Baldur von Schirach

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Baldur von Schirach (1907-1974) was a member of the government of Nazi Germany, with the rank Obergruppenfuehrer. He was Reich Youth Leader (1931-1940). During World War II, he was Gauleiter of Vienna (Aug. 1940 - May 1945).

He served 20 years by order of Trial of Major War Criminals of the International Military Tribunal. The Tribunal found him guilty of using the Hitler Jugend to propagandize German youth. They agreed that the deportation of Jews had already begun when he became Gauleiter; while he did not originate the policy, he participated, and was at least partially aware of the program of extermination.

SA and Youth Leader

Prior to the Nazis, he had been a member of the agrarian-nationalist group, Artamanen, which became the core of the Hitler Youth.

While he was under Sturmabteilung command when first made Reich Youth Leader in 1931. Jutta Rüdiger, head of the League of German Girls, was subordinate to him, although she tried to obtain independence. Hitler held a meeting between the SA and Reichswehr on 28 February 1934. He urged compromise, and insisted that War Minister Blomberg and Roehm sign an agreement. The SA was given two paramilitary functions: border policing and premilitary training of youth.[1] Afterwards, however, Roehm said ""What that ridiculous corporal says means nothing to us. I have not the slightest intention of keeping this agreement. Hitler is a traitor, and at the very least must go on leave...If we can't get there with him, we'll get there without him."

SA Obergruppenfuehrer Victor Lutze reported the remark to Rudolf Hess. Hitler responded, "the new army would be a brown one, not a gray one."[2] By 1932, however, Hitler had made Reich Youth Leader von Schirach, while still an SA man, operationally independent of Roehm, and attacking Roehm's authority.

Artur Axmann replaced him as Reich Youth Leader, and he became Gauleiter of Vienna, a less prestigious post.

Antisemitism and Hitler

Speaking with prison psychologist G.M. Gilbert, he said he was not antisemitic, and did not come into contact with Jews, until age 17. At that time, his ideas began to form both from the book, The International Jew, and the ideas of Julius Streicher. He met Adolf Hitler at age 18, and came strongly under his influence. "But why did our elders betray us? Why didn't anyone tell us that Ford had repudiated The International Jew' and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were a forgery? ... I will not deny my guilt. I made the mistake of approving the Vienna evacuation, and I am prepared to die for it. But German Youth must not be forever punished for their betrayal."

He watched Hitler change ofver the years. "Before 1934, he was menschlich [human]; from 1934 to 1938 he was uebermenschlish [superhuman], and from 1938 on he was unmenschlich [inhuman] and a tyrant. I believe that power went to his head in 1934 when Hindenburg died and he became Reichsfueher. Then it drove him mad when legal and judiciary processes were abolished and he necame a dictator with plans of world domination before the war...About 1942 I think I first becan to notice that he was becoming slightly insane."[3]

References

  1. Joachim Fest (1973), Hitler, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich pp. 329-330
  2. Fest, p. 331
  3. G. M. Gilbert (1947), Nuremberg Diary, Farrar, Strauss, pp.22-24