dr. Sproll in Rottenburg
Reference: None

I request that the following text of a teletype just received here from Stuttgart be transmitted at once by special messenger to Bayreuth, Villa Wahnfried, to SS Brigadefuehrer Schaub, attention of SS Untersturmfuehrer Wuensche:

In connection with my report (special delivery of 23 July 1938) subject: Bishop Dr. Sproll of Rottenburg, I further communicate that the following teletype from the Gestapo office in Stuttgart just came in here:

"The Party on 23 July 1939 from 2100 on carried out the third demonstration against Bishop Sproll. Participants about 2500-3000 were brought in from outside by bus, etc. The Rottenburg populace again did not participate in the demonstration. This town took rather a hostile attitude to the demonstrations. The action got completely out of hand of the Party Member responsible for it. The demonstrators stormed the palace, beat in the gates and doors. About 150-200 people forced their way into the palace, searched the rooms, threw files out of the windows, and rummaged through the beds in the rooms of the palace. One bed was ignited. Before the fire got to the other objects of equipment in the rooms and the palace, the flaming bed could be thrown from the window and the fire extinguished. The Bishop was with Archbishop Groeber of Freiburg and the ladies and gentleman of his menage in the chapel at prayer. About 25 to 3 people pressed into this chapel and molested those present. Bishop Groeber was taken for Bishop Sproll. He was grabbed by the robe and dragged back and forth. Finally the intruders realized that Bishop Groeber is not the one they are seeking. They could then be persuaded to leave the building. After the evacuation of the palace by the demonstrators I had an interview with Archbishop Groeber who left Rottenburg in the night. Groeber wants to turn to the Fuehrer and Reich Minister of the Interior Dr. Frick anew. On the course of the action, the damage done as well as the homage of the Rottenburg populace beginning today for the Bishop I shall immediately hand in a full report, after I am in the act of suppressing counter mass meetings.

Gestapo Office Stuttgart."

In case the Fuehrer has instructions to give in this matter, I request that these be transmitted most quickly, best by telephone to Gestapo Office, telephone Berlin 12 00 40, attention of Regierung Assistant Freytag, so that corresponding instructions can be forwarded to Stuttgart.

Gestapo Office Berlin,
By direction,
Signed: DR. BEST

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Postby David Thompson » 29 Dec 2005 03:46

Document 849-PS, in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume III, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC: 1946, pp. 614-617.

Reich Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs
GII 3990/38
Berlin W 8, Leipziger Strasse 3,
23 July 1938 Tel. 11 66 61
[Stamp]

Praesidium Chancellery
Entered 24 July 1938

Subject: Catholic Bishop Sproll in Rottenburg (wttbg.)
Ref: Letter of 22 July 1938 No. Er 41/38 III
3 enclosures

To the Minister of State and Chief of the Praesidium Chancellery in Berlin

The Catholic Bishop Dr. Sproll, as the only citizen of the city of Rottenburg and, as far as is known, as the only German bishop, did not take part in the plebiscite of 10 April. The absence from the plebiscite has evoked great and justified anger among the population. Apparently the bishop himself had a bad conscience and left town on the evening before the plebiscite for an unknown destination. Even on 10 and 11 April there were demonstrations at the bishop's residence in Rottenburg against the absent bishop. On 21 April Sproll returned to Rottenburg and on the same day there were renewed demonstrations in front of the bishop's palace On 22 April Dr. Sproll again left Rottenburg in order to go to a Bavarian monastery.

As the bishop, since Hitler's rise to power, became prominent through a series of damaging sermons, the Governor of Wuerttemberg now came to the conclusion that Dr. Sproll, in the interest of preserving the state's authority and in the interest of quiet and order, could no longer remain in office. The Reich Governor had explained to the ecclesiastical board, that he would no longer regard Bishop Sproll as Head of the Diocese of Rottenburg on account of his refraining from the election in the office; that he desired Bishop Sproll to leave the Gau area Wuerttemberg-Hohenzollern, because he could assume no guarantee for his personal safety; that in the case of the return of the bishop to Rottenburg he would see to it that all personal and official intercourse with him on the part of state offices as well as Party offices and the Armed Forces would be denied.

Moved by the reports from Wuerttemberg my Deputy, in my absence, directed the letter attached in copy G II 2277/38 2030 dated 5 May to the Foreign Office. In accordance with that the Foreign Office on 18 May turned to the German Embassy at the Vatican with the instruction that it should be urged on the Holy See to persuade Bishop Sproll that he should resign his Bishopric.

The bishop sojourning outside of his diocese had already received the instruction to return to his diocese. On 18 May Sproll quietly returned to Wuerttemberg and retired to St. Mary's Hospital in Stuttgart.

Since no answer to the instruction of 18 May had been received from the Embassy at the Holy See, on 1 July the settlement of the affair was again brought up in Rome. On 18 July the letter of the Foreign Office attached in copy -- Pol III 1886 of 11 July was received. Whether the affair has again been discussed with the Cardinal Secretary of State, as planned, is unknown to me.

In the intervening two months Bishop Sproll quietly resided in Stuttgart. On 15 July he returned to the Episcopal residence and on 16 July conducted a ceremonial divine service. On the evening of the same day there occurred among the population, aroused over the return of the bishop, great demonstrations before the ecclesiastical buildings of Rottenburg. On 18 July there were more even greater demonstrations. A report of the Reich Governor of 20 July is attached in copy. It is to be expected that on Saturday, 23 July, even greater mass meetings against continued remaining of the Bishop will be put on, so that Cardinal Bertram was impelled to send his telegram of 21 July to the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor.

The content and tenor of this telegram are such that I cannot recommend a favorable consideration of it. Not the demonstrating people aroused over the subversive attitude of the Bishop are turning against the State, but the Bishop by his incredible behavior against the State and folk-community has turned against the State. In my estimation measures are not sufficient here, which merely produce the condition prior to 10 April. I could only recommend a cessation of further demonstrations if the action of the German Embassy initiated at the Holy See is accompanied by success. If it is unsuccessful, the Bishop would have to be exiled from the land, or there would have to be a complete boycott of the Bishop by the authorities, as the Reich Governor in Wuerttemberg at that time announced to the ecclesiastical officials.

I would notify Cardinal Bertram correspondingly, in case the Fuehrer does not reserve the notification for himself.

signed: KERRL

Copy

Berlin W8,
5 May 1938
Reich and Prussian Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs
GII 2277/38

Subject: Catholic Bishop Sproll in Rottenburg, Wuerttemberg

The Catholic Bishop Sproll of Rottenburg (Wuerttemberg) on 10 April 1938, as the only non-voter of the Rottenburg District, aroused the greatest resentment of all racial Germans and especially gave to Catholic circles the worst example for their civic behavior. By his absence from the plebiscite, which is to be evaluated only as a demonstration, he moreover has violated the sense of the Episcopal oath of loyalty prescribed in Article 16 of the Reichconcordat.

The Bishop felt impelled to evade the just anger of the people and to leave his diocese. It is to be feared that upon his possible return and a possible appearance in public, even at church functions, renewed disorders and demonstrations would occur. It cannot be expected of the German police that they would protect a man who has not perceived his most primitive duties to people and Fuehrer, from the crowds of people who, in righteous wrath, are turning against this man. Also, it cannot be expected of the German authorities that they will carry on official business with a Bishop who in this manner has excluded himself from the folk-community. It is not to be expected that this Bishop can ever accomplish any more fruitful work in his diocese.

I therefore recommend that it be urged on the Holy See via the Apostolic Nuncio or via the German Embassy at the Vatican, to influence Bishop Sproll that he resign his Bishopric as soon as possible.

By direction
Signed: DR. MUHS


To the Foreign Office in Berlin
Copy (indicated)

Berlin,
11 July 1938
Foreign Office, Pol III 1886

a. Reference to the letter of 11 June Pol III 1679

b. Reference to letter of 27 May 1938II B 1/ 574/38

The German Ambassador at the Vatican has discussed the matter of recalling Bishop Sproll with the Cardinal-Secretary of State. The Cardinal, who acted in a very reserved manner according to all appearance, did not approve the procedure of the Bishop, but remarked that according to reports he had received the participation in the plebiscite would be a voluntary act, nevertheless an offense against legal duties did not exist. The German Embassy reports, in addition, that in spiritual circles the behavior of the Bishop is designated as very inapt.

The German Embassy at the Holy See has been instructed to discuss the matter again with the Cardinal-Secretary of State.

Further information is reserved for the present.

By direction
Signed: Bismarck

To: a. Reich Governor in Wuerttemberg Gauleiter Murr, Stutt
b. Chief of the Security Police Berlin SW 11, Prinz-AlbrechtStr. 8


Reich Governor in Wuerttemberg
Stuttgart,
20 July 1938
Subject: Bishop Dr. Sproll
Enclosures: None

As I am informed, Monday evening a demonstration again occurred in front of the Episcopal Ordinariat. Several thousand people gathered in front of the Episcopal Ordinariat and chanting in unison gave expression to their resentment about the absence of the Bishop. There were no further excesses of any sort.

I am reporting on this incident with the request that everything be attempted to get a recall or transfer of the Bishop, for it is not to be assumed that tranquility will return to the people even in the more remote area around Rottenburgas long as Dr. Sproll officiates as Bishop.

To the Reich Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs, Berlin W 8, Leipziger Str. 3.


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