Background: This is a Part II of a translation of a book on the history of the Nazi Party in a district of Bavaria south of Munich. For more details, see Part I.
The source: Franz Buchner, Kamerad! Halt aus! Aus der Geschichte des Kreises Starnberg der NSDAP. (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1938).
[p. 231] 22 September 1928... Pöcking, our neighboring village, 5 kilometers away, 800 people, is the first test of our own abilities. Meeting protection, chairman, and speaker all come from the local group in Starnberg. This evening we will experience a speaker’s baptism by fire.
[They chat a bit in Bavarian dialect, which is not my strength. To their amazement, 30 people have gathered. Buchner is nervous, but gives a two-hour speech that goes reasonably well, though no one joins the party. They organize a meeting in Tutzing, and many people show up, including the communists. They’d rather win over one communist that twenty from the bourgeois camp, which both the Nazis and the communists hate.]
[p. 235] The topic is “Swastika or Soviet Star.” It was certainly interesting.
“Point of order!” shouts the communist leader as soon as the meeting begins... Aha!
“We are not in a bourgeois meeting, but rather a National Socialist meeting! We decide. If you don’t like it, leave!”
“Aha!” ... But they understand, and party comrade Gengler speaks for nearly three hours on “the unnatural nature of Marxism as shown by the differences and lies of its leaders.” As the meeting report states ... “Since the communist discussion speaker couldn’t juggle the usual catch phrases of imperialism, capitalism, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, he had to agree with what ourspeaker had said... “
We fantasized in fall 1928 that one more attack would destroy the communist citadel in Tutzing. But the communist cell in Tutzing lasted five more years, and gave us some meeting hall battles.
They didn’t recruit genuine communists.
Communists are criminals!
They got poor, confused, misled, and helpless German workers. In the coming years we regularly tried to destroy Tutzing’s communist nest.
We developed a pleasant habit:
When we held a meeting in Tutzing, our S.S. men headed over by bicycle. Since most were unemployed, they could head over whenever they wanted. I had to work into the evening at the office, which left me no time to spare (and given my state-endangering activities, it certainly wouldn’t have been given to me), so I would have a quick supper and head over by train.
One could be certain that about a dozen communists would be waiting at the train station.
We’d pass through a row of raised fists. Moscow’s lads would follow close behind as we headed down the dark Halsberger Street to the meeting place.
The first time one’s neck crawled ... If one of them did something ... But one had to risk it! The feeling diminished with time.
They never attacked — they only behaved like communists — but we couldn’t tolerate their attempts to disrupt the meetings — that would lead to fights and bloodshed.
Party comrade Karl Sherer is coming!
When a job transfer brought him from Griesbach in Rottal to Starnberg, he was already a member of the NSDAP. He had the old steep path behind him: front soldier, member of the Freikorps Hitler. During the final battle for power, and for two years after that, he led local group Starnberg of the NSDAP. As a civil servant in the Reich Finance Office he had everything to lose. He risked it! As a speaker, as a propagandist in his office, in the election battles of the decisive year , he was in the front lines, somewhat thoughtful, cautious, but one of the hardest working chaps in the county.
The target of hateful attacks by our opponents, the defendent in more than one political trial, a man seen as a dubious character, he stood loyally by the Führer through it all.
28 September 1928: ... The ban on Adolf Hitler’s speaking in Prussia is lifted!
“Maybe that is a triumph of legality,” muttered Max Pöhlemann. — And he’s right! It is proof of the correctness of Adolf Hitler’s policies ... for all who can do more than just believe.
Saturday, 29 September 1928... Berg.
Funny people! We had sent a postcard to the inkeeper in Berg, located on the east shore of the lake, asking him if we could have a room for a public meeting of the NSDAP (Hitler movement) ... The man drops by the apartment of the local group leader and says simply, as if it were the most obvous thing in the world ... “Of course you can have the side room, and the main room, too, if necessary!”
The man is good!
His name is Bichler. Strongly suspected of being a Nazi!
So on Saturday, we head to Berg for our first public meeting. Flags flying. Now we always take a small swastika flag along to decorate the wall behind the speaking platform, and are vastly pleased if it provokes some angry faces.
Near Berg there is a bit, forested hill, the Rottmannhöhe. On top sits a famous Jesuit monastery, with a wide view. It dominates the area for a ten kilometer radius — up to the border of the next monastery. The net is tight in our area! We saw that soon enough. After an hour, we were still alone: the speaker Franz Buchner, the meeting chair Mr. Max Ederer, and the SS men Steingrübl and Horner.
The door opens... ! We eagerly await the first guest. The innkeeper: “There are a few people outside, but they are afraid to come in ... You know, the front table in the main room is free. Why don’t you hold your meeting out there ... Those who don’t like it can move to the side room!”
My dear friend! That’s the spirit!
For the first time, someone who has something to lose didn’t leave us in the lurch! ... Innkeeper! How easily your regular guests might have walked off because of these Nazi fools!
But this evening, at least, we don’t drive them away.
The audience consisted of Major Picht and his son, the knight. There was a man with white hair, whose face was not easy to forget: Director Stritzel. He had brought his wife Anna along. A few more, too. The innkeeper tells us their names. We wanted to know those names, since anyone who had the courage to visit a Nazi meeting in such a small place as Berg, like the other villages in the county, was worth knowing. Look them over! One is named Kiesenhofer, and his neighbor is Wallner Alfons. The mayor sent Schuster, the local cop, to provide “protection.” Hopefully nothing will happen to the fine chap!
9 (nine) attendees, not counting the innkeeper and his helper...
No one wants to speak during the discussion period. That’s a relief for my conrades. They’re still worried that an experienced discussion speaker could make short work of me. They were therefore ready for a “discussion” in their own fashion ... Later, a hundred and something meetings later, they were no longer nervous about the “discussion.” They were just cuurious to see how “their” speaker would flatten the discussion speakers!
“Hey! There’s someone! Well! God damn!”
“The innkeeper has the floor!”
But he only wanted to say that there were more listeners outside the window than were present inside! “The speaker thundered so loudly that everyone outside could hear just fine.” ... and he would be sure they came in the next time.
As we headed home about midnight through a raging fall storm, we were satisfied. The west wind blowing over the lake crashed into the trees, dropping branches and leaves onto the road, and onto our car. We got back home around 1 a.m.
The next day, 29 September 1928, there was a meeting in Percha. The posters had been up for two days. They’d survived a whole night. Inexplicable!
The innkeeper had promised us the side room.
But when we got there Sunday afternoon, the knitting club was holding its important monthly meeting, and the police were assembled in the main room. Despite an hour long conversation, they insisted that the meeting could only take place where it had been announced (the side room)!
“Just wait, you idiots. You’ll be the first to go,” Max muttered.
Meanwhile, we chattered a bit with a few comrades from the pink faculty [socialists]. No real discussion, though. Their noses were still sore from the previous summer when Gustl had had at them. . .
Saturday, 6 October 1928... Feldafing.
The National Socialist Franz Buchner speaks on “The Interest and Tax Slavery of All Productive Germans.”
Location: The “Zur Post” inn.
But he didn’t speak, since only four people showed up ... Our party comrades from Feldafing and Pöcking. That was it!
That’s how Judah’s pressure affected Feldafing.
We cursed in disappointment, paid for our beers, and vowed revenge.
On Sunday afternoon, 7 October 1928, we tried Traubing, that communist farming village! The hammer and sickle got most of the votes in the last Reichstag election. 71 votes for the communists, one for the Nazis. We politely invite the Red Front for an open discussion.
The Herrsching S.A. too. Five men biked over from Starnberg, the speaker, the meeting chairman, and three men for guard duty. (In the county archive, there is an “invitation” to party comrade Schmid from Perchting, asking him to join us. “Dear Schorsch! Come to the Guggemoos pub in Traubing at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Don’t forget your billy club! Heil!”) ... Alas, not only did Schorschens’s fine billy club fail to appear, but our tested supporters also wandered off summa summarum ad acta. Though the days when we were a major threat to the state were still in the distant future, we were surprised by a friendly visit from a high official of the state at the entrance to the Guggemoos pub ... Sepp, the last in the procession, tried to save what could still be saved, but his little dagger also fell to the watchful eye of the law.
The Commune was absent, perhaps still afraid. The meeting was still a great success. The report from the meeting says: “... attendance very good! Over 50 from the farmer’s federation and Social Democrats. A three hour speech! Lively discussion! Seven speakers! The main points of the opponents: you want a new war ... you are enemies of religion ... taxes are eating us up ... Ludendorff with his blue glasses ... Wilhelm II ... Confiscation of our land ... “
The mood swung back and forth. We were amazed at so much ignorance, nastiness, open oppostion, and wild hatred.
Had we refused them the right to speak, or the right to speak as long as they wanted, they would have accused us of cowardice, of terror, of Fascist violence. We lacked the experience of later years.
One of the loudest of the lot was Wagner, a leader of the farmer’s federation. He was a little man with a moustache, sharp as a sword and loud as an ox. Today he is the local farming leader and a good Nazi...
But then he was out to get us.
There were three pages full of notes on the charges made by the discussion speakers already, and the discussion still was not over.
Things had been going for five hours already.
“Enough!” whispered the meeting chairman, with a longing look toward the toilets.
I didn’t think I could hold out either and went ... “There he goes! He’s trying to get away! ... Stay!” One could not let the opponent out of sight for a moment, lest they get away with their lies, distortions, slanders, misunderstandings, false views, or ignorance.
The German Communist Party was making noise about a pacifist “popular referendum” about this time, opposing a new naval cruiser to the benefit of Soviet militarism.
Adolf Hitler spoke on 10 October 1928 in Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller about the matter.
The Starnberg SS troop is there to guard the meeting. We get to see the Führer again. . .
We come from the trenches, from a small part of the front, full of filth and cares. We can hardly see more than fifty meters to our right and left.
Then a man comes and lifts us from our own small part of the trenches to eternity. All our troubles fade away... he helps us see for centuries into the future... we see the goal ... the eternal life of the German nation ... a shiver goes down our spines...
I believe that all that is great and bright, all that is beautiful and strong, all the harmony of a hundred million German souls, is united in this man and flows from him to every heart and mind.
Through him, the dead of the great war call to the coming generations to fight for their holy right to life.
How happy we are, Adolf Hitler, that you are with us! How proud we are to be with you!
Why did fate lead us through four long and terrible years, letting us wait for a leader?
That evening we experienced a remarkable duel, A communist discussion speaker confronted the National Socialist Führer. Great! ... Adolf Hitler chopped him up. There wasn’t much left of the poor chap.
Adolf Hitler said: “Don’t be too unhappy with the previous speaker, whom I’ve known for some time, for one can only hold against someone that which he really thinks himself!
But that wasn’t his own argument, rather others thought it out, and he learned it by heart.
But I am always happy when we see a Red ‘comrade,’ even one of their leaders.
The previous speaker said first:
‘You want to bring back war.’ He is wrong. We National Socialists have been fighting for about nine years against the state of war.
But he knows that well enough, since he has been familiar with us for years.
We claim that the state of war is the result of the general domination of Marxist thinking in every area. This spirit has also dominated the so-called bourgeois, which is as internationally democratic or at least as vaguely national as Marxism itself.
You say that in the territorial question we are imperialists?
First, we see it as a question of the daily hunger of each individual person. That is, when a child is born, there must be food for it, and in the moment that one seeks food for a new creature, one becomes an imperialist. One then stakes a claim to life on this earth.
You say that imperialism is a bad thing, and attempt to resolve the problem by saying that modern science has found methods of birth control.
My dear friend, let me first say that you are making use of somebody else’s science here.
It is remarkable that these same communists, who reject human progress, from time to time have to import Western European engineers, doctors, university professors, in fact all of Western European science, for their purposes.
You say that so lightly: ‘birth control.’
My dear friend, we prefer to say ‘life control.’ For what does birth control mean? Birth control means that one takes a being from the earth whose significance one cannot know.
About 99 percent of the great minds would have fallen victim to this Marxist birth control, which you see today as a scientific necessity. Birth control is dangerous foolishness, since it takes away the most highly gifted. You don’t know if that child is destined to save humanity, and whether you may be doing away with him.
My dear friend, if one has to limit life, we National Socialists would prefer to limit useless lives.
I’d like to see what you would say if after people were evaluated as valuable or useless, someone or the majority would turn to you and say: ‘You look completely worthless. You are first in line!’
If communism preferred life control to birth control, there soon would hardly be any communists left, since life control in the communist camps would claim a vast harvest were one to select all those people who must be removed if the nation is not to perish. But that would be easier to justify than killing a creature before one knows what will become of him.
If one holds to the standpoint that the population must be limited, then one must draw the conclusion: What is not completely healthy has to go. The Spartans did that.
We National Socialists, therefore, favor the sterilization of all criminals and all people who are incurable, also if they are mentally incurable (here he looked toward the previous speaker). That will result in an immediate limitation. But your friends from the humanitarian league, who signed the past referendum petition, are against that, those who pull your strings. They are for everything that ruins the value of the Aryan race.
The same ground two thousand years ago supported only a small part of the present population.
By practicing birth control, I would reduce the number of those scientists who could help feed present-day humanity. Food production and other production would decrease as the quality of the population declined.
A people that steadily reduces its birthrate can still starve. We know that the populations of New Guinea and Australia slowly declined through vice and a low birthrate, whereas other Negro peoples survived and grew because of their many children, hardened by life under their conditions.
You say that the food situation cannot be solved by war.
My dear friend! There is no right on this earth that people do not have to fight for and defend constantly, for nature itself is the most unpeaceful force that exists.
There is no comparison between what mankind could destroy and what nature does destroy.
You are against war because it kills people.
But in the same breath you want to kill children!
Where is the logic in that?
And the peace that you have given us, think of the sacrifices it has demanded from the German people!
It is true that after forty years of peace. Germany had a war that cost us two million dead. But that is the fault of your party and your influence, for if Germany at that time had not been infected with the Marxist spirit, the war of 1914 would not have occurred.
You can be sure that the National Socialists would have raged war against France in 1904-1905 to avoid a world war. The National Socialists would not have waited until the world coalition came together, waiting for the most favorable moment to fall on Germany.
A National Socialist Germany would have used the right moment to create breathing room for the nation, a moment that might have cost the nation a blood sacrifice of 200,000 and guaranteed an additional fifty years of peace.
That things happened as they did is the fault of your thinking. One thought one was clever enough to avoid war, but finally led Germany into an even worse war.
You say that one simply may not wage war, and that in the future the vital interests of the peoples will be determined in other ways.
I ask you: Why does Soviet Russia have a fleet, why does it build tanks, air planes and artillery, why does it have gas? Why? Apparently someone is of the opinion can certain problems can be resolved only through war.
Soviet Russia has that conviction, and so do we.
You want your nonsensical system to be imposed through blood on the world, but we want to guarantee our people their daily bread, only that.
You accuse us of being imperialists, and at the same time you hope that your idea will conquer the world through guns and violence. Is that not imperialist insanity and destruction?
We do not want war.
We only want to live!
We don’t want to pay tribute, and will not pay it, for it is destroying our people.
You say that capitalist interests have determined the lines on the map.
Oh dear God! You have no idea, for example, of the development of the Russian empire!
I only know that Bolshevism did not free the individual Russian states, brought together not by capitalism, but by power politics, and used naked imperialist force to suppress these states with war and bloody terror and the crudest methods.
You say that the fact that the ore districts of Lonwn and Brien were demanded of us after the last war is proof that the capitalist viewpoint draws state borders. Well, my dear friend, before the war the thought was that a people should be able to support itself by its own efforts. But in the case of Germany, they now think one can live on credit.
Before the war, they thought a people needed opportunities to work and live. Today they have a new way: unemployment!
You don’t need production, you don’t need raw materials, you don’t need coal mines, no iron mines, only an unemployment office!
With that and your communist idea, you think you can feed a people.
You keep shouting: not enough food! But in same breath, you say it is unjust to alter the borders. My dear friend, I object to the fact that the German people should be the world’s labor coolies while other people live from its sweat, or from an overabundance of territory.
Who gave the Russians their territory? When you can persuade Soviet Russia to say: We see that land is distributed unfairly in the world, and so we are giving 800,000 square kilometers to Germany, then we will want to talk about other methods.
But Soviet Russia itself is hungry for land and is devouring neighboring nations. Soviet Russia does not seem to know a different way.
You yourself say that you are against a new armored cruiser [the German government’s plan to build a new warship] because the imperialists might use it against Soviet Russia!
You’ve let the cat out of the bag!
I don’t want to presume on your naval knowledge as to the significance of a 10,000 ton ship. I will only say this. A 10,000 ton ship is nothing against today’s 38,000 ton battleships of the world powers. It would mean something only for Soviet Russia, since even if it had a 60,000 ton ship, it would not be worth a tenth of that of a vessel of another country, given the lack of discipline and the corruption.
You say that we want to take land away from France. No, from France we want only freedom!
Or that we want land from England. No, we only want to be free of England’s economic oppression.
You say: I am an internationalist, I am a socialist, I am even a communist, and demand equal rights for all.
But you are distressed by the most primitive natural right. The most primitive natural right is this: the earth belongs to those who work it. Peoples that are lazy, that are incapable, that are dumb, have no right to possess earth that they have not made fruitful at a time when other peoples are starving because they lack land.
It is criminal to demand that an intelligent people limit its children so that a lazy and stupid people can misuse an enormous stretch of territory.
How that must look to the eye of the Almighty!
And what about communism? You stand before the people and say: Equal rights for all! But you do not want to give your own people the same rights as other peoples have!
You say that in the future, the unsatisfactory conditions in the world will be changed through international brotherhood.
My dear friend! don’t talk to me about brotherhood between Chinese, Mongolians, Tartars, Englanders, Zulus, French, etc., when you can’t even get along with your Marxist brethren, fighting each other to death to gain a few more votes.
Our German people has paid bitterly for this whole nonsense of world brotherhood.
You seduced our people in 1918 with a siren song as you lied and said: Raise the red flag as other countries have done! The world revolution will conquer and you will get your rights!
And what did we get?
Misery and poverty for our people, treason on all sides.
And now you suddenly say that the League of Nations can’t help us. Yet earlier your party helped the German people fall prey to Wilson’s paralytic nonsense! —
In this communist’s speech, you you can see the nonsense and superficiality with which one discusses problems that are a matter of the very existence of people.
...Can you see how they make statements without supporting them, statements that on closer examination turn out to be nonsense? Irresponsible chatterboxes, without the ability to judge things. They presume to speak on the most important questions: birth control, battleships, territory, etc.
But this is the deeper cause of Germany’s misfortune. My dear friend, if you suffer appendicitis, you will certainly go to a doctor trained by capitalist science, since only he knows what to do. You won’t go to a quack, no matter how communist he is.
But Germany should let itself be governed by you quacks!”
For the first time, we present Starnberg with one of our own speakers. The district leader [Buchner] will speak in the “Eisenbahn” pub. And since everyone knows the few Nazis in town, curiosity, sensation-seeking and hopes for disaster bring over 120 people to the meeting!
We’ve done it!
During the discussion, a Democrat asks for “peaceful understanding” between all parties ... It is “more advantageous to win the opponent’s love than his hate...”
Such fools are still running around loose in Germany.
They get as much of a hearing as a genius.
We do not want peaceful understanding! We want battle! We hate our opponents with our heart and strength!...
[More meeting activity. They try again in Tutzing. Little success. 9 November 1929]
[p. 279] Schmid Schorsch, a former leather worker in Feldafing, has become a farmer in Perchting. A little farm with many debts and not much land.
The fourteen Nazi votes in the May election were the result of his political work in the village. It earned him a nickname: Moses! A fine name for a Nazi, isn’t it?
The pastor gave him the name. He wanted to make the only anti-Semite in the congregation look ridiculous.
But under this name, Schorsch became a terror to our opponents in the whole Gau. He inherited a good dose of smarts and a quick tongue.
Our Moses remained the only active politician among the village’s 200 souls — aside from the pastor, of course!
The Farmer’s Federation tried to talk him into heading their 75-member local group. He’d certainly be elected to the provincial parliament if. . .
But he preferred to fail as the Nazi candidate on 20 May 1928... Which is what happened!
Then he installed a big iron swastika on his house, facing the street, the first in the county! It is still there today. No Jews came by any more.
Now he organized a Sunday afternoon Nazi meeting at the post office. Schorsch, you sure must have preached a lot in the past year in your new village to pack the guest room in the post office?!! Every corner was packed, and there was so much smoke you couldn’t see across the room.
The Perchting folk turned out to be good listeners. The “Moses School” was unmistakable! Hardly a word of protest as the thunder descended on the Farmer’s Federation and the Bavarian People’s Party!
But they were tough!
Still, they were not the last to catch on ... Early on and courageously, they joined Hitler. They can be proud of it today — and Schorsch above all!
[More meetings, including some total flops. The Gau office accomplishes a lot of work with a tiny staff. Christmas 1928. ]
[p. 309] The Gauleiter reports 300 people have completed the speaker school. One never learned how many of them dared to step to the fore and kept at it.
[Buchner records that he spoke 18 times between 2 March and 28 April 1929, every Saturday and Sunday. More party activities. Meetings fail to cover their costs. The party is always asking for financial contributions. The 1929 Nuremberg Rally. There are still about 100 party members in Starnberg County. The Young Plan, fixing German reparations payments is announced. The county now has a staff of five speakers, all of whom speak regularly against the Young Plan. A Hitler Youth group is founded. A local group is finally established in Gauting. 1930 arrives.]
[p. 361] Sunday, 12 January 1930... Head to Wolfratshausen at 1:30 p.m. with the postal bus. On foot to Gelting. Maxl comes along. Cold as Siberia. Calf-deep snow. At the village inn, three farmers are huddled around the stove. After an hour, there are twelve... After the meeting we run for 45 minutes and fortunately catch the post bus.
Invited by Schirmer to a “house party” in the evening. Decline. Paid 11.20 marks for ads, travel, and beer.
The Wolfsratshausen Anzeiger warns against the apostles of Nazism. . .
Sunday, 18 January 1930... Heavy snowstorm. Meeting in Peißenberg canceled, hall refused! A Saturday evening at home for the first time in months!... Telephone call at 7:30 p.m.! Party comrade Friedrichs prevented from speaking in Hohenschäftlarn! Into action! Fifteen minutes later we are heading there in Rädler’s jalopy. A cutting east wind blows over the hills behind Percha. The road is icy and treacherous. Snowdrifts collect behind the oak trees. It’s knee-high. The wheels start to spin. Maxl and I get out and push to keep it out of the ditch. Rädler drives at ten kilometers an hour. We hang on to the back bumper and glide over the ice. The road disappears in the snow. The storm rages. Impossible! Impossible? Not in our vocabulary! Onward, onward! After a long struggle, nature proves that it is harder to fight than democracy and the Internationale! We continue on foot. But when we get there at 11 p.m., the meeting attendees in Hohenschäftlarn have long since gone home!..
Wednesday, 22 January 1930... The train station waiting room in Pasing. Waiting for the connection to Gröbenzell. It stinks of tobacco smoke and wet clothing. Unemployed men play cards around the stove, complaining and making noise. The police come by. Truncheons. Clearing the place. I search for my papers. Like a vagabond...
Got out of work a half an hour ago. Grabbed something to eat, then headed for the station...
Saturday, 25 January 1930... Alone again in the Pasing station. Full of people in masks, lads and lasses heading to Munich for Fasching ... My topic: “Freedom and Bread” ... Transfer to Puchheim! It’s surprisingly quiet in this red fortress.
Sunday, 26 January 1930... Schöngeising. Wonderful winter weather. We sit alone in the village pub. The meeting is to begin at 3 p.m. By about 4:30 twenty people have shown up. I speak. . .
Saturday, 1 February 1930... Escape from the office at midday. To the station. Toward Munich. Transfer in the direction Holzkirchen — Scheiersee. Missed the connection! There may be a hundred people waiting in Fischbachau! The local group leader will be sweating blood! The map! ... It can still work! ... To Rosenheim with the express, transfer toward Bad Aibling, transfer toward Feilbach, transfer to Fischbachau! ... Call Rädler in Starnberg and ask him to call the local group in Fischbachau and tell them to pick me up in Feilnbach, not Schiersee!
The price of the express ticket to Rosenheim hurts ... but if everything works, We’ll be in Fischbachau by nine.
At Au between Bad Aibling and Feilnbach, the conductor lets me off the slow train. The local group leader from Fischbachau, Party comrade Adam, is waiting for me. We drive down the icy road to Fischbachau... It worked! In bed at 2 a.m. The feather bed is damp and clammy. Ice crystals form on the walls of our attic apartment. Three hours of sleep. Sunday, 5 a.m., middle of the night, no breakfast, head for the station. Snow crunches under my boots, it’s a cold morning. There’s a light ahead... the station. The train leaves with a half hour delay. Almost empty. Sleep! ... A farmer promises to wake me when it’s time to get off... Transfer at Holzkirchen, towards Rosenheim. Wash up in the toilet. Transfer toward übersee, transfer again toward Aschau. Take the post bus to Unterwöffen. 10 a.m. meeting in Unterwöffen. Quick lunch at noon. Back to Aschau, toward übersee and Prien. A meeting there at 4 p.m. Catch the train to Munich at 8 p.m., then the last train to Starnberg. In bed at 1 a.m.
We are moving mountains. Fate may be resisting, but we are seizing freedom.
Adolf Hitler must win!
We want him to win!
Saturday, 22 February 1930... “Summer Night at Lake Starnberg.” Organized by the “Starnberg Songsters.” Dance and be entertained! ... At the same time 200 farmers in Ebersing hear about the dawn of a new age. Bitter resistance from a black [Catholic] party speaker. Too bad! We’re coming! ... Walk along soggy paths to Weilheim. Sleep in a bed that reeks of moth balls, dreadful!
Sunday, 23 February 1930... We spend the morning in Weilheim trying to find a car or motorcycle to get us to Seehaupt. Promised Scherer support in that Catholic fortress. He doesn’t like discussions! We find three vehicles — none in working order. At noon, a telephone call: Things went well!... In the afternoon, by train to Hohenpeißenberg. The Farmers Federation is having a general meeting. The reds surround our meeting place to keep track of who attends! Three people have the courage to attend. Hundreds are content with a ski race outside. We waited two hours, then dashed down to Unterpeißenberg to catch the train. Home at 9 p.m....
Saturday, 1 March 1930... A Fasching party in the bourgeois sports hall. We gather our stuff and head for Weilheim. On foot for two hours to Wessobrunn. A hundred farmers listen to an appeal to their desire for freedom. Things are moving! Germany is awakening!
Sunday, 2 March 1930... Eighty farmers in Rott hear of the coming of a new age. We see it in their faces: it is dawning! Warm rain as we march back. Our skin is porous. Every pore breaths: The day is coming!
Saturday, 8 March 1930... Hoarse and with a cold, went to Schongau with Max. 120 people of every sort hear a National Socialist for the first time. The promised trouble doesn’t happen! At 1 a.m. in the morning, into a cold, strange bed with a pounding headache and worn out voice. Missed the early train. Strolled from Schongau to Hohenpreißberg. Surrounded by lovely Bavarian landscape — and missed the train! For the second time today! Two hours down to Unterpeißenberg. Bad mood! ... Need a meal, drop into a Reich Banana Plantation pub [i.e., a pub frequented by the socialists]. Taunts, nothing more.
Saturday, 15 March 1930... Speak to thirty workers in Söcking. Stupid and dense. Only a miracle can turn this confused mob into a people. Confused thinking and insults are the only intellectual weapons they have to attack the “opponent” during the discussion period... We laugh and sing. We know that the future is ours!
Sunday, 16 March... Gelting. Wonderful spring weather. Blue sky outside and thick clouds of smoke in the room in the village pub. Thirty farmers listen for four hours to the teachings of Adolf Hitler. Can they believe? Once again? Hitler? It is hard to awaken new faith. Still, it happens! We feel it. And we rattle on. — Party comrade Rädler picks us up in his little car around 8 p.m.
Saturday, 22 March... The Gauleitung sends me to Olsching... No free Saturdays... Drunken lads in the train. One makes some remarks. My knife is at hand. Away with labor service! — About a hundred workers listen quietly to the promises of 1918. That is bitter!... They are silent, they no longer throw chairs and glasses... Adolf Hitler! The German people are beginning to believe!
Sunday, 23 March 1930... Olsching yesterday... Today a meeting in Starnberg from 10 a.m. to noon. An undercooked schnitzel for lunch and some bread, then dash to the train. A 3 p.m. meeting in Schwindegg, an obscure place somewhere...
[His wife and kids beg him to say home on a fine spring day. He’s always taking the family grocery money to cover party expenses. The Munich Post, a socialist newspaper, runs an article complaining that Buchner is on the government payroll, but is working to overthrow the government. Buchner has a variety of legal difficulties for attacking the state and behaving in a way inconsistent with his position as a civil servant.]
[p. 379] The lesser weapons of political combat are no longer sufficient! Leaflets, newspapers and brochures are good, face-to-face conversation is necessary, propaganda marches are even better... but the most powerful weapon remains the spoken word!
We forge it ourselves!
No place, no matter how small, can be left without a meeting!
They, too, must come under our fire!
We organize a district speaker course.
Two handfuls of party comrades, white collar and blue collar, join in: laborers, students, craftsmen, office workers. Each participant studies hard after his day’s work for many nights, exhausting his mental and physical strength, working on “his” speech. They don’t want to become “specialty speakers,” rather drummers of the National Socialist revolution.
At first in party comrade Sundermann’s apartment, later in a room at the “Unterbräu.” One time we hold a “communist meeting,” or one by the Catholics, Socialists, or the bourgeois. Heckling is “permitted” to develop the “speaker’s” ability to think fast. In the “discussion,” the “speakers” are thoroughly tested. All the crazy objections of our opponents come at them until they have learned to deal with these ever recurring objections. The tactic of the “conclusion” is demonstrated. don’t defend! Attack! Attack! Attack!
The district leader speaks from his experience in many meetings and discusses the development of great speakers of antiquity... Demosthenes, for example, was a miserable failure, but he didn’t give up, and went to the coast to build his voice strength by outshouting the waves... To improve his enunciation, he spoke with pebbles in his mouth...
Our party comrade Linzenhuber spent a day in the Maising Gorge to practice “speaking.” To improve his mouth and lip positions, he stuck a cigar in his mouth and spoke between his teeth. Then he yelled at a rock wall to strengthen his voice. And it echoed... “Whom do you think under today’s constitution is responsible for the fact that the tax reductions promised in Fall 1929 turned out to be a huge swindle?! They’ve deceived our people in miserable ways...”
A hunter walks through the quiet, dark forest and listens for a little while. Then he slowly comes up to our speaker, bravely puts a hand on his shoulder, and says:
“Are you ill? Do you need a doctor? Be reasonable, you’ll get better!...”
Party comrade Alfred Driemel, laborer, 23 years old...
“The district leader gave me an order.
Tomorrow, 10 a.m., a meeting in Unterpeißenberg! — But I missed the train. Reported to the district leader!... He blew up.
“Get there! I don’t care how!”
The next train only went as far as Weilheim. It was two and a half hours by foot to Unterpeißenberg. I wouldn’t be there before 11 a.m.! ... I headed in that direction, trusting to my lucky star. No sign of it by the next village. I ask to borrow a bike at the first house. I’m thrown out. I was in a den of socialists. More luck at the next house. In exchange for my disability card (it’s still there), I got an old bicycle to head off on. If the old crate held up, I’d be there on time. A cold, brisk winter day. I fell off frequently, and had to lift it over snow drifts — but finally I made it!...
The room was packed full of people!
As I looked at myself in a mirror, I didn’t at first want to go in. I looked like a red-cheeked Christmas angel, not like a fighting speaker of the NSDAP who would be speaking to old farmers and workers... The sharp east wind had reddened my face. But what good did worrying about that do — I had to go on in!
The policeman at the door wasn’t going to let me in, since the room was already full. When I told him that I was the speaker, he grinned and said: “Now I’m curious...!”
The meeting chairman almost hid under the table when he saw that I was the speaker and would speak until the district leader arrived. The old miner could easily have been my father. I would have given anything to be ten years older .
Three or four hundred farmers and miners from Peißenberg filled the hall. The chairman didn’t sound very confident as he opened the meeting and turned the floor over to me... but not before telling me that founding a local group depended on this meeting...
Now I was speaking to four hundred pairs of mocking eyes that didn’t think much of me.
This was it!
After an hour with no interruptions, I began to feel that I could speak well.
But I breathed a sigh of relief as the district leader appeared.
And I was pleased when the chairman shook my hand. He was satisfied with me... The meeting was a big success for us.” —
Party comrade Helmut Sündermann [later a top official in Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry], student, 19 years old... “Me speak???! The district leader seemed to have his doubts. A lad of 19 as a speaker? Appearance? Not exactly impressive. He consoled me by offering me a chance later... Annoyed, I clung to my speaker material: ‘I’ll show him!... ‘ One day, I was surprised by an assignment to speak in Neufahrn near Wangen. But I would have to do the preparations myself. I got posters and leaflets. I neatly filled in on the posters that party comrade Sündermann would speak at a public meeting of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party in Neufahrn. Neufahrn (a major settlement with at least ten houses!) has never since seen more posters hung with greater passion. With this material in my rucksack (which I was convinced would cause a sensation in this quiet village), I headed to Neufahrn a few days before the big event. The innkeeper of the village pub gave me permission to hold a meeting. I hung the posters on telephone poles and barn doors, removing a few announcements of the Bavarian People’s Party in the process, and delivered leaflets and newspapers to the locked houses (everyone was in the fields)... In short, I made all the preparations necessary for a tremendous success.
With a neat outline in my pocket, SS men Grübl, Lohrentz, and I headed toward Neufahrn on a lovely summer morning.
There were seven farmers present. (I don’t think there were more than that in Neufahrn!) I don’t remember what I said any longer... presumably the usual first speech, in which one can see good intentions but limited ability. I only know that I didn’t collapse, though I kept turning my chair. Afterwards, it occurred to me how bad that must have looked.
As I reflected on the undertaking on the way home, it dawned on me that I had spoken in too ‘educated’ a fashion. I realized that ’speaking’ meant using the language of those one was talking to. ’speaking’ means making what one knows understandable to others. I learned much in that meeting. I was dissatisfied with my performance, but full of plans for more work — as I headed back to Starnberg with my comrades.
The battle for the party, I felt, first demanded that one work on oneself. Not fun, not sensational.
It was serious!... ” —
Karl Heubmer, stone mason, 38 years old.
“My first meeting?... Three weeks earlier, the district leader had given me the topic and strongly advised me to prepare thoroughly for my speech in Breitbrunn am Ammersee.
I took a pencil and a lot of paper and started writing. I had unlimited time at my disposal, save for standing in line at the unemployment office. Over many days and nights, I put a good speech together. But it didn’t satisfy me. Whenever I practiced, it didn’t seem right. I started again from scratch. But I was still unhappy with the material, and with each thought... I ended up with ten drafts, each of which suffered the fate of the first: they ended up in the wastepaper basket. And the date was suddenly near... A kingdom for a good idea! Well, my last draft would have to do!
At noon on Sunday, the post bus brought me to Herrsching. With a troop of S.A., I went on foot to Breitbrunn. The meeting was to start at 3 p.m. Maybe no one would be there!... But as we entered the pub, I saw that there was no escaping it. It took twenty more minutes for the room to fill. This was unpleasant, for the nearer the time came, the greater my stage fright. At 3:25, the chairman tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘Time to start!’
I postponed it another five minutes. That was the last reprieve. At exactly 3:30, the chairman stood up and opened the meeting with a few words...
Now it was my turn: I was on the horse, and I had to ride!
I had learned the first sentence of my speech by heart. It was out before I knew it. The second sentence was harder, as a result of my nervousness. But I had to speak!... It instantly became clear to me that not I, but the party that I was fighting for, would be disgraced if I failed... With iron will, I organized my thinking. First roughly, gradually more smoothly, the words came. After ten minutes, one of the about sixty people at the meeting, an old man in back, nodded in agreement. That was my salvation. I saw that I was being understood, that my thoughts were getting across. Now I got going... I felt that I would succeed! The discussion, too, went well.
I’d survived my baptism by fire!”. . .
Sündermann — Driemel — Heubner ... They preached faith in Adolf Hitler in a hundred meetings!... Student, laborer, craftsman, side by side. More than once the state’s attorney was after them, hauling them to court under the laws of Weimar. They kept going! Today they are Reich and Gau speakers of the NSDAP. —
[Names and details on people joining the party. More meetings held, with increasing attendance. Reichstag elections are called for September 1930.]
[p. 397] The battle begins. In the middle of summer. It will last two months!
Everything starts moving!... Our speakers, our S.A., our S.S., every party member without exception. Our wives, our boys and girls. Cripples on crutches. There are no reserves, no objections, no passive members when the NSDAP goes into action.
We do it without a cent of money!
But we are armed with a passionate will to destroy the enemy, filled with unshakable faith, supported by determined labor.
A barrage of well-organized meetings attack the surprised opponent. 1200 speakers throughout the Reich speak against the System in 34,000 meetings.
Two years ago, we were way behind.
Today we have more speakers than the other side.
The longing for freedom, the faith in Adolf Hitler, have opened many hearts and mouths. They are the result of years of steady, quiet work.
And they can do more!
They are faithful, unbelievably hard working, unbeatable: their hearts are filled with a fanatic will for victory!
Forty speakers in Gau Upper Bavaria attack the enemy in nearly a thousand meetings. They speak two or three times on Sunday, at 10 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m. There are 65 meetings on Saturdays and Sundays alone.
Villages that never had a political meeting before come under our fire. Villages unreached even by the opponent’s leaflets hear Adolf Hitler’s preachers... We have artillery enough! The page has turned!
Like a storm, our meetings break over the countryside and drive any opposition away. 550 in the district alone! We hit the villages in our district with our own speakers... Weßling, Oberpfaffenhosen, the Catholic fortress of Machtlsing, Erling, Tutzing, stubborn Buchendorf, little Waugen, red Gilching, the Farmer’s Federation domain of Frieding, Unering, Drößling, Jewdified Feldafing, lonely Walchstadt, tiny Meiling, Breitbrunn, Inning, Buch, Perchting, Seefeld, Etterschlag, Steinebach, Marxist Stöcking... it takes too long to list them all. Pöcking, Herrsching, and Tutzing are attacked twice with the biggest rhetorical guns.
Gauting three times.
Starnberg five times. During the campaign, the following men spoke in the county seat: party comrade Dr. Rudolf Buttmann, Landtag[Bavarian Parliament] member — party comrade Friedrichs — party comrade Adolf Wagner, Landtagmember — district leader party comrade Franz Buchner — party comrade teacher Bauer.
During these two months,the district leader speaks in 32 villages in the district, party comrade Ludwig Schertel in 20, party comrade Scherer in 14, party comrade Mertel in 41 meetings.
Where three people came two years ago, today there are thirty. Where ten once came, today there are a hundred and more! They crowd in. And they pay for it: 20 pfennig and a collection after that!. . .
[It goes on for a while in like style. They disrupt another party’s meeting. In Traubing, a pack of communists have shown up, ready for a fight. Buchner speaks as long as he can, hoping for S.A. reinforcements. Finally, he announces the discussion period.]
[p. 403] ... Aha! Our old friend Biersack! A practiced speaker and fanatic communist!
Party comrade Schmid, Perchting, chairs our meeting: “Before I turn the floor over to our communist discussion speaker, I ask him if he agrees with Moscow’s slogan: Beat up the Fascists whenever you meet them?!”
That was the slogan Moscow had been using. The answer came immediately: “Yes!”
Our man was ready: “Then I refuse to give you the floor!”
That is what they had hoped for ... a whistle blows and it starts!
The drunken mob resembles a band of scalp-hungry, victory-drunk Indians. Beer mugs dance past our eyes. Knives flash. Chairs fly through the dusty, smoky air... Before we could form up, each of our six men was surrounded by twenty howling communists.
They played the role of Red Amazons perfectly. Ever since, that’s how we imagine the Furies look. They spit their stupid arguments in our faces with flashing eyes, yelled screamed, climbed on chairs and tables and attempted to jump on us. Besides their notably damp breath we saw several surprising body parts that people usually try to conceal. Things are different with monkeys and the Red Guard...
From the background, the Checka leader directed his neatly organized enterprise. At any moment, things were going to explode. We began singing: ... Raise high the flag, close the ranks. . .
The Red Front bellowed! The Internationale whips through the Bavarian pub.
The chaps from the Farmer’s Federation clear out.
The three police are sweating: ... “Let the discussion speaker talk, otherwise We’ll have violence and murder!”
The red chieftain attempts to negotiate.
He wants to speak only to calm his comrades down,
No communist speaks in our meetings!
“Hold one of your own!”
The cowardly mob calms down. They don’t dare to attack our men! ... Six against 120.
Several hours later the Gauting S.A. arrives.
Party comrade Hübbe had gotten together what he could on short notice. Fifteen S.A. men, including party comrade Otto Nippold, experienced a wild ride to Traubing in Robels’ truck on that fine summer afternoon.
Suddenly we saw a terrifying group charge around the corner of the village church and charge the pub with dreadful shouts. Each man was armed with a fence slat, and there was no doubt as to what he intended to do with it... It was our dear, loyal Gauting S.A.
Unfortunately, they arrived too late.
The police had closed our meeting.
Afterward, the Commune gathered for a closed meeting at which Moscow’s chieftain could speak to his disappointed and drunken comrades for a while about the promised land in Soviet Judah... until the Nazi district leader walked in and loudly demanded to reply. That livened up the room... “Shameless dog! ... Nazi terrorist! Worker killer!” ...
“No! ... “ howled the Bolshevist leader. “Let the Fascist speak and see that we guarantee freedom of expression!” ... The stupid devil! And they fantasize about world revolution!
The National Socialist spoke for five minutes ... up to the point were he said that the Bolshevist bigwig and street thief Max Hölz in Saxony did the bidding of the strongholds of capitalism, the banks, while his commandos burnt down homes and farm houses... Then he was grabbed from behind and thrown out ... Just as party comrade Nippold came by for a look! ...
The red highwaymen had caught us by surprise, but their goal of forcing an opportunity to speak in a swastika meeting failed.
They would be making plans for similar pranks. We would be ready.
Saturday, 16 August, was the date of our next meeting in Pöcking, near Traubing.
S.S. Troop Starnberg, S.A. Troop Gauting and the “Oberländer” cheerfully accepted the district leader’s invitation for a highly probably altercation with the Commune.
Over a hundred people filled the upper room at the “Post” pub in Pöcking. And we were right! Moscow’s Foreign Legionnaires were there in force. Did they think they could repeat their little game of eight days ago, but with more success this time?
The meeting began...
The Red Front didn’t wait long to get started this time. There intent was unmistakable. They were out to put a violent end to the “growing Nazi terror” in the communist section of the district!
The battle began after ten minutes. Heckling came from all corners. The familiar signal. But today the blow would fall to the rear!
The S.S. lit in. A meeting hall fight!
Max Ederer gave a blow ... Everyone joined in ...
Women’s voices screamed...
Chairs flew, glass broke, screams, thuds ... and the first Bolshevists were already flying out the door.
Schmid Schorsch, breathing hard, took his jacket off, rolled up his sleeves, and plunged into the screaming mob. A Red grabbed our “Moses” from behind ... The district leader leaped from the platform and give the opponent a blow — the Red Guard was on the floor, protecting his face with his arms ... A kick in the ear persuaded the chap to move his head, revealing his face, eyes, and nose! ...
Party comrade Hübbe grabbed two Muscovites by neck and turned them over to his S.A. men... Next, please! An opponent grabbed his shoulder straps from the rear ... The Sturmführer stumbled ... an S.S. man knocked the attacker down ...
The guard troops, the speaker and the chairman joined together to throw the troublemakers out. Here and there blood flowed.
Outside in the hallway, the Gauting S.A. was waiting ... They were in reserve and lined the way out. The communists were passed from hand to hand as they fled the room ... They got some good kicks along the way ... The Commune risked their necks as they jumped down the stairs.
And the “Oberländer” were waiting at the entrance to the pub ...
The Muscovites got a third set of blows.
And then they were greeted by the police.
The only idiot who had any sympathy for the crooks was the notorious rabble-rousing Pastor Fritz of Pöcking. He claimed to be a pacifist, but down deep he was a genuine communist.
After being cleansed of the troublemakers, the meeting continued ...
During the discussion, the rabble-rousing Pastor Fritz spoke. He wept about the Commune that had been thrown out, and awarded martyr’s wreaths to the Muscovites.
After him came a long-haired youth of dubious appearance. He began calmly, but when he thought it was safe, made a clever transition from Mussolini’s Italy to us. A trained communist! We threw him off the platform in the mid-sentence. Party comrade Hübbe caught the Bohemian by his hair and boxed his ears a few times, then he was grabbed by the S.A., who probably held on to some of his hair.
The show began again.
The rabble-rousing pastor protested. A huge woman, “Frau Professor Schiff,” with Jewish relatives, suddenly screamed “Hail Moscow!” and began to shout hysterically. There was nothing to do but escort the howling Fury out the door ... Great! Now we’ve only got the bourgeois left! The plague is being cleared out! ...
[A third attempt is also described. Election day — the Nazis get 107 seats nationally.]
[p. 425] How will it turn out? We got twelve seats in 1928, not enough for a faction. Today? ... In our secret heart, we hope for sixty or seventy seats. Crazy optimists stubbornly insist it will be eighty. One has to be careful beyond ninety, lest one’s hopes be shattered too badly.
One thing we know: The hundreds of thousands of Spring 1928 have become millions. One ... two ... three ... And we know something else: We are no longer isolated and alone.
We have seen the faces and eyes of people. And their passing remarks, their replies to our greetings, the way they took our leaflets, their expressions and smiles ...
Fate, don’t deceive us! ...
Endless tiring work, long nights and hard days, depend on this hour. We have struggled and fought for Germany.
Lord God, don’t desert us!
We have to work to conceal our enthusiasm.
The opponents do not need to see how unsure we are...
“The election is finished!.” announces the election official indifferently, as one does about inconsequential things.
He could not know that these thin words are the death sentence for his own party. These harmless urns, only one of which is in front of us, which are being opened by the thousands throughout the German Reich, hold one of the greatest decisions in German history ...
Election aides easily lift the urn on to a table. A flood of gray papers flows on to the green table top ... In them, the German people spoke their judgment on a dying world.
The division of spirits begins!
They call out ... BVP [Catholic Party], NSDAP, SPD [Socialists], NSDAP, BVP, NSDAP, NSDAP ...
That little pile is ours: The National Socialist German Workers’ Party ...
It grows: NSDAP, NSDAP, BVP, NSDAP ...
Another little pile is giving us competition: The Bavarian People’s Party, the blacks, are still there, they are still alive.
And the Socialists? Look there! The SPD is behind! It is several steps lower than our pile.
But it is no longer a little pile. It is already a substantial house.
The monotonic voices continue: NSDAP, NSDAP ... Maxl punches me in the ribs and rubs his nervous hands ...
“Man! Look!” ... NSDAP, NSDA,. NSDAP, NSDAP ...
Fate is taking its course.
It is going our way.
Our hearts are burning, but our heads stay cooler, calmer.
Our house has become a mountain. It towers over the others. And the mountain moves ... falls ... falls over the others ... knocks them down and buries the Bavarian People’s Party and its neighbor, the SPD,and the whole of the remaining bourgeois world between them.
Another mountain grows next to the rebuilt one ... Votes that belong to Adolf Hitler.
There must be hundreds of thousands ... one million — no two, well millions across Germany, if our mountain is any indication! And the pile grows ever taller, mightier.
The door opens! ... A shout shocks the worthies counting monotonously behind the green table.
Breathless, our messengers from other polling places rush into the room. The news is wonderful: “We are the strongest! Here’s the results!”
The figures jump up and down in their columns ...
The SPD defeated! For the first time! A deep breath.
And the Bavarian People’s Party has lost votes. They had it coming, the hypocrites!
The German National Party? Heavy losses. They got what they deserved.
Stresemann’s party destroyed!
The Democrats chopped up!
The Economic Party has disappeared!
Victory! Victory! Victory!
“Germany awake!” rises over the might of those in power... “Adolf Hitler! Hail battle!”
Joy overcomes us.
The professor hugs the mason, the surveyor’s assistant the paperhanger... Everyone is holding on to everyone else. Their throats clutch, their eyes gleam. But more in tears than in laughter and jubilation.
Comrade! Adolf Hitler has won!
It was not in vain! —
Listen? Outside? ... “People, hear the call to the last battle... “
It is near!
Horst Wessel’s song: “... Soon Hitler’s flags will flutter in every street! Our slavery will not last much longer!” ...
[Page copyright © 2003 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
Go to the 1933-1945 Page.
Go to the German Propaganda Archive Home Page.