Menu JTA Search

Former Nazi Youth Leader Repudiates Anti-semitism Before War Crimes Tribunal

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Baldur von Schirach, former Nazi youth leader and one-time gauleiter of Vienna, today declared from the witness stand of the International Military Tribunal that he had misled German youth by teaching them to follow the anti-Semitic doctrines of Hitler.

Apologizing for a speech he delivered in Sept. 1942, in which he warned that the Jews were a danger to European culture, Schirach said that his statements were made out of sense of false loyalty to Hitler. He charged that Hitler and Himler were personally responsible for ordering the extermination of millions of Jews at Oswiecim, which he characterized as “the greatest mass-murder in history.”

The crimes which occurred at Oswiecim, Schirach added, should fill every German with shame and guilt. “If on the basis of anti-Semitism, Oswiecim could have been established, then Oswiecim must be the end of anti-Semitism and racialism,” he continued. “Anti-Semitism was a mistake before Oswiecim, it was a crime after Oswiecim.”

Schirach said that although he did not want to make himself appear ridiculous by stating that he had not been an anti-Semite, he was not aware of the mass-extermination of the Jews of Germany and the rest of Europe until 1944. He admitted, however, that in June, 1941, after receipt of orders from Hitler, he directed the deportation to Eastern Europe of the 60,000 Jews then remaining in Germany. He also acknowledged that he had driven all the Jews out of Vienna.

NEXT STORY