Baldur von Schirach: Wikis

  
  

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Baldur von Schirach


In office
1931 – 1940
Appointed by Adolf Hitler
Preceded by Post created
Succeeded by Arthur Axmann

In office
August 1940 – May 1945
Appointed by Adolf Hitler
Preceded by Josef Bürckel
Succeeded by None

Born 9 May 1907 (1907-05-09)
Berlin, then Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died 8 August 1974 (1974-08-09) (aged 67)
Kröv, Rhineland-Palatinate, Federal Republic of Germany
Political party National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP)
Spouse(s) Henriette von Schirach (nee Hofmann) (m. 1932)
Children 4

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (9 May 1907 – 8 August 1974) was a Nazi youth leader later convicted of being a war criminal. Schirach was the head of the Hitler-Jugend (HJ, Hitler Youth) and Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna.

Contents

Early life

Schirach was born in Berlin, the youngest of four children of theatre director Rittmeister Carl Baily Norris von Schirach (1873 - 1948) and his American wife Emma Middleton Lynah Tillou (1872 - 1944). Through his mother, Schirach descended from two signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. English was in fact the first language which he learned at home and he was not able to speak German until the age of five. He had two sisters, Viktoria and Rosalind von Schirach, and a brother Karl Benedict von Schirach who committed suicide in 1919, aged 19.

On 31 March 1932 von Schirach married 19-year-old Henriette Hoffmann, the daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Adolf Hitler's personal photographer and close friend. Through this relationship von Schirach was part of Hitler's inner circle. The young couple were appreciated guests at Hitler's "Berghof". Henriette von Schirach gave birth to four children: Angelika Benedikta von Schirach (born 1933), Klaus von Schirach (born 1935), Robert von Schirach (1938) and Richard von Schirach (born 1942).

Military career

Schirach joined a Wehrjugendgruppe (military cadet group) at the age of 10 and became a member of the NSDAP in 1925. He was soon transferred to Munich and in 1929 became leader of the Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Studentenbund (NSDStB, National Socialist German Students' League). In 1931 he was a Reichsjugendführer (youth leader) in the NSDAP and in 1933 he was made head of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) and given an SA rank of Gruppenführer. He was made a state secretary in 1936.

In 1940 he organized the evacuation of 5 million children from cities threatened by Allied bombing. Later that year, he joined the army and volunteered for service in France, where he was awarded the Iron Cross before being recalled. Schirach lost control of the Hitler Youth to Artur Axmann, and was appointed Governor ("Gauleiter" or "Reichsstatthalter") of the Reichsgau Vienna, a post in which he remained until the end of the war. Over the next few years Schirach was responsible for sending Jews from Vienna to Nazi concentration camps in Poland. During his tenure 185,000 Jews were deported from Vienna to Poland, and in a speech on 15 September 1942 he mentioned their deportation as a "contribution to European culture." Later during the war von Schirach pleaded for a moderate treatment of the eastern European peoples and criticized the conditions in which Jews were being deported. He fell into disfavor in 1943, but remained at his post.[1]

Schirach was notoriously anxious about air raids. He had the cellars of the Hofburg Imperial Palace in the Vienna city center refurbished and adapted as a bomb shelter, and the lower level of the extensive subterranean Vienna air defence coordination center in the forests to the West of Vienna held personal facilities for him as well. The Viennese promptly dubbed this C&C center Schirach-Bunker.

Baldur von Schirach at the Nuremberg Trials (in second row, second from right)

Trial and conviction

Schirach surrendered in 1945 and was one of the officials put on trial at Nuremberg. At the trial Schirach was one of only two men to denounce Hitler (the other was Albert Speer). He said that he did not know about the extermination camps. He also provided evidence that he had protested to Martin Bormann about the inhumane treatment of the Jews. Also, it was revealed by Schirach at Nuremberg that the roots of his anti-Semitism could be found in the readings of Henry Ford's The International Jew. He was found guilty, on 1 October 1946, of crimes against humanity for his deportation of the Viennese Jews. He was sentenced and served 20 years as a prisoner in Spandau Prison.

On 20 July 1949 his wife Henriette von Schirach (3 February 1913 - 27 January 1992) divorced him while he was in prison.

According to Lothar Machtan's The Hidden Hitler, page 229, von Schirach was bisexual.

He was released on 30 September 1966, and retired quietly to southern Germany. He published his memoirs, Ich glaubte an Hitler ("I believed in Hitler") and died on 8 August 1974 in Kröv.

Portrayal in popular culture

Baldur von Schirach has been portrayed by the following actors in film, television and theater productions;

  • Douglas O'Keeffe in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Nuremberg[2]
  • Timothy Walker in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial[3]

External links

Footnotes


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Baldur Benedikt von Schirach (May 9, 1907August 8, 1974) was a Nazi youth leader later convicted of being a war criminal. Schirach was the head of the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) and Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter ("Reich Governor") of Vienna. He was sentenced at the Nuremberg Trials and served twenty years as a prisoner in Spandau Prison. On July 20, 1949 his wife Henriette divorced him while he was in prison. He was released on September 30, 1966, and retired quietly to southern Germany. He published his memoirs, Ich glaubte an Hitler ("I believed in Hitler"), in 1974 and died in Kröv.

Contents

Sourced

  • If he descended from heaven today
    the great warrior who beat the money-traders
    you would shout your "crucifige!"
    and nail him to the cross which he himself bore.

    But he mildly smiles upon your hate:
    "The truth will prevail, even if the bearer falls;
    the faith will live, for I give my life ...
    and stand tall at the cross for all warriors of the world."
  • The body expresses our very being. The striving for beauty is inborn among the Aryan.
    • To a league of German girls. Quoted in "German Bodies: Race and Representation After Hitler" - Page 47 - by Uli Linke - Social Science - 1999
  • We simply believed.
    • Quoted in "The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership" - Page 220 by Joachim C. Fest - History - 1999
  • To us Germans everything is religion. What we do we do not merely with our hands and brains, but with our hearts and souls. This has often become a tragic fate for us.
    • Quoted in "The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership" - by Joachim C. Fest - History - 1999 - Page 220
  • Faust, the Ninth Symphony, and the will of Adolf Hitler are eternal youth and know neither time nor transience.
    • Quoted in "The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership" - Page 221 - by Joachim C. Fest - History - 1999
  • He who serves our Führer, Adolf Hitler, serves Germany, and he who serves Germany, serves God.
    • Quoted in "Germany 1918-1945" - by J. A. Cloake - Germany - 1997
  • In the presence of this blood banner which represents our Führer, I swear to devote all my energies and my strength to the saviour of our country, Adolf Hitler. I am willing and ready to give up my life for him, so help me God.
    • An oath written by Schirach about Hitler. Quoted in "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany" - Page 253 - by William Lawrence Shirer - Germany - 1990
  • That is the greatest thing about him. That he is not only our leader and a great hero. But himself, upright, firm and simple. In him the roots of our world. And his soul touches the stars. And yet he remains a man like you and me.
    • A poem written by Schirach about Hitler in 1936. Quoted in "The Trial of the Germans" - Page 287 - by Eugene Davidson - History - 1997
  • To the Führer. This is the truth which bound me to thee: I looked for thee and found my Fatherland. I was a leaf floating in limitless space. Now thou art my homeland and my tree. How far would I be carried by the wind, wert thou not the strength that flows up from the roots. I believe in thee, for thou art the nation. I believe in Germany. For thou art Germany's son.
    • A poem written by Schirach about Hitler. Quoted in "Dem Führer: Gedichte für Adolf Hitler" - Page 7 - by Karl Hans Bühner - German poetry - 1939
  • Adolf Hitler, you are our great Führer. Thy name makes the enemy tremble. Thy Third Reich comes, thy will alone is law upon the earth. Let us hear daily thy voice and order us by thy leadership, for we will obey to the end and even with our lives. We praise thee! Heil Hitler!
    • A pledge written by Schirach about Hitler. Quoted in "Hitler Youth: The Hitlerjugend in Peace and War, 1933-1945" by Brenda Ralph Lewis - History - 2000 - Page 57
  • Führer, my Führer given me by God. Protect and preserve my life for long. You rescued Germany from its deepest need. I thank you for my daily bread. Stay for a long time with me, leave me not. Führer, my Führer, my faith, my light. Hail my Führer.
    • A prayer written by Schirach and repeated by the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) before meals. Quoted in "The Trial of the Germans" - Page 288 - by Eugene Davidson - History - 1997
  • They say of us that we are an anti-Christian movement. They even say that I am an outspoken paganist.... I solemnly declare here, before the German public, that I stand on the basis of Christianity, but I declare just as solemnly that I will put down every attempt to introduce confessional matters into our Hitler Youth.
    • Braunschweig speech, December 1933. Quoted in "The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945" by Richard Steigmann-Gall - Religion - 2003
  • If today he descended from Heaven, the great warrior who struck the moneychangers. You would once again shout crucify! And nail him to the cross that he himself carried. But he would gently laugh at your hatred. The truth remains even when your bearers are passed. Faith remains, because I give my life... And the fighter of all the world towers on the cross.
    • About Christ, Evangelium im Dritten Reich, July 1, 1934. Quoted in "The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945" by Richard Steigmann-Gall - Religion - 2003
  • If you outlaw half a million people you make martyrs of them. For example, if you outlaw Robin Hood, it is all very well, but if you outlaw a whole group of people around Robin Hood, then Robin Hood and his merry men become legends.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 10, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • I read world literature and I read French romances in the originals. I had quite a profound knowledge - no, that sounds conceited, but I did have a profound interest in everything spiritual.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, March 10, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • Power is what spoils people. Yes, it seems to me that the seeking after power is the great danger and the great corruptor of mankind.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, June 16, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004 - Page 245
  • Some of the defendants say that dictatorship can be good if there is a good dictator. But I say that a man cannot stay good if he becomes a dictator. Authoritarianism is a system that destroys man's morality. If you take a saint and give him power, he will change into a Hitler or a devil.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, June 16, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004
  • I lived with people who had varied opinions, some of whom did not accept my Nazi views. I encouraged this. If a man said something that was critical of me or my ideas, I wouldn't consider him an enemy.
    • To Leon Goldensohn, June 16, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004

Unsourced

  • Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.
    • Public speech, 1938.

About Schirach

  • Baldur von Schirach was guilty of far more than war crimes. His was the deadly evil of corrupting the young. He poisoned the minds of an entire German generation. He trained and schooled the SS men, the men of the gas vans, the men of Oswiecim and Maidanek.
    • The New Central European Observer, published 1948
  • In 1937, Rommel was given the duties of liaison officer with the Hitler Jugend, under the charming but arrogant Baldur von Schirach. The two men did not like each other. Schirach, who was American-educated, disliked the ramrod-stiff Rommel whom he saw as a caricature of the Prussian officer. He was surprised when Rommel opened his mouth and spoke with a broad Swabian accent, and proved far less stiff than he had expected.
    • Christer Jorgensen, "Rommel's Panzers," page 20
  • Schirach corrupted millions of German children so that they became what they really are today, the blind instruments of that policy of murder and domination which these men have carried out.
    • Final speech of the British prosecution at Nuremberg against Schirach, August 30, 1946
  • Von Schirach, poisoner of a generation, initiated the German youth in Nazi doctrine, trained them in legions for service in the SS and Wehrmacht [armed forces], and delivered them up to the Party as fanatic, unquestioning executors of its will.
    • Robert H. Jackson

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