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 final speech, urging everyone to fight to the end.
The source: “Gauleiter Eigruber ruft uns alle zu entschlossener Abwehr,” Innviertler Heimattblatt (Ried), 27 April 1945, 3. The issue is available on ANNO.
Gauleiter Eigruber Calls Us All to Determined Defense
Gauleiter Eigruber spoke in his capacity as Reichsverteidigungskommissar Wednesday evening over cable and radio system to the people’s comrades of Oberdonau, saying:
The military situation on the Eastern Front and in Gaue Steiermark and Oberdonau has continued to firm up. Our own attack has made good progress in Steiermark. Vorau was recaptured. Our troops reached the heights to the east of Weißenbach and north of Mönichswald. The enemy attacked Lilienfeld and Mariazell in Niederdonau with weak forces. These attacks were largely driven back. Only St. Viet was lost. There is no activity around St. Pölten. The enemy continues attacks north of the Danube. Lan a.d.T. and Nikolsburg were lost. About 100 enemy tanks were destroyed in recent days in this area.
Although the developments along the front in Gaue Niederdonau and Steiermark are good, things have developed less well recently in Bavaria. American tanks are thrusting toward Bayreuth and Bamberg to the southeast. These enemy forces reached the cities of Regen and Vichtach in recent days. This afternoon, enemy tanks were reported northeast of Passau, coming from Zwiesel and Regen. They are near Tittling.
I wish to make the situation in this area clearly and calmly today. Our enemy was stopped to the east of St. Pölten but the enemy advanced in the west and is now only 20-30 kilometers from the border of our Gau. Today’s terror attacks on Linz and Wels shows us clearly how American enemy bands behave. They attempt to disrupt all lines of communication in areas they intend to advance.
In coming days the Anglo-Americans will attempt to reach the Inn and from there thrust up the Inn and down the Danube. We are now a war area. That means that air attacks, particularly dive bombing attacks, will increase. I instruct all police posts and majors to organize air raid warnings more than in the past. Traffic during the day should always be watched. In the event of low-flying attacks each vehicle must seek shelter. In Linz itself, air raid warnings will be given by flak and mobile sirens. Loudspeaker trucks will also be used. It will no longer always be possible to provide timely air raid warnings. The cable and radio will provide running reports on the situation.
Military developments will make life considerably harder. First priority must go to the necessities of the front and to defense. The time has come for the people’s community to prove itself by its actions. Each should help the other. Each will share with his neighbor, but on a completely voluntary basis. I have often said how well our people is behaving. There are always a few exceptions, mostly those who had the obligation to be a model. I was recently forced to take sharp measures against several former leading personalities because they ran away, despite my orders to stay here. Each people’s comrade must recognize that given the current military situation, flight or evacuation are impossible. All Gaue are filled with refugees. There no shelters anywhere. We will remain in our homeland, each in his place, but not idly, but rather determined to fight.
There are some who say that the arrival of the Americans and English would be better than occupation by the Bolshevists. The nicest stories are told about the Anglo-Americans. They pass out chocolate and schnapps, they do not harass our women, do not seize private property, but pass through an area and leave no occupying troops behind. When one hears things like that one cannot help asking why, if they are such nice people, do the Anglo-Americans bother to wage war? It is worth thinking about the stories that come from German areas that have been occupied longer by the Anglo-Americans. It is also worth reading Anglo-American newspapers with the speeches of their statesmen. Their hatred and destructive will toward Germany and the German people iis just as great as the Bolshevists.
Reports from the West say that shortly after the arrival of English-American troops, Jewish commissars appear to control the German population. Germans may only leave their homes for a few hours between the morning and afternoon. The German population must leave its houses and buildings and foreigners and prisoners of war do what they want. Germans, American and English newspapers report, must live in basements or the forest. Any organized distribution of food rations ends immediately after occupation and starvation begins. Hunger drives people to desperation and breaks the will to resist. The Anglo-Americans have not succeeded in preventing starvation in France, Belgium, and Holland. They will care even less about the starving German population in the occupied areas.
The Anglo-Americans have used ruthless bombing terror to burn down German cities and cultural monuments and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, which they will never rebuilt. That proves that they are just as terrible an enemy as the Bolshevists. If we lose the war and are occupied by Bolshevists or Anglo-Americans, life for our people and for each individual will have lost all meaning.
I must, therefore, say openly to the population of Gau Oberdonau that the hardest days and weeks are before us. War is coming to the land. Enemy forces will make constant attacks on the ground, and our bitter enemy will also make unexpected terror attacks from the air. If we give up we will be lost. If we stand firm and fight, we still have hope of a life we Germans will determine. It would be intolerable to be at the mercy of the enemy.
Let us take the Führer as our example. He stays in Berlin, the capital of the Reich, and fights against the mass storm from the East. He is with his soldiers. The Berliners are determined and ready to fight with Adolf Hitler, to fall or to win. Let his homeland be loyal to him!
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