Background: August Eigruber was Gauleiter of Oberdonau (Upper Danube), a region of Austria, from 1939-1945. He was tried after World War II for crimes against humanity, convicted, and hanged on 28 May 1947. This is a newspaper report of his penultimate speech, given over the radio on 20 April 1945.
The source: “Oberdonaus Führung trifft zielbewußt alle Maßnahmen,” Innviertler Heimattblatt (Ried), 27 April 1945, 2. The issue is available on ANNO.
Oberdonau’s Leadership is Taking All Necessary Measures
Gauleiter, Reichsstatthalter, and Reichsverteidigungskommisssar Party Comrade Eigruber spoke Sunday evening on the Linz radio station to the population on the current situation and said, among other things:
The good news from the front is that the Bolshevists have been brought to a stop in the Ostmark [Nazi German for Austria] Gaue and that further advances by the Bolshevists to the west are not expected in the near future. It is now time to deal with the refugee situation. I have ordered that the individual groups of refugees be assigned to particular areas. In order to keep county forests and villages under control, increased checks will be made throughout the whole of Oberdonau. I particularly warn citizens of villages and farmhouses that shirkers and individual deserters are attempting to seek shelter by telling false stories. He who is away from his unit for more than a day, whether wounded or healthy, should be viewed with suspicion. Make an immediate report to the nearest police station or local group leader.
There have also been cases where military and civilian personnel have seized property on their own authority. I expressly state than any independent seizure of property or looting will result in the perpetrator’s immediate execution. Long-term housing of military personnel in civilian quarters is also forbidden. Details should be reported to my office and, when necessary, housing will be provided. Women and children have first priority in housing. I expect that every people’s comrade and each family in Reichsgau Oberdonau will make all available space and free beds to refugees, above all woman and children. The resulting difficulties are more bearable than compulsory housing of foreign soldiers.
It is interesting to see the methods the Bolshevists are using in the occupied areas of the Ostmark. Only in the rarest cases are communists appointed as mayors or commissars. Most of them are royalists, faithful to the Emperor, who with blind hatred against everything German have put themselves at the service of the Bolshevist army of occupation. Some of them slyly spread the idea that the Bolshevists will allow an independent Austria. Entirely aside from the bestial cruelties they always commit and for which there are enough eyewitness accounts, the Bolshevists have no intention of allowing an Austrian government. They will tolerate a mixture of all political opponents of the Reich, intending sooner or later to incorporate the Ostmark Gaue into the Soviet Union, as has already happened in the Baltic countries. It is clear that any foundation of life has been taken away for Germans in Vienna and the occupied areas. The transport of workers needed by the Bolshevists to the interior of Soviet Russia has already begun. The men are sent to Soviet Russia, the children are kidnapped, and our woman and girls are turned over to Mongols and Tartars! There is no point in talking about it. It is simply a matter of trust. He who trusts the Bolshevists and their promises will be ruined. Does anyone believe that the Bolshevists will provide child support or marriage loans? Or that they will care for the honored old gray members of the people’s community, that they will disband atheist associations, or establish an organized food system so that each gets what he needs? The Bolshevists will think only of themselves and smile coldly as Germans starve.
The Führer is determined to carry this war to the end. The few traitors in our homeland can be sure than they are not unknown, that we well understand illegal work. No grace or mercy can be expected from us!
Despite everything, the population of this Gau is behaving admirably. Things are going as they should in cities and the countryside, despite the difficulties. I particularly wish to thank our women for their helpfulness, which they repeatedly demonstrate. I demand that all political leaders and officials are always at their posts. I assure the population of Gau Oberdonau that the leadership of the Reichsgau will take all measures that are necessary for our life and defense, and that it will remain here and never leave!
I am able to release 30 clothing ration points in the next few days. There will also be coffee and tea for our women. Supplies in the entire Gau will be reviewed and what can be distributed will be.
The whole public life is functioning normally because of the cooperation between all offices of the party, the state, the economy, and the Wehrmacht. That will continue. In unity alone there is strength, and we want to use this strength to protect our women, our children, and our homeland!
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